A Real Estate transaction is a delicate process with a lot of moving parts. Certain terms that appear on a contract can bring doubt to a buyer and even halt the transaction.

Denny and Monica share how terms like “Special Levy,” “Asbestos,” “Bidding War,” and “Subject free offer,” can affect a real estate transaction and how they deal with these situations when they arise.

This episode will focus on real estate triggers words including: “Oil Tanks,” “Asbestos,” “Special Levy,” “Poly B Piping,” “Subject Free Offers,” “Bidding War,” “Interest Rates,” and “Water Ingress.”    

Watch and listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast below and follow us on Spotify, iTunes & YouTube.

Read the Transcript Here

Hi everyone, I’m James Garbutt. And I’m Denny Dumas. And this is the Garbutt Dumas Real Estate Podcast.

Denny:  This is going to be a fun episode of the GD podcast because Monica has no idea what we’re talking about. 

Monica: Never been more excited. 

Denny: I thought it’d be fun. And really this is for the effect because this is, I’ll just, I’ll title it myself: “Trigger words in Real Estate in BC”. So I just want to mention, like a handful of words, how consumers, we can talk about like, how consumers react to them. Why are they trigger words and then articulately explain them the way that we would to a consumer who is in the process of buying a house or whatever that may be. 

So let’s start with a pretty easy one. Special Levy. How consumers react when they hear “Special Levy”?

Monica: Most people when they hear a Special Levy, especially if they’re a first time homebuyer, we’ll either not write the offer that they’re planning to write on the perfect home for them. Or they’ll collapse the deal if they find that creative little phrase in the minutes. 

A Special Levy is just that, it’s when something special comes up in your home or building and needs to be paid for or funded. And they take some out of the contingency reserve fund. And then some is assessed or levied on the residences that live there and it’s just not a big deal and it shouldn’t be a surprise. 

Very rarely do big maintenance items come up out of nowhere that require a Special Levy. It’s usually for a roof, which means you’re probably looking at a complex that’s 22 to 26 years old. So if you’re looking at a complex that age, it’s really common for the roofs to come up so it’s nothing to be alarmed about. But yeah, that is a trigger where as soon as someone hears Special Levy, they think they will never financially recover from it.

Denny: We’ll talk about education because that’s what you’re talking about, like how to educate consumers. But it’s important to note that regardless of whether you’re buying a single family home, a townhouse, a condo, these are structures made of wood and they require maintenance through the life of the building. 

So regardless, whether you, if you own a single family home, the 100% of the maintenance is on you. So you’re paying special levies multiple times a year, right? To clean gutters, to wash the exterior, to landscape, to repair a roof or damaged window or you know, whatever. There’s a long list of items. 

If you are in a condo building, you have a strata set up that takes care of the management of all those expenses, but the expenses come from somewhere, someone has to pay for them. And that is the owners and they have yearly budgets to take care of normal maintenance items like landscaping, like insurance, like cleaning, that come out of your strata fees but occasionally and as Realtors we can predict the timeframe of when significant repairs are going to be needed to buildings. 

But through the life of a building there’s going to be multiple special levies because strata fees are not set up in a way that you’re going to be able to save enough money to pay for big expenses, nor would sellers want to have a high enough strata fee for that to be the case. 

So as a realtor, how do we educate consumers that are looking for a specific product, prior to doing an inspection and being absolutely blown away by the inspector saying the roof’s 25 years old, it’s gonna have to be replaced in a couple years.

Monica: Yeah, whether it’s detached or strata, we always let our clients know the maintenance timelines, there are some really easy to predict maintenance timelines. Balconies, every 15 years, roofs every 25 years, plumbing in the 30 to 35 year range. Boilers last about 15 years depending on the number of residents in a building. I mean there’s really, really on the nose predictable maintenance. And I like to always just let my clients know that this is regularly scheduled maintenance. It’s not a surprise. It’s something that comes up quite often. 

I’m sure that you grew up in a home where a hot water tank had to be replaced or a furnace had to be replaced at some point or the roof had to be done. Or the deck had to be painted like these are all things that if you live in a home for longer than five years, really. That’s the normal things that come up. 

