How to Effectively Renovate Your Home

Many homeowners wonder what kind of renovations can be done to get the most value out of their home.

James and Denny discuss what sellers should concentrate on when planning to upgrade certain aspects of their property.

This episode will focus on knowing your time horizon, understanding the property value breakdown (structure value versus land value), the importance of good construction, and the increase in renovation and raw material costs.

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

Pricing Strategies When Listing Your Home

A seller must consider various factors when selecting a listing price for their home. These factors can include market trends, time of year, inventory availability, uniqueness of the property, and the homeowner’s current financial situation.

James and Denny share their process and classification system for selecting a price point for their client’s homes.

This episode will focus on understanding what potential buyers are looking for, the dangers of pricing your listing too low or too high, the value of a great location, and the difference between pricing condos, townhouses, and single-family homes.

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

NOTES FROM THE EPISODE:

The strategies behind selecting a home’s price when listing is constantly changing. This process depends heavily on the following factors:

  1. Current Inventory and Time of Year
    • Inventory is likely to be low in the first few months of the year. A seller may opt to list their home at a low price and then rely on multiple offers and bidding wars to increase the final sale price to a number equal to or above market value.
    • More inventory will likely become available in late Spring, which will decrease the amount of competition. The market is still hot during this time, but sellers will see fewer multiple offer situations.
    • The real estate market may begin to cool down as the year progresses into the winter months.  
  2. Market trends
    • Know what types of homes are popular at this time. Entry-level single family homes are getting a lot of interest and selling quickly. In these circumstances, pricing conservatively can work in your favour. Mid to upper-priced homes should be listed at or above market value. This can give the homeowner some wiggle room to negotiate price if needed.  
  3. Seller’s situation
    • If you have already bought another property and need to sell your current one quickly, the best option in most situations is to list your home just below recent sales. This strategy will increase interest and hopefully secure a quick deal. 
    • If you are selling your home and want to achieve a goal number to buy another property afterward, price it at a number you feel comfortable selling it for. In this circumstance, do not expect a bidding war to push up the price. 

Current Strategies for April 2021

listing price strategies for a townhouse

Underpricing your listing is a riskier strategy now than it was in February or March.

For example, in March, a homeowner may list their $1.5 million home for $1.399 million to get more interest and offers. In the recent market, there is less competition to drive up that price, so it is most likely the best idea to price it at the value you believe it should sell for.

If a homeowner decides to list it below its value to increase the attention the home receives, give it at least six days on the market before looking at offers. It is also important to understand that you may have to relist your home at a higher listing price down the line if you initially do not get the offer price you desired.

The Classification System for Pricing Strategies when Listing

When selecting a listing price, G+D classifies townhouses and single family homes into three different categories:

A – a great house with a fantastic layout on a prime street in a desirable neighbourhood

B – a good house on a less favoured street in a desirable neighborhood

C – a house with a poor layout or in need of renovations on a busy street

Currently, you can still get away with a multiple offer strategy (listing low and expecting a bidding war to raise the final sale price) for a home in the A classification group.

The low B and C classification group homes should be listed at the price you think the property is worth. There will be more products available in these groups so the competition may be lower.  

Condos follow a different system when selecting a listing price:

listing price strategies for condos

The real estate market for condos is more price-sensitive and budget-conscious. Many buyers have a strict ceiling for the maximum price they are willing to pay. Because of this, homeowners have to be very cautious with their choice of listing price – they could list low to get more eyes on the property or stretch above the last sale price to encourage a higher offer.

The neighbourhood plays a huge role when selecting a listing price for a condo. Communities within each city are following different trends. In most cases, sellers should list their condo at the price point they want to sell it for.  If it is a unique property with a great view or if it is a prime building that has not seen inventory in the last couple of months, you may be able to price more aggressively in the hopes of attracting more substantial offers.

Lastly, if you have a tenanted condo, try not to overprice it as it will most likely not outperform other available apartments for sale.

Planning a Pricing Strategy when Listing your Home

It can be challenging to choose the best price when listing your home. When trying to determine the value of a home, James and Denny go through the following processes:

  1. Dig deep into the history of similar properties in that price point
    • Ex. Review prices of all 2002 condo sales
  2. Review the sales in that area for the last 3 to 6 months
    • Ex. All sales in that building or complex
  3. Break down the sales from the previous 30 days
    • Ex. Look for sales for the specific price range that you are thinking of selling at and compare them to your property

When choosing a listing price, it is essential to have a thorough understanding of the product and how properties at that price point have recently been performing in the market. Keep in mind that every home is unique, and it is best to speak with a Realtor who can help you find your home’s market value.

