Episode #3 – BC Energy Step Code & The Future of New Home Construction

How energy efficient is your home? Have you ever had an Energy Advisor provide you with energy modelling and air tightness testing? Do you know what a Step Code is? James and Denny talk about the BC Energy Step Code and how builders are using energy software modelling and on-site testing to rate the insulating efficiency of a home. Listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast (bottom of page) to learn about the BC Energy Step Code and the future of new home construction.

BC Energy Step Code & The Future of New Home Construction

The BC Energy Step Code is a system of guidelines laid out to make sure the construction of new buildings are compliant in terms of modern-day energy efficiency. The goal of implementing such regulations is to make all new buildings “net-zero energy ready” by 2032. While this may be ambitious, it’s happening, and we need to get ready…

With more and more local governments adopting the BC Energy Step Code as part of their legal compliance for construction, in their latest podcast, our friends, James Garbutt and Denny Dumas, discussed the implications of these new regulations and offered some practical advice for those who wish to make sure they’re operating within the new laws.

A total of 64 local governments in British Columbia have submitted their initial notifications that they have started to consult on the new regulations, with 31 of those fully adopting the BC Energy Step Code as a part of their bylaw.

Displaying great humility, James wanted to make it clear to listeners that he doesn’t have the definitive answers on making sure homes meet the new provincial standard, however, he does offer us his own, practical insight into the topic based on his years of experience in real estate construction.

BC Energy Step Code

The BC Energy Step Code is different according to two distinct categories: Houses (Part 9, simple buildings) and Wood Frame Residential Buildings (Part 3, more complex buildings). In this podcast, Garbutt and Dumas discussed the application of the new code to residential houses (Part 9).

Part 9 buildings are categorized according to five steps; step five being the highest level of energy efficiency and, to all intents and purposes, is a building that could be considered off-grid or completely self-sustainable. Some local governments are demanding that builders comply with step four of the BC Energy Step Code by 2022, with the aim of achieving step five by 2032.

While steps one and two of the BC Energy Step Code are very much achievable without the addition of huge costs, James gave us his practical advice to help builders understand what is needed in order to achieve step four. To keep it simple, it’s all about insulation and designing a home in a way that has more focus on energy efficiency.

All About Insulation

“Let’s talk about insulation,” James said, “because that is what it really comes down to”. His personal interpretation of a home that would meet step four of the BC Energy Step Code comes down to simply building with 2 x 6 walls that have batt insulation, a rain screen on the outside, and a vapor barrier on the inside. James recommends adding insulation boards to the foundation walls, like a 2-inch rigid board to the exterior, as well as beneath the concrete slab in the basement.

In James’ opinion, if you put rigid board (or similar insulation products) around the exterior of your home and on top of the sheeting in your roof too, the framing materials of your home will be encapsulated in this, giving extra protection to preserve the building for the long term. It could also block condensation from getting to the wood and, in his opinion, is the great way to make a home compliant with step four of the BC Energy Step Code.

One of the most important factors in achieving compliance with the BC Energy Step Code is creating a fully sealed building that has minimal air gaps. Right now, there is no air testing, but as part of the BC Energy Step Code, buildings will be subject to an “airtightness test” at a certain stage of its construction. While there is no obligation to commit to step four at the moment, 2022 is fast approaching, and so James advises us to get used to the extra reports and tests in energy efficiency now.

A home that is compliant with step four of the BC Energy Step Code will have to have significant insulation in the roof. They want to increase the minimum to R40 (currently at R20), meaning, in some cases, a metre of insulation could be required. This will, of course, affect how architects approach roof heights as we move forward.

In order to achieve compliance with the BC Energy Step Code, James discusses using triple pane windows with insulated frames to improve efficiency. Window placements and overhangs are also important factors that can affect whether the home meets the new energy-efficient insulation demands. An overhang keeps water away from the walls and offers shade against the summer sun. Clever design means the home can be angled to capture the warming winter sun without having that sweltering greenhouse effect in the summer.

James goes on to discuss the mechanical changes on the inside of the property as the BC Energy Step Code aims to reduce heat loss through vents. The use of a heat exchanger system is James’ tip to combat heat loss as they warm the fresh air that is coming in. “There are lots of ways to get there”, James added, “there is no one way”.

