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

TGIF – Great show of support for Hawthorne Lodge from our Port Coquitlam community!

It was a day of celebration yesterday as, in the words of Mayor Greg Moor, the “family of Port Coquitlam” came together in an awesome display of support for Hawthorne Lodge. Port Coquitlam Senior Citizens’ Housing Society launched a “Growing Our Care” million dollar capital campaign to extend the lodge, modernise, provide more private rooms, lounge and common space.

We are proud of our Re/max Sabre office – our realtors stepped up and became a lead donor with a contribution of $60,000 to be used for a fireside lounge. The first large donation of more than $100,000 came from Hawthorne Lodge staff and residents themselves, then more came from local businesses, developers & organizations. More than half of the required 1 million dollars was pledged by the launch – quite a feat in this day and age. We must feel so grateful for our community as there is little public funding available for renovating chronic care facilities. And there are few facilities like this one, well run and managed by a non profit society. Mayor Greg Moore is chair of the Campaign Cabinet.

Our Hawthorne & Francis team will hang riders on our ‘for sale’ signs in support of Hawthorne Lodge, hoping that others will become aware and donate. For more information contact manager of the capital campaign, Rita Albano – 604-468-5027 – e.ralbano@hawthornecare.com.

* By 2036, almost one in four BC residents will be 65 or older (BC Stats)

Whatever your age, we still have you covered! Sunny forecast for the weekend – enjoy!

Sheila and Michelle.

TGIF – Your weekly recap of Real Estate in the YVR ‘burbs. What you need to know!

Spring break almost over and hopefully, our students have had fun and are ready for school, whether they have been away on holiday or enjoying time at home. We have noticed the difference in both rush hour traffic and smaller number of folk out in the active real estate market. The market is still busy, but definitely followed the annual trend of slowing down somewhat over the break. We still have low inventory which, over the past month, caused a return to fast sales and multiple offers. Our demand still outstripping the number of good homes on the market showing a definite return in public confidence. Quite a different scenario from Fall through January – we have always said that the market turns on a dime, fooling the best pundits. Predictions are very positive now for the rest of our year. Condos are the hot commodity – flying off the shelf. And well priced new buildings selling out before a spade is in the dirt!

Many of our sellers are leaving our area relocating to points east in the Valley, the Okanagan is very popular right now and Vancouver Island. We are happy to discuss the micro-market in your neighborhood and how we can help you maximize your major investment. Similarly, we love those “Buying 101″ meetings with our first-time buyers.
A recent extensive survey of full service real estate brands showed that 46.5% of buyers and sellers questioned replied that Re/max was the first brand that came to mind. We know we work for the most professionally recognized company – love that balloon!

Happy New Year to all our Persian friends – we hear the feasts are still ongoing!

No matter the trends or seasons, we always have you covered.

Have a great weekend!

-Sheila and Michelle

TGIF – Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

On this annual holiday, the heritage and culture of the Irish is celebrated all over the world – often with lively festivities, shamrocks, leprechauns, rainbows, Irish stew, and green-tinted everything – yes, even beer! With all of the celebrations and hype, it can be easy to forget the exact origins of this holiday.

Beyond the festivities, our Irish heritage is deeply rooted in our Canadian history. According to Stats Can figures, the last count (2011) had 4,544,870 people claiming Irish origin in Canada! Our Canadian counterparts use this day to honour their Irish ancestors who immigrated here years ago.

Saint Patrick himself was actually born in Britain – not Ireland – but eventually converted thousands of the pagan Irish to Christianity in the northern half of the country.

So where does the shamrock come from?

A leaf of the clover plant, it’s believed that St. Patrick used its three leaves to represent the Holy Trinity to those he preached to. Since, it’s been used as the symbol of Ireland since the 18th century and is a registered trademark of the Republic of Ireland.

There’s no shortage of fun ways to celebrate St. Paddy’s day in Greater Vancouver this weekend. Don’t forget that anything green goes – you can bet that Realtor socks himself is donning a green pair today.

Don’t leave your Real Estate investment up to the chances of a four leaved clover – contact your experienced team for results. We’ve got you covered!

Michelle thanks the team for letting her spend the day on the mountain! (talk about the team advantage!)

TGIF – The Team Advantage


“My model for business was the Beatles; the whole was greater than the sum of the parts.” – Steve Jobs

The market in the YVR ‘burbs is hopping and we are busy, busy, busy! As you know, we’ve seen enormous growth and flux in this ever-changing market; season to season – week to week, even!

It is especially during times like this that we feel so fortunate to have our team in place – every one of us is committed to ensuring our clients have the best real estate experience possible. Consider this the ultimate team advantage! Our involved, experienced team coupled with our tried-and-true systems help us provide you with the efficient, full service experience you have come to know and expect.

Our own team office and full support staff provides a level of efficient administration, client support and marketing support far beyond a single Realtor. That, coupled with our experience gives you a strong ally negotiating hard for your interests.

