Be Prepared!

Those Boy Scouts & Girl Guides have it right! As words to live by, ‘Be Prepared’ are equal to the more popular ‘Just Do It’ – in fact thorough preparation enables us to just do it. Nowhere is this more true than in today’s real estate market where the difference between winning and losing is preparation, both in buying and selling.
When buying in a multiple offer situation, the winner and losers are clearly defined. The winner successfully purchases the home of their choice, while the others move on to make, often many, more offers on different homes. Aside from the price, which has to be strategically decided based on asking price (Is it unrealistically low inviting a full on auction situation? Is it at market with the reasonable expectation of buyers bidding up the price? Or is it drastically overpriced?). The best strategy a buyer can employ when competing is to ensure that her offer is subject free, so that when a seller accepts this offer, there is no uncertainty – no waiting to see if the financing comes through or the buyer doesn’t like the inspection report. Often a seller will accept a lower price based on the sure thing. This strategy employs full preparation and due diligence before the date that the seller is reviewing offers. It starts with the prequalification for mortgage, which many buyers assume means talking to the bank, telling them their income and asking how much money the bank would loan them for a mortgage – this is not adequate and would certainly pose a large risk if relying on a conversation to put forward an offer without a financing clause. You need to have submitted every document the bank requires in order to give you a precise written approval in terms of spending power in order to move forward. The building inspection can also be completed ahead of offer – the moment you know “this is the one” – small price to position yourself as the successful buyer of the home you really love.
The seller’s strategy is often one taking more time & effort – starting early is the secret. Decluttering, getting rid of the items you are not taking with you, all required handyman items done, furnace serviced , staging to showcase your space, sparkling clean and landscaping looking its best. This is the preparation which makes the home sell more quickly and at the top of its price range.
If you have questions about any of this, we’ll buy the coffee! We are always happy to be your resource and even more happy to make our clients winners in every sense of the word.
Remember no matter what our real estate market is doing, we have you covered. No umbrellas this weekend – just parasols.

Enjoy – Michelle & Sheila

PLAID FOR DAD!

No coincidence that thousands of Canadians are wearing plaid today and on Father’s Day to help raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research. Actor Eric Cormack (of “Will and Grace” fame) is sporting his best plaid as ambassador for the national campaign organised by Prostate Cancer Canada. “With men’s health, we don’t talk enough about it”.

Prostate Cancer Canada says that 1 in 8 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, and it is the most common cancer affecting Canadian men. McCormack’s Dad was a cancer victim, so the cause is dear to his heart as to many of our hearts. “We men need to be looking out for ourselves” (Eric Cormack) and we need to support them!

Participants can register their workplace, encourage colleagues to donate and wear plaid today and Sunday. You can even share photos of your ‘Go Plaid’ moments on social media. For every photo shared until June 18th with the hashtag #PlaidForDad, $5 will be donated.

“I believe that every human mind feels pleasure in doing good to another” – Thomas Jefferson

Happy Father’s Day to all our Dads and grandfathers – enjoy your day!

Whatever the day, we still have you covered – Sheila and Michelle

All Eyes Are On Port Moody’s Horizon!

Another Friday is here, and all eyes are on Port Moody’s horizon!

With the departure of some industry – and the arrival of our waterfront Skytrain station – our city is considering some major residential projects. Last week, the city was managing 30 development applications; of which, 23 were in Moody Centre. With the majority of these plans aiming to develop our older industrial sites into high-density residential neighbourhoods, the growth would be astonishing. It’s expected that if these plans all win approval, our current population of 33,500 could grow by approximately 15,000 more residents!

Also in the headlines continues to be our ever-scorching real estate market. May 2016 was a chart-topper, and we’re still experiencing a very active market. Even as we head into summer, inventory hasn’t slowed over the last few weeks –buyers and lenders are being cautious; resulting in more time on the market for product, less multiple-offer situations, and conditional offers. We continue to see an influx of buyers migrate to the ‘burbs – many seeking a more urban, affordable lifestyle by opting to purchase condos and townhomes.