Market Effects of the BC Energy Step Code 

What will be the effect of constructing according to step four of the BC Energy Step Code? Well, incredibly efficient and durable homes for a start. In James’ opinion, these houses could easily last for 200+ years if built and designed to a high standard.

Having said that, there will be additional time and costs to this energy-efficient construction. For example, factoring in the costs of the design, tests, reports and the extra building material costs, such as insulation, on a typical Vancouver suburb home could exceed $50,000.   More so if you include financial carrying costs for the extra time.

James Garbutt and Denny Dumas conclude this podcast by discussing how step four and above compliant homes will affect the future of real estate in the area. In two years, many cities throughout BC have a goal to meet step four of the BC Energy Step Code.  In the short term, they agree that speculative new home construction may be affected by this as buyers may take some time to pay the additional premium for these new homes. At some point, however, high energy efficiency will be the norm, and homes built prior to this era might have a negative connotation. Similar to how a building without rain-screen does today.

TO BUY FIRST OR SELL FIRST? THAT IS THE QUESTION…

TO BUY FIRST OR SELL FIRST? THAT IS THE QUESTION…

Many of our clients find themselves in the dilemma of buying first or selling first, and there is no universal answer. We hope this article will give you some clarity on the questions to ask yourself when the time comes for your next purchase or sale.
Let’s assume the seller will not consider a ‘subject to sale’ offer… because if they will, go this route and don’t read any further. The negatives of a ‘subject to sale’ offer is that you could get bumped by another buyer, and in many cases a ‘subject to sale’ offer reduces your negotiating power as you’re not a ready to go ‘cash buyer’. Note that not all ‘subject to sale’ clauses written the same. The wording is crucial, and there are rare situations where you get bumped from a purchase (by another buyer) and end up selling your place anyway… call us to avoid this!
To Buy or Sell first? The main items to consider are your personal risk tolerance, finances, the subject properties involved, and the market.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1) What is your risk tolerance? Will you sleep at night if you buy a property before having sold your own? If you buy first (and need to sell), you have to take whatever the market will bring. Plan conservatively. Make sure the purchase is feasible with a lower than expect sale price of your current property (maybe 5-10% below market).
2) How are your finances? Are you stretching yourself to make this purchase? or can you afford to carry two properties? If you’re stretching yourself on the purchase and you require top dollar for the sale of your personal property, it may make sense to sell first so you know exactly how much you can afford. We don’t want you to lose your deposit by committing to a purchase that the banks won’t finance (more likely for up-sizers or first time ‘House’ buyers). However, if you’re downsizing and are financial able to support the carrying costs of owning two properties, than buy when the perfect property is available.
3) What are you buying? Is it rare? If you find yourself looking for a property that’s on a certain block, or maybe a penthouse condo, or waterfront property that rarely comes available, you may not have a choice but to buy first or lose the property. If the property type you’re looking for is readily available (or maybe you’re just not picky) and it’s just a matter of time before the next one comes up… it may be best to sell first and put yourself in a strong negotiating position.
4) What are you selling? Is it very desirable, or is difficult to sell? If you have a very desirable property that would sell quick, it may make sense to purchase first. Alternatively, if you have a fixer upper, luxury home or busy street home (anything with a negative or very limited buyer pool), it may make sense to sell first.
5) How is the market? Is it hot or cold? In the hot market we experienced in 2016 everything sold fast, and as a result our clients were often buying first. In a hot market, sales are more predictable and risks of buying first is much lower. If the market is cold, like we’re experiencing now (2019), it’s typically best to sell first unless you’re prepared to own two properties.
Buying First: PROS
– You know where you’re going and when your Completion date is.
– Less likely to move twice. The challenge is to sell your place and match up the dates.
Buying First: CONS
– More financial risk, and potential loss of deposit (if you’re unable to sell current property).
Selling First: PROS
– Less financial risk.
– You know exactly how much you’re getting for your property, and will have a clear budget for your purchase.
Selling First: CONS
– You may not find a suitable place to buy right away. Be prepared to find temporary accommodation and move twice.
At the end of the day, every situation is different and needs to be evaluated on an individual basis. This is where we can help.’
Watch the video below and subscribe to our Youtube channel for more VLOGS!

