10 Steps to Buying a House in BC

You have found your dream home and are wanting to put in an offer. Watch this video from 2016 and review the updated list of 10 due diligence steps you should take to ensure you can move forward with confidence in 2021.

1. Find Out How Much you Can Afford

A mortgage broker or a mortgage specialist at your bank can take you through the steps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. A good mortgage pre-approval accurately measures your financial qualifications and how much house you can afford. Furthermore, the financial institution will provide a 90 or 120-day guarantee of its mortgage rate in case those rates jump while you are shopping. For more information on mortgage pre-approvals, visit the Government of Canada website.

It is important to note that a pre-approval isn’t a firm approval. When you’re ready to make a purchase, the lender will likely want to appraise the property to ensure that you’re paying market value and the property has an adequate lifespan. If the purchase price is well above market value or the home is deemed to have a short life expectancy, you may require a higher down payment. In some cases, the bank may not give you a mortgage at all.

When setting your budget, do not forget to factor in costs like closing fees and maintenance or repairs. Another cost to consider is condo strata fees.

2. Go to City Hall

Another due diligence step is to request any information City Hall may have on record about the property such as its zoning, lot dimensions, permits that have been issued or any future plans for the surrounding area. Checking the zoning is especially important if you’re planning to operate a business out of your residence, renovate or redevelop, or rent a suite in the home. Review all extensive renovations for proper permits.

3. Request a Property Disclosure Statement

While property disclosure statements are not required under BC law, realtors will often ask for one from the property’s current owner so they can give buyers as much detailed information about a property as possible. The property disclosure statement is a three-page document that itemizes potential problems like renovations done without a permit, unauthorized rental suites, asbestos insulation, unregistered easements or whether the seller is aware of any issues like the presence of an underground oil tank, moisture problems, if the property was ever used as a grow op, or if it has ever been designated as a heritage site. The statement can be legally incorporated into the contract for purchase and sale.

4. Do a Title Search on the Property

A title search will confirm whether the person selling you their property is actually the rightful owner. It will also determine whether there are any easements, right-of-ways, or covenants against the property that could affect its future development. It will show if there are liens or outstanding mortgages on the property. Click here for more information.

5. Ask for a Site Survey

A site survey will tell you what you are buying. It shows the property lines, how the property is aligned with neighbouring properties, and features like roads or sidewalks. It will also show where the house is positioned on the property. A lender will often require a survey certificate as part of their mortgage requirements. In some cases, the lender will request a title insurance policy instead of a survey certificate, and sometimes they will ask for both. Title insurance protects the lender against potential issues with a property such as encroachment or past fraud.
For more information about site surveys, visit the BC Land Title & Survey website.

6. Find out the Home’s Utility Expenses

Another due diligence step is finding out the home’s utility expenses. Utilities include gas, electrical, annual solid waste, water and sewer levies, and property taxes. Your realtor can request utility bills from the property’s current owner. Water/sewage rates as well as the taxes for a particular property can usually be found on a municipality’s website.

7. Hire a Home Inspector

A qualified home inspector will walk through and around the property to assess any major defects, safety concerns, or potential threats to the integrity of the home. Keep in mind that there are limitations to these inspections as they cannot see behind walls.

In a hot market it can be difficult, even impossible, to purchase a home with a “subject to inspection” clause. When this is the case, hire an inspector before presenting an offer. When you’re considering the qualifications of a home inspector, assess their knowledge, experience, training, certification, licensing and their level of participation in the industry. For more information, listen to our podcast episode on the benefits of working with an experienced home inspector.

8. Consult a Home Insurance Provider and Purchase a Home Warranty

Most lenders are going to require you to have insurance in place in order to get a mortgage. Home insurance helps pay for structural damage and loss of personal property from emergencies like theft or fire. If you’re buying an older home that has a wood-burning fireplace or knob-and-tube wiring, you may encounter some issues getting insurance or have to pay higher premiums. Insurance companies can deny coverage if the property has been poorly maintained or vacant for an extended period of time. Renovations could also affect your ability to get an insurance policy. Remember that events like sewer backups and earthquakes are not typically included in basic policies.

