TGIF – Big Day for the Tri-CIties with the Evergreen Extension Grand Opening, Rising Interest Rates, and More!

Today is the BIG DAY and we are soooo excited – finally the TriCities is connected! Yes, the Evergreen Line, our own SkyTrain service, opens today with all the hoopla happening at Coquitlam Central Station. First train leaves at noon and entertainment, information and food happening most of the day, both at this station, Moody Centre & Burquitlam, plus other stations and spots around the TriCities. TransLink has the information on their website. A giant stride towards getting more cars off the road and commuting without stress! Even our stations look good!

Interest rates definitely on the rise – TD announced this week new rules and higher interest rate for investors purchasing rentals and higher rates for anyone taking a mortgage with an amortization more than 25 years. All this, while announcing how many billions in profit they have made this year! Big Brother can stop looking after us now – government and big bank interventions not helping!

Enjoy all the fun that December brings – our cities and businesses all looking magical with lights and trees. Lafarge Lake is amazing! ‘Tis the season. And, as in any season, we still have you covered.

Sheila and Michelle.

TGIF! Interest rates are on the rise – what does this mean for you? We’ve got you covered.

Well – now we know…interest rates are on the rise. Baby steps right now, but nevertheless this will be the latest game changer, and probably the thin end of the wedge.This will be the difference for the “wait & see” buyers sitting on the fence – an increase in mortgage rates makes a much greater impact on the cost of a home than relatively minor price adjustments. If you are a buyer or know someone who is, this is the moment to get a rate hold – have your interest rate capped for the longest available time – then get out there for serious house hunting! If ever there was a time to take advantage of the services of a good, experienced mortgage broker, it is now. Know what your options are and which is the best plan for you.

As our weather becomes colder, please remember those who are in need of some warm clothes. Our Vancouver Real Estate Board annual blanket drive is starting next week. Please bring any blankets, socks, hats, gloves, warm jackets etc to our office and we’ll deliver. If you need us to pick up from you, please call to arrange.

Remember to Like us on our Facebook page, and leave us your comments!

Whatever the weather, we still have you covered.

Enjoy the season – Sheila and Michelle.

George Derby Care Society’s “Plant a Flag Day” – honouring the service and sacrifice of our veterans with our local schoolchildren and teens

Our thoughts today are with our veterans as we prepare for Remembrance Day next Friday. Our local George Derby Veteran’s hospital invited local school children and teens to Plant Canadian flags to honour the service of soldiers past and present. Very proud of our team family member, Ted Hawthorne, for his years of volunteering and advocating on behalf of our soldiers.

Here is the article shared by the British Columbia Regiment Association:

It was a perfect morning to start Veterans’ Week, when George Derby Care Facility (“George Derby”) partnered with neighbouring schools, Cariboo Hill Secondary and Armstrong Elementary, to “plant” over 5,000 Canadian Flags on the front lawn and grounds of the facility in order to honour the service and sacrifice of our veterans and to remember our Fallen.
Directors of George Derby, John Buis, RCMP Staff Sergeant Major, and Ted Hawthorne, Honorary Colonel of The BC Regiment (DCO), were on hand to celebrate the occasion and to meet so many supporters of the facility at this very memorable event. As many will, George Derby has proudly served veterans since 1988 and its reputation continues as a “Centre of Excellence.”
For further information on the “Plant a Flag Day”, visit the George Derby Website at:
Congratulations George Derby for a job well done and for your many years of support of our veterans!

TGIF: We’re Not Scared – We’ve Got You Covered!

We discovered some quiet good news this week. If you buy a brand new condo under $750,000, property transfer tax does not apply even if you are not a first time buyer. It was an unexpected $8,000 windfall for our buyer this week! Amazing how this good real estate news got buried under the constant barrage of bad news.