Burnaby Condo Market Update for May 2017

BURNABY CONDO MARKET UPDATE BY REALTOR JAMES GARBUTT

May is here and it’s time for a Burnaby condo market update! It’s been a bit of a crazy year, we had a lot of snow at the beginning followed by record amounts of rain and we feel that this held back the number of sales compared to previous years.
As of April 26, 2017, the year-to-date number of condos sold in Burnaby is 636 units*, compared to 1022 units in 2016 and 708 units in 2015. Sales volumes may be down, but prices are up, and condos are hot. The REBGV just released the latest market stats and it shows Burnaby condos are up 25% compared to 1 year ago.
To get a good indication of how the market doing, we like to look at the sales ratio. The sales ratio is the sales-to-active listings ratio or the number of sales that take place in a given month divided by the number of active listings. A seller’s market is considered to have a sales ratio of 21% or higher. Currently, Burnaby condos are experiencing a strong seller’s market. When looking at the last 60 days of activity, the sales ratio is 65% for 2 bedroom condos and 85% for 1 bedrooms. This tells us that condos are in demand, and even more so for lower price points.

Let’s look at Brentwood Park for a moment as it is a popular neighbourhood for many condo buyers due to it’s central location and ample supply of newer condos.
The price per square foot for a typical 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, mid level unit that is 850-880 sqft in a 10ish year old building at OMA (2345 & 2355 Madison Ave, and 4250 Dawson St) or Tandem (4118, 4178 & 4182 Dawson St) is currently selling for about $775/ sqft or $675,000 (as of April 2017). In April 2016, they were selling for $635/ sqft or $540,000, and in April 2015 they were selling for $520/ sqft or $450,000. It is a climbing market and Burnaby has seen back-to-back years of 20% plus appreciation.
The highest price per square foot recorded this year was $980/ft in Brentwood Park, and if that is the start of the new trend, expect Burnaby to get even more expensive!
*Note that this information was taken on April 26, 2017. They are likely firm sales that have not registered on the MLS. Actual 2017 figures may be slightly higher than noted above.
Full Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver Stat Package for April 2017
If you’re thinking of buying, selling or just curious about the value of a property, contact us today!
 
Contact Us Today
 
James Garbutt
Burnaby Realtor
 

CLICK HERE FOR YOUR MAY 2017 BURNABY HOUSE MARKET UPDATE

Burnaby’s Most Expensive Condo For Sale!

Property: #2602 5051 Imperial St
List Price: $1,955,900
Sold Price: TBA
Sold Date: TBA
A 1,541 sq. ft. wrap-around rooftop deck that’s almost as large as the indoor living space is one of the stunning features at Burnaby’s most expensive condo currently on the market. The 3 bedroom + den penthouse is at the top of the Imperial development by Amacon, currently under construction in the Metrotown neighbourhood.
The unit is one of only two penthouse suites at the Imperial that is comprised of 169 units inspired by the elegance of a fine boutique hotel. That attention to luxury and comfort is reflected in the fine finishings that include central air conditioning, nine-foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen equipped with soft-close drawers and top-end appliances like a convection wall oven.
Each of the bedrooms in the 1,834 sq. ft. unit has its own ensuite, and there’s also a powder room for visitors. It comes with two parking stalls and a storage locker.
Amenities at the Imperial include a guest suite, games room, music room and meeting room as well as a grand entrance lobby with hotel-style concierge service. Residents will also have access to an electric BMWi3 and a bike share program.
The latter may be especially useful as the Imperial is located near the BC Parkway bike route that connects New Westminster to Vancouver along the Expo SkyTrain line. The Bonsor recreation centre, with a pool, fitness facilities and activity rooms is nearby, as is the massive Metropolis at Metrotown shopping complex.
Click here to see the listing
For more information, contact Burnaby Realtors James Garbutt and Denny Dumas

#2602 5051 Imperial St
Kitchen features luxurious cabinetry and high-end European appliances

#2602 5051 Imperial St
The elegant lobby also has concierge service.

