You’ve been saving for awhile, weighing your options, looking around casually.  Now you’ve finally decided to do it

—you’re ready to buy a house.  The process of buying a new home can be incredibly exciting, yet stressful, all at

once.  Where do you start?


It is essential you do your homework before you begin.  Learn from the experiences of others, do some research. 

Of course, with so many details involved, slip-ups are inevitable.  But be careful:  learning from your mistakes may

prove costly.  Use the following list of pitfalls as a guide to help you avoid the most common mistakes.


  1. Searching for houses without getting pre-approved by a lender:


Do not mistake pre-approval by a lender with pre-qualification.  Pre-qualification, the first step toward being pre-

approved, will point you in the right direction, giving you an idea of the price range of houses you can comfortably

afford.  Pre-approval, however, means you become a cash buyer, making negotiations with the seller much



  1. Allowing “first impressions” to overly influence your decision:


The first impression of a home has been cited as the single most influential factor guiding many purchasers’

choice to buy.  Make a conscious decision beforehand to examine a home as objectively as you can.  Don’t let the

current owners’ style or lifestyle sway your judgment.  Beneath the bad décor or messy rooms, these homes may

actually suit your needs and offer you a structurally sound base with which to work.  Likewise, don’t jump at a

home simply because the walls are painted your favourite colour!  Make sure you thoroughly the investigate the

structure beneath the paint before you come to any serious decisions. 


  1. Failing to have the home inspected before you buy:


Buying a home is a major financial decision that is often made after having spent very little time on the property

itself.  A home inspection performed by a competent company will help you enter the negotiation process with

eyes wide open, offering you added reassurance that the choice you’re making is a sound one, or alerting you to

underlying problems that could cost you significant money in both the short and long-run.  Your Realtor can

suggest reputable home inspection companies for you to consider and will ensure the appropriate clause is

entered into your contract.


  1. Not knowing and understanding your rights and obligations as listed in the Offer to Purchase:


Make it a priority to know your rights and obligations inside and out.  A lack of understanding about your

obligations may, at the very least, cause friction between yourself and the people with whom you are about to enter

the contract.  Wrong assumptions, poorly written/ incomprehensible/ missing clauses, or a lack of awareness of

how the clauses apply to the purchase, could also contribute to increased costs.  These problems may even lead

to a void contract.  So, take the time to go through the contract with a fine-tooth comb, making use of the resources

and knowledge offered by your Realtor and lawyer.  With their assistance, ensure you thoroughly understand every

component of the contract, and are able to fulfill your contractual obligations.


  1. Making an offer based on the asking price, not the market value:


Ask your Realtor for a current Comparative Market Analysis.  This will provide you with the information necessary to

gauge the market value of a home, and will help you avoid over-paying.  What have other similar homes sold for in

the area and how long were they on the market?  What is the difference between their asking and selling prices? 

Is the home you’re looking at under-priced, over-priced, or fair value?  The seller receives a Comparative Market

Analysis before deciding upon an asking price, so make sure you have all the same information at your fingertips.


  1. Failing to familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood before buying:


Check out the neighbourhood you’re considering, and ask around.  What amenities does the area have to offer?

  Are there schools, churches, parks, or grocery stores within reach?  Consider visiting schools in the area if you

have children.  How will you be affected by a new commute to work?  Are there infrastructure projects in

development?  All of these factors will influence the way you experience your new home, so ensure you’re well-

acquainted with the surrounding area before purchasing.


  1. Not looking for home insurance until you are about to move:


If you wait until the last minute, you’ll be rushed to find an insurance policy that’s the ideal fit for you.  Make sure

you give yourself enough time to shop around in order to get the best deal.


  1. Not recognizing different styles and strategies of negotiation:


Many buyers think that the way to negotiate their way to a fair price is by offering low.  However, in reality this

strategy may actually result in the seller becoming more inflexible, polarizing negotiations.  Employ the knowledge

and skills of an experienced realtor.  S/he will know what strategies of negotiation will prove most effective for your

particular situation. 


A carriage house, also called remise or coach house, is an outbuilding which was originally built to house horse- 

drawn carriages and the related tack.


Horse-drawn carriages are much less common now than in previous times, creating very little need in the modern

world for true carriage houses. Accordingly, many carriage houses have been modified to other uses such as 

secondary suites, guest houses, automobilegarages, offices, workshops, retail shops, bars, restaurants, or storage

buildings. However, such structures are still often called carriage houses in deference to their original function and

regardless of their current use.


Today, with high-density housing becoming a solution to affordable housing in BC, we can see an influx of carriage

homes being built throughout Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Not only do these homes provide a more

affordable means of owning a detached home, since they are generally on smaller lots and are therefore priced

lower than most newly constructed single family homes, the secondary suite effectively becomes a mortgage helper,

proving additional rent income that can be applied to your mortgage payment. Carriages homes provide a great

opportunity to get into the real estate market affordably and to reap the rewards from an investment or rental property.


Click here to see current Coach Home listings in Greater Vancouver & the Fraser Valley:



Welcome to Fall!


