Thinking Of Buying A Home?
Buying real estate anywhere is a big deal, and make no mistake - the real estate market in Vancouver is tough one to understand. We will work with you, helping you understand property values and subtle trends in the local marketplace. Buying a property should be an exciting process, and we will proudly be your guides. In the mean time check out these great tips that will have you better prepared when making the decision to buy!
There Goes The Neighbourhood!
We are going to talk to you about the neighbours. When you make a purchase, it is really important to look around the neighbourhood before you decide to buy into it. Make sure that vampires are not the only things that come out at night. Check it out at night and find out who's partying late at night. Check out businesses in the area - is there a 7/11 where all the teens hang out at night . Maybe it is beside a fabulous community centre or a library; these are all things that add to the value of a property. Check criminal reports and the hot spots - this shows you where all the break ins are.
If you are buying a strata property, it is really important to talk to other owners in the building. Go through and talk to the people above you and below you; people who have lived in the building for 10 years to find out the "goods" on the building. Also, halfway houses: you would not believe how many there are in Vancouver. It is something you want to be aware of. So, before you buy, check into your neighbourhood as it is really important!
Inclusions / ExclusionsWe are going to be talking about inclusions and exclusions in the contract of purchase and sale. When you are writing your offer, make sure that you specify which things in the house you want to include. The typical rule is, by law, all fixtures are included. Fixtures are things that are attached to the walls. Chattels are not attached, but oftentimes, buyers want to include certain chattels, so just make sure those are included in the contract. Mirrors, shelving, chandeliers, make sure you have those set out in the contract. Our buyers once got to keep $3000 built in speakers because the sellers did not specify that they were taking them with them.
Also, make sure you deal with any unusual items, for instance outside furniture. At the same time, if you do not want something included - like an old washing machine - make sure you specify that as well. Yes, we once had our sellers take the carpets! Why? They said: "Oh we heard they were going to be putting in hardwood". No - that is not acceptable. Carpets are considered a fixture. You cannot take the carpets.
Bills, Bills, Bills.
Bills, bills, bills, make sure you check the bills when you are purchasing residential real estate. Absolutely, it is always good to know how much it is going to cost you to keep up the property and run it on a day to day basis before you actually go ahead and purchase. And make sure you double check what the listing real estate agent and the seller says when it comes to those bills; make sure you do your due diligence as well. Yes, you can even just ask for copies of gas bills and hydro bills in the actual contract so the buyer knows for sure what those costs are going to be.
Condo fees, strata fees - make sure you not only check the current fees, but also check on whether or not there are going to be any increases in the near future. Developers keep the fees low to start, but be aware that the next year they can shoot through the roof.
Detached houses: check the age of the furnace, the type of windows, the exposure of the house (more southern exposure equals more heat). These are things that can be fixed, but it is just nice to know ahead of time what your costs will be.
Check Zoning-Strata Restrictions!
We are going to talk about checking restrictions: zoning, strata rules, all that stuff. It is important to know these things before you purchase so that you know whether or not the property is going to be appropriate for your intended use. For example, if you are buying a condo, it is important to know whether there are pet restrictions or rental restrictions if those are important to you. Absolutely, and if you are going to be doing renovations in a strata, you need to check if they have restrictions on hardwood, for example, and make sure they allow the type of renovations your are trying to do. Sometimes you even have to go to a strata meeting before you even purchase in order to check out their approval process.
Also, make sure you call us, as there are so many restrictions you need to be aware of, especially when renovation a detached home. We just finished renovating a 90 year old home, so we know all about building permits and zoning - it's crazy. Make sure you get a survey before you purchase as well so that you can double check that your home is placed within its proper boundaries.
Property Disclosure Statement
We want to talk to you about the Property Disclosure Statement. That is a document that is actually included with your contract and becomes part of the contract as a legal document. It is extremely important and it is four pages long, so we cannot cover everything here, but we are going to focus on the main points. Yes, but the important thing is to scrutinize it very carefully. You want to check on certain major disclosures, such as: was the property ever used as a grow - op (you want to know that beforehand!). Things like whether the sellers paid any assessments (for strata) in the past few years, and whether there are any forthcoming assessments that they know of.
The point of this document is: if the sellers lie on the Property Disclosure Statement, you can actually sue the sellers for it later on. In fact, in British Columbia, small claims court has a limit of $25,000 and that's a lot of money that you can go after for based on the PDS. A very important document, so make sure you read it!