#2602 5051 Imperial St
The Imperial is currently under construction.

 

Gold House Sets a New Standard for Condo Living in Metrotown

Project: Gold House
Developer: Rize Alliance
Gold is about to glitter in Burnaby’s Metrotown neighbourhood. Gold House that is.
Gold House is a stunning new development by Rize Alliance that will set a bold standard for architecture and luxury in the city. In fact, the project is so remarkable, the two towers have already sold out, but penthouse suites are still available.
Designed by the renowned architects at Chris Dikeakos, the two towers that comprise Gold House feature gold accents, expansive windows and generous patios that will make a glittering addition to Burnaby’s burgeoning skyline.
The bold exterior design is matched by lavish interiors that include Bosch appliances in the kitchens, custom Italian Armony Cucine cabinets and spa bathrooms with polished quartz and marble counters. Each unit is also air conditioned. That luxury is kicked up a notch in the penthouse homes with over-height ceilings, exclusive interiors designed by Hirsch Bedner Associates, and huge patios up to 1,230 sq. ft.
Amenities include a furnished outdoor terrace, fully-equipped fitness centre, yoga studio, social lounges and sound-insulated music rooms in each tower.
The development is perfectly located, across from the hundreds of shops, restaurants and services at Metropolis at Metrotown and Station Square as well as the main branch of the Burnaby Public Library, a short stroll from the Metrotown SkyTrain station and handy to beautiful Central Park.
Click here to visit the Gold House website

Gold House in Burnaby
The distinctive architecture of Gold House extends to street level

Gold House in Burnaby
Soaring penthouse suites are still available.

Gold House in Burnaby
Stylish interiors

 

Condos and townhomes in Burnaby are hot! March 2017 Market Update

The market for condos and townhomes in Burnaby is hot!
So hot, prices are up 25 per cent over this time last year. In fact, they’re even higher than the peak of the market we saw last spring and early summer.

One of the hottest neighbourhoods is Brentwood Park. This area, near Lougheed and Willingdon, is feeling the excitement from the redevelopment of the Brentwood Town Centre that is already underway.
When the $1.3 billion project is completed, it will be like its own city within the city.
And that’s boosted interest in existing developments nearby. Of the last 40 condo sales in Brentwood Park, 75 per cent of them went for list price or above.

Condos and townhomes in Burnaby are hot
A typical 2 bedroom 2 bath condo, 850-875 sq. ft., in an established development like Oma, is now going for about $600,000. Last year it would have sold for $480,000.

Condos and townhomes in Burnaby
A typical 630 sq. ft. 1 bedroom condo in an established concrete development like Tandem is now selling for $450,000. Last year it would have sold for $370,000.

 
We’re seeing similar stats in other areas of Burnaby as well, including South Slope and Burnaby East.
If you’re a buyer, the market for condos and townhomes in Burnaby might be more favourable in the Metrotown neighbourhood. An abundance of available product there means 60 per cent of  sales in the past 60 days have gone for below list.
And just as the market for high-end houses has been struggling a bit, the market for condos and townhomes in Burnaby above $600,000 is a little slower.
There’s a lot of new development coming down the pipe, so it’s hard to say how long the market for condos and townhomes in Burnaby will stay hot. But with interest in condos and townhomes high across the Lower Mainland right now, there’s no end in sight. That might be a little frustrating if you’re a buyer. But if you’re selling, you’ll be rewarded.

10 Great Questions to Ask a Realtor When Selling Your Home

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

1. How many properties have you sold? How many did you sell last year?
Most people instantly focus on years in the business, but your Realtor’s sales volume is just as important; one agent can sell as many homes in two years than others do in 10. A Realtor with a healthy volume of sales in the local market in the past year is likely more in tune with that market.
But don’t just focus on the numbers; you should also feel comfortable with your Realtor.
2. What types of properties have you sold lately?
This will help you determine your Realtor’s focus and performance, whether they’ve had success selling similar types of products, and in your area. Ask for proven results, such as the average number of days their listings are on the market, the ratio of their list prices to actual sale prices. What about listings that aren’t selling; a Realtor who openly discusses their failures demonstrates honesty.
3. Who is the buyer and where are they coming from?
Your Realtor’s knowledge and experience with the local market will help them market your home to potential buyers and highlight the features that will be important to them. It’s important for your Realtor to know their target market for your home, whether it’s young families, downsizers, locals or buyers from out of town.
4. What is your marketing strategy for my home?
This is where the rubber hits the road, and your Realtor will earn their commission. Your home is likely your largest investment; it needs to be marketed well from the beginning if you’re going to realize a good return on that investment. It’s important your home presents well and buyers are aware of it.

