“Cooling Off Period” in BC Real Estate

New legislation is being proposed in British Columbia in an effort to protect buyers by allowing them to back out of an offer with little to no legal consequences.

Denny and Monica break down what the “cooling off period” is and discuss openly how they see it impacting buyers and sellers.

This episode will focus on the different processes of buying new construction versus resale properties, the impact of working with a trusted realtor in this industry, the importance of due diligence with subject-free offers, and the possibility of deception and fraud increasing in real estate with this new legislature.

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

Property Redevelopment in the City of Vancouver with Vinny Dumas

Many builders face challenges and setbacks when trying to redevelop residential properties in the city of Vancouver.

Vinny Dumas from Sage Construction joins James and Denny on the podcast to provide an update on where the city stands in regards to permits, zoning, and redevelopment.

This episode will focus on the biggest challenges a homeowner may face when trying to redevelop, the different types of professionals needed for permit approval, the various factors that can affect the project timeline, the increasing acceptance of having multiple units on one lot, and the future of gas and electricity in the home.

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

Building a Custom Home in Greater Vancouver with Vinny Dumas

The process of building a home can be a demanding and challenging task without the assistance of a knowledgeable team.

James and Denny invite Sage Construction partner Vinny Dumas onto the podcast to discuss his experience building custom homes in the greater Vancouver area.

This episode will focus on the influencing factor that location plays in determining project costs, the long-lasting effect of supply chain issues, the most common types of building mistakes made in the industry, and what to expect when dealing with cheaper trends and the benefits of high quality work long-term.

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

Memorable Moments in G+D History

As we move forward in our careers, it can be easy to forget about the many experiences and learning opportunities that we have encountered over the years.

James and Denny reflect on memorable moments throughout their real estate careers and discuss the creation and growth of G+D.

This episode will focus on the early days when James and Denny first became partners, the importance of customer service and going the extra mile for a client, updating technology and changing strategies, important milestones for G+D, and the power of working with a great team.

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

Evaluating Properties in this Hot Greater Vancouver Market

With current market trends and increasing listing prices, it has become almost impossible to know a home’s sale price with complete certainty.

James and Denny share how buyers and sellers can best evaluate properties in this “moving target” type of real estate market.

This episode will focus on how to find comparable properties to base a listing price on, setting realistic expectations for multiple offer situations, knowing what type of products you can still find deals on, and understanding how quickly sale prices within a neighborhood can increase with each sale setting a precedent for the next one.

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

Home Listing Strategies for this Fall

As the days get shorter and the weather much cooler, home listing strategies have to adjust to get the most out of a home this time of year.

James and Denny go over their fall listing strategies and share all the things that can make or break a sale.

This episode will focus on listing strategies for the fall, why now might be a good time to sell, how to get the most out of listing photos, the impact weather can have, and predictions for the fall and spring.

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


It is important to consider the time of year when determining a listing strategy for selling your home. Currently, it is the fourth quarter of 2021, and the strategies that sellers are using now may differ from the strategies that sellers will implement in early 2022.

Who is selling in the fall, and why did they decide to list now?

  • The seller has already bought something else and wants to move
    • Many homeowners may buy a property before selling their current home when the market is climbing and the demand is higher than the supply. Check out our podcast episode The Important Decision of Buying or Selling First to learn more about this topic.
  • They are an opportunistic seller and are choosing to list now when there are not many other options for buyers to choose from
    • We are currently seeing all-time peak pricing, which can act as a motivator for homeowners who have been thinking of downsizing for some time
    • The seller may be looking to relocate or rent
    • This property may be an investment property that the seller does not want to manage anymore or a property that they are willing to sell at a high price for a profit

Fall Home Listing Strategies:

Timing is key

A homeowner needs to move quickly when selling their home if they are looking to list in the fall. Do not spend too much time worrying about the little things (for example, changing the carpet or baseboards, painting, landscaping). Take photos and list as soon as possible. For townhouses and condos, make sure that you have all the necessary strata documents.

Be aware of when you are showing the property

In most circumstances, showings are best when it is light out. In the fall, buyers may not see the property with natural light during evening appointments. Furthermore, if the weather is poor, buyers may not see a condo’s view, which could be a key selling feature.

Limited supply means more buyers are looking at your home

Right now, there is very little supply available. Keep in mind that your listing could be very attractive compared to other available properties, leading to a higher offer. This point increases the urgency to list the property as soon as possible before the market changes. 