Do you have questions regarding current market trends in your neighbourhood and what your home could be worth? Contact us! We would love to help you maximize your property’s value.

Is It Worth it to Renovate Your Home Before Selling?

As more inventory becomes available, many homeowners are asking what they should do to maximize the value of their home before selling.

James and Denny stress the importance of timing when it comes to listing and share their experience with renovation delays and finding a good contractor.

This episode will focus on the renovation types that will give you the best return, the surprising costs of renovations, the effects of increasing inventory, understanding what your buyer is looking for, and the high impact of new paint, flooring, and landscaping.

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

NOTES FROM THE EPISODE:

Many homeowners are willing to invest money into their property to maximize its value before selling it. However, various factors can influence the types of renovations you should focus on and the timing behind when the work should be completed. In some cases, it may be better to sell the home as is and not perform any renovations at all.

As a seller, it is important to follow the real estate market trends to ensure the best return on your investment.

When should you renovate your home before selling?

Timing is essential.

The real estate market is likely to be very busy during the spring months. This is a great time to sell your home because inventory is generally lower than the summer, and competition is higher for buyers. During this time, if you have to renovate, it is crucial to do work that has a maximum effect and will only minimally delay your ability to list. Try to focus on small renovations that can significantly impact buyers’ opinions of the home, like new flooring, fresh paint, and updated landscaping. Doing a general clean-up and decluttering of common spaces can also have a substantial impact.

November and December are slower months in real estate. Buyers are generally not as interested in purchasing a home during this time of year, which means that it is a great time to perform extensive renovations. These renovations can include big-ticket items like the kitchen or bathrooms. The completion of this work will likely line up with the springtime rush and can give your home a step up compared to the competition.

What are the main factors you should focus on when planning to renovate your home before selling?

If you are hoping for a quick renovation and a high return on your investment, focus on:

  1. New paint and flooring:
    • This work can be less labour intensive and expensive but still have a significant impact. Furthermore, you do not need a contractor for these updates – the homeowner can hire floor installation professionals when purchasing the material or professional painters.
    • James recalls when he was selling a late 1990’s New Westminster condo that looked a little outdated. He spent approximately $5,000 on new floors and paint and made an extra $10,000 when selling. In some cases, it can bring you a two to one return on your investment.
  2. Decluttering, tidying, and minor fixes:
    • When buyers are walking through a home during a showing, they should get the impression that the property is well maintained. Broken window screens, leaky sink taps, messy rooms, and dirty floors can give the buyers the idea that the house is not adequately cared for. Consequently, buyers may question what else needs attention or repair.
  3. Landscaping:
    •  This step can cause an increase in curb appeal and improve the first impression that buyers will have of the home as they arrive. Landscaping can include cutting the grass, trimming hedges, tidying pathways, or planting flowers for pops of colour.  

Showrooms can be a great source of inspiration for condo updates. Developers are budget conscious and create the best space for the lowest price they can.

Location is key! Suppose your condo is in places like Kitsilano, downtown Vancouver, or the west end of Vancouver. In that case, luxurious renovations could get you a higher return on your investment because that is what buyers are looking for in these places. Knowing who the potential buyers will be can help direct you towards the renovation projects you should focus on.

Finding a good contractor that you trust to do the renovation work can also be a challenge. Most contractors are booked 3-6 months in advance, and some of the larger projects can take a long time to complete. Keep this in mind when you are planning any work on your home. Always remember that timing is crucial in real estate.

What are some of the things you should stay away from when planning to renovate your home before selling?

Bathroom renovations:

  • Always keep in mind that tile can be costly. When renovating a bathroom, opt to insert a fiberglass shower base instead of a tile base. This alternative will lower the total cost of renovations.
  • Furthermore, choose a neutral tile that the majority of people will like. Remember – you are renovating your home for the potential buyer. Do not choose something expensive and flashy that only caters to a specific taste.  
  • Installing a fancy shower with many different showerheads and extravagant features can be a turn-off for some buyers. Focus on the type of clientele interested in your home and try to cater to them.

Condos:

  • Making extensive and luxurious renovations in a condo can be a risky situation. Many homebuyers are budget conscious when looking to buy this type of property.
  • It is common for many homeowners to overspend on condo renovations. Please speak with a Realtor before making any extensive changes to increase sale value. It is common for many homeowners to overspend on condo renovations and then just break even or lose money on the project.