Top 10 questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home
Your Realtor should know how to present your home at its best, including professional photos.

 
In a hot market, just putting up a lawn sign might sell your home, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right strategy to get you the right price. Nice photos, a posting on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and Open Houses are a minimal expectation; but what else can your Realtor offer? Creative campaigns that include online marketing, an active presence on social media, print advertising and staging can gain extra exposure for your home.
5. What separates you from your competitors?
Here’s where you’re really asking “why should I hire you?” There’s no shortage of Realtors out there to sell your home, but what is your Realtor offering to separate them from that pack. Their marketing ability is important, but so are honesty and trust.
6. What is your recommended listing price for my home, and why?
You want an understanding of how your Realtor evaluates properties. It should be by more than guesswork, or intuition.
Their evaluation of your property should be supported by recent comparable sales in the area. A more detailed evaluation could include listings that didn’t sell, and current active listings that you’re competing against.
If your home is difficult to evaluate because there’s been no recent comparable sales against which to measure it, a creative Realtor will look at similar properties outside the neighbourhood, or in similar neighbourhoods. Or they could use a “replacement cost” approach where they calculate the land value plus the cost of rebuilding the actual home.
Your Realtor’s pricing strategy for your home should align with your needs. If the market is hot and you have to sell quickly or you have specific requirements for the offer, such as a specific closing date, we typically recommend a lower price as it will generate more interest, more offers and cleaner offers that meet your terms. If the market is slow, or you have a unique property that could limit the pool of potential buyers, it may be best to price your home higher with room to negotiate; trying to set a price to spark a bidding war could be risky is these circumstances.
7. How do you, or your team, operate?

You want to know your Realtor is going to be there for you when you need them. It’s important to understand how communication will be handled, and who will be your primary contact. You want to know who will be showing your property and who is going to be handling the negotiations with buyers; you don’t want any surprises.
8. How much do you charge?
Commission fees are determined by your Realtor and they are negotiable. If a Realtor is hungry for a listing, they may reduce their fee. But top-performing Realtors typically don’t.
There are many different types of fee structures out there, from flat fee listing services to discount brokerages to full service brokerages. Whichever you choose, you should establish how much they charge, and how much of that goes to the buyer’s agent. Make sure the commission for the buyer’s agent is in line with the rates prevalent in your area.
9. What if I’m not happy with your service?
This question will help you determine a Realtor’s level of commitment to you and how strongly they believe in their ability to get you a good result.
If, for some reason, you’re unhappy with their service, you need to know if they’ll release you from the listing contract and how. There are two ways to terminate a listing: Cancellation vs. Unconditional Release. The former has restrictions that could affect your ability to move on; the latter releases you freely with no further obligation. Most listing contracts run for 3-4 months, but contracts for luxury properties can run up to 12 months.
10. What else do I need to know?
One of the questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home should be open-ended. That gives them a chance to highlight a unique service they might offer, like staging, or to speak to areas you might have overlooked. That extra little tidbit of information could be the tipping point to your decision.
Bonus…
Requesting references is one of the questions to ask a Realtor when selling your home that is sometimes overlooked. But keep in mind, if you are given references they’ll likely all be good. To get a more complete picture of your Realtor, do a little online research prior to your first meeting. See what properties they have recently sold, then ask for references from those clients specifically. If they have online and social media presence, see what people are saying about them, check their reviews and how they engage with others. See what they are doing to stay in front of buyers on a daily basis.
There’s no general rule for forging a great relationship with your Realtor. It’s all about personal preference and trust.
Your Realtor should be responsive to your needs; they should be patient when you need to take a little time, and proactive when you’re anxious. They should be a good listener who will offer advice and help find solutions.
More helpful blogs for sellers
10 Reasons to Hire a Realtor
Best Time of Year to Sell a Home
Get Buyers to Fall in Love With Your Home
7 Tips to Help Your Home Look Great in Photos
 

Just Listed! Burnaby North 2 Bedroom Condo for under $400K!

