630 Fifth St
New Westminster, BC, V3M 2X9

James Garbutt



Many of our clients find themselves in the dilemma of buying first or selling first, and there is no universal answer. We hope this article will give you some clarity on the questions to ask yourself when the time comes for your next purchase or sale.

Let’s assume the seller will not consider a ‘subject to sale’ offer… because if they will, go this route and don’t read any further. The negatives of a ‘subject to sale’ offer is that you could get bumped by another buyer, and in many cases a ‘subject to sale’ offer reduces your negotiating power as you’re not a ready to go ‘cash buyer’. Note that not all ‘subject to sale’ clauses written the same. The wording is crucial, and there are rare situations where you get bumped from a purchase (by another buyer) and end up selling your place anyway… call us to avoid this!

To Buy or Sell first? The main items to consider are your personal risk tolerance, finances, the subject properties involved, and the market.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:

1) What is your risk tolerance? Will you sleep at night if you buy a property before having sold your own? If you buy first (and need to sell), you have to take whatever the market will bring. Plan conservatively. Make sure the purchase is feasible with a lower than expect sale price of your current property (maybe 5-10% below market).

2) How are your finances? Are you stretching yourself to make this purchase? or can you afford to carry two properties? If you’re stretching yourself on the purchase and you require top dollar for the sale of your personal property, it may make sense to sell first so you know exactly how much you can afford. We don’t want you to lose your deposit by committing to a purchase that the banks won’t finance (more likely for up-sizers or first time ‘House’ buyers). However, if you’re downsizing and are financial able to support the carrying costs of owning two properties, than buy when the perfect property is available.

3) What are you buying? Is it rare? If you find yourself looking for a property that’s on a certain block, or maybe a penthouse condo, or waterfront property that rarely comes available, you may not have a choice but to buy first or lose the property. If the property type you’re looking for is readily available (or maybe you’re just not picky) and it’s just a matter of time before the next one comes up… it may be best to sell first and put yourself in a strong negotiating position.

4) What are you selling? Is it very desirable, or is difficult to sell? If you have a very desirable property that would sell quick, it may make sense to purchase first. Alternatively, if you have a fixer upper, luxury home or busy street home (anything with a negative or very limited buyer pool), it may make sense to sell first.

5) How is the market? Is it hot or cold? In the hot market we experienced in 2016 everything sold fast, and as a result our clients were often buying first. In a hot market, sales are more predictable and risks of buying first is much lower. If the market is cold, like we’re experiencing now (2019), it’s typically best to sell first unless you’re prepared to own two properties.

Buying First: PROS
– You know where you’re going and when your Completion date is.
– Less likely to move twice. The challenge is to sell your place and match up the dates.
Buying First: CONS
– More financial risk, and potential loss of deposit (if you’re unable to sell current property).

Selling First: PROS
– Less financial risk.
– You know exactly how much you’re getting for your property, and will have a clear budget for your purchase.
Selling First: CONS
– You may not find a suitable place to buy right away. Be prepared to find temporary accommodation and move twice.

At the end of the day, every situation is different and needs to be evaluated on an individual basis. This is where we can help.’

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Burnaby’s Most Expensive Home Sold In May 2017

Property: 7505 Lambeth Drive

List Price: $3,198,000

Sale Price: Contact Us Today

Sold Date: May 8th, 2017

A stunning 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom home at 7505 Lambeth Drive fetched the highest sale price in Burnaby for May, 2017. Built in 1980, the beautifully maintained custom-built home in prestigious Buckingham Heights was sold by its original owner.

Situated on a private 15,000sqft corner lot, the 3 level home has 6,002sqft of living space and both city and mountain views from front and back balconies. The main floor features a tranquil garden patio and massive yard (with oversized double garage), as well as a large living room, formal dining room, bright, spacious kitchen and eating area, huge family room and bedroom/den. An indoor oasis completes the main floor with pool, hot tub and sauna. Upstairs, the huge master bedroom is rounded out by a walk-in closet and ensuite. With 3 more ample-sized bedrooms and 2 bathrooms up, this is the perfect family home.  