So you really do have to get people’s heads kind of out of the clouds. And explain to them you’re purchasing something, like even cars need oil changes, this house is gonna have things that come up and you have to prepare for it. 

And the bank, when they lend you the money for the homes, that’s what that whole science is all about. That’s what, this is how much it’s going to cost monthly, this is how much you make monthly, this is how much money you have leftover and you need to plan for these things. That’s not like they’re not working in vacation money for you. They’re making sure you can afford the maintenance of the home. So when these items come up, it’s pretty it’s pretty predictable. 

And occasionally things will happen like you know, hot water return pipes might leak or something like that. That’s a common one that we see. In buildings, you know, around 15 to 20 years old that people don’t expect, is the hot water lines start to leak because they’re just being used often. So I wouldn’t say that that is a predictable maintenance item, but it’s a very common maintenance item. Can’t really say when it’s gonna happen but I just know that it is.

Denny: It’s important as realtors to understand that it’s part of our job and a big part of our job to prepare consumers early in the process, like from that very first meeting you are asking a buyer you know okay, well what, what is your approximate budget if you talk to a mortgage broker, okay great. It’s a $600,000 condo and you want to buy a two bedroom condo in Burnaby. Well, what you’re going to find for $600,000 in Burnaby in a two bedroom condo is a 1970s, 1980s building. With those buildings, these are the maintenance items that are going to come up. 

Do you, you know, are you absolutely pushing yourself to get into this $600,000 condo? Yes. Okay, well be prepared that in the next five years, it is likely and we’re going to be able to go through strata documents and prepare you for that specific property. Once we get to the point of writing an offer, but be prepared that there potentially is going to be a special levy for a roof or for balconies or for whatever the case may be or a parkade membrane. 

And so when you have those conversations early, you have less collapse deals. You have a much better consumer experience because they are not blindsided last second by the potential of bigger maintenance items or a $5,000 special levy that is going to improve the building and improve your investment long term, but also is a shock to the system if you’re not prepared for it and you are throwing all of your eggs into the downpayment of this condo.

Monica: Last thing I’ll say about that is like the goal isn’t to find a building that magically has no special levies. I think the goal usually would be to just know what could be coming up. And if you’re getting into a home it’s nice to know that there might be some distance between you and having to pay one like it’s nice to have maybe about five years to get settled before your first big maintenance item comes up. That’s not always going to be the case. It’s just kind of knowing what’s coming up not hoping that nothing is ever going to come up

Denny: Ok, next trigger. Let’s stick with maintenance because we’ve been talking about maintenance. Asbestos.

Monica: Oh asbestos! That’s a big one. We have had clients be like, Oh, I’m not buying it if it has asbestos and it’s like well, like pretty much any house this age or earlier could probably have asbestos. It doesn’t mean that it does. It doesn’t mean that if it does have asbestos that your entire family and your whole bloodline is going to die. It just means that there could be asbestos you can test for it and also the big surprise that people have a lot of hard time getting their head wrapped around is asbestos is totally fine. And many of us have been living with it. If you just don’t touch it, just don’t disturb the asbestos.

Denny: This is another one where preparation is this big. Great if you aren’t familiar with asbestos as a realtor, and you don’t even mention the word and you’re looking at 1940s homes and your clients get an accepted offer and they do a home inspection. And the home inspector comes back and says you know this type of material was common in the past to having some asbestos, it may or may not contain asbestos, you have to get it tested if you’re planning to do a renovation.

That can freak people out enough to walk away from a really good deal or a really good home. And so I think even just mentioning the word early in the process, if you have a client that’s looking for a 1940s or you know their budgets $1.4 and they’re looking for a single family home in New West or Burnaby,  the likelihood of them buying an older home is 95%. And the likelihood of it having asbestos is pretty high. 

You’re not going to know all the locations of the asbestos. You can do some Google research on what types of materials often contain asbestos from that time period and educate people as you’re walking through the homes but mentioning the word and helping them understand that it was a very common building material or a substance in building material from that time era. And it is likely that a lot of the homes that you’re gonna look at have asbestos and if you’re planning to renovations budget for asbestos testing and removal

Monica: These trigger words really cracked me up. You mentioned Google. I feel like there’s so many trigger words in real estate, Googling them it’s kind of like googling your illnesses and reading them up on WebMD. Like I do not recommend it unless you’re going to also consult a physician. It’s the same for most of these trigger words. Yes, Google it and look it up but also understand that like not every one of these trigger words is going to result in cancer. 