A home warranty covers the repairs and replacements of your home’s major systems and appliances when they fail from old age. Carry out thorough research to compare different companies to find the best plan that meets your family’s future needs.

9. Check for a Buried Oil Tank

If you are purchasing an older home, your due diligence should include confirming there is no oil tank buried on the property. Many homes used an oil-burning furnace that was fueled from a tank buried somewhere on the property before the widespread adoption of natural gas or hydro for heating.

Some municipalities keep records of properties known to have oil tanks, or those that have had old tanks decommissioned. This is a great place to start.
New Westminster: call the fire prevention office to see if they have anything on file for your property
Burnaby: send an email to fire@burnaby.ca
Vancouver: call the city’s information line at 3-1-1 to check if there are any records for oil tank removals or abandonments
Coquitlam: call Coquitlam Fire & Rescue at 604-927-6400 to have them check their records

If those searches come up empty, you’ll have to check with the current owner to see if they have had the property scanned for an oil tank, or else hire a company that can do the scan. A basic scan will cost you between $80 – $150. It includes a technician scanning the property with a metal detector and probing device. For a more accurate and detailed scan, consider a company that uses Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). Low clearance decks and metal debris may affect the ability to get a conclusive scan.

The decommissioning and removal of old oil tanks is labourious and expensive, especially if it’s leaking oil into the soil. Be aware that if a tank is discovered after you’ve acquired the property, you will be responsible for its removal as well as any remediation for the surrounding soil. Visit the British Columbia website for more information about residential heating oil storage tanks.

10. Confirm all the Items Included in the Sale

Unless specifically written into the contract, appliances like the stove, refrigerator, dishwasher or microwave may not included in the purchase. Garage remotes, window coverings, curtains, keys, sheds, appliances and corresponding warranty manuals, potted plants, shelving units that aren’t attached to walls are all items that should be specifically written into a contract. The inclusion of fixtures like TV mounts, blinds, security systems, hood fans and central vacuum systems should also be clarified.

It is also a great idea to research the neighbourhood and find out more information about where you will be living. Mapping out your daily commute to work, finding the best shopping centers and stores, and getting a better feel for your neighbours is a great start.

Once your due diligence checks out and you are confident in your purchase decision, you can remove subjects, submit your deposit, and wait for the day when you get the keys to your new home!

Epiosode #20 – Vancouver Real Estate Market Update

The real estate market in Vancouver was hot in February until COVID-19 changed everything. Now as BC begins it’s restart plan and we move to a new normal, many people are wondering what the housing market may look like over the next couple of months. James and Denny go through what they think will happen and what you should be aware of as COVID restrictions continue to ease. This episode will focus on what’s going on in the current real estate market and will cover how different markets have been affected, potential low supply of housing, how to stand out whether buying or selling, new construction and what open houses will look like.

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

Episode #19 – COVID19: Selling Your Home in a Slower Market

Like many businesses during this pandemic, real estate has seen a slow down as the overall number of transactions in Greater Vancouver have decreased. In this podcast James and Denny provide insight and information to those looking to sell their home in this market. This episode will focus on the seller and what they can expect after listing their home and will touch upon the increased number of deals falling through, banks tightening up lending, different markets affected differently, COVID sensitivity levels, new documents, delays on inspections and what we may see in the late summer/fall.

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

Episode #18 – COVID19: Buyer Waivers and Liability Awareness

Buying or selling a home can be challenging even under normal circumstances. COVID-19 has created new questions for consumers and has made contract clauses and liability waiver agreements a much more involved process. James and Denny bring awareness to recent buyer waivers that put more accountability on the buyer and clear the sellers from factors they would originally be liable for. This episode is for those thinking of buying a home and brings attention to the changes in the new buyer waiver and what you should look for before signing the document.

