We’re off to another memorable year in real estate! Social distanced showings, live streaming, FaceTime tours, and increased online photos and videos are some of the changes we have made to adapt to the new times. Despite all the events going on in the world, our local real estate market remains to be strong. The volume of sales is down compared to previous years, as many buyers and sellers have decided to hold off and wait. However, prices remain to be high for a lot of the properties we’re selling simply because there aren’t enough of them available. Over the last few weeks we have run into multiple offers and sales over the listed price on a number of occasions.
If you’re thinking of selling, it may be a great time. Particularly if you’re upsizing to a higher price point that is less active, or if you’re relocating to a slower market with more buying opportunities. Over the last few weeks we have had some great success selling condos and townhouses, and in some cases at record prices!
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!
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.
• 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!
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.
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 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 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.
Now is the time to step up and support your local businesses! Covid-19 has affected thousands of New Westminster businesses and we can have a huge impact by helping them out. Consider purchasing a gift card from your favourite local restaurant, hair dresser, shop online for clothing, use contact-less pickup from a local pet store or order some girl guide cookies online!
James and Denny visited local New West businesses Bruncheria and Mila & Paige and asked them how this pandemic is affecting their business, what they are doing to adapt and how we can help. Watch the video below to find out!
**Video from March 16th, 2020
Our friends over at Sweet Legs New Westminster have started to compile a list of other local New West businesses we can support. Here it is:
Lets continue to grow this list! If you own a business in New West or know of one that is offering online options, contact-less pick-up or delivery, we would love to add it to our list. Please send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or message us on Facebook or Instagram!
As Covid-19 cases keep rising more gathering locations are closing, international flights are being canceled, borders are shutting down and social distancing techniques are being implemented. What does this all mean for real estate here in Vancouver? James and Denny will share what they are seeing in real estate as well as provide predictions on what might happen to real estate prices and the market in general. If you own or are looking to buy, or if you are looking for information on how Covid-19 will impact real estate then this episode is for you.
Listen to the Garbutt+Dumas Real Estate Podcast (bottom of page) to learn about how COVID-19 may affect the Real Estate prices and the market in general. If you own or are looking to buy, or if you are looking for information on how Covid-19 will impact real estate then this episode is for you.
We at the Garbutt + Dumas Real Estate Team understand the current confusion and concern that a lot of our clients are experiencing regarding the COVID-19 virus over the past couple weeks. We have been constantly keeping up to date with the progression of the virus and with the recommendations of the Health Minister of Canada, and wanted to keep our clients, colleagues, friends and families aware of how we will be proceeding over the coming weeks. We are taking their recommendations very seriously and that our position on how to operate moving forward has not come without a great deal of thought. The health and safety of the people in the communities where we live and work is very important to us.
Supporting our clients during this time is our primary focus and concern. We understand that some clients are caught in the middle of this situation, and are actively buying or selling as we speak. To our clients, know that we are here and will continue to support you during this uncertain time. Fortunately, our industry is heavily online with photos, videos, strata documents, electronic signatures, etc.
At this current time, property showings are still permitted, and in other areas (such as Ontario, no official news for BC) real estate has been deemed an essential service. For buyers and sellers we will assess each client’s situation individually, but note that we can still show properties and will use extreme caution when doing so. We will be as cautious as possible, we will adhere to social-distancing requirements, and we will be avoiding any unnecessary contact with others.
Given the situation in our province, the Real Estate Board has advised all members to refrain from holding open houses and adhere to the most up-to-date social-distancing requirements from our government and public health officials. We feel it is important to follow these recommendations, and have elected to replace all open houses with pre-screened showings by appointment for those that must buy or sell during this time.
Please view the best practices for Real Estate professionals and Consumers on the BC Real Estate Council website hereand view recommendations for realtors on how to proceed through this time and precautions to take here.
There are a lot of moving parts in real estate transactions: photographers, videographers, home inspectors, appraisers, mortgage brokers/mortgage representatives. We ask your patience throughout your real estate transaction as it may take longer than normal to have these professionals scheduled.
It’s very possible that situation could affect our real estate market, but in what manner and to what extent, only time will tell. Prior to COVID 19, the 2020 market was upward trending and very active. We are committed to staying informed on the current situation (COVID-19, real estate market trends, the financial crisis, and interest rates) and hope to share this with you to help make informed decisions.
If you have any concerns, we would love to talk. Please reach out to us in the next few days to discuss your specific situation and we can help put a plan into place.
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.
The greater Vancouver market is ever changing and we are talking all things real estate! Insights for buyers and sellers, our experiences, what we do well, how we’ve learned from things we can improve on, news and updates on building code, mortgages, insurance etc!
We are super excited to share all our knowledge and continue to grow with this new platform! We’d love to hear your feedback after you listen to a couple shows and message us anytime if there’s a topic you’d like to hear us chat about.
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.
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
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
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
You may not be able to judge a book by it’s cover, but a big part of selling or buying a home is the first impression it makes when you first see it from the street. That’s curb appeal. If a home makes a good first impression, potential buyers will be enticed to check out the inside, see how it fits their needs and lifestyle. A home with an attractive exterior could also be worth more. But these days, curb appeal means a lot more than how a home looks to passersby on the sidewalk or in their car. It starts online.
Creating online curb appeal
For most home buyers, the first curb is their computer monitor or mobile device. They’re likely to check a listing online before they take the time to see it in person. That means it has to look good in photographs. While a skilled photographer can avoid a property’s faults by their choice of angle, composition and lighting, if the reality doesn’t live up to buyers’ expectations from the photos, they may just drive on by. So the work you do to make your home look good in photos will also give it good curb appeal.
Giving your home great curb appeal
Creating great curb appeal starts with a good cleaning. That includes decluttering the yard of neglected toys, furniture and decorative implements that may have seen better days. Clean all the windows and consider renting a power washer to scrub grime from your home’s exterior. If needed, touch up trim like shutters, doors and railings with a coat of new paint. A little pop of colour can go a long way to making a home look fresh. Once the yard is clean, make it neat by cutting and weeding the lawn, trimming trees and hedges and taming gardens. Plant fresh flowers. Look up. A home’s great curb appeal can be ruined by a dilapidated roof. That’s a red flag to prospective buyers that expensive repairs or replacement could be in their future. So clean off fallen foliage and stray frisbees. Repair loose or missing shingles and eaves. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, consider getting an assessment by a roofing professional, then attending to their recommendations. Turn the lights on. Replace exterior bulbs that have burned out. Repair or replace broken fixtures, maybe even add some new ones to brighten your home’s curb appeal at dusk or night. While potential buyers may never see your home at night, attention to small details sends a message that a home has been well cared-for.
Other ideas to improve your home’s curb appeal
Replace outdated hardware on doors and windows.
Replace your old mailbox, or give it a fresh coat of paint.
Paint the front door. A pop of colour on your front door can completely transform your home’s curb appeal, make it more eye-catching.
Refinish decks and porches.
Repave, or at least reseal, the driveway.
Curb appeal for strata homes
Of course, if you live in a strata condo or townhouse, much of your home’s curb appeal is out of your control. But paying close attention to detail at the outdoor areas you do control, like your patio or balcony can have a significant impact on your home’s appeal to potential buyers.
According to the Meriam-Webster Dictionary, Realtors have been pitching a home’s exterior appearance as its curb appeal since about 1975. Investing in your home’s first impression doesn’t have to be expensive; it might just involve time and toil. But it will pay off.