Denny: Ok, next one. Oil tanks.  

Monica: Wow. Oil tanks and also oil tanks and also the results. The results are so funny. Like every oil tank company, the results are inconclusive. I’ve never once had somebody be like there is no oil tank on this premises. It’s like there’s probably not one that’s usually when it’s…

Denny: To the best of our knowledge by our 1997 metal detector. We conclude that there’s, that it’s unlikely there’s an oil tank.

Monica: And then they always recommend getting a more expensive test to be sure. 

Denny: Yeah. 

Monica: Yeah. Oil tanks. Again, we can do our best to determine if there might have been one. We can do a lot of due diligence to find out if other homes in the neighborhood or other homes on the street have had one or have had one removed. You can usually tell by some of the components found inside the home if there may have been an oil tank. 

But truly, truly we don’t know what’s buried in the depths of the yards of some of these old homes. The best we can do is use our knowledge of construction and have a look at documents with the fire department in the city. Look at your oil tank scan and say yep, to the best of our knowledge there’s no oil tank. But outside of getting geo testing and then soil testing, I mean that’s the most conclusive that you can get but you are really, you’re digging, no pun intended, to try to find one and I would say if it comes up saying that there isn’t one let’s just leave it at that.

Denny: These are long explanations, so I’ll try to summarize really, really quickly. But if you are a consumer and we’re working with you and we’re looking at older homes, where oil tanks are common in New West, in lots of parts of Vancouver, we are probably having a 30 or 60 minute discussion like discussing what are the risks involved with purchasing older property and how do we how do we mitigate the risk by doing as much due diligence as possible. 

The answer is never going to be 100% conclusive even if, and this might scare people, even if the seller recently has documents of removing an oil tank and doing soil testing. It’s still not 100% because I’ve seen properties in Greater Vancouver that have had two oil tanks. So they dug out one, great. There’s another one in the back corner, whatever. 

So again, it comes down to like a risk assessment if you have checked with the fire department and the city and they have no record of an oil tank ever being installed there. If you have done an oil tank scan from a reputable company, that either does their metal detector scan or you go the extra mile and do a GPR scanning, ground penetrating radar scan. That is a much more in depth conclusive scan. 

I had one recently where the owner of the home had been there for 30 years and they had been in contact with the previous owner who had been there for 40 years and the previous owner lived in the home when it had moved from a wood furnace to a natural gas furnace. That’s a pretty good indicator that there likely was never an oil tank there. Even though we’ve done all our due diligence, there’s some concrete work in the backyard so you’re not going to have a 100% conclusive GPR scan there. But if you’ve also talked to the previous owner, this is pretty rare. Talk to the previous owner that was living in the house when the furnace switched to a natural gas furnace. Like it’s like a 99% chance that there’s no oil tank there. 

They really only get 100% inclusivity when you excavate the lot, when you’re digging up a lot and that’s not a realistic solution for most consumers unless you’re planning to build. But oil tanks are a big, big thing in Greater Vancouver. They are still everywhere and they’re slowly coming out. As of right now, go back in time 15 to 20 years and oil tanks were not really even part of the conversation. And if you bought a house in 2001 you probably didn’t do an oil tank scan. You probably didn’t have a term in your contract, that says if an oil tank is found, it’s on the seller to pay for it and remediate. So it’s really just come into light in the last 15 years or so. And the likelihood of regulations getting more stricter with municipalities, with contamination from oil tanks is likely, so these are all the things that we’re kind of discussing in that like, lengthy conversation with a consumer that is in the process of buying one of these homes.

Monica: Yeah, just know the products that you’re looking in. Understand that, if you’re looking at these old homes, oil tanks, there’s something to be aware of and do your due diligence. And then you mentioned there are lots of beefy terms we put into contracts to protect buyers from the possibility of an oil tank surfacing after they purchase it but again, it’s one of those things like I, we’ve had deals collapse over unclear oil tanks scans.

