10 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR STRATA PROPERTY BUYERS

BC Notaries Offer 10 Essential Tips for Strata Property Buyers

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Strata Property Purchases Rising due to First-time Buyers and Empty Nesters

Vancouver, BC—The popularity of strata title properties is rising in BC as both first-time buyers and empty nesters embrace their relative financial accessibility and convenience. Strata ownership is a great alternative to owning and maintaining a house, but the Society of Notaries of BC caution that buyers need to understand it is a different form of ownership and those considering a purchase should know exactly what they are acquiring.

According to BC’s Office of Housing and Construction Standards, BC is home to half a million residential strata lots. This figure does not include mixed-use buildings that may have both residential and commercial units. Based on an average BC family of 3.1 people, this translates into more than 1.5 million BC residents living in residential stratas—34 per cent of BC’s population.

“The lower maintenance, shared amenities and relative affordability of condos, townhomes and other strata properties as compared to single-family homes offer benefits for many BC home buyers. But, like any major purchase, it’s important buyers ensure they really understand the rules and regulations specific to each strata property,” says David Watts, a Notary in downtown Vancouver.

John Eastwood, a Delta-based Notary and President of the Society, frequently acts for strata lot homeowners and reminds his clients that strata councils are “local mini-governments” that administer the Strata Property Act and the strata’s own set of rules.

“The bylaws can include restrictions on age, pets, rentals, and other factors intended to benefit all owners, but they also impose limitations on the owners’ use of their property,” Eastwood says. “In some cases, the bylaws are updated every few years, which may introduce further, unexpected restrictions.”

The Society of Notaries of BC offers 10 essential tips to potential strata unit buyers:

Carefully read through the strata’s bylaws and find out if any new bylaws are being proposed at an upcoming Annual General Meeting or Special General Meeting.
Parking can be contentious, so find out if the parking stalls are owned by the strata lot, or are limited common property with the right to exclusive use that can be assigned to the buyer by the seller, or are common property whose use can be re-assigned by the strata council upon sale.
Find out whether an engineering report has been obtained to determine any current or potential problems – if so, review the findings and ask what will be done to address problems.
Keep in mind BC’s leaky condo crisis, and discover whether there have been previous problems with water ingression in the building envelope, and whether it has been professionally remediated.
Ask whether major maintenance work is required in the future (eg. replacing the roof, balconies, re-plumbing, etc.).
Look into whether any legal action against the building or strata is in progress.
Find out how much money is in the contingency reserve.
Smoking can be an issue, so look into what you could do about an adjacent owner smoking on his or her patio or balcony.
Seek the advice of experienced real estate and legal professionals before you invest in a strata home.
Make an offer to purchase a property conditional upon your notary or lawyer’s approval.

Buying a Home

Buying a home is both an exciting and scary venture. With the status of homeowner comes the costs of maintaining the property you are now tied to. If you are going to take on a lot of added responsibility it is your right to be selective when choosing a home. While your search may start out with enthusiasm, it can quickly grow tiresome as their are so many listings to browse.

Our question would be: why do all of the work when there is someone willing to help? The process goes a lot smoother with more that one set of eyes scouring the housing market for your perfect property. This is where our team truly shines, as we make it our duty to get our clients the keys to their ideal home! Simply tell us what you are looking for and we will go to work searching through our database of available homes. From there, we will give you a list  that most accurately match your requirements. With a list that is narrowed down to a handful of properties, your decision will be much more manageable.

Whether you are a first time buyer, or it has just been a few years since you’ve last bought a home, the process of buying a home can seem like a bit of a mystery.  I would be happy to sit down with you to walk you through the home buying process and the key milestones we will hit along the way.

home buying process infographic

 

Luxury Homes Collection Magazine Autumn 2017

These three quarters of 2017 have been quite interesting in the real estate market of British Columbia. Between regulations, rising housing costs, global investors and a changing provincial government, the landscape is ever shifting. Throughout the year our advisors have worked tirelessly for their clients and are marketing some exceptional properties within our Luxury Collection.

The Economist’s Economist Intelligence Unit once again named Vancouver the third most livable city in the world. This continues to foster the interest in British Columbia as a world class destination. We are fortunate to have a variety of landscapes and climate regions, and an abundance of land to satisfy discerning tastes.

Our Cover Story is a beautifully renovated condo in Downtown Vancouver, with an exceptional view and state of the art technology including a ensuite wall that turns into a window from the bedroom. This summer I stopped through the Similkameen Valley to sample wines from this beautiful region of the province. It is one of the best fruit growing areas with its rich soils, hot days and cool nights for exceptionally tasty fruit and sip-able wines. Please check out my recommendations for delicious wines in Wine Not for some great expressions of the district.