Buckingham Heights is a small, upscale family neighbourhood, walking distance from Deer Lake, Burnaby’s recreational and cultural hub and is also midway between two of Burnaby’s most vibrant commercial centres, Edmonds and Metrotown, that each offer a huge array of shopping and services, as well as two branches of the Burnaby Public Library.

7505 Lambeth Drive

The home boasts a bright and spacious kitchen made for entertaining.

7505 Lambeth Drive

A formal living room denotes old world elegance.

7505 Lambeth Street

The luxurious mater bedroom is complete with ensuite and fireplace.

7505 Lambeth Drive

The custom built home comes complete with an indoor pool, hot tub and sauna

Burnaby House Market Update for May 2017


May is here–and it’s time for a Burnaby detached house market update. It’s been a bit of a crazy year that started off with a lot of snow followed by record amounts of rain and we feel that this held back the number of sales compared to previous years.

As of April 26, 2017, the year-to-date number of detached houses sold in Burnaby was 276 units*, compared to 1400 units in 2016 and 558 units in 2015. That’s basically 1/5th of the sales volume in terms of units sold compared to this time last year. Not surprising, however, because the weather has been awful, and Burnaby houses have become very expensive! The average list price of a detached home in Burnaby at the moment is $2,212,700 (as of April 26, 2017), and the average sale price over the past 60 days has been $1,696,600.

To get a good indication of how the market is doing, we look at the sales ratio. The sales ratio is the sales-to-active listings ratio, or the number of sales that take place in a given month, divided by the number of active listings. A seller’s market is considered to have a sales ratio of 21% or higher. Currently, Burnaby homes are on the fringe of a seller’s market. When looking at the last 60 days of activity, the sales ratio is 21% for all houses in Burnaby. However, if we isolate homes priced under $1,500,000, the sales ration climbs to 53%. If we isolate the $2 million plus price range in Burnaby, the sales ratio decreases to 9%. Basically meaning that 1 of out 10 listings in this price range are selling in a given month. As a Burnaby Realtor, what we’re seeing is that there are a lot of overpriced homes; there are a lot of higher end homes priced 10-20% above where they should be.

Moving forward, we expect to see the sales ratio increase in the seller’s favour. The market is starting to heat up and the weather is getting better. The high end market may still struggle, but we expect houses priced under $2 million in Burnaby to be in high demand over the coming months.

Some interesting stats for Burnaby:

There has been just 1 detached home sold in 2017 for under $1 million and it went for $998,800. It was a small older home on a very busy street (10th Ave). It’s official, the new entry price point to buy a detached house in Burnaby is $1 million. The high sale for 2017 is $3,180,000 and it was a newer home sold in ‘Upper Deer Lake‘.

*Note that this information was taken on April 26, 2017. They are likely firm sales that have not registered on the MLS. Actual 2017 figures may be slightly higher than noted above.

Full Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Stat Package for April 2017

If you’re thinking of buying, selling or just curious about the value of a property, contact us today!


Contact Us Today


James Garbutt
Burnaby Realtor



Pacifico Townhomes Are Close to Nature, Connected to the City

Project: Pacifico
Builder: Dolomiti Homes
Units: 21

Pacifico Townhomes are close to nature, but connected to the city.

The 21-unit development by Dolomiti Homes is tucked at the foot of Burnaby Mountain in the Westridge neighbourhood. That puts the kilometres of hiking and biking trails that encircle the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area almost in your backyard, Barnet Marine Park with its splendid beach and iconic West Coast views out the side door.

But the setting is anything but remote. In fact, Barnet Highway and Hastings Street, which provide quick road connections west to Vancouver and east toward Coquitlam, are just a couple blocks away. Shopping and services at Kensington Square and the beloved Heights district are also nearby.

The homes at Pacifico include 1 bedroom garden apartments and 2 bedroom 2-level townhomes.