Going into a presentation centre to purchase a brand new condo, not yet built, can be daunting and tricky to see the full picture with all the details. Let us help you – we have done this before!! And…we are representing your best interests, not those of the developer. Here are our happy mother and daughter – this week’s condo purchasers – 1 each! Hats off to Ledingham McCallister who made the experience at ‘The Cameron’ pleasant & efficient – great product and professional, patient, accommodating staff. Thank you Larissa and Josephine.

As long time realtors, we are enjoying this shift in the market where we can put our years of negotiating practice to work for our clients. Without the previous frenzy, our buyers have time to consider and do their due diligence with a building inspection, financing subject, strata documents etc. And… sellers don’t wake up to find their buyer has remorse because of having outbid the competition and taken all the risks attendant to a cash offer! It is back to business as usual.
Looks like we might get all the rain over in time for a dry Hallowe’en – what a novelty! We hope the costumes stay dry and the trick and treaters can stay warm. Wishing you the safest and spookiest Hallowe’en – don’t forget to visit the frightfully scary haunted house at 443 Draycott St, Coquitlam. All donations to Variety Club – the Children’s Charity. Thanks to the Ayers family who continue to do this incredible labour of love year after year.

Let us clear the fog and demystify the real estate world for you because we’re not scared to have you covered as always!
Sheila and Michelle

TGIF – Talking affordability and the new mortgage rules!

In this neck of the woods, we are always accused of being obsessed with real
estate (and the weather!) just like this obsession is unique to Vancouver
and environs. Well – guess what? I was in the tiniest village in Yorkshire
recently – Danby – for those Brits in the know -and found myself deep in
conversation with an elderly, long time resident. He lived in the most
beautiful stone cottage which had, in its time, served as the butcher’s then
the pub – surrounded with hanging baskets, it was charm itself. His real
estate beef? – local residents can no longer afford the Danby cottages
because outsiders have bought them up for holiday homes and they lie empty
for much of the year – sound familiar? To add insult to injury in Danby,
these holiday makers bring their own food and beverage and don’t add to the
village economy while they are there! It is universal folks!

Talking of affordability closer to home – the new mortgage rules announced
by the Federal Government will make it more difficult for first time buyers
to get into the market. Buyers with less than 20% down will have to qualify
on the posted Bank of Canada rate regardless of the term of their mortgage.
For instance, a buyer taking a 5 yr. fixed rate mortgage at 2.39% interest
rate would previously have been qualified to purchase using the 2.39% rate -
now the buyer will have to qualify at the BOC posted rate – currently 4.64%.
The net result of this is an approximate 20% reduction in the amount of
mortgage money being made available to the buyer.

I just heard from a person previously anticipating buying at $400,000 – now the price tag has to
be $340,000. It will take a little while, but there will be a ripple effect
as fewer people buy at the first rung of the housing ladder, affecting the
number of people upgrading from their first home to a second and so on.
Watch this space! Not clear on anything, please call us.

Enjoy the sunshine between the showers. And remember, we always have you
covered! Sheila and Michelle.

Sheila’s Letter from New York

Yes – it’s not even Friday, but this blog is coming from New York. Here’s our TGIF news update, so we’ll just pretend it’s Friday!

Good news theatre lovers, talented Canadians are taking over 42nd Street on Broadway! The oldest operating theatre on Broadway and the first to offer family shows is the Victory, where “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” opened last weekend. And our personal connection is the coauthor & creator, Craig Francis who grew up in Port Moody and now resides in Montreal. This is a Canadian production commissioned for the Panam Games last year and reworked for Broadway by Craig and coauthor, Rick Miller. It is a multimedia, current, clever, relevant and entertaining production – from the youngest to the oldest in the audience, the magic of exciting story telling and special effects took over. The online component is a smart addition.
And…right next door is the Lyric Theatre showing “Paramour”, another Montreal production! Way to go Canucks!

In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that I am the proud mother of Craig Francis and delivered personally the warm congratulations from our team as Craig has been an integral part of our marketing over many years. Now looking forward to the reviews as the New York Times critic in evidence!

Best wishes from the New York Airport!

Know that Michelle and Shane will keep you covered – see you soon. Sheila

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:

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.

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

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