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

Episode #17 – New Westminster: Development, Real Estate and the Community

New Westminster is a historic suburb Of Vancouver and is known for its heritage communities, city events, restaurants, and the Westminster Quay. Jamie does a solo podcast to share his personal experience living in the city and reasons it won him over. The episode will cover why New West is a great place to settle, who it’s suited for, neighbors and the community feel, the real estate landscape, city development, and the direction the city is heading.

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

EPISODE #16 – Burnaby Developments and How the City has Changed

Burnaby is a beautiful suburb of Vancouver and is known for its parklands, lakes, schools, and mountain. It has also seen huge changes in its real estate landscape over the last 15 years. James and Denny share their personal experiences living in, selling property, and being part of the community. This episode will cover the four main hubs in Burnaby: Brentwood, Lougheed, Edmonds, and Metrotown and the changes that have happened over the past 10 years as well as what we think the direction is for the future.

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

 

EPISODE #15 – COVID19’s Current Effects on Real Estate Law

Tony Spagnuolo is the President at Spagnuolo & Company Real Estate Lawyers and has been dealing with real estate law for the last 29 years. Tony calls into the podcast to share with James and Denny the impacts of COVID-19 on his day-to-day dealings with clients and the overall business. This episode will deal with how the pandemic is affecting real estate dealings from a lawyer’s point of view. Closing on deals, e-signature issues, tenant laws, dealing with evictions, fraud and the importance of having patience during these times.

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

Support Your Local Small Business!

We know it’s been a tough time for small businesses everywhere, but we are so proud of our community for their resilience and how they’ve adapted! We gave some of our favourite local businesses a call to see how they’re doing and we asked them how they have adapted to the social distancing regulations. Watch the video below to meet the incredible people behind these local businesses!

James spoke with Jordan Foss over at Steel & Oak. They have adapted by offering online ordering and home delivery service. You can order online here.

Denny spoke with Evan Moore over at Fit First Footwear. They have adapted by offering virtual shoe fittings. Schedule a zoom call to set up your own virtual fitting here.

Monica spoke with Riley Ableman at the St. James Well. You can still support them by ordering online for pick up or delivery! Order your next dinner here.

Adam spoke with Daniel English at Driftwood Athletics. Get in that home workout with one of their online crossfit classes. Contact them through their instagram page or check out their website here.

Lucas spoke with Amanda at Wow1day Painting. They are now offering free live virtual consultations! If you have any painting questions give them a call or visit their website here.

Make sure to support local and and if you check out one of these awesome businesses tell them we say hello!

 

How To Get Rid Of Unwanted Furniture And Junk

Getting a new home means you’re going to be moving. We’ve got some moving tips that will help make moving day easier and more enjoyable before the pizza and beer arrive.

Moving can be a stressful time especially if you’re packing and organizing your belongings in addition to working. One of the most stressful, and sometimes expensive, tasks are getting rid of unwanted items and large furniture.

To avoid some of the headaches we have compiled a list of the ‘go- to’ organizations and companies that will accept your donations, as well as some tips to help you sell your unwanted items.

Do you have a great company or organization that has helped you out, but isn’t on our list? Let us know.

MOVING TIPS TO SELL YOUR STUFF

The best ways to sell your items is an online website like CraigslistKijiji, or Ebay.

• Make sure to include a brief description & photos of the items. That will eliminate e-mails or calls from prospective buyers wanting more info or pictures.
• Add ‘OBO’ (Or Best Offer) if you are flexible on the price.
• Update your post daily (if possible) to keep your ad current. Don’t forget to take it down once your items are sold
• Beware of scammers!! Especially on Ebay. Always be careful opening attachments. If you think something smells fishy… it probably is.

