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It might seem like just having the money to buy a home is all that you should have to do. After all you are the one paying, right? Well it turns out the difference between getting an accepted offer on your dream home or property and losing out yet again, has more to do with being prepared ahead of time and working openly with your buying agent from the beginning of the process. As a buyer you have the advantage of having the seller pay for your VIP service out of the commission from the sale. If your buyer's agent is paid by the seller, why not take full advantage of all they have to offer.
 
Try to put ego aside:
Just like Investments, real estate relies on expertise that most people do not have the time to acquire, let alone keep up to date on. Just because you purchased a condo in 2010, does not qualify you to make an informed market decision in 2020; a year marked by dramatic market shifts and legislative changes. I am not saying to not take advice from your neighbour or family; just bounce it off your agent or broker, for perspective, before committing your life savings to a property.
 
The myth of calling the listing agent:
I am always surprised to hear yet another buyer whom after searching out a home online and loving the pictures, calls up the listing agent to see if they can get a deal or an inside connection! Before entering into a transaction with the listing agent, the potential buyer needs to understand the legalities of agency representation. The listing, or seller's agent can only have a legal (fiduciary) duty to the seller and will normally not be able to be a designated agent for your interests as the buyer. Why not go into a potential purchase with the best buyer agent available, that ONLY represents your interests. The first document to sign, once engaging with a buyer's agent is the Disclosure of Representation document, which clearly outlines the duties of the agent to you the buyer!
 
 Besides utilizing the skill set of a qualified buyer's agent: working with them throughout the entire process helps make your purchase totally transparent and stress free. Be open about your preferences and budget, as well as the key factors affecting your decision to buy at this time. Giving freely and confidentially, costs you nothing and ensures that you will get full commitment from your agent!
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Now that we are starting to see a semblance of normalcy starting to creep back into our daily lives, with restaurants and shops opening and finally being able to see our family and friends again (with extra precautions of course). A number of news and media outlets have reported predictions of a declining real estate market to come, as home prices are set to possibly decrease. The question I have been asked by many of my clients lately is, “should I wait to buy if the prices are going down?”
 
The challenge with answering this question is, as always, it varies from person to person. However, for the most part, the short answer is likely NO. What we saw for the last few months as Covid-19 became a state of emergency and people were told to stay home, was that banks had temporarily reduced mortgage rates to historical lows. During that time, clients were getting pre-approved for sub 2% rates and, even now, rates are still lower than they were in the beginning of the year. From what I have been hearing from mortgage specialists, it is a general consensus that mortgage rates are almost guaranteed to climb significantly in the next little while. If this is the case, waiting for lower prices could mean still paying more per month (due to interest) even though on paper it looks like you are saving money. This may be the case for almost all people unless they pay all cash and do not require a mortgage. 
 
My best advice is to take advantage of your low mortgage pre-approval as soon as possible, before the locked in rate expires. As the saying goes, “the best time to buy was yesterday”. Don’t wait till tomorrow to kick yourself for not buying before. Contact us today to get a free mortgage pre-appproval with absolutely no obligations!
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I absolutely love Burnaby and have lived in Burnaby for over 18 years now
and I think it’s a great place to live and raise a family. One of the many
things I love about Burnaby is how central it is and how easy it is to get
around. It’s proximity to Vancouver, the mountains and the ocean makes
Burnaby a remarkably attractive place to call home.
Some interesting facts about Burnaby that you may not have known.
Burnaby is east of Vancouver and it is the third largest city in British
Columbia by population, with Vancouver being the largest followed by
Surrey. It has one of the highest ratios of park land to residents in North
America, and maintains some agricultural land, particularly in the Big Bend
neighbourhood along its southern perimeter. The city was incorporated in
1892 and became a city in 1992, exactly 100 years after incorporation.
Another fun fact that you may not have known is, Burnaby’s official flower
is the rhododendron.
One of the main shopping attractions in Burnaby is Metropolis at
Metrotown which is the second largest mall in Canada. It offers over 450
shops, a giant food court, as well as Superstore and T & T Supermarket for
groceries, and don’t forget the Cineplex Cinemas Metropolis to catch that
great movie you have been waiting to see. I recommend that you wear
good shoes and be prepared to walk a lot, as it’s a great way to get your
steps in while being productive.
Burnaby Real Estate is very diverse. You will find condo’s, townhouses,
duplexes, detached houses, commercial properties, agricultural land and
leasehold land which is mainly surrounding Simon Fraser University. There
are many stunning views offered from many areas of Burnaby, namely
Capital Hill, Metrotown, and Brentwood . The Burnaby skyline has
expanded in the last few years, as more and more high-rise towers are
being built and in turn, many more amenities are being built to
accommodate. The Real Estate Market in Burnaby is constantly changing
and Burnaby remains a beautiful city with lots of great parks and beautiful
lakes to enjoy.