Denny:For sure. We talk about terms and contracts. So as a buyer, obviously, having a term in the contract that says if an oil tank’s ever found, it is on the seller to pay for the remediation and removal of the oil tank. As you can imagine, that’s not a super friendly term to a seller. The seller is not going to enjoy having that term in the contract and that liability going on forever. So if you’re in a competing situation, where there are other offers, you may elect to remove that term based on all this due diligence that you’ve done, and again it comes down to the assessment of risk. 

For example, if there is no oil tank scan done, if there are a lot of protrusions on the property, low decks, dense vegetation, concrete pads, whatever that may be, and you can’t get a very good scan and you talk to the city and the city doesn’t have any record, then maybe the risk is a little bit higher and you may want to just leave that term in but in the previous example where we had a GPR scan, we had nothing from the city. We had talked to an owner that lived in the house when the furnace was changed, that risk is pretty low. So you may elect to remove a scan to make or remove that term to make your offer look stronger. 

Ok, next trigger word. This is one we talked about yesterday, poly butylene piping. And let’s first just explain what poly b is because a lot of consumers who hear it probably they think what the heck’s that? So poly butylene piping was a common piping material in the 80s and early 90s. It is easily noticeable, it’s a gray plastic pipe and the manufacturer had successful lawsuits against it because there were lots of issues of it cracking and leaking.

Monica: Yeah, where it’s cracking and leaking is basically like on the joints and on the corners, anywhere that it’s connected the connecting pieces of the pieces that would wear out and crack and leak. Often now when you go into homes, you see these joints like replaced with copper fittings. The copper fittings are like the best kind of material that you can really get right now in terms of being able to keep the water in and keep it from leaking even copper over time, corrodes and leaks eventually. 

But yeah, just like anything, we’re kind of in the era of finding out the results of the products that we use 20 and 30 years ago, 40 years ago. So what I hear very often that is completely untrue is that if I have piping b I’m not going to get insurance on my house. I hear that all the time. My insurance company told me not to buy a house with polly b. My mortgage broker told me not to buy a house with polly b because I won’t get insurance. That is, couldn’t be further from the truth because there are 1000s and 1000s of homes that have insurance in Greater Vancouver that have poly b piping. It’s just knowing what it is, knowing the risk. Let your insurance company know, it will change your policy. 

Well, everything changes the policy though whether it’s been like a new roof we’ll change the policy. A new hot water tank will change the policy. There’s a lot of different things that will affect your insurance policy. It doesn’t mean you’re not going to get insured at all, and it doesn’t mean that it’s definitely going to leak either. Like many things like, the asbestos, like a few of the other things that we’ve talked about like oil tanks. It doesn’t mean if there is probably be it doesn’t mean it’s going to leak. It just means there is a risk that it could. We have a lot of clients buy homes that are really old that have poly b piping that have never had a leak and they still have the original fittings. So it’s just one of those things where you’re just a little bit more at risk of a leak if you have poly b piping.

Denny: A lot of people see poly b piping or hear that term and assume that they have to spend $30,000 immediately

Monica: Ripping up the walls.

Denny:  To replace all the plumbing in the house. And in most cases that’s unnecessary. If you are doing are planning to do a big renovation on an older home and it is all poly b piping and all your walls are being opened up to do this renovation, then maybe you’re going the extra mile and redoing all the plumbing. But in most cases it’s not necessary immediately, especially if all the fittings are copper. 

That’s where they had the issues and this is really easily noticeable if you’re walking through all their homes and you want to understand what type of piping it is. Look underneath the bathroom vanities. Look what’s coming off of the hot water tank or if it is, in yesterday’s case, all radiant in floor heating or water, hot water baseboard heating. You can see all the pipes coming out of the water heater and if they’re all gray plastic pipes, that is poly b and you can look at the fittings that are coming out of the hot water tank and if they are bronze color, that is copper, if they are gray plastic that is poly b. 