All corners of the province have experienced unbelievably good weather through August and September, and it

looks like the trend may be continuing into October.


Fingers crossed!


For the real estate market, a relatively sluggish summer has given way to another fall market. Some areas are

continuing to see softening prices and slower sales while others have seen a strong market. Remember, real

estate is local. It's hard to take national stats and make inferences about a neighbourhood.


For those of you thinking about selling, it is important to realize how vital the Art of Pricing is to the sale of your



All sellers want the highest price possible for their homes, but the strategies to get there are not always intuitive. In

certain circumstances, pricing low can be more effective than pricing high, while in others, pricing above market

value can be a winning strategy. In most cases, however, the optimum pricing strategy is to price within 10% of

market value and let the market decide. After all, the 'list price' comes with a caveat: Or Best Offer.


Top Reasons for NOT Pricing High:

  • 1. You lose out on potential buyers who put a price cap on their property searches
  • 2. Serious buyers question the motivation of a seller with an overpriced listing.
  • 3. You provide a strong comparable for your neighbours who are properly priced. You are effectively selling other people's well-priced homes.
  • 4. Buyers assume that properties which remain on the market for long periods of time have something inherently wrong with them.
  • 5. Other agents will be more hesitant to show your home.

In a quickly rising market, pricing strategies tend to matter less, as underpriced listings are bid up to market value

and overpriced listings simply wait until the market catches up to them. However, in flat or falling markets, pricing

plays a pivotal role in how much you may ultimately sell your house for.


In a flat market, buyers have more time to analyze the market and therefore become more educated about value.

Houses that are overpriced will simply sit on the market, as well-priced new listings come on to replace well-

priced recently sold listings.


In a falling market, the optimal pricing strategy is actually to price BELOW market value. A simple exercise that

pricing experts like to use in this situation is to visualize catching a fly ball. The ball represents the market and your

glove represents your pricing strategy. If you price too high, the glove will simply swing across where the ball was.

If you price at market, there's a good chance you will miss it. But if you price just below market value, there's a

greater likelihood of catching the ball. After all, it's better to take a little bit less than to risk having the ball drop in for

a double.


Many factors come into play when it comes to pricing your home and a professional can help you through that process. To find out more, please feel free to contact me.



  (Click chart to see larger image)  
*This communication is not intended to cause or induce breach of an existing agency agreement.

*Although this information has been received from sources deemed reliable, we assume no responsibility for its accuracy, and without offering advice, make this submission to prior sale or lease, change in price or terms, and withdrawal without notice.


If you're shopping for a new home, you're probably aware that there will be some costs over and above the

purchase price. It makes sense to budget for these costs so you're not surprised – and unprepared – when you

get the bill.


Most of these costs fall into a category that the real estate industry calls "closing costs." The most common types

include land transfer tax, lawyer’s fees and disbursements, sales taxes, and for newly-built homes, utility hook-



You should also consider other expenses you will incur, such as home insurance and moving expenses. Of

course, if your new home is a condominium, you’ll also have to account for the monthly condo fees.


Budgeting for a new home can be tricky.  Not only are there mortgage installments and the down payment to

consider, there are a host of other—sometimes unexpected—expenses to add to the equation.  The last thing you

want is to be caught financially unprepared, blindsided by taxes and other hidden costs on closing day.


These expenses vary:  some of them are one-time costs, while others will take the form of monthly or yearly

installments.  Some may not even apply to your particular case.  But it’s best to educate yourself about all the

possibilities, so you will be prepared for any situation, armed with the knowledge to budget accordingly for your

move.  Use the following list to determine which costs will apply to your situation prior to structuring your budget:


  1. Purchase offer deposit.


  1. Inspection by certified building inspector.


  1. Appraisal fee: 

Your lending institution may request an appraisal of the property.  The cost of this appraisal is your responsibility.


  1. Survey fee: 

If the home you’re purchasing is a resale (as opposed to a newly built home), your lending institution may request

an updated property survey.  The cost for this survey will be your responsibility and will range from $700 to $1000. 


  1. Mortgage application at your lending institution.


  1. 5% GST:  this fee applies to newly built homes only, or existing homes that have recently undergone extensive renovations. 


  1. Legal fees: 

A lawyer should be involved in every real estate transaction to review all paperwork.  Experience and rates offered

by lawyers range quite a bit, so shop around before you hire.


  1. Homeowner’s insurance: 

Your home will serve as security against your loan for your financial institution.  You will be required to buy

insurance in an amount equal to or greater than the mortgage loan.


  1. Land transfer (purchase) tax: 

This tax applies in any situation in which a property changes owners and can vary greatly.


  1. Moving expenses.


  1. Service charges: 

Any utilities you arrange for at your new home, such as cable or telephone, may come with an installation fee.


  1. Interest adjustments.


  1. Renovation of new home: 

In order to “make it their own,” many new homeowners like to paint or invest in other renovations prior to or upon

moving in to their new home.  If this is your plan, budget accordingly.