December is coming

We rarely suggest listing in December unless you have to. Many people do not want to move or focus on the selling and buying process around Christmas time. January and February tend to be a better alternative for most homeowners trying to sell.

Home Listing Strategies are different in fall than in January or February

James and Denny stress that Realtors would be having a very different conversation with homeowners looking to sell in January or February than at the end of the current year. 

At the beginning of the year, Realtors have more flexibility to make adjustments to find what is best for the sellers and the listing. There would be more time to experiment with a listing strategy, create a strong marketing plan, and take the best photos possible during ideal weather conditions. The Realtors can also post teasers to generate buyer interest on social media before the actual listing is available. Showing appointments can be planned around poor weather and during the daytime to offer the best first impression.

Moreover, homeowners have a better opportunity to carry out maintenance and minor renovations to increase a buyer’s offer. Landscaping, power washing the exterior, updating flooring, and a fresh coat of paint on the walls can make a big difference in a home’s overall appeal.

At the end of the year, the home listing strategy changes drastically. The main focus is how quickly the listing can be posted so that interested buyers can see it. Having a Realtor who is up-to-date on current trends in the market is key to having a successful sale during this time.

Are you thinking of listing your home this fall?

So far, this fall has been a seller’s market, but it can change quickly! As James and Denny say, it is not easy to predict what will happen next. It is important to talk to a Realtor who understands the market and provides the best information for your specific situation. Contact our team to find out how we can help you with all of your real estate needs!

The Ultimate Guide To Selling A House

Selling a house is an incredibly exciting time – but it’s certainly not without its stressful moments. Whether you’re on the fence about renovating your home before selling or narrowing down the right pricing for your home, there are plenty of decisions to be made and steps to take when selling a house.

And there’s no doubt that learning how to sell a house can feel overwhelming – especially if you’re selling a house for the first time! As realtors, we know how confusing the process can be for first-time sellers. In the sections below, we’ll help you learn how to sell your house and go through the house selling process steps, including:

  • What to know when selling a house
  • How to sell your house in 6 simple steps
  • Closing costs when selling a house
  • How to get your house ready to sell
  • Checklist for selling a house

While there are plenty of different ways to sell a house, keep in mind that the best process for you depends entirely on your unique circumstance. From first steps to selling a house to closing steps, our goal is to help sellers feel as confident and as prepared as possible.

What to Know When Selling A House?

The real estate market is cyclical, and general trends play a role in determining how long it will take to sell your home, how to price your home, and even the best time to list. 

Most experts recommend listing a home in the spring, where demand is usually higher and buyers are looking to move in before the summer months. Generally speaking, fall and winter are slower months in the real estate market. If you’re planning on selling your house in the near future, using the slower fall and winter months for renovations and updates can be a great way to get your house ready to sell.

How to Sell Your House In 6 Simple Steps

If you’re researching “How to sell my house,” chances are that you’ll find an overwhelming number of recommendations. While there are many different ways to sell a house, here are some simple, tried-and-true first steps to get you started.

Step 1: Get organized

Your first step to selling a house is all about getting a baseline understanding of your home’s value, your equity, and your potential profits. This also includes taking a look at what comparable homes in your area are selling for.

Step 2: Partner with a real estate agent

Having an experienced, knowledgeable real estate agent can make all the difference when it comes to selling your home. Take the time to review their relevant experience, qualifications,  and selling approach to ensure that both parties are well-matched.

Step 3: Make any needed updates

A key piece of how to get your house ready to sell lies in the minor details that are easily overlooked in day-to-day life. Whether making minor cosmetic updates (like landscaping, repainting, and replacing fixtures) or larger renovations (like a bathroom or kitchen remodel), put a list together and ensure that all updates are completed before putting your home on the market.

Step 4: Set a price and create a listing

Your real estate agent will be an incredibly helpful resource in this step. Using their expert knowledge of the local real estate market, they can advise on the best listing price, coordinate professional photographs, prepare any initial paperwork, and put together your home’s listing.

Step 5: Market and show your home

Advertise your home through the online MLS, putting a sign out in front of the house, and talking with friends and family. Stay as flexible as possible for showings, and use a cleaning checklist to make sure you’re prepared for last-minute appointments (we’ve started one for you below!).