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Market Timing


Whether it is the stock market or the real estate market; there are a few learned wisdoms that still apply just as much today as they did during the roaring twenties. “The best defense is a good offence” and “Do not try to catch a falling knife”! Lets exam these expressions for a moment, starting with the latter first. Trying to time a falling or rising market, whether it be for homes or commodities, can inevitably rely just as much on luck as it can on research and experience and when it comes to actual pricing and timing, these two areas can be most unpredictable. The fact is there are just too many complex factors to consider: interest rate changes, new home inventory, the job market etc., which is why you should always seek the advise of an experienced Realtor to remove some of the guesswork, as much as possible. 


If a price decline has occurred, which is what every buyer hopes for when shopping for a new or upgraded home, then we often do not know it has happened until after the fact, in retrospect, when market stats are tabulated by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. We all want to think of ourselves as only making smart and more importantly ‘profitable’ investments, but buying low and selling high means being solely reliant on the market to pick when you and your family make all of your most important life decisions. Think about what we are expecting and “is it even realistic”? We all wish to get an amazing deal on the home of our dreams, however, we also want that home to immediately start improving in equity, the second we purchase it, for a rock bottom price. Sound like reality?


The best option, for most people when contemplating a future purchase or sale, is to get prepared as early as possible. Study the market, with your Realtor, getting pre-approved, if you are a buyer and getting comfortable with comparable home prices and features, in your neighbourhood and city. This way when you are ready to make the big decision, you are armed with a wealth of knowledge and already have a Realtor on your team to take the luck and guesswork out this most important transition! Being armed with all the facts of current market conditions is the bread and butter of being a qualified Realtor and working closely with a good one can lead to a lifetime of reaping the benefits afterwards!

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COVID-19 and Real Estate Q&A
 
Recent weeks have proved to be a roller coaster ride of emotions for all of us, with the current developing situation across the world causing increasing concern. My past life as an epidemiologist, working with and studying infectious diseases have allowed me to reflect on my experience. In the midst of all the concern, information and MISinformation, let’s talk about COVID-19 and what we need to do to stay safe.
 
What is COVID-19?
COVID-19 is a newly discovered virus that belongs to the family of coronaviruses, which originated in Wuhan, China. 
 
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19?
As mentioned above, there is a large range of symptoms that may occur with infection of COVID-19. Generally speaking, they do not differ much from common flu symptoms such as, fever, stuffy nose, dry cough, sneezing, aches and pains, shortness of breath and lethargy. The WHO has reported that in most people, symptoms are usually mild or even nonexistent, with 80% of people recovering without needing any special treatment, much like the common flu. Those with pre-existing conditions (ie. high blood pressure, diabetes, heart problems) or the elderly and immunocompromised have shown to have vastly more severe, or even fatal, symptoms.
 
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Medical health practitioners are dealing with a massive influx of new cases every day. If you are experiencing only mild symptoms, it is suggested you self quarantine for 14 days and prevent the further spread of the disease. Exposing yourself to others may put you at risk of spreading the disease and putting them in danger. If you are starting to experience fever, cough and difficulty breathing simultaneously, definitely seek medical attention. 
 