  1. Maintenance fees: 

If you are moving to a new condominium, you will likely be charged a monthly condo fee which covers the costs of common area maintenance.



The BC First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus is a one-time bonus payment worth up to $10,000 for first-time 

new home buyers in BC. Applicants can receive a cheque of up to $10,000, if they qualify, and the amount of the

bonus is not taxable. The legislation to enact the BC First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus received Royal Assent
on May 31, 2012.


Eligibility Criteria


First-Time New Home Buyer Qualifications

  • Eligible claimants must be first-time homebuyers - an individual who has never previously owned a primary residence anywhere in the world;
  • For couples, neither the individual nor the spouse or common law partner can have previously owned a primary residence anywhere in the world;
  • In the case of multiple buyers of a home, each buyer must be a first-time home buyer having never owned a primary residence anywhere in the world;
  • The claimant must file a BC resident personal income tax return for 2011 or if the claimant moves to BC after December 31, 2011, must file a 2012 BC resident personal income tax return;
  • Individuals or families who move to BC after December 31, 2012 will not be eligible.

Please note: in addition to the BC First-Time New Home Buyers' Bonus you may also be eligible for the Property

Transfer Tax First Time Home Buyers' Program. You can find more information on the Property Transfer Tax First

Time Home Buyers' Program here.


Eligible New Homes


Newly Constructed Homes and Substantially Renovated Homes

  • The bonus is available in respect of new homes located in BC (i.e. newly constructed homes purchased from a builder and substantially renovated homes), on which HST is payable;
  • A substantially renovated home is one where all or substantially all of the interior of a building has been removed or replaced, generally 90% or more of the home must be renovated to qualify;
  • The written agreement of purchase and sale for the home must be entered into on or after February 21, 2012 and before April 1, 2013;
  • Ownership or possession of the home must transfer before April 1, 2013;
  • Eligible new homes include detached houses, semi-detached houses, duplexes, and townhouses, residential condominium units, mobile homes and floating homes and residential units in a cooperative housing corporation.

Eligible Owner-Built Homes


The bonus is available in respect of owner-built homes:

  • Where the written agreement of purchase and sale for the land is entered into on or after February 21, 2012 and before April 1, 2013;
  • The bonus will be based on land and construction costs subject to HST;
  • Construction of the home must be complete, or the home must be occupied, before April 1, 2013.
Other Criteria
  • The claimant must be eligible for the BC HST New Housing Rebate in order to receive the bonus;
  • The claimant must intend to live in the house as a primary residence;
  • No one else has claimed the bonus in respect of the home.
Bonus Calculation
  • The bonus is calculated as 5% of the purchase price (not including HST) of the home up to a maximum of $10,000;
  • The bonus is income tested. For single individuals, the bonus will be phased out at a rate of 20 per cent of net income in excess of $150,000 and eliminated at incomes greater than $200,000. For couples, the bonus will be phased out at a rate of 10 per cent of family net income in excess of $150,000, and eliminated at family incomes greater than $250,000.

Home Price* - $200, 000 Or More



Home Price* - $150, 000



*In the case of owner-built homes, the bonus amount will be calculated based on the amount on the land and

construction costs that are subject to HST.


How to Apply


You must apply to the BC Ministry of Finance to receive the bonus. The ministry will process applications,

determine eligibility, and issue the bonus payments. The bonus is not claimed when filing an income tax return.


Information on the application process and the application form is available at the following link:



These days, most people want to do their bit to help the environment. Unfortunately, not everyone is willing, or able, to

install solar panels on their roof or implement an in-ground heat recovery system.


Luckily, there are many smaller things you can do that can make a big difference. Here are some ideas that can help

you "go green" easily and inexpensively.


Get a recycling bin and learn how to use it.


Most jurisdictions have a recycling program. You may be able to get a rebate on your recycling bin or even get it for

free. Keep a list of items that can be recycled on your fridge door, so that everyone in the family can participate.


Get a kitchen compost bin.


Find out if your jurisdiction has a compost pick-up program. If they do, get a kitchen compost bin. Composting can

reduce landfill waste by as much as 32%.


Use energy-saving light bulbs.


Low energy light bulbs have come a long way in recent years. Their consistent

glow and brightness now rival their incandescent counterparts. By replacing regular 40-watt bulbs with energy-

saving 8-watt bulbs, you could save nearly 50% of the electricity you used for lighting. Results may vary by brand.


Shop for local produce.


Many grocery stores and supermarkets offer produce – fruits, vegetables, – that are grown within a 100 mile

radius. The short transportation distance, means significantly less fossil fuel is required to get the produce

delivered to your local store. Keep in mind that some non-local produce, such as apples in the off-season, often

need to be transported thousands of miles.


Let nature do the work.


As an alternative to air conditioning, open windows and block out the passive heat gain from the sun with curtains.

Do the opposite in winter. Strategically using curtains and windows can lower your energy bill by as much as 20%.


As you can see, you don't have to do much to have a "greener" home. Just a few little changes can make a big


Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.