Our pulse is on the market, and you can count on us to have you covered.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your Real Estate questions – we’re here to help. ☺

Your Real Estate team in the YVR ‘burbs,
Hawthorne & Francis Team

Rotary Club of Coquitlam’s Inaugural Sports Gala Dinner 2017

We live in such an AMAZING community, and last night it was all about giving back! We were thrilled to be invited to The Rotary Club of Coquitlam’s Inaugural Sports Gala Dinner to raise funds for our local Mountainview Park and the Canucks Autism Network.

Proceeds for Mountainview Park will go to the installation of new playground equipment – a desparate need. Like a second home to many of Coquitlam’s most economically disadvantaged children, Mountainview Elementary hosts breakfast, lunch and even weekend backpack programs to ensure that all our our community’s children in need have food on a daily basis.

Especially with government cutbacks, it falls on all of us to help the kids where we can, and the Rotary Clubs are doing some amazing work with these organizations.

In order to make this fundraiser a smashing success, we were treated with many of our local sports legends as special guests! Included were Lai Passaglia, our resident retired BC Lions kicker, retired Canuck heroes Captain Kirk McLean and Jyrki Lumme, and a special guest appearance by Burnaby’s own Robert Gagno – 28 year old Autistic World Pinball Champion! What a lineup!

Proceeds were shared by both worthy causes and the event was a total success!

Many thanks to our friend and colleague Leo Bruneau for the invite and his work as a Rotarian.

TGIF – We’ve got you covered – what you need to know Real Estate in the ‘burbs this week!

Shane’s pulling up his realtor socks – it’s going to be a busy weekend here for Real Estate in the ‘burbs!

Our week kicked off with B.C. Family Day, followed by Valentine’s Day, and a flurry of closings for our clients! We can’t believe it’s Friday already. Today, we’re in and out of the office preparing for some open houses and incoming multiple offers.

Months after the introduction of the 15% foreign-buyer tax and new federal mortgage rules, our Greater Vancouver housing market has cooled, but we are feeling the heat begin to rise as we inch closer to spring. The detached home market has moderated with the foreign tax and tighter mortgage rules, but townhomes and condos remain strong and steady in many areas.

The influx of young families who have migrated here from Vancouver’s downtown core are snapping up our detached homes as well as townhomes and condos in pursuit of a more affordable, comfortable lifestyle for their growing families. Our easy access to our new Evergreen Extension Skytrain station makes commuting and Vancouver hockey game nights a breeze, too! And what about our baby boomers? They’re actively seeking their best downsize option in the ‘burbs – often in pursuit of “one-level living” that’s ideally larger than the typical 2 bed/2 bath condo.

Buying or Selling – Your Best Bet in the ‘Burbs?

It’s important to note that our sales averages vary greatly across our local neighborhoods as well as by property type – if you’re wondering if now’s a good time to buy or sell in Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Burnaby, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, or Maple Ridge, contact us to find out the ‘sellers best bet’ and the ‘buyers best bet’ in each neighbourhood.

Regardless of the season – we’ve got you covered. You can count on us to carry you through what’s sure to be another exciting spring in Real Estate!

Your partners in Real Estate,
Michelle and Sheila

Psst….

In other news? We’ve got some EXCITING new changes we can’t wait to show you. Be sure to follow us on social as we roll them out…

TGIF – Love is in the air! Celebrating Family Day, Valentine’s Day, and National Umbrella Day.

It’s official – they’ve got a holiday for everything now, don’t they?

This year’s Family Day is on Monday, Feb. 13th, giving us a much-deserved long weekend. With plenty of family-friendly activities scheduled in every city –many of them free of charge – the ‘burbs truly are a wonderful place to raise our families.

Following Family Day, comes Valentines Day on Tuesday, Feb. 14th . If you needed an excuse to partake in some of our local sweet treats or enjoy a beautiful meal out, here it is!

And today, Friday Feb.10th, we honour one of the most useful inventions known to Vancouverites – the all-mighty umbrella! Every year on February 10th, this protective piece of rain gear is celebrated across the nation.

Not only does it keep us dry from the rain, but the umbrella also protects us from the heat of the sun (especially during patio season) – a wonderful friend, year-round!

The YVR ‘burbs are known for our West Coast weather: mild, temperate, and a bit rainy during the cooler months. If you live here, chances are you’ve got a solid pair of gumboots and a large umbrella at the ready for whenever the skies may open.

Beyond a helpful accessory, the umbrella holds a great deal of significance to our team. In fact, we even incorporated the umbrella into our branding, along with the now-recognizable “walking lady”, in 2013.

Why, you might ask?

We consider our team to be your umbrella for the (sometimes) unpredictable climes of the Real Estate market. It’s our mission to keep you covered, for every step of your Real Estate journey.

Through the ins, and through the outs – through the rainy skies, and through the sunny times – you can count on us to keep you informed.

Need one? Swing by our office and pick one up. It’s our gift to you!

Sometimes, Jimmy says it best:

”I didn’t invent the rainy day. I just own the best umbrella.”
Jimmy Fallon

Just like your favorite umbrella? We’ve got you covered.

- Sheila and Michelle