MOVING TIPS TO GIVE AWAY YOUR STUFF

Donating or giving away your free items can be quite painless. But ridding yourself of larger items can be a challenge.
Fortunately, one person’s clutter is someone else’s treasure or an organization’s need.
Here are some great companies and organizations that will take your unwanted items (in good condition) whether by drop-off or home pick-up!

Click on the company logo for their website.

 Big Brothers of Greater Vancouver will provide pick-up service which you can book online. They also have convenient drop-off bins around the Lower Mainland. You can also book a pick-up online. Click here for items they accept.

 

 

 Developmental Disabilities Association accepts items like clothing, books, small housewares and bottles. They operate a number of donation bins around Metro Vancouver, and you can also book a pick-up online.

 

 

 Aunt Leah’s Place helps kids transitioning out of foster care and young mothers. They accept small apartment sized furniture, home decor, accessories, jewelry, and clothing. Donations go to support individuals and they also operate an Urban Thrift Boutique at 177 East Broadway in Vancouver. For information to donate, click on their donation guide.

 

 

 The Canadian Diabetes Association operates a Clothesline donation program that accepts gently used clothing and footwear as well as small household items and electronics. Click here for all the information you need to be able to make a donation or schedule a pick-up.

 

Monarch Place is a local transition house for abused women and families. They are often in need of gently used clothing for women and children, bedding and linens, kitchen utensils and small appliances.  Click here for more information on how to help.

 

 

Champagne Taste is the go-to furniture consignment store in Metro Vancouver. They are located on the corner of 11th St and Royal Avenue in New Westminster. They were the winners of 2010 Best Consignment Store and Best Customer Service so you know the ladies know their furniture.  For all the information on consigning, what they accept, and how to start click here.

 

 

 


The Salvation Army has convenient drop bins and thrift stores where you can donate clothing, household items, even furniture. They also offer a pick-up service.  For accepted items click here.

 

 

The Treasure Chest is a great local thrift store located in New Westminster. All donation revenue goes to the Canadian Mental Health Association. For more info and how to donate click here.

 

 

 

BASES Family Thrift Store BASES is a new thrift store in Burnaby that assists at-risk children and families in the Edmonds area. Proceeds from the thrift store will go towards programs at area schools such as breakfast and after-school programs, sports, music, arts and summer camps. They accept donations of clothing, household goods, countertop appliances and small furniture items, which can be dropped off at 7825 Edmonds St.

 

MOVING TIPS TO RECYCLE YOUR STUFF

Of course, not everything can be donated or is even worth donating. That’s where recyclers can help.

Metro Vancouver has a great site that allows you to input in the items/material you need to recycle and your location to provide you with a custom solution.

 

 

 

Getting rid of an old mattress can be difficult. This Richmond company will break your mattress down and recycle up to 90 per cent of its components.  Mattresses and box springs must be dropped off. They are located at 11571 Twigg Place. Click here for their current prices.

 

Canadian Mattress Recycling is based out of Annacis Island in Delta. They recycle mattresses, box springs, and metal bed frames as well as furniture like couches, armchairs and desk chairs. Items can be dropped off at #140-715 Eaton Way. Or pickup can be booked online.

 

The City of Burnaby offers a curb side pick up service for residents looking to dispose of large furniture items and appliances. The city also operates a large eco-centre for recyclables like scrap metal, plastics, cardboard boxes, paint, and batteries.

 

MOVING TIPS TO TAKE YOUR STUFF TO LANDFILLS

Vancouver Landfill rates and information

Metro Vancouver transfer stations/landfills.

Episode #14 – COVID19’s Current Effects on Residential Financing

COVID-19 is affecting all aspects of life, so what exactly is it doing to the residential financing world? Alex McFadyen from Thrive Mortgage CO and the YVR REMO Show joins James and Denny to talk about how this pandemic is affecting mortgages and how to government plans to help. This episode will focus on BC mortgages, prime rate changes, fixed rates vs variables, renewals, renter situations, how people are reacting and what may happen in the near future.

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