Step 6: Final steps

Once you’ve accepted a buyer’s offer, you’ll want to go through the final closing steps. This includes things like a home inspection (and any resulting negotiations or repairs), a home appraisal, title search, final walkthrough, and signing closing papers.

Closing Costs When Selling A House

One of the final steps to take when selling a house involves covering closing costs. As a seller, you can expect to put anywhere between 1–4 percent of the total sale cost toward closing costs, depending on the real estate commission charged. Examples of typical closing costs include:

Legal fees

Legal fees will go toward the cost of having a real estate lawyer prepare what’s called a home sale disbursement package. This outlines financial details such as strata fees, prorated property taxes, title, and any collaboration needed with your bank to transfer the mortgage. Costs for retrieving and filing paperwork in British Columbia will vary.

Mortgage discharge fee

A mortgage discharge fee occurs when a mortgage is paid in full (either through selling a home or paying off beforehand) and removes the lender’s rights from your property. Fees here will vary depending on the lender, ranging from no charge up to $20,000+. Higher fees may be charged when you terminate your mortgage before the term is up.  Check with your lender to avoid surprises!

Realtor commission fees

Your realtor guides you through every step of the process of how to sell a house, including marketing, listings, showings, negotiations, and more. In exchange, realtors get paid through commission based on the final selling price of the house. As the seller, that includes paying commissions not only for your realtor, but for the buyer’s realtor as well.

Staging costs

If you’ve utilized staging services while selling a home, you may want to roll these fees into the closing costs. Staging fees can vary, so make sure you discuss your anticipated budget up front with your realtor or service provider up front.

How To Get Your House Ready To Sell?

Getting your house ready to sell is often one of the most time-consuming pieces of selling a house – but it’s also one that brings the best reward. One of the first steps to selling a house should be making sure your home is in top condition. Here are some tips to keep in mind when preparing to put your home on the market: 

  • Get a home inspection: This is optional for sellers, but it can be a great way to get ahead of any potential issues that may be flagged by a potential buyer. 
  • Landscaping: Simple things like weeding, planting new flowers, cutting the grass, and spreading new mulch can work wonders in upping your home’s curb appeal.
  • Cosmetic updates: Putting a new coat of paint on the walls or installing new flooring can be relatively inexpensive ways to update your house and make it more appealing to buyers. Focus on neutral colors as much as possible to attract a wider range of buyers.
  • Clear away clutter: Make sure that your home is clean, organized, and free of clutter. This may mean renting a storage facility while your house is on the market (and as an added benefit, you’ll be making your move-out process much easier).

Take professional photos: Professional photos make a huge difference in how potential buyers view your home. They should be crisp, clear, and show a variety of different angles.

Checklist for Selling A House

Selling your home means getting your home into its best possible shape. That means lots of house selling process steps like cleaning, organizing, and wrapping up those little projects that so often get lost along the way. Lingering issues like nail holes in the wall, old caulk along a shower insert, or a leaky faucet should all be resolved before you list your home. 

Use the checklists below to help you get organized and keep your home in tip-top shape both before listing and during showings.

ULTIMATE CHECKLIST FOR SELLING A HOUSE Cleaning to-do’s before listing
Clean and dust baseboards, outlet covers, fan blades, household surfaces
Fill in any nail holes
Apply a fresh coat of paint (neutral colors are best)
Dust corners along ceilings and floors
Wash and clean windows and windowsills
Check each outlet to ensure all lightswitches work properly
Sweep and mop all floors
Organize closets 
Declutter and put away any personal belongings
Rake, mow, and weed any outdoor areas
Deep clean bathrooms
Dust off all lighting fixtures and make sure any old lightbulbs are replaced
Install air fresheners (especially if you have pets)
Re-caulk baseboards, trim and shower tiles as needed
Clean all major appliances (fridge, dishwasher, etc.)
Replace HVAC air filters
Vacuum and wash area rugs, throw rugs, and carpets
Check each faucet and shower fixture to ensure there are no leaks
ULTIMATE CHECKLIST FOR SELLING A HOUSE Quick cleaning to-do’s before a showing
Sweep and vacuum all floors, rugs, and carpets
Empty dishwasher and clear off kitchen countertops
Wipe down bathroom countertops, toilets, and shower fixtures
Make sure air fresheners are refilled (especially if you have pets)
Make beds and arrange couch pillows
Remove all garbage from kitchen and bathrooms
Open windows for fresh air (if weather permits)
Make sure all closet doors are shut
Remove any excess clutter from bedrooms and living areas
Clean all mirrors
Put a shoe tray near the front door so that potential buyers can remove their shoes (you can also provide plastic booties)
Make sure any brochures or marketing materials are on display

Ready To Get Started?