Housing prices continue to rise in the Tri-Cities, with the benchmark price of a detached single-family home in Port Moody reaching $1,430,100 in May, a 4.6% increase over April, and a 5.7% increase over May 2016. Similarly, the benchmark price of a Port Coquitlam home last month was $967,600, which was up 5.6% from April, and 6.8% from May 2016. Coquitlam’s home prices rose to $1,231,200, up 3.7% from April, and 3.7% since the year prior. (Curious about the stats in other neighbourhoods? Don’t hesitate to ask!)

You’ve likely heard that inventory is low, BUT it’s still an ideal time to get into the market. We’ve had some great success landing our buyers into their dream properties.

Ask us how we can help make your home ownership and investment goals a reality – in every market; we’ve always got you covered.

And one more thing? Don’t forget – Father’s Day is right around the corner. Lucky for us, there’s no shortage of great local places to dine and shop for the special Dad in your life. Comment below, and tell us what you’ve got in mind!

Your Partners in Real Estate,
Sheila and Michelle

TGIF – May Long Weekend in the YVR ‘Burbs

Closing off another busy week in Real Estate with the May long weekend – how fun! Our adventures won’t stop here just because it’s Friday; we’re thrilled to have some fun showings lined up for eager buyers, and we’ll be welcoming visitors to our open house at 921 Baker Drive on Saturday from 2-4PM. This home is ready for summer entertaining! Move-in ready, and outfitted with a private, sunny pool and upper and lower patios.

Speaking of sunshine, it’s in the forecast for the weekend!

Big thanks to Tri-City News for providing a great roundup of this weekend’s events – we’ve selected some of our favourites!

Here are just some of the fun events happening in the Tri-Cities and beyond over the next few days:

Winnie the Pooh and Seussical the Musical Jr.
Friday and Saturday May 19- 20 7PM
Sunday, May 21st 2PM

Support the students of Coquitlam’s Lindbjerg Academy of the Performing Arts! The centre is hosting a double feature over the weekend at the Inlet Theatre (100 Newport Dr., Port Moody). Tickets at $20 are for sale at the door or at the academy (7-75 Blue Mountain St., Coquitlam). Call 604-777-2211 or email info@lindbjergacademy.com.

Coquitlam Little League Invitational
Saturday, Sunday, and Monday May 20-22

Batter, batter up! Games running all weekend at Mackin Yard at Mackin Park (1046 Brunette Ave., Coquitlam).

Visit coquitlamlittleleague.ca for the tournament schedule.

Half-day Birding Field Trip
Saturday, May 20

Bring your binoculars! Larry Cowan and members of Nature Vancouver are headed out on a half-day birding field trip at Colony Farm regional park in Coquitlam! Check out the lazuli bunting and other species such as the western kingbird, band-tailed pigeon and American bittern. The tour departs at 8:30 a.m. from the parking lot near the community gardens.

Call 604-307-0931 for more information.

From Japan to Canada

Japanese-Canadian artists are showcased in new exhibit Port Moody Arts Centre (2425 St. Johns St., Port Moody). Take in the beauty of paintings by Port Coquitlam resident Yoshi Kamei and Mitsuko Fujino and Ken Suzuki. As well, you can view an installation by PMAC faculty member Robert Shiozaki and work from Vancouver artist Terry Sasaki.

Call 604-931-2008 or visit pomoarts.ca.

WE ARE COQUITLAM

Learn about Coquitlam from a whole new (historical) perspective! The new exhibit about the city has you covered from 1967 and on. Head to the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way) to check it out. Admission is FREE, and the display is happening until Aug. 22nd for Canada’s 150th birthday.

Call 604-927-6555 or visit evergreenculturalcentre.ca.

White Salsa and Latin Dance Party
Saturday, May 20th

You’re invited by Alberto Gonzalez and Teresa Szfler to their White Salsa and Latin Dance Party! Shake it to some Latin tunes in the rehearsal hall of the Evergreen Cultural Centre (1205 Pinetree Way, Coquitlam) from 8 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Admission is just $10, and you’ll want to dress in white. Don’t forget your dancing shoes! Licensed and free parking is available.

Call 604-725-4654 or visit hotsalsadancezone.com.