Lighting:

  • More lighting is not always better! Try to be strategic with placement and tasteful with the choice of light fixtures. Keep in mind that many buyers may not want multiple chandeliers or a living room ceiling full of pot lights.

Appliances:

  • Appliances are hard to get more than a one-to-one return on your investment. As a seller, try to be brand conscious and always keep in mind what your buyer would prefer. For example, do not splurge on an expensive fridge with a TV screen when your buyer may not be looking to spend the extra dollars for that type of luxury.

Deciding when and how to renovate depends entirely on the situation

If it is the spring and the market is hot, the best decision is most likely to get your home on the market as soon as possible. If it is later in the year and the market has cooled down, turn your attention to what you can renovate to increase the value of your home for the next busy season.

Keep in mind that renovations can be expensive and take time. If you feel comfortable with construction, you can do a lot of the work yourself and save some money. Take into account that if you are waiting for a contractor, it could take up to 6 months.

Consider these factors before planning to remodel your home. Please consult your local Realtor for more guidance on whether or not you should renovate your home before selling.

Market Update Spring 2021: Is the Market Finally Slowing Down?

In the last 30 days, the G+D team has experienced an abrupt shift in the market as more properties become available after months of few listings.

James and Denny summarize what they have seen recently compared to the highly competitive, subject free and multiple offer situations they encountered at the beginning of the year.

This episode will focus on the difficulty of evaluating a property in this current market, the importance of setting a reasonable listing price as more properties go up for sale, the significant jump in single-family home sales in the last four months, and the debate on whether the government will introduce a new tax for homeowners.

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

How we Helped a Family Sell a Townhouse and Condo to Buy their Dream Detached House

This is the story of a family selling two strata properties and coming together to buy a multigenerational dream detached house in a scorching-hot market. We will rename them the Smith Family for the purposes of this blog post.

Currently, we are knee-deep in a Seller’s Market, and desirable, well-priced properties are flying off the shelf. While detached houses are selling quickly with overbooked showings and multiple offers, the buyer’s side is very competitive. Buyers may lose out on several houses before winning the bid. So, what does this mean for those wanting to buy AND sell?

Searching for the Dream Detached House

It was an advanced magic trick that required trust, timing, and finesse to secure this three-part deal for the Smiths. We had been searching for the perfect multigenerational home for the Smith family for over a year in the Port Moody real estate market. It was a slower Buyer’s Market when we started shopping so we had more time and less pressure to visit local showings. Unfortunately, the right product was nowhere to be found.

The Smith family was looking for:
– A completely above-ground in-law suite that felt like part of the main home.
– A property in the Heritage Mountain, Port Moody area to stay close to friends and family.

We found a few potential homes in the summer of 2020, but the market was starting to shift. We put in offers on 3 or 4 houses but lost out in multiple offer situations because we had Subject to Sale of TWO properties. 

Finding the Dream Home

Being Port Moody realtors, we had the advantage of regularly being in the area. We continued to keep an eye out for any new listings that fit the bill. It took time and patience, but a few weeks ago we finally found THE DREAM HOME! The Smith family was willing to do anything to get this house. The property was $200,000 over budget (and in our opinion a little overpriced), but otherwise perfect. My real estate partner Lucas and I discussed this purchase many times and it all boiled down to timing. 

Sale #1: How we Won the Dream Detached House

The dream detached house with a SOLD sticker

It is a challenge to negotiate dollars off the purchase price in a Seller’s Market. Our plan was to present the offer in a way that would convince the Seller that this is a win for all of us. We put our offer together with an extensive Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) arguing our case for the purchase price and a personal letter from the family.

We decided to drop the Subject to Sale of the townhouse because we had a good feeling about where the market was at for this type of property.

After a few cleanup items and a fair conversation with the Listing Realtor, the Seller accepted our offer! The house had been listed for over a year, and the family wanted it sold.

Condo and Townhouse for Sale

Now came the scary part: we needed to sell, and we needed to sell fast. With only two months until completion (the day you pay for the home), there was not a lot of time to test out the market. We priced their Westwood Plateau condo and Heritage Mountain townhouse at the top end of market value. This meant that we had to bring the heat with marketing their homes!

