Red is IN this Year! Happy Chinese New Year – Year of the Rooster.

Gong hei fat choy
Gong xi fa cai
Happy New Year!

We wish all our Chinese friends and clients a prosperous, healthy, joyful New Year!

This, the 4714th Chinese New Year, 2017, is the year of the red fire rooster. In the interests of full disclosure, this is my year and it explains why red has always been my favorite colour. The Chinese believe that having red as part of your home decor brings in energy and in the west we refer to red being the power color. Both work for us!

According to Chinese astrologists, this will be a year to celebrate progress, honour & maximum integrity – a year of fortune when people learn to temper their ardour. The Year of the Fire Rooster begins, tomorrow, January 28 – the second new moon after Solstice.

Chinese astrology is considered to be the most ancient system in the world, believed to be over 5000 years old. While western astrology depends on the 12 months of the year, Chinese astrology is based upon a 12 year lunar cycle. Here in Vancouver, we are privileged to be able to celebrate both Chinese and western New Year with huge celebrations for both.

Have a wonderful weekend enjoying the parades, parties, family gatherings and all that fabulous food! And remember, whatever the date, we have you covered.

See you in the New Year – Sheila and Michelle.

TGIF – Clients are invited to our RE/MAX Skating Party at Planet Ice this Sunday! Plus, your week in Real Estate News – we’ve got you covered.

It’s that time again – time to say Hi to many of our clients and their families as they take to the ice this Sunday (Jan. 22nd) at our private RE/MAX party at Planet Ice from 2:15-5:00pm. We love connecting at this event and seeing how much those children have grown since we last saw them! There is food, face painting and balloon animals for off-ice activity. Please come and say hello if we don’t catch you among the arrivals. If you have not yet registered, please give us a call at (604) 936-7653. We are looking forward to seeing you, and have included here some cute memories from a previous party.

Good news for those of you with variable mortgages & lines of credit – the bank rate did not go up this week and shows no signs of any upward trend in the near future. Bad news for those coming into the market requiring CMHC insurance – it is increasing substantially – effective March 17 this year. CMHC quotes an average of $5 per month increase on mortgage payments. For those with 5% down, buy before March 17 and avoid having the increase chew up your equity. We can connect you with experienced mortgage brokers for more detailed information and explanations.

As with every day, not just Friday, we have you covered.

Sheila and Michelle

Permits – What Homeowners Need to Know

Permits – the nessecary evil! BEWARE of the gas fitter, the contractor, electrician etc. doing professional work on upgrades and renos in your home who tells you that permits are unnecessary, as they are professional licensed tradespeople. Also BEWARE of the tradespeople who charge you for permits you never see and turn out to be not registered either at City Hall or BC Safety Authority.

Whenever you have any work done, check with City Hall if permits are required. They are always required for installation of a new furnace, gas fireplace & electrical work. You must have a copy -proof that the final inspection is completed and permit in place, not simply applied for. Aside from the obvious safety and insurance issues, you will be required to prove you have permits when you come to sell your home. The confidence that comes with the proof that all work has been completed properly affects your bottom line as a seller and lack of permits etc. can discourage a buyer from even making an offer.

Even worse, is the scenario where a seller without permits has to have the City inspect the work, then have the seller redo it to code. This has happened too many times – like taking every nail out of a huge deck! Be prepared to deal only with the professional contractor who is on top of this and then ensure that you have copies.

If you have questions, check with your municipality. And.. please feel free to check in with us. We are happy to answer those queries about which upgrades add to value and which do not.

As always, we have you covered. Sheila and Michelle.

TGIF – BC’s property assessments have hit our mailboxes, the 2016 market statistics are out – here’s what you need to know!

Well we know we’re well and truly into 2017 when the BC assessments hit our mailboxes! And…our phone is already ringing with protestations! Remember, these assessments were calculated last July following a run of escalating prices caused by low supply and high buyer demand. At that point there was no expectation of winding up the same year with slumping home sale prices. Just to put things in perspective, 2016 was still the 3rd best year on record behind 2015 and 2005. Our home values are still substantially higher than the year before. And…most importantly, unless an Assessment Authority appraiser personally toured your home, the assessment is likely NOT the accurate market value of your home.

In analyzing the December sales statistics, we realize that the December drop in sale prices was driven by single family detached sales which halved from the same period last year. This market had already cooled by the time the Provincial Government implemented the additional 15% property transfer tax for non resident buyers.
Condominiums represent the strongest market – in many spots, still a seller’s market. However, again Government interventions, both federal and provincial are changing buying capabilities for first time buyers. The interest free loan could prove hazardous in the long run, depending on interest rates and prices holding…or not. As our Vancouver Real Estate Board president, Dan Morrison, recently commented:- “The long term effects of Government actions won’t be fully understood for some time”.
The real estate market is always especially good for certain sectors. At this time, it is the moment for move up buyers, specially coming from a strata situation. The differential is so much more favorable now than last Spring.

If you are trying to figure out next real estate steps, please consider us your resource. Happy to discuss preparation & strategies with you, whether your move is next week, next month or next year. Our privilege is to still keep you covered for another interesting year. Make it a good one!