Property: #202 3939 Hastings St., Burnaby
List Price: $398,000
List Date: March 13, 2017
 
Imagine a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom North Burnaby condo in a great location for less than $400,000! No way, you say. Not in this market! But Burnaby Realtors James Garbutt and Denny Dumas have just listed one at 202-3939 Hastings St.
This 780 sq. ft. unit is located in The Sienna, smack dab in the middle of the coveted Heights neighbourhood. Restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, butchers, groceries and transit are right at your doorstep!
The open concept layout of this North Burnaby condo makes it feel much larger than its 780 sq. ft. The large kitchen features tons of storage. The huge patio is partially covered so you’ll be able to barbecue all year. And the bedrooms are on opposite sides of the suite, so you can enjoy your “me” time. Or you can use the second bedroom as a home office.
The unit comes with a newer in-suite washer and dryer as well as one parking spot. Downtown Vancouver and North Vancouver are about a 10-minute drive away.
Listed at $398,000, this North Burnaby condo is a great opportunity for a first-time buyer!
We’re going to be showing it for the first time on Thursday, March 16, 6-7 p.m., and at an Open House on Sunday, March 19 2:30-4:30 p.m. See you there!
Click here to see the full listing for 202-3939 Hastings St

living room at 202-3939 Hastings St
The bright living room features a gas fireplace.

Deck at 202-3939 Hastings St
The large deck is partially covered for year-round use.

Home office at 202-3939 Hastings St
You can use the second bedroom as a large home office.

 

Top 8 Questions to Ask When Buying In Older Condo Buildings

Some older condo buildings age better than others, depending on the quality of the original construction as well as the care and attention paid by the strata to maintenance and repairs.
So if you’re considering buying into older condo buildings, here are eight questions you should ask to avoid any expensive surprises once you’ve settled into your new home.
[somryv url=”YQSWU1rOzew” size=”full” align=”center”]
1. Has the plumbing been redone?
Galvanized steel plumbing was widely used before the 1970s; but it’s heavy and not very durable. Once the zinc coating inside starts to break down, the pipes are prone to rust. That can cause blockages or even breaks.
Copper plumbing is also popular in older condo buildings. It can last 50 years or more. But the lead-based solder that used to be used to join pipes and fixtures could eventually leach into your water.
Older condo buildings constructed from the late 1970s to the mid 90s could use polybutylene pipes. The plastic is cheap, light and easy to work with, but its lifespan is only 20 years.
It’s possible plumbing systems in older condo buildings have all three types of pipes, as repairs and replacements have been done over the years. If you see references to pin hole leaks in the minutes of strata council meetings, it’s a good sign the plumbing is nearing the end of its life and may be due for replacement.
2. How old is the roof?
Tar and gravel roofs last 15-20 years. An asphalt roof should last 20-25 years. If the answer to your question is close to those numbers, you may have to put room in your budget for your share of the cost of replacing that roof.
3. How old is the boiler?
A commercial gas-fired hot water boiler should last 10-15 years, but it could last longer if it’s been well-maintained.
4. Have the balconies been redone?
This likely isn’t a concern in older condo buildings constructed of concrete. But if the balcony is constructed of wood or vinyl, it could begin deteriorating after 15 years.

Older condo buildings can be a great buy because you usually get more space for your money.
The condition of balconies in older condo buildings shouldn’t be a worry if they’re concrete.