The townhouse in Port Moody was very popular, so we decided to give it 2 weekends on the market before looking at offers. This strategy was nerve-wracking and definitely tested our patience. For the condo in Coquitlam, we opted to look at the offers as they came. We put the condo on the market one week before the townhouse, as we knew it could potentially take longer to sell.

Sale #2: Offer time for the Cascade, Coquitlam condo

Two real estate agents standing in front of a sold condo in Coquitlam

The day before we were going to drop the condo price, we received an offer! We negotiated the price up to a very acceptable range: $5,000 higher than the price drop that was scheduled. Just to note, the contract did come with some subjects.

Sale #3: Offer time for the Discovery Ridge, Port Moody Townhouse

Two realtors standing in front of a sold townhome in Port Moody

We were scheduled to present offers on the townhouse in Port Moody the very next day. We received 8 offers after 45 buyer showings. Two of those offers really stood out. All buyers were given a chance to put their best foot forward and, in the end, we had a winner!

I want to take a quick break here to let you know that the winner was the LAST BUYER to view the property. We may have easily left money on the table if we had not given every person a chance to see the home.  

Once we had our winner, we negotiated the exact dates we needed for Completion/Possession to line up with the dates on the Smith’s DREAM detached house purchase. We also managed to slip in a very clever subject protecting the Sellers in case subjects did not get removed on the condo sale.

Are you still with me? To break it down, we put in a Subject to the Seller entering into an unconditional contract to purchase a new residence. This type of subject typically does not work in a buyer’s market, but we knew the moment was right and had the expertise to present it to the buyers in a way that made it feel like a win-win. We agreed to let the buyers do some due diligence during that time AND we got the 2nd best offer to agree to be in a Back-Up Offer position. This way, if the first offer fell through for any reason, we had another one on deck!

Putting up SOLD Stickers on THREE Properties

When Subject Removal day arrived, we were excited to remove subjects on all 3 properties. Our plan worked perfectly!

How were we able to quickly sell the strata properties? The major keys were market timing, appropriate price, and prepared real estate agents. Having the strata documents ready, all paperwork in order, and thoroughly reviewing the documents prior to listing gave buyers a sense of confidence. Buyers have a much higher rate of removing subjects when realtors can answer every question with clarity. This is extremely important. 

Goodbye strata life!

The Smith family is packing for the big move that is set to take place in just a few short weeks. Our real estate team is delighted for this family and so grateful that they put their trust in us. 

Congratulations to our amazing clients on your dream detached house in Port Moody!

Vancouver Housing Market Recap and 2021 Predictions

The real estate industry fluctuated throughout the 2020 year, finishing strong during the fall and early winter months. The last Garbutt and Dumas recap was done in June 2020 which marked an uncertain time with little data to help with future predictions.

Fortunately, there was an increase in activity and September was a record-breaking month for the Garbutt and Dumas realtors (with November being a close second). Rates are low, higher priced properties are starting to move, and land value is increasing.

In September:

  • Single-family homes went from slow-selling to outrageously active
  • Condos remained relatively slow unless they had a strong selling feature (like great view or good neighborhood)
  • Big trend towards upsizing. Buyers are wanting more space!
  • Multiple offers for certain listings (depends on how saturated the market is in that area)
  • The number of homeowners moving out of downtown Vancouver to the surrounding cities is still increasing
    • Driven by affordability
    • Includes Langley, Tsawwassen, Sunshine Coast, and the Okanagan
    • Communities with little population will double in a relatively small amount of time
    • This movement will keep the market busy for years to come
  • Downtown Vancouver market remained slow
    • Buyers finding larger and newer condos in Brentwood for the same price

What makes the market climb?

The real estate market will climb when there is a shortage of supply. When there are limited properties on the market, more buyers are looking at each one. Real estate agents may receive multiple offers on a listing, however only one can purchase the house. The other buyers must continue looking and place an offer on another property when it becomes available. As more buyers enter the market, it can become more competitive, pushing the prices to increase.  In a hot market, the offer that is subject free and has a deposit attached will be a real contender.

There is a definite upward trend in the real estate market and here are the numbers to prove it!

A sales ratio breaks down how many sales were completed in each month compared to the total number of listings available. Townhouses had the highest sales ratio with 40% and condos had the lowest sales ratio with 20% – both are significantly high. Townhouses are in high demand and it is estimated that we will see an approximate increase in price of 10-15% by summer.

