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Should we buy or sell first?

A common question and dilemma from home owners that are planning on relocating is: should we sell or buy first?

As a real estate advisor, I like to say that you are in the driver’s seat and are fully in control of the decisions in the real estate process. The reason that I’m saying this will make sense when I address the biggest myth and therefore, issue that sellers think:

“If I sell my house first, then I could be left without housing for me and my family.” That thought is the number one reason why people feel they should buy first and then sell. But let me break this down a bit more. Continue reading

Best cities to invest in, rental rates and prices compared

This blog was written for renters, real estate investors, anyone curious to see the actual up-to-date facts (stats) on what is happening in the market place, and lastly, for myself. I love crunching numbers on the rental market vs. listed price in various cities across British Columbia, which is why I am a licensed Realtor and hold a CPA designation. Because of this, I hold real estate investments in the Okanagan and on Vancouver Island, because I saw the opportunities. Continue reading

2018 rental rates in BC and best investment cities

As a licensed realtor, designated CPA, and real estate investor, I am specifically asked how the rental market is doing and how the rental market hype was created in the first place.

It was reported by BC Business Magazine that over 60,000 new residents move into the province of BC each year. This stat became more apparent to us when we listed one of our suites in Nanaimo for rent. We had over 60 emails and requests to see our suite, many of the emails were from people moving here from another country or province and they were willing to rent the suite without seeing it before signing a rental agreement, as they wanted to secure a place for their arrival. The most common reason why people were looking to rent our suite was because they were moving to the area for school. The secondary reason for relocation was for a job opportunity. Continue reading

Condo Buying Guide

Should I Buy a Condo?

As single family home prices have risen, many consumers have been looking to condominiums as an alternative. First time buyers like the lower prices, which makes entry into the real estate ownership market easier. Seniors like the low maintenance aspect and the ability to be in a community catering to their lifestyle. Others like the security advantages that the building provides, especially for those who travel frequently. Continue reading

Arranging a Mortgage

Arranging financing for your home can often be a confusing process, with many options to choose from. That’s why it’s important to talk to the experts. You’ll find expert advice and the tools you need to make arranging a mortgage an easy and comfortable experience. My professional recommendation is to contact a mortgage broker instead of going directly to a bank. A mortgage broker has greater access to mortgage products, which means that you can get a better rate or better terms. For a list of mortgage brokers that I recommend, contact me here.

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Before Writing an Offer

Home Purchase Expenses

There are many costs that homebuyers incur, especially upon purchasing your first home. Some of the expenses related to buying a home are one-time costs, while others are continuing costs.

Your largest outlay is the down payment. As a first time buyer, this would likely represent only 5 – 10% of the purchase price. Be prepared to pay for additional costs, such as: Continue reading

Rental Property; Pros and Cons of buying a condo or townhouse as an investment to rent out

Have you been thinking of purchasing a condo or townhouse as an investment property?

Real estate investments are one way to realize huge gains, but this strategy should be used as a long-term plan, as it’s not a get rich quick type of strategy. The reason is: it takes time for mortgage paydown and cash flow to build up, so expect a 10 to 20-year hold on the real estate investment property. If you can pay the property down quicker, then you’ll have a mortgage-free property that is receiving monthly income and you can re-invest that money or simply add it to your bank account. Continue reading

Co-Ownership Agreement: Buying a house or property with a friend or family member

I went to a baby shower a few weeks ago; there, a lady was telling me about a home she purchased earlier that year. Her and her husband bought the home together with another couple. The four of them live in the house together, with a contract drawn up and signed to sort out any potential future issues such as: disagreements, maintenance, break ups, sharing the mortgage, dividing the use of space and any other issue that they could foresee arising out of this type of arrangement.

That idea didn’t sound absurd to me and it was interesting to listen to her story as I have often wondered if people were doing this – buying a property in BC with someone else, to afford it. Continue reading

What is a Speculation Tax and Who Does It Affect?

The housing market in Southern BC is slowing down and it’s due to a combination of events: stricter and tighter lending, speculation tax and increased interest rates are just a few to name. Please note that the Speculation Tax is different and additional to the Empty Homes Tax! Many people get this confused.

This blog will address the speculation tax that is in place, also known as the vacancy tax. What is it and who does it affect?

What is a speculation tax?

The provincial government of British Columbia has added a speculation tax in 2018 to ascertain that British Columbians can afford to live in their own province. There has been an uproar in the province about rentals, as many residents are left struggling to find a rental due to the near 0% vacancy rate in many cities.

The speculation tax was introduced to tax individuals and families, both foreign and domestically, that are purchasing and holding real estate in BC, speculating its massive future gain in value, but leaving them vacant. This affects the supply and demand of housing, especially rentals, as the supply is now limited, but the demand is steadily increasing, as people are displaced from their rentals once their home is sold to an investor that is speculating.

The tax and who it affects

If you own a home in the areas highlighted below and it is your primary residence, then you are not subject to the speculation tax.

Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun – this map displays the areas that are subject to the speculation tax

In 2018, if you own a second home within the areas displayed above and do not rent out the home for at least 3 months within the calendar year, you will be subject to a 0.5% tax.

In 2019, you will need to rent your home out for at least 6 months of the calendar year, not 3 months like in 2018. You may rent it out for short-term rentals, but the shortest rentalperiod must be 30 days or more, and in total, the house must be rented for 6 months. The tax rates will vary in 2019 as follows:

  • If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, but don’t live in BC: 1%.
  • You are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and live in BC: 0.5% of any amount over $400,000 of your home’s assessed value.
  • If you are a foreign investor or satellite family (a family member lives in BC but does not pay income taxes in the province): 2%.

A special note should be made that if you are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident, live in BC, and own multiple properties within the areas that are subject to the speculation tax, only one property will be taxed at 0.5% on an amount over $400,000, all other properties are subject to the full assessed home value taxed at 0.5%.