Each features designer laminate flooring in the living areas and durable carpeting in the bedrooms of the townhomes. The open gourmet kitchens feature quartz countertops, stainless steel Whirlpool appliances, custom cabinets and soft-closing drawers. The bathrooms are equally indulgent with mirrors as wide as the quartz countertops, a cosmetic light bar, colour-coordinated porcelain tile flooring and Kohler fixtures.

All units are pre-wired for a security system and come with a year of free internet and OPTIK TV Essentials from Telus.

Units in Pacifico are still available for pre-sale. For more information contact Burnaby real estate agents James Garbutt and Denny Dumas.

Pacifico townhomes in Burnaby

Open concept kitchen and dining area.

Bedroom at Pacifico

Luxurious bedroom

Pacifico townhomes

A rendering of Pacifico’s exterior


Burnaby’s Most Expensive Home Sold in March 2017

Property: 6258 Empress Ave
List Price: $3,468,000
Sale Price: TBA
Sold Date: March 3, 2017

A 7-bedroom, 8-bathroom home at 6258 Empress Ave is Burnaby’s most expensive house sold in March, 2017. It comes with spectacular views of the mountains and city. Too bad the weather has been so dreary.

But when the clouds finally do lift, the new owners of this 4,737 sq. ft. beauty will be able to fully appreciate its gorgeous setting in the Upper Deer Lake neighbourhood from its three outdoor patios. Everything about this home is top-quality, with attention paid to even the finest detail, including professional Feng-Shui landscaping of the 9,174 sq. ft. lot. The gourmet kitchen is equipped with high-end cabinetry and Miele appliances. There’s also a wok kitchen.

The open-concept main floor flows seamlessly from family room to dining room to expansive living room. The large master bedroom upstairs has its own balcony. Three other bedrooms are also located upstairs, one is on the main floor and two are in the fully finished basement, which also includes a 16X12 media room.

The home is also fully automated to control lighting, temperature, security and music with the touch of a command button.

6258 Empress Ave

The master bedroom has its own balcony.

6258 Empress Ave

When the clouds lift, the mountain views are spectacular.

6258 Empress Ave

This is the most expensive home sold in Burnaby in March, 2017.


Sold! Rare 3 Bedroom Townhome Sells Above List in 8 Days!

Property: 7322 Salisbury Ave
List Price: $570,000
Sale Price: $580,000
Sold Date: Oct. 13, 2015

With detached homes out of reach for many buyers, townhomes have become a more affordable option. Especially ones that are large enough to accommodate a growing family, in a good location. This 3 bedroom townhome in Burnaby’s Highgate neighbourhood ticks both those important boxes. James Garbutt and Denny Dumas, realtors in Burnaby, were able to sell it in 8 days for $10,000 more than list price.

The townhome’s 1,224 sq. ft. of living space is spread over two levels. All three bedrooms and both bathrooms are on the upper floor. The open concept main floor features a spacious kitchen with granite countertops, updated stainless steel appliances and plenty of storage space. The adjoining eating area/family room opens to a huge ground floor patio surrounded by lovely gardens that ensure privacy.

The townhome’s location is just a five minute walk from all the amenities of the burgeoning Highgate area, including shopping, groceries, the new Edmonds Community Centre and the Edmonds SkyTrain station. Elementary schools are nearby and Burnaby South Secondary School is a short distance away.

Click here to view the listing

townhome at 7322 Salisbury Ave

The spacious kitchen opens to a dining area or family room.

7322 Salisbury Ave townhome

The living room is large enough to integrate a dining room.

7322 Salisbury Ave townhome

The private patio is surrounded by trees and gardens.


Sold! Big Bend Family Home Sells For Over Asking in 7 Days!

Property: 6198 Marine Dr
List Price: $1,050,000
Sale Price: $1,257,800
Sold Date: Feb. 9, 2016

Beautiful updates and a great location on a quiet street that backs onto a greenbelt helped Burnaby Realtors James Garbutt and Denny Dumas sell this 4 bedroom family home in the Big Bend neighbourhood for more than $200,000 over asking!