Low interest rates have also played a role in the real estate market climb. More people can now afford a mortgage and are entering the real estate market. This increases the competition and can help to boost prices. HSBC announced a 0.99 rate. This will put pressure on other big banks like RBC, TD, and Scotia Bank to make their rates more competitive. It looks as if rates will remain low!
A great tool for finding out what type of rate you will qualify for is ratehub.ca. Talk to your bank or an independent mortgage broker for a better idea on your specific situation.

our predictions for 2021:

  1. The market will be active – lots of up-sizers (due to low interest rates and wanting more space) and down-sizers (due to high prices)
  2. People will continue moving out of Vancouver into smaller cities and suburbs
  3. Port Moody, Langley, Maple Ridge, Squamish, Tsawwassen, North Vancouver, and East Vancouver will see record-high prices and sales activity
  4. Townhouses and detached houses will be hot! Value of property will continue to increase
  5. Condos will increase in price (but less so compared to houses and townhouses)
  6. More investors will be coming back

Denny’s advice: buy a house now or you may never own one!

There is a limited amount of land available for single-family/detached homes to be built on. With a decreased chance of a newer house being built in your community, there are fewer properties to compare to when looking to sell. This leads to less competitive pricing, which will in turn increase selling price over time.

It is hard to know for sure if all of our predictions will come true, but one thing is for certain: the Garbutt and Dumas realtors are looking forward to helping you navigate through all things real estate in 2021!

Listen to The Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast: 2020 Greater Vancouver Market Recap – What’s Happening Now and What to Expect Next Year episode to listen as James and Denny discuss more about what trends they have seen and their predictions for 2021.

Do you have questions regarding low-interest rates, the upsizing trend, the popularity of apartments and townhouses, and the growing appeal of moving out of the city and into the surrounding areas? We would love to hear from you – contact us and we can help you with some of the specifics.

Blog: Supporting Local with PoMo Life

Monica Harmse and Lucas McCann live and work in the beautiful city of Port Moody. They created the vlog PoMo Life about two years ago to create a genuine resource for information about what is going on in the community, new shops or breweries opening, or to find great restaurant recommendations.

Denny Dumas caught up with Monica and Lucas to learn more about PoMo Life and see how things have changed since it was first created.

Why did you start the vlog and how has it evolved?

  • Wanted people to see more of Port Moody and learn about us through where we love to spend our time most
  • We wanted more real estate business in the area that we are passionate about
  • Had to change our process in the last 10 months because of COVID-19 restrictions: cannot go into as many shops, not as intimate, and harder to do interviews
      • Focused on how the pandemic has affected businesses – heard their story of hardships and survival
  • Not shooting as much, focusing more on Instagram and Facebook
      • Reposting what local businesses post to help with a larger reach
  • Do not need to have both of us in every post/get each other’s permission for everything
      • Trust each other; be a part of the team, hold each other accountable for our own responsibilities

What have you learned?

  • After about 1 year in, we realized that not many people knew we were real estate agents so had to start posting more about that
      • We did not want to advertise ourselves, we wanted to interact with the community and show our personalities
      • Recognized we had to share what we did for a living so that our followers could use us as a resource for real estate as well
  • Finding balance in work life and personal life is so important
      • The intention is to get as much content out as possible but must realize that we are busy professionals and have other priorities that need our time
  • Our most successful posts are created when we have fun with our content and show things that most others are not posting about (going into dark crawl spaces, etc.)
      • Do not let fear or ego hold you back; we are all learning and do not know the answer to everything
      • Do not overanalyze! This could stop you from moving forward personally and professionally

How do you measure success with PoMo Life?

  • Hearing from shop owners that our followers stopped by after we posted about their business
      • Owners love it – free exposure, a great way to get their business out there
      • Businesses have started reaching out to us about upcoming events or promotions
  • Starting to see more real estate referrals – the more people who know you, the more likely you are to get a recommendation
  • Starting to feel like we are a part of the community

What are your long-term goals with PoMo Life?