So again, it’s a risk assessment if all the fittings are copper, even though it has it all poly b, it’s been around for 30 years and hasn’t had issues. What’s the likelihood of it happening tomorrow? Fairly small. If it is all plastic fittings still it’s a matter of time until that needs to be replaced. 

Monica: Yeah, exactly.

Denny: Okay, next, let’s group this one..hmm, they’re a little bit different. Let’s go Subject Free Offer.

Monica: I love this one! This one’s my favorite.

Denny: And then we just have one more.

Monica: Ok, this one’s my favorite: Subject Free Offers. Oh man. Yeah, we have clients that get really itchy if they find out that this home might sell to an offer that’s subject free. So with that, like as soon as something here is subject free it means like the concrete is falling into the ocean. The foundation is cracked. Like I’m writing a subject free offer, that means I’m just taking on an enormous amount of risk and this home is probably awful. 

That’s not how subject free offers work. It’s never how they worked. Ever. Subject free offer just means you’ve done your due diligence ahead of time. That’s all it means. It means you’ve done your due diligence, you’ve decided to get an inspection before offering. You’ve reviewed your strata documents before offering, you’ve sent the paperwork to your mortgage broker before offering, you’ve got a soft pre approval before offering. Mom and Dad have looked at the photos before offering, like everything has been done before offering that’s all subject free offer means.

Denny: In a perfect world scenario we would have subjects in the offer for seven to 10 days. That gives us peace of mind that you have a firm approval on your financing because that won’t happen until a bank has done an appraisal and you have an accepted offer. You don’t have to pay for an inspection until after you have the accepted offer. But in the reality of Greater Vancouver real estate there are, even in slow markets, there are a lot of properties that are very desirable on desirable streets and desirable neighborhoods. And in a lot of cases, people wait a year, two years, three years or longer to get a home in a desirable neighborhood on a desirable street. 

When those homes come up with a great layout. They often have multiple people that want to buy them. And to make your offer look stronger, you can increase your price, you can give the seller the dates they want and you can shorten or remove subjects. When you’re removing subjects, you are doing all your due diligence like Monica said pre offer. So you are sending all the paperwork to your mortgage broker to get that as close to a firmer approval as you can. You are doing a home inspection if you’d like to prior to during the offer. You are chatting with the city about permit history, oil thing history, doing an old thing scan all of that stuff prior to offering. So really what it does is just move your due diligence period to before you write the offer versus after. And again this is in situations where you’re competing for a home and you don’t want to lose it. This is a way to make your offer look stronger.

Monica: And it goes both ways. Sometimes you can confidently put together a subject free offer and you’re like yep we did our due diligence, I’m really happy with this. I actually love the rescission period for this reason for some of my clients, gives them a soft landing into the subject free offers, it makes them feel like they’re not trapped, they do have a little bit of an out. 

I prepared just the most rockin subject free offer last week for a client. We got our inspection done ahead of time, I snuck them in to see the property a little bit before everyone else which was great. We reviewed all the strata documents, we did quite literally everything and then we found out that there was a project coming up in the building that was just outside of their range financially through our deep dive into the minutes and calling the property managers and they decided to not write the offer at all. 

And we’ve done inspection we’ve done, we’ve done everything. We had it super super dialed and my clients just last minute was like nope, I’m not, we’re not gonna write the offer because, you know, there could be $30,000 levy coming up for us and at that price it makes more sense for us just to go for something newer if we’re going to spend $30,000 In the next five years, and it was a good decision for them. And so we decided not to write the offer. 

If we had written that offer, and then we reviewed all the documents, we would have pulled out. We would have collapsed the deal because of the levies that were coming up in the building, because they were outside of the range that my clients could afford. Not that they could afford, that they were willing to afford for that property. So that was just us doing all of our due diligence ahead of time and then we made the decision no, we’re not going to offer because we’re not willing to do this. It’s the same thing as if we got an accepted offer and then did the due diligence afterward. It’s just a different order.

Denny: Last one, this one’s been a big, big topic in 2016, 2017, 2021. And I put an exclamation mark at the end of this one: Bidding War!

Monica:  War!

Denny: Absolutely mayhem!