The home’s 2210 sq. ft. of living space features three of the bedrooms and two of the bathrooms upstairs. A fourth bedroom is downstairs, or it could be converted to a den or flex room. The kitchen has been beautifully renovated with dark wood cabinets, quartz counters and new stainless steel appliances. The family room opens to a massive 1,400 sq. ft. deck that is partially covered for year-round entertaining or barbecues.

The home has been very well maintained; the roof is only three years old, the hot water tank was recently replace and the exterior painted. It’s also close to Byrne Creek ravine, schools, shopping, groceries and the Riverway Golf Club.

Click to view the listing

6198 Marine Dr family home

The kitchen was recently upgraded.

6198 Marine Dr family home

The family room is open to the dining room and kitchen.

6198 Marine Dr family home

The huge back deck is partially covered.


Sold! Stunning Custom Home in Burnaby Crest Gets New Owners

Property: 9168 Briar Rd
List Price: $1,275,000
Sale Price: $1,240,000
Sold Date: Sept. 27, 2014

Despite its stunning California-inspired architecture, this custom home at 9168 Briar Rd., in Burnaby’s Crest neighbourhood, was having trouble finding a buyer. Until top Burnaby Realtors James Garbutt and Denny Dumas found one.

The 4 bedroom, 5 bathroom home is truly one of a kind. It was designed, built and owned by an architect. It takes full advantage of the spectacular views across the Central Valley to the North Shore and Golden Ears mountains from two oversized balconies at the front.

The dramatic two-level entrance foyer is bathed in natural light and features a staircase with hand-crafted wood and glass railings. The home’s 4220 sq. ft. of living space includes a private 1 bedroom in-law suite. The modern kitchen has plenty of storage and opens to a bright eating area and family room to one side, and a more formal dining room to the other. That dining room overlooks the sunken living room that features an over-height ceiling and soaring windows.

The terraced backyard is beautifully landscaped around the south-facing patio. A hot tub is surrounded by a cedar deck.

The home is close to schools and shopping. Access to Highway 1 is nearby.

Click here to see the listing

9168 Briar Rd customs home

The kitchen has lots of storage.

9168 Briar Rd custom home

The home is situated on a large terraced lot with views to the north and east.

9168 Briar Rd custom home

The landscaped backyard features a deck and hot tub.


Burnaby’s Most Expensive House for Sale!

Property: 6198 Gordon Place
List Price: $6,388,000
Sale Price: TBA
Sold Date: TBA

Soaring floor-to-ceiling windows open to a multi-million dollar view of the North Shore Mountains at this magnificent custom mansion at 6198 Gordon Place in Burnaby’s prestigious Buckingham Heights neighbourhood.

The 5 bedroom, 6 bathroom, 6,214 sq. ft. home sits on a third-of-an-acre lot on a quiet cul-de-sac at the top of Buckingham Heights. Privacy is assured with a gated entrance and a landscaped backyard, as well as a heated garage that holds three cars.

The home’s style and splendour make an impression right as you enter the front door to a soaring two-level foyer. The huge open kitchen is equipped with high-end Wolf and Subzero appliances. There’s also a custom spice kitchen. Three fireplaces add warmth and a mountain-lodge feel. The big screen in the media room ensures you’ll never suffer stick floors at the multiplex ever again. The huge master bedroom features a luxurious ensuite bathroom with a separate shower and spa tub, as well as a walk-in closet that’s bigger than most standard bedrooms. An elevator can whisk you from a movie night in to bed.

The home is located close to schools, shopping and beautiful Deer Lake Park, which is the cultural hub of Burnaby. Transit and Highway 1 are nearby.

Click here to see the listing

For more information contact top Realtors in Burnaby, James Garbutt and Denny Dumas.

Magnificent custom mansion at 6198 Gordon Place

The soaring entrance foyer.

Magnificent custom mansion at 6198 Gordon Place

The spacious kitchen features high-end appliances.

Magnificent custom mansion at 6198 Gordon Place

The huge master bedroom.


10 Great Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling Your Home

A great Realtor can make the difference between a good or bad experience when you’re selling your home. But before you sign a listing contract, here are 10 great questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home.