MacdonaldRealtyLuxMag_Autumn2017 - FINAL COVER

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CLICK HERE to view the digital edition on your computer or tablet

Selling a Home

Selling a home can be a difficult task for even the most seasoned of sellers. There is so much that goes into the process of placing a property on the housing market. First, the owner needs to get the home in condition to present it to potential buyers. From there, taking proper pictures that display your residence in its best light is a must. These are the images that are going to grab the attention of those that are searching online through all the homes available for sale. Unfortunately, even the best pictures don’t ensure that your property will be seen. After all, you are competing with your neighbours for the attention of a select few buyers.

As with any competition, it is important to find an edge. This is where an experienced REALTOR® can be your ace in the hole. With an extensive list of interested buyers, as well as the knowhow to market your listing to a greater audience, real estate agents make it their mission to get the most money for your property. When you have a team of skilled agents on your side, the competition gets left in the dust!

I would be happy to sit down with you and explain the home selling process and all that I can offer to maximize the exposure of your home to potential buyers.

sell your home infographic

 

Introducing my global network… LeadingRE

Did you know that while I’m a real estate professional here in our community, I’m also a part of a global network of leading independent brokerages with over 120,000 real estate professionals who are experts in their own communities?

That means that if you ever need to buy, sell or invest in real estate elsewhere in Canada, the US or around the world just ask me to make an introduction to one of these local experts.  My company has helped clients successfully buy or sell in 9 provinces (including Nunavut!), over a dozen states (including California, Arizona and Hawaii), and internationally in countries like Mexico, England, France and China.

As we like to say… “I’m local, I’m global“.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) is the home of the world’s market-leading independent residential brokerages in over 50 countries, with over 500 firms and 120,000 associates producing over one million transactions valued at $321 billion annually. Our by-invitation-only network is based on the unparalleled performance and trusted relationships that result in exceptional client experiences.  Watch this short video for an introduction.

Increasing Your Property’s Value

The most common question to a REALTOR® when looking through a home is, “what improvements can I make that will increase the value of my property?”

What is your time and effort worth? Too many times we meet people who are eager to do the work, but don’t consider the buyer’s perspective. Some people may pay more for some features that won’t matter to others. Consult a professional to determine if the improvements you choose will be worth your money and will give you a return. Make sure this number is worth your time.

Increasing Your Property’s Value

CURB APPEAL
This can range from buying a few flowering planters for around the front door to substantial landscaping work. A fresh coat of paint on the front door, and improved lighting can make a big difference for a relatively small expense.

PAINT
Interior and exterior. Use neutral or modern colours and unless you are a pro, avoid creative patterns. No murals.

FLOORING
Upgrading from carpet or lino to hardwood and tile makes an enormous difference. Focus on look rather than price, since many buyers cannot tell the difference.

KITCHEN
This is usually the focal point of the house. Open concepts and modern colours are key. Consider refinishing existing cabinets and just replacing the counter-top to save money.

BATHROOMS
Freeing up room in the bathroom makes a big difference. Pedestal sinks can work well for this. Also modern looking tile goes a long way.

FLOOR PLAN ALTERATION
People like to entertain and see their guests. When you enter an open concept home it also feels much larger. Furthermore, three small bedrooms may work better as one large master and a spare.

PROFESSIONAL BASEMENT DEVELOPMENT
Please only use a builders, contractors or other professionals. Poor workmanship will be adjusted for at the time of the sale. You can do some work yourself, but leave the finishing to the pros.

Macdonald Realty Luxury Homes Magazine | Fall 2017

The latest edition of Macdonald Realty’s Luxury Homes Collection digital magazine is now available! This publication showcases unique and luxurious homes listed with my company across the province.

Highlights of this Fall 2017 issue include an exceptional “Super Prime Real Estate” in Vancouver, an article on Americans Investing Abroad and a new LuxeTrends: Make 2017 a Family Focused Year, content courtesy of our partner Luxury Portfolio International.

Simply click the cover image below to see the digital version!

LuxuryMagazine_Spring2016_cover

If you have a luxury home that you are considering selling and would like featured in the next edition of Luxury Homes Collection, please give me a call to arrange a consultation.

The Local Housing Market

Whether you are buying or selling real estate, it is important to know the state of the local housing market. This way, each side knows where the advantages lie. For sellers, the market is at its best when there are fewer homes up for grabs. Less competition makes for an easier time getting your property viewed by the right individuals. On the flip-side, buyers will find top deals when there is a saturation of listings. When sellers are competing for your business, you end up the winner!

The housing market can give us a list of relevant information, such as: the number of homes for sale, the average selling price for real estate in the area, and the amount of homes sold during a specific period of time. With this data, both buyers and sellers can formulate a strategy on when to make a move. Perhaps more homes are sold during the summer. Maybe the average cost is lowest at the beginning of the year. Whatever the housing market shows, it is important to take the information into consideration.

If you would like some current statistics on the housing market in your neighbourhood, please contact me or sign up to receive my monthly email newsletter.