Coquitlam Farmers’ Market
Sunday, May 21

The second harvest of the season is happening on Sunday from 9am-1pm! Here’s your chance to gather some fresh fare and support our local farmers and suppliers. Held in the parking lot of Dogwood Pavilion at 624 Poirier St. in Coquitlam.

Visit makebakegrow.com to learn more.

Did we miss anything? Leave a comment on our Facebook page! Better yet – tag us in your weekend pics. We always love to see what you’re up to in the community.

Wishing you a happy, sunshine-filled weekend.
-Sheila and Michelle

TGIF – Happy Mother’s Day!

This weekend we are honoring our mothers, grandmothers and the wonderful influence of motherhood in general. More than 40 countries observe Mother’s Day, not all on the same date, but mostly in May. Canadian Mother’s Day is always on the second Sunday in May.

Mothers have been making a significant difference in the world outside of their families and careers. Mothers Against Drunk Driving have influenced the laws & the justice system as well as supporting victims over the past 30 years. Raging Grannies are constantly raising awareness of issues relating to peace, the environment and social justice. And they do it with humour.

Speaking of humour, it’s time to see ‘Mom’s the Word 3: Nest 1/2 empty” – a brand new live show at the Arts Club Granville Island Stage ’till May 27. The same creative team which brought us the first 2 hilarious ‘Mom’s the Word’ shows are now focusing on that time when kids are grown, marriages ‘evolved’ and Moms are getting older. These writer Moms are examining every embarrassing detail of their own history in order to connect and make us laugh. Check in with me for a critique as I am going to see the show this evening.

So… Happy Mother’s Day everyone!

We remain your two real estate Mums keeping you covered.
Sheila and Michelle

Make a Difference on Tuesday, May 9th – Get Out and Vote!

It may not be perfect, but democracy is the best system we have. Having recently celebrated the powerful Canadian contribution to World War 2, we are well aware of the price our fathers and grandfathers paid to maintain our democracy. The other hard fought battle in history concerns the right to vote which for many Canadians began with Confederation (1867) – who has been permitted to vote has evolved since then.

In order to vote in early days, one had to be a male property owner & the property had to be a certain size. In the 4 Western provinces, women were awarded the right to vote in 1916, thanks to the Suffragettes. It wasn’t until 1948 that racial & ethnic groups could not be excluded from voting – and not until 1955, were laws introduced ending exclusion from voting based on religion. Prisoners with sentences below 2 yrs. have been able to vote since 1993, then, since 2002, prisoners with any length of sentence have been eligible to vote.

So with a recent history like this, why doesn’t every eligible voter go to the polls? This is at the heart of democracy – citizens exercising power to select their parliamentarians in free elections. Do we think we can’t make a difference? – surely not, when we watch the returns coming in and the narrow margin by which a candidate might win. Or…is it really that we take our freedoms and human rights for granted? More likely – we need to respect and honour our ancestors’ battle for voting rights, the lives lost in the stark reality of battle and exercise our rights, which don’t exist in so many countries & repressive regimes round the globe.

Just takes a few minutes to get out and vote, but takes years to recover from poor political choices. Make a difference on Tuesday, May 9 – be the power brokers and VOTE! It is the future of our beautiful province.

And…of course when it comes to real estate, we have you covered rain or shine! Have an exciting week.
-Sheila and Michelle

Fantastic Client Event at St. Street Grill!

We had a great time celebrating with our clients of 2016 and 2017 last night! Our team is so grateful for such loyal advocates – we love our family business.

A very special thanks to Jay and his long time amazing staff at St. Street Grilll for the wonderful eats and to Daniela Serena of Serena Mortgages, Angelos Salon and Spa and St. Street Grill for their generous prizes.

- Sheila and Michelle

TGIF: REALTORsaurus? Not us! Staying adaptable in today’s ever-changing marketplace.

REALTORsaurus eh? Not us – at least not intentionally! Yesterday we spent a terrifying day studying “Trends & Issues in Real Estate” reviewing past experience as life’s lessons and reflecting on the future external forces, dynamics and exponential progress of technology that will affect real estate.