1. How many properties have you sold? How many did you sell last year?

Most people instantly focus on years in the business, but your Realtor’s sales volume is just as important; one agent can sell as many homes in two years than others do in 10. A Realtor with a healthy volume of sales in the local market in the past year is likely more in tune with that market.

But don’t just focus on the numbers; you should also feel comfortable with your Realtor.

2. What types of properties have you sold lately?

This will help you determine your Realtor’s focus and performance, whether they’ve had success selling similar types of products, and in your area. Ask for proven results, such as the average number of days their listings are on the market, the ratio of their list prices to actual sale prices. What about listings that aren’t selling; a Realtor who openly discusses their failures demonstrates honesty.

3. Who is the buyer and where are they coming from?

Your Realtor’s knowledge and experience with the local market will help them market your home to potential buyers and highlight the features that will be important to them. It’s important for your Realtor to know their target market for your home, whether it’s young families, downsizers, locals or buyers from out of town.

4. What is your marketing strategy for my home?

This is where the rubber hits the road, and your Realtor will earn their commission. Your home is likely your largest investment; it needs to be marketed well from the beginning if you’re going to realize a good return on that investment. It’s important your home presents well and buyers are aware of it.

Top 10 questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home

Your Realtor should know how to present your home at its best, including professional photos.


In a hot market, just putting up a lawn sign might sell your home, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy to get you the right price. Nice photos, a posting on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Open Houses are a minimal expectation; but what else can your Realtor offer? Creative campaigns that include online marketing, an active presence on social media, print advertising and staging can gain extra exposure for your home.

5. What separates you from your competitors?

Here’s where you’re really asking “why should I hire you?” There’s no shortage of Realtors out there to sell your home, but what is your Realtor offering to separate them from that pack. Their marketing ability is important, but so are honesty and trust.

6. What is your recommended listing price for my home, and why?

You want an understanding of how your Realtor evaluates properties. It should be by more than guesswork, or intuition.

Their evaluation of your property should be supported by recent comparable sales in the area. A more detailed evaluation could include listings that didn’t sell, and current active listings that you’re competing against.

If your home is difficult to evaluate because there’s been no recent comparable sales against which to measure it, a creative Realtor will look at similar properties outside the neighbourhood, or in similar neighbourhoods. Or they could use a “replacement cost” approach where they calculate the land value plus the cost of rebuilding the actual home.

Your Realtor’s pricing strategy for your home should align with your needs. If the market is hot and you have to sell quickly or you have specific requirements for the offer, such as a specific closing date, we typically recommend a lower price as it will generate more interest, more offers and cleaner offers that meet your terms. If the market is slow, or you have a unique property that could limit the pool of potential buyers, it may be best to price your home higher with room to negotiate; trying to set a price to spark a bidding war could be risky is these circumstances.

7. How do you, or your team, operate?

You want to know your Realtor is going to be there for you when you need them. It’s important to understand how communication will be handled, and who will be your primary contact. You want to know who will be showing your property and who is going to be handling the negotiations with buyers; you don’t want any surprises.

8. How much do you charge?

Commission fees are determined by your Realtor and they are negotiable. If a Realtor is hungry for a listing, they may reduce their fee. But top-performing Realtors typically don’t.

There are many different types of fee structures out there, from flat fee listing services to discount brokerages to full service brokerages. Whichever you choose, you should establish how much they charge, and how much of that goes to the buyer’s agent. Make sure the commission for the buyer’s agent is in line with the rates prevalent in your area.

9. What if I’m not happy with your service?

This question will help you determine a Realtor’s level of commitment to you and how strongly they believe in their ability to get you a good result.

If, for some reason, you’re unhappy with their service, you need to know if they’ll release you from the listing contract and how. There are two ways to terminate a listing: Cancellation vs. Unconditional Release. The former has restrictions that could affect your ability to move on; the latter releases you freely with no further obligation. Most listing contracts run for 3-4 months, but contracts for luxury properties can run up to 12 months.