Your home is where you’ve made years’ worth of memories, and selling a house is a significant milestone. At Garbutt Dumas, we know how important it is to have a real estate agent that can help guide you through this process in a timely, considerate, and efficient way. Let us put our deep expertise in BC real estate to work for you today!

Detached Home Update for Port Moody and the Tri-City Areas

As the demand for detached homes in BC increases, many families are looking for guidance as to where they should be looking and how much they should expect to pay.

James and Monica break down what you can expect to find when looking for a single-family home in some of their favorite communities throughout Port Moody and the Tri-Cities.

This episode will focus on the limited availability of detached homes, the low and high-end price points throughout these popular areas, tips on where to find a bigger return for your investment, and the types of single-family home communities that Port Moody, Coquitlam, and Maple Ridge offer.

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

The Guide to Townhomes in Port Moody and Surrounding Neighborhoods

Townhomes are an ideal option for young families looking for more space, as well as downsizers looking for a smaller property to take care of.

Monica joins James on the podcast to discuss the increase in interest and the rise in price for townhomes found in Port Moody, Pitt Meadows, Coquitlam, and the surrounding cities.

This episode will focus on the importance of a city promoting development, popular townhouses in the Klahanie, Heritage Mountain, and Osprey Village communities, significant developments on Burke Mountain, side-by-side townhouses being a more desired option, and low supply and high demand continuing to increase sale prices.

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

How To Cancel A Realtor Contract: Everything You Need To Know

Finding the right Realtor doesn’t always happen on the first try. Even if you’ve done your research and have found a Realtor that you get along well with, the home buying or selling process might not be as seamless – or as effective – as you’d hoped. 

Whether it’s been months and months without any progress or the chemistry just isn’t there, you may find yourself asking: “How long do Realtor contracts last? Can I cancel my listing or buyer contract – and if so, how will that impact my home buying/selling process?”

In the sections below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about cancelling a Realtor contract, including:

Realtor contracts can be long and detailed, and not all Realtors communicate cancellation terms up front. And while no one wants to be in the position of cancelling a listing or buyer contract, sometimes it’s simply unavoidable. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of getting out of a Realtor contract so you know exactly what to expect.

Can You Cancel A Contract With A Realtor?

The short answer is: yes, you can cancel a contract with a Realtor. The long answer is that while it’s certainly possible, getting out of a Realtor contract may or may not be easy. It depends on the Realtor. That’s because your Realtor contract is a legally binding document – and much like any contract, ending it requires a bit of finessing. 

Can I Fire My Realtor As A Seller?

Before you decide to list your home with a Realtor, you’ll sign a listing agreement. This states that you’ll work with a specific Realtor and real estate brokerage.

Can I Fire My Realtor As A Buyer?

As a buyer, your real estate agent may have had you sign a Buyer Representation Agreement (BRA) before putting an offer on a home. This contract establishes a formal working agreement and lists the expectations for each party. If your Realtor has violated any of the expectations or clauses in your BRA, you can use that as a basis to fire your Realtor.

Top 10 Reasons To Fire A Realtor

There are plenty of reasons that you might want to fire your Realtor. From general frustration to lack of results to simply being the wrong fit for each other, it may even be in the best interest of both parties to “break up.” Here are 10 reasons you might want to fire your realtor:

  • Your property isn’t selling
  • The home buying process has been long and drawn-out
  • Your Realtor doesn’t understand your needs or preferences
  • Your Realtor has been unresponsive 
  • Your Realtor has over-promised and under-delivered
  • Add-on services (like staging or marketing materials) have not been up to a seller’s standards
  • Home value has been over- or under-exaggerated
  • Multiple pending contracts have fallen through 
  • Advice from Realtor is untrustworthy 
  • Your Realtor is unprofessional or otherwise unpleasant

How To Get Out Of Contract With A Realtor?

No matter the reason, once you’re set on getting out of contract with your Realtor, it’s time to take action. But can you fire a Realtor before your contract is up? Your best next steps depend on whether your Realtor is selling your home or helping you buy a new one.