 
5. Are there any issues with the parkade membrane?
Water leaking into parkades can be a common problem in older condo buildings. It happens when cracks form in the structure because of settling, poor construction or maintenance, or just wear and tear.
Fixing a leaky parkade can be expensive.
6. Has the elevator been upgraded?
We’ve learned to take elevators for granted; we push the button, they take us to the floor where we want to go. But elevators wear out; all that up-and-down, opening and closing of the doors, pushing call buttons, takes a toll.
An elevator should last 20-25 years but could endure longer if they’ve been regularly maintained.
7. Has the building’s exterior been upgraded?
This question is often dependant on how older condo buildings were designed and built.
If the building is constructed of concrete, with large roof overhangs that prevent rainwater from hitting the exterior, the risk of a leaky building is minimal.
But if the building’s exterior is made of stucco or wood, and it’s exposed to the elements without protection from roof overhangs, you need to check if it has been rainscreened.
What Is Rainscreen?
8. Does the building have a depreciation report?
In 2013, the BC government mandated depreciation reports for every strata with more than four lots. The report is prepared by qualified architects or engineers who are able to assess and determine the short and long term health of the building and its upkeep schedule as well as anticipated costs. The report must be updated every three years.
Strata Documents You Should Read Before You Buy
Reading a depreciation report for older condo buildings can be intimidating; the maintenance schedules are usually pretty proactive and the dollar figures are high. But it’s how the building’s strata council reacts to that report that really matters; is it putting money aside early to deal with upcoming major expenses, does it address minor issues in a timely manner so they don’t snowball into bigger issues?

Older condo buildings can be a great value

Older condo buildings can offer tremendous value. You’re not paying for the flashy marketing campaigns of new developments. A lot of potential problems will have already been worked out. The strata has experience. And units were bigger in the 1970s, 80s and 90s, so you’ll likely get more space for your dollar.

More useful blogs if you’re shopping for a condo

Understanding Strata Fees
Strata Documents You Should Read Before You Buy
10 Tips For The First Time Home Buyer
What is Rainscreen?

Housing market waking from seasonal slumber

Winter may be hanging on tenaciously, but the housing market is waking from its seasonal slumber.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reports 2,425 residential home sales in February; that’s 59.2 per cent more than were sold the month before.
And while it’s still 41.9 per cent less than the record 4,172 homes that were sold in February, 2016, it’s only slightly less than the 10-year average for the month.
REBGV president Dan Morrison says rotten weather may have helped keep buyers at home. But the supply of new listings is also tight. The 3,666 new properties for sale in February was 36.9 per cent less than a year ago, and 11.4 per cent fewer than January. It was also the lowest number of new listings for the month since 2003.
That’s keeping prices buoyant in the local housing market, says Morrison.
“While home sales are not happening at the pace we experienced last year, home seller supply is still struggling to keep up with today’s demand,” says Morrison. “This is why we’ve seen little downward pressure on home prices, particularly in the condominium and townhome markets.”
The ratio of sales to active listings actually increased 10 per cent from January to 31.9 per cent; experts say housing prices don’t start going down until that ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period and they go up when the ratio stays greater than 20 per cent over several months.

Condo sales strong in local housing market

Condo sales are still hot in the housing market
Condo sales are still hot in the New Westminster and Burnaby housing market, despite the wintry weather.

In fact, the benchmark price for a typical condo in Greater Vancouver increased 2.7 per cent in February to $526,500. In New West, the benchmark price for a condo went up 1.4 per cent to $392,400; that’s a 21.3 per cent increase over a year ago. The benchmark price for condos also increased in Burnaby, by as much as 2.6 per cent to $503,600 in North Burnaby, to 1.9 per cent in South Burnaby, where a typical condo now goes for $561,600.
The benchmark price for townhomes in Greater Vancouver is now $675,500, a 1.3 per cent increase since January and 18.3 per cent more than Feb., 2016. New West townhomes experienced similar increases to a benchmark of $545,500 while in North Burnaby, the benchmark price increased 3.1 per cent over the previous month to $539,500.
House prices are staying steady; in Greater Vancouver the benchmark price of $1,474,200 for a single-family detached home was unchanged from January. In New West, the benchmark price for a typical house went up .3 per cent in February to $1,026,700 while increases in Burnaby ranged from .1 per cent in the South to $1,636,100 to a 1.3 per cent jump in North Burnaby to a benchmark price of $1,499,600.
The February stats