Monica: Chaos, bidding war. I don’t want to get into a bidding war, that’s the comment. Like, I will not offer if it’s a bidding war. Okay, but will you offer if there’s like two other people offering for it? Yeah, like I might. Well, that’s a bidding war. That’s the same.

Denny: This is why, they can see where a lot of consumers, the mindset around bissing war feels like they’re overextending. They’re being peer pressured into something that they’re not willing to do. And that’s not really a reality. So I mean, I feel like Realtors often refer to multiple offer situations as multiple offers. It’s a little bit of a softer terminology versus bidding war has this like super negative connotation in the consumer mindset, so we rarely even use the term. And when a consumer brings it up, I often find myself like, I don’t know if defensive is the right word, but it’s like a feeling that like okay, I need to like bring them back down to reality a little bit here because that’s not.

Monica: It’s a very aggressive term. You’re right. I think I’m probably also triggered by bidding war because it’s not. It gives the illusion that all these realtors are standing in a room with their offers in their hands like screaming at each other and like trying to shove our offers in the sellers faces. It’s not like that at all. 

We’ve talked about this on a few different podcasts but all multiple offers is, is several people want the same property. Sometimes two people, sometimes 10 people. We decide what market value is through, very, very well thought out market analysis using lots and lots of knowledge of the neighborhood. Lots and lots of tools. We’re using a lot of experience to come up with market value of a home and then we give our clients a range of expectation in terms of market value for the home. And then it’s up to them to decide how much they want to offer, how little they want to offer. And it’s actually a really, really low pressure scenario I’d say maybe it’s because we’ve been in them so often that I feel not very bothered by going up against other buyers. It’s just because I’m very confident and in the market values that we give our clients, the market value ranges and it’s up to them to decide what side of that range they want to, you know, to land on. 

And it’s up to their comfort level for losing the property. So if I tell them, well, I think this property is probably worth $815 to $825,000. So I’m really comfortable with you offering anything in that range because I feel like that’s where the market value is. And if they decide to Okay, well I’m going to do $810K. So okay, that’s great. Let’s write an offer for $810K. Are you comfortable losing this home over $5,000? If you’re comfortable losing this home over $5,000 let’s go with  $810K. And then that’s their, that’s their choice moving forward. 

And so it’s a really, really low, low pressure and then you put your offer in and if you get picked great and if you don’t, it’s on to the next one. It’s really and sometimes people are passionate about the home. And I think that this is where the bidding war terminology came in. Like you’re saying there’s, some desirable neighborhoods with desirable properties. And some people are willing to spend 10, 20, 30, 40, $70,000 more than what they think the next person might because they don’t want to lose it. And that’s okay. If you really love a home and you have deep pockets, pay the 70k more to make sure you’re the one that gets it like there’s quite literally nothing wrong with that.

Denny: It’s a very interesting industry that we’re in because we are buying and selling structures of wood and windows. But it is so emotional for consumers because they are home so these are homes where people are going to be living for 10, 20, 25 years. And like they’re going to be raising their kids there and they have been dreaming about this home for a decade and then this perfect one comes up that is in a great neighborhood, on a great street and they don’t want to lose it and the emotions take over and I think that’s where this bidding war terminology comes in. 

But as Monica said, on the buy side, when we’re working with buyers, there is always a discussion of what is the market value of the property and that has zero correlation to list price. None. You list a property at $599K or $999K. It doesn’t matter. There’s still a market value for it. And that’s what we want to talk about. 

Let’s say the market value for a condo is $750,000. If it’s listed at $599K,  guess what? It’s gonna sell over the list price. it doesn’t matter how much over list price. All it matters is like we find, us finding a market value and then you picking what number you would like to offer. 

And if you get beat because someone pays $50 or $100,000 over what we believe is the current market value. It is what it is. But if you, if you go into purchasing a home and your goal is to not pay over list price, that’s fine. You just won’t buy certain homes that are listed with the strategy of listing competitively to get multiple offers to get the dates that you want to sell quickly. You’ll just miss out on some and if you’re okay missing out on some. That’s unfortunately the situation in Greater Vancouver in most markets.

Monica: The saddest thing that I’ve heard so many buyers over the years, so many say is, I would have paid that.

Denny: Yeah.