If you are a seller

First, try talking with your agent to see if they’re willing to cancel the listing contract. Your Realtor may find it worthwhile to cancel a contract with an unsatisfied client, rather than continuing to push forward in an unproductive relationship. If they aren’t willing to cancel the listing contract, you can reach out to the real estate brokerage and ask to be reassigned to another agent. 

If the brokerage is unwilling to assign another realtor (or if your Realtor hasn’t violated the terms of your listing agreement), you can file a complaint with the real estate regulatory body within your province or territory. Finally, you can always sit and wait for the contract terms to run their course before relisting. It’s certainly not ideal, but as a method of last resort, it’s a good option to have on deck.

Note there are two ways to cancel a listing contract: 

1) A ‘Cancellation’ will keep you bound to 55 days or the remaining term of the listing contract, whichever is less. 

2) An ‘Unconditional Release’ will release you from the listing contract terms immediately and allows you to rehire any Realtor with any real estate brokerage after it is signed and submitted. 
*Options are based on current Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver ‘Cancellation’ and ‘Unconditional Release’ forms as of September 2021. 

Key Takeaways

  • A listing agreement is a contract 
  • Go to your real estate agent first to see if they are willing to break the contract
  • Know the difference between a ‘Cancellation’ and ‘Unconditional Release’
  • Ask the real estate brokerage if they can place you with another agent 
  • A method of last resort is to sit and wait for the contract terms to expire

If you are a Buyer

Once you’ve signed a Buyer’s Representation Agreement (BRA), you are legally bound to a real estate brokerage by the terms of that agreement. However, if you feel that your realtor has violated any of those terms, this can make getting out of a contract with a Realtor much easier. 

Your first step should always be to ask your Realtor if they are willing to cancel the contract early – don’t forget that it’s in the Realtor’s best interest to have a positive relationship with clients, and they’ll want to keep their reputation intact as much as possible. 

If they aren’t willing to cancel the contract, it’s time to pull out your Buyer’s Representation Agreement. Take a look at all stated terms and make sure you understand the expectations and requirements for both sides. If there has not been a flagrant violation, you can check to see if your BRA includes a “provision for schedules.” This clause allows buyers to end their Realtor contract early. A provision for schedules may require a secondary agreement, called a release, that provides additional terms after the contract is broken. 

Key Takeaways

  • A Buyer Representation Agreement is a contract
  • Make sure you understand the terms and stated requirements for both parties
  • Look for a “provision for schedules” to see if early termination has been built into your contract

Top 5 FAQs On Cancelling Realtor Contracts

Cancelling Realtor contracts can be tough, and if you’ve never done it before, there are plenty of unknowns. But if you’re truly unsatisfied with your Realtor, there’s nothing worse than feeling as if you’re stuck with no recourse! As an additional guide, we’ve compiled a few of the most common questions that buyers and sellers have about cancelling Realtor contracts.

How long do Listing contracts last?

Realtor listing contracts vary, and are negotiable before signing a listing agreement or BRA. Most last anywhere between three months to a year, but the average length is four months.

Can a Realtor sue for breach of listing or buyer contract?

It’s incredibly rare, but there have been a few instances where a real estate brokerage has sued to collect on commissions, even when a sale falls through. However, keep in mind that it’s not in a Realtor’s best interest to sue you – Realtors depend on word of mouth and recommendations, and bad press is the last thing that they want.

Will I owe my Realtor money after getting out of a listing or buyer contract?

It depends on your Realtor. If you cancel a listing contract, you may be obligated to reimburse your realtor for certain fees and services conducted while you were working together. This could include marketing materials, advertising, or photography.

Who should I talk to in order to cancel a Realtor listing or buyer contract?

If your Realtor refuses to cancel the contract, reach out to the real estate brokerage or real estate board. Give them an overview of what is happening with your Realtor, let them know why you are unsatisfied.

Ready To Get Started?

At Garbutt + Dumas, we know how frustrating it can be to find yourself cancelling a listing or buyer contract with a Realtor. This is why we write into the listing contract that ‘you can cancel at any time’ and we don’t put buyers we work with under a contract.  Our buyers choose to work with us, and are not obligated to under a written contract.  Don’t let a negative experience with a Realtor stop you from trying again! We’d love to help you sell your home or buy your next one. Connect with us today and experience the difference that our team can make!