“Affordability” is today’s buzz word – did you know that real estate was equally unaffordable in the 1980s when interest rates rose to 21% and home prices were a fraction of today’s? Payments were similar to now with wages considerably lower. When interest rates rise, our mortgage payments will double or triple, bringing a whole new meaning to unaffordable. Takeaway from this is ‘be prepared’. In an era where lifestyle is more important than paying down our mortgage, doing everything we can to pay down our mortgage while interest rates are low will prevent foreclosures (1980s epidemic) & future hardship.

Did you know that many Vancouverites have moved to Vancouver Island and still commute for work? The $100 price of a flight from Nanaimo to Vancouver is more than offset by the significantly lower price of real estate. Our harbour is the busiest in North America for floatplanes. And as we tax foreign buyers with vacant homes, should we tax the many Vancouverites who move to the Okanagan, spend winters in Palm Springs, leaving their home vacant half the year? Interesting question when the real estate disrupters come from different places, both near & far, with the same result – rising prices & vacant homes.

And, of course we all know that the provincial budget balanced as a result of the property transfer tax!
Did you know that there are 50 billion tweets a day along with 31 billion Google searches every minute? And that speech is only the 2nd form of communication for a millennial? Texting is first. What this means is that the greatest exposure of real estate internationally is on Facebook – a community as large as China or India.

In our location, we are especially vulnerable to global events – the threat of war, declining or increasing currency elsewhere and politics, both here and abroad. With worldwide communication, we know immediately when there is a crisis or significant world event, so that our real estate market, as well as other markets, can change in an instant without warning.

There are just so many factors that can affect the real estate market, so it is good to think ahead to possibilities and how we handle them. This course had huge content, so we shall be looking at big ideas to be ready for future digitization and adaptability to serve you into a hyper changing future.

Sunshades are more useful than umbrellas today – and as always, we have you covered.
Sheila and Michelle.

TGIF! Happy Easter from the Hawthorne & Francis Team

Happy Easter everyone – to those celebrating Good Friday and Easter Sunday and to those enjoying a family long weekend. This is a time when we all feel gratitude for our lives and loves and consider how we can give something back to our community and neighbours (specially if we gave up something for Lent!). As a team, one of our embedded commitments is to always work to make a difference in the lives of others, both within our real estate business with our clients and within our greater community.

The two certainties in life are death and taxes! With regard to end of life care, we take it for granted that Crossroads Hospice will be there for us if we need it. This will only be true if we support it as a community – Fraser Health pays only 1/3 of required funding. After 14 years of serving us, the hospice must replace its beds this year with new ones, specially designed to monitor movement, setting off an alarm to prevent the almost inevitable falls which happen currently. We cannot believe how much crowd funding is required to keep our valued hospice open. Let’s all spring into action and at least contribute to the Easter bed fund. It would be great to move into Crossroads 15th year with all the beds in, paid for & a surplus for other necessary maintenance. For more information on how you can help personally, as a business, organisation or private group, get in touch with Anna Wilczewski (development & fundraising officer) – anna@crossroadshospice.org 604-945-0606.

Have a great weekend – you won’t need your umbrellas this sunny Easter Sunday, but we always have you covered.
Sheila and Michelle

TGIF: Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge

Lest we forget ….. And Canadians will not forget, as demonstrated by the numbers of young cadets, military personnel and students going from here to Vimy Ridge for this weekend’s celebrations of 100 years since the Canadians captured Vimy Ridge. For the few remaining veterans and their families, it is reassuring that their colleagues and loved ones will still be remembered by the next generation in that cautionary history of war. Michelle’s father, Ted Hawthorne, honorary Colonel of The British Columbia Regiment, will be there alongside many other British Columbians and Canadians of all ages to honor the fallen.

April 9,1917, was Easter Monday , and the first occasion on which all 4 divisions of the Canadian Corps attacked as a formation. Their surprising achievement was meticulously planned, prepared & executed & paved the way for the British advances. The cost in young lives was huge – 3,598 dead in that one attack. If you want to have some sense of what warfare was like in 1917, visit the Port Moody Museum on Murray Street, especially this weekend as it has tours of exhibits, actual trenches, a plane & train similar to those instrumental in the First World War. History on our doorstep.

So…on Sunday, we shall be feeling gratitude & sparing thoughts for the astounding courage of those young men and women 100 years ago.

Sheila and Michelle