  • In 5 years, we want to build something that people trust and find entertaining
      • Bring more business to the local shops and showcase our community
  • Build referrals
      • Feel more fulfilled working in Port Moody
      • We want to get busier in this area to decrease the amount of travel done for work all around the lower mainland
  • Become real estate experts in Port Moody
      • When buyers or agents walk into our properties, we want them to already know who we are, could be advantageous in deals or in creating long-lasting relationships
Lucas and Monica join Denny to discuss all things Port Moody

Tell us about Port Moody and why people love it:

  • It is such a cool city to live in!
  • Consists of a mostly younger demographic (25 to 45-year-old adults), newlyweds or young families
      • Great community feel, you get to know your neighbors and see the same people every day
  • Beautiful backdrop – mountains, water, and great trails
  • The amount of PoMo businesses increased within the last 5 years to cater to the families moving here
  • Connected to surrounding cities by Skytrain
  • Housing prices are more affordable here compared to comparable properties in other areas (North Vancouver, New Westminster, etc)
      • Large variety in types of real estate available: luxury homes to small condos
      • No new detached homes being built in Port Moody, so will not have a better newer house than yours 5 years down the line
      • Long term value in Port Moody, real estate value is constantly going up
  • There is a misconception that Port Moody is so far from everything else, but it takes on average about 25 minutes to get to North Vancouver or downtown
  • One area of the city that needs more attention is the amount of infrastructure available to accommodate the population growth
      • More roads and better traffic signs need to be put in place before the city gets too big and too much is built
      • Certain parts of the city are difficult to get to or have not seen any road updates recently
Monica and Lucas are excited to see where year three of PoMo Life takes them! Follow them on Instagram @pomolifebc to stay up to date with their adventures.

Listen to The Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast: Supporting Local with PoMo Life episode to hear more from Lucas and Monica about their love for the city of Port Moody and PoMo Life.

Do you have questions regarding buying or living in Port Moody? We would love to hear from you – contact us and we can help you with some of the specifics.

Blog: The Importance of Having an Online Presence as a Realtor

The amount of caution surrounding COVID-19 has recently increased, and as a realtor, it is important to understand that everyone has different comfort levels. Common methods used by real estate agents in the past (for example, door knocking) may not work during today’s restrictions.

Open houses have changed as well, with a limited number of people able to enter the house at a time. It is key to take this opportunity to make a personal connection, get to know what the buyer is looking for, and answer any questions they may have while walking through the house. This is a great way to make a long-lasting good impression, and you never know which buyers do not have a realtor to represent them yet.

 
Helpful tips:
  1. Be pleasant with everyone you come across – it can go a long way
  2. If you do not know something, never leave it at, “I do not know.” Always promise to find out the answer and follow up with them
    • This is also a great way to get their contact information!

Real estate agents have had to adopt new strategies to reach more clients. One of the biggest opportunities in building a database and a following is by going virtual and reaching your target audience online.

Find out which medium works best for you – videography is a great way to show your personality while delivering your content.

What should agents be doing online in the next couple of months?

 

The first step is to get started: begin learning and creating content around topics you are passionate about, and who you want to be or what you want to do in the future. The more you share during this downtime, the more benefit will come from it. Experiment to find out what social media platforms or mediums work best for you – do you like video, blogs, Twitter?

Understand that you are not perfect and try to push past the insecurities that come with trying something new. Get comfortable being uncomfortable! Continue to produce content and if the message is genuine and helpful, your audience will enjoy it. With practice, you will gain confidence and authority in that field.

 
Analyze what you want to be known for:
  1. Educate:
    • Certain property type
    • A specific community specialist
      • Know the OCP, zoning, how it is changing, building applications
    • Common issues of homes built during a certain period
  2. Entertain
    • Quirky property videos with fun intros
    • Market yourself and show your personality

This process takes time, but the pay off is worth it when clients start noticing. Channel your focus into one thing and do it consistently well. Once you have become an expert in a certain niche, your followers will trust you and will continue consuming your content. It is this support that will have people sending you business from your channel and when it is time for them to sell or buy a property, you want to be the first person on their mind.

Listen to The Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast: The Importance of Having an Online Presence as a Realtor episode to listen as James and Denny share how they started growing their brand online and what they have learned throughout the process.

Do you have questions regarding gaining authority in your field, using social media and other platforms to reach your target audience and the power of videos in getting your brand out there? We would love to hear from you – contact us and we can help you with some of the specifics.

Blog: The Grey Areas of GST in Real Estate

It can be a confusing and frustrating task trying to figure out which real estate deals the 5% goods and services tax (GST) applies to.

There are some examples that are not in question for paying GST. These include new construction from a developer, a brand-new lot, and a new condominium or house.