10. What else do I need to know?

One of the questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home should be open-ended. That gives them a chance to highlight a unique service they might offer, like staging, or to speak to areas you might have overlooked. That extra little tidbit of information could be the tipping point to your decision.


Requesting references is one of the questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home that is sometimes overlooked. But keep in mind, if you are given references they’ll likely all be good. To get a more complete picture of your Realtor, do a little online research prior to your first meeting. See what properties they have recently sold, then ask for references from those clients specifically. If they have online and social media presence, see what people are saying about them, check their reviews and how they engage with others. See what they are doing to stay in front of buyers on a daily basis.

There’s no general rule for forging a great relationship with your Realtor. It’s all about personal preference and trust.

Your Realtor should be responsive to your needs; they should be patient when you need to take a little time, and proactive when you’re anxious. They should be a good listener who will offer advice and help find solutions.

More helpful blogs for sellers

10 Reasons to Hire a Realtor

Best Time of Year to Sell a Home

Get Buyers to Fall in Love With Your Home

7 Tips to Help Your Home Look Great in Photos


Spectacular Deer Lake Mansion Still Burnaby’s Biggest Ever Sale!

Property: 7629 Burris St.
List Price: $12,990,000
Sale Price: $9,948,000
Sold Date: June 21, 2012

The Burnaby real estate market is a lot different today than it was in 2012. But the sale of this spectacular mansion at 7629 Burris St., in the Deer Lake neighbourhood, still stands as the biggest ever residential sale in the city, according to Burnaby Realtor James Garbutt.

The 14,456 sq. ft. home sits on a huge 59,000 sq. ft. lot surrounded by mature trees and beautiful gardens overlooking tranquil Deer Lake.

The home is truly world class. It has its own elevator, guest suite and tennis court. There’s space to park 10 cars, five of them under shelter. Its 23 rooms include 5 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 2 kitchens, 2 hobby rooms, a full-size laundry room, a conservatory, an office and a soaring front entrance. All of the finishings throughout are top-of-the-line; mahogany, oak, stained glass, limestone, marble, granite and even silk.

The recreation room is bigger than some Burnaby condos. There’s also a room-size wine cellar in the basement.

The tennis court is complemented by a private racquetball court with its own sitting lounge, as well as a huge outdoor swimming pool.

The home is truly unmatched in Burnaby. It is still the most expensive home in the city, according to the annual assessments by BC Assessment. That is until singer Michael Bublé finishes his 27,000 sq. ft. private estate in the Government Road neighbourhood. It’s going to have its own hockey rink in the basement.

This mansion at 7629 Burris is still Burnaby's single biggest residential sale

Spectacular front foyer

This mansion at 7629 Burris is still Burnaby's single biggest residential sale

Opulent living room features the finest finishings.

This mansion at 7629 Burris is still Burnaby's single biggest residential sale

The home has its own tennis court.

Sold! Burnaby’s Government Road House Sells for $200K Over Asking

Property: 7154 Collister Dr.

List Price: $1,880,000

Sale Price: $2,085,000

Sold Date: Feb. 22, 2016

Beautiful renovation work inside and out helped Burnaby Realtors James Garbutt and Denny Dumas sell this 5-bedroom family home in the prestigious Government Road neighbourhood for $200,000 above asking!

The home is located on a 10,000 sq. ft. corner lot on a quiet street, close to SkyTrain, shopping and Seaforth elementary school. It features more than 3900 sq. ft. of living space. There’s plenty of space to entertain in the open concept kitchen/dining/living room area that also opens through a set of french doors onto a huge outdoor deck. The gourmet kitchen itself was completely redone in 2006 with granite countertops, custom cabinetry, a huge centre island and high-end Miele appliances including a gas range.

Other recent updates include a rain-screened exterior, roof and hot-water tank.

The main floor of the home features beautiful oak hardwood flooring and two large gas fireplaces.

Click here to see the listing

7154 Collister Dr. in Burnaby

The kitchen has been updated

7154 Collister in Burnaby

The Master bedroom has lots of storage.

The home at 7154 Collister in Burnaby sits on a huge corner lot

The home sits on a huge corner lot