Monica: But you didn’t write an offer because you didn’t want to get into a bidding war.

Denny: Just rephrase it in your mind. Rephrase it to there’s multiple offers because this home is very desirable and they priced it low. List price is 100% a strategic marketing number, that is all it is. It has, does not mean market value and it is our job and conversations behind the scenes with the buyers to find out what is market value and then write an offer based on whether you’d like to pay market value or slightly less than that.

Monica: Just be careful listening to friends and family and the media. When it comes to how much you think a home might be worth. Listen to your realtor. Take everybody’s opinions into consideration. If Mom and Dad bought their house for you know $150,000 under the asking price ask them when that was and in what neighborhood

Denny: That’s all I have for trigger rates. You got anything else on top your head?

Monica: Oh yeah duh, Interest Rates.

Denny: I feel, I feel like we talk about interest rates too much.

Monica: But it’s a trigger!

Denny: It totally is, it totally is but I feel like us even discussing it is just triggering people.

Monica: Or empowering it?

Denny: Yes, interest rates are way higher than they used to be. They’ll come down eventually. Is that going to be in six months from now or six years from now? I don’t know. We get asked that question every single day. We don’t work at the Bank of Canada. Mortgage brokers have 1000 different ideas of where interest rates are going to be in 12 months from now.

Monica: Oh, I know a big one. I don’t know. Let’s leave interest rates alone. I just think like water ingress. Leaking water. Water ingress. That’s a big one.

Denny: Yeah. It’s such a drastic variation of issues that get grouped together. So like a small pipe leak in a dishwasher let’s say that put 22 millimeters of water onto the floor will bubble your laminate floor. Is that going to make the building fall down? No.

Versus like a roof that is at the end of its life that started leaking and you can see some stains in the, in the ceiling like a lot of these things can be discussed in the dollar figure. I mean like okay, like we know the roof needs to be replaced. There might be some rot underneath on the sheathing, you’re going to maybe cut out the drywall and patch it but like there’s dollar figures involved with all of this. But often people see like one little tiny water stain that happened 25 years ago that just hasn’t been painted over. And it is a deal breaker.

Monica: It is a deal breaker. My favorite is: “ there could be water ingress”. Like we don’t even know if there is but like there’s a little tiny bit of granite, excuse me, my brain. Grout! So there’s a little tiny bit of grout missing between the tile and so that it’s not repaired, it could cause water ingress and they’re like oh yeah, the whole bathroom has to be ripped out. We’re gonna do a full bathroom renovation.

Denny: Think it’s important to work with and this is one of our podcasts topics, so maybe we’ll get to this in a week or two. It’s important to work with people who understand construction, that can educate you along the way. Seeing a, like this is really common in a condo building. There will be a little bit of staining and a ceiling that is not remotely close to a bathroom or kitchen. And guess what? The unit above you in most condo buildings is the exact same layout as the one that you’re in currently. So if the bathroom is 25 meters away on the other side of the condo, there’s not a bathroom up there. There’s, it’s the exact same living room floor.

Monica: And the pipes are on straight up and down to they’re not running like across.

Denny: And in towers, in between floors, there’s what 18 inches of concrete. There’s not, there’s not water there. So yes, maybe there’s some staining from something, from someone burning a candle in that location or something like that. But you can do an inspection to check if there’s any moisture there currently, the likelihood of it, it’s probably very, very low. But a lot of Yeah, I think just understanding. Working with a realtor that understands construction and like how buildings are put together and has seen 1000s of condos is very important so that they can talk you through all of these little things that you’re going to find because going back to the beginning of this podcast, there’s going to be maintenance. 

With any home that you buy, whether it’s brand new or 60 years old or 120 years old, in Vancouver and New West, there’s going to be ongoing maintenance. And it’s important to understand that going into any home project.

Monica: Don’t WebMD your homes symptoms. 

Denny: Instead?

Monica: Just ask your realtor.

Denny: Oh! We’re supposed to say: “Ask the GD Real Estate Team”. 

Monica: Ask the GD Team!

Denny: Ask Monica Harmse! Ask Denny!

Monica: Ask Monica Harmse of the GD Real Estate Team!