The grey areas arise with the following circumstances:

  1. A significantly renovated home (75% or more of the home was renovated)
    • The criteria for these homes are difficult as each house and renovation is different; tough to get a straight answer
    • GST will probably apply if there is an extension/square footage is added to the home or if it changes the exterior
    • GST will also probably apply if the owner is in the business of buying a home and significantly renovating/flipping it (especially if you do not move into the property)
  2. In new construction, sometimes not only the first owner but also the second owner must pay GST
    • This depends on the first owner’s intent for the property
  3. GST may or may not apply to land purchases

It is important to note that the intent of the owner is crucial in determining whether GST must be paid.

For example – let us say that Bob buys a new construction condo in 2015 that completes in 2019.

Once completed, he decided that he wants to sell. In the time that it took for the condo to be built, the condo’s worth increased. If Bob’s initial intent was to have it as his primary residence, then the GST does not have to be paid on the increase in price. If his intent was to sell for a profit, then GST is applicable.

If Bob were to have a tenant rent out his condo for a year and claim it as an investment property, then that can change whether the GST must be paid. However, be careful with this as if it is done too often, there could be consequences. The longer the unit is an investment property, the better. 

This is only one scenario with relatively little information – every real estate deal can have its own challenges, so it is best to seek out an expert who can help guide the transaction properly.

Work with your real estate agent to ensure that you fully understand the contract and small details (like who is responsible for the GST) are not missed.

Quick Tips:

  • When searching for properties, look at how the property is represented and if it states whether the GST has been paid or not.
  • In deals where it is unknown if GST must be paid, real estate agents should ensure that a GST clause is put into the contract so that it is the buyer who is obligated to pay the taxes. This stops the seller from proactively paying the GST, and instead puts the responsibility on the buyer who is less likely to pay it if deemed unnecessary.

In any circumstances where it is unclear whether the buyer will have to pay GST, it is beneficial to talk to an accountant or someone who is an expert in the tax field. They will ask all the necessary questions and help navigate the process. Real estate agents will do their best to help their clients, but they may not have the expertise for each specific situation.

Listen to The Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast: The Grey Area of GST in Real Estate episode to listen as James and Denny talk about their experiences with the goods and services tax in their property deals.

Do you have questions regarding when to pay real estate taxes, investment properties, the fine print in contracts, and what a significantly renovated property is? We would love to hear from you – contact us and we can help you with some of the specifics.

Blog: Realtor Q&A – When is the best time to buy or sell?

COVID-19 continues to challenge the norm for real estate in the lower mainland. Many people have questions and concerns regarding the buying and selling process today.

Question #1: Should we buy now, or do you think the mortgage deferral program will catch up with homeowners and they will sell for less in the future?

At this point, waiting for housing prices to come down does not seem logical. There has not been a big enough trend to suggest that mortgage deferrals will influence prices.

For mortgage deferrals to make a bigger impact, prices today would have to be less than what people paid for the properties back in 2017.

Single family homes are still selling strong right now. First time home buyers are probably the most affected by COVID-19; however, they are also some of the most active in the market.

Overall, this is unknown territory and there is not a lot of data on how the real estate industry will change throughout this pandemic. It is best to buy when you find the right property as rates are so low right now. Do not wait out of fear for what might happen in the future, instead wait for the perfect house or a buyer’s market for the specific type of property that you like.

 

Question #2: As a real estate agent, what kind of conversations are you having with your seller if their property has not received any offers?

A lot of home buyers are already stretching themselves financially to be able to afford property in greater Vancouver. Now is not the time to overprice your home when selling because you may receive very few offers.

It is important to understand the value of the home and the market activity on those specific type of properties when setting a price. Most sellers do not have the experience or knowledge of what the best price for their home may be – talk to your real estate agent to get their opinion.

For example, condos have a lot of selection right now and are selling at over 97% of list price. If your listing is too high, it might automatically take it off some buyers’ lists. It must be a unique or luxurious property for it be overpriced and still sell.

Additionally, buyers are generally too nice to write low-ball offers. This means that if a seller chooses to put their home on the market at a number that is too high, they may not receive any interest. After a price reduction, the offers may start rolling in.

Timing is everything when it comes to buying or selling property, so it is recommended to stay off the market until you are confident with what you are doing. Real estate agents are there to help you with some of these decisions and can offer helpful insight into this ever-changing market.

 

Listen to The Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast: Realtor Q&A – When is the Right Time to Buy or Sell? episode to listen as James and Denny offer more insight into the buying and selling process.

Do you have questions regarding the best listing price, comparable properties, and when to buy real estate? We would love to hear from you – contact us and we can help you with some of the specifics.