How has COVID-19 affected the real estate market?
It’s too soon to tell how this disease will affect the real estate market at this point. I can confirm that BCREA is doing everything necessary to keep both Realtors and the general public safe, by implementing new rules of conduct and protocols surrounding access, such as showings and open houses. 
 
Should I be going to open houses or showings?
Considering the fact that our province is now among the 3 in Canada in a state of emergency, we all need to do our part in making sure buyers, sellers and Realtors are all healthy and safe. Realtors should prescreen buyers and sellers about travel history and potential symptoms they may be experiencing. We must also practice social distancing and maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet between you and others. For more information on how to look at properties, please contact us and we can walk you through the new procedures.
 
Is it possible to buy a home without exposing myself?
It is definitely possible and may become more common going forward. However, buyers should still beware of all the issues that may result from purchasing a home without viewing. The All Vancouver Group is here to help. We have systems in place to make sure you are protected throughout the buying process, even if you choose to buy a home without viewing. Contact us today to find out how we can help you with your home purchase in this time of crisis.
 
Should I put my home on the market right now?
At a time when there is so much uncertainty, we understand it may not be at the forefront of your mind right now to put your home on the market. However, with interest rates at all time lows and sales still maintaining a steady pace, now may be a better time than any. Once again, contact us today to find out if your home is worth putting on the market now or later. With our market knowledge and technology, we can show you statistics in your area to help you decide when is the right time.
 
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask! We are always here to help and there is never any obligation to buy.
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Well 2020 has been quite the year so far, with Australian bush fires, oil prices dropping due to the conflict between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the Coronavirus global pandemic. It is only April  1st and I am already exhausted!


As we all know the safest place during this time is in our homes, as we are experiencing something very serious that will  hopefully be short-lived. With all the tireless efforts everyone is taking too “flatten the curve” time will tell but, like many I am very optimistic we will get through this unprecedented time.


Notwithstanding Covid-19 the real estate market in Vancouver and the lower mainland continues to move. There are new homes coming on to the market, and sales being reported daily. Within the last few weeks I have seen multiply offers, back up offers and homes selling within days. Real estate agents, lawyers, mortgage brokers, appraisers, property inspectors, and land titles are all still open for business. These professionals associated with real estate have all modified the way they do business in order to keep everyone safe.


In talking with my family and friends over the last few weeks everyone seems so surprised I’m still working and able to show homes. I explain to them that on March 26 the provincial government announced that real estate agents are considered an essential service in BC. All open houses have been cancelled for now, virtual tours have become increasingly important, and we also face-time with clients if need be. Some agents are still conducting showings for clients whose need to find a home is urgent. For example, a seller may have sold their home earlier in the year and they now need to purchase a new home without being left in limbo. Many realtors are asking clients to do more due diligence ahead of time as this minimizes the amount of traffic going through the sellers home, and if prospective buyers are serious about a property, a viewing can be scheduled with precautions in place.


Over the last few weeks I have also sent out a form to my clients whether they are buyers or sellers. If people are in urgent need of finding a home we are implementing all the proper precautions  including screening and asking the clients if anyone in the household is sick or has been travelling outside of the country.

So far it has been very helpful and initiates conversations regarding the Covid-19 and important precautions we should be taking. 

Some ways that agents are navigating the recent changes on how we conduct showings in order to help keep everyone safe is……..



-Drive to showings in separate cars.

-Refrain from greeting others with a handshake or hug.

-Turn on all the lights and open any closet doors ahead of showings to minimize touching surfaces.

-Provide hand sanitizer, wipes and gloves

-Request visitors to wash their hands with soap and water

-Asking buyers to not touch anything in the home and let the listing realtor open and close any doors and closets.

-If children are present to hold the children at all times during the viewing.

-Maintain appropriate social distancing.

-Encourage clients to thoroughly clean and disinfect the home after viewings.


With everyone taking the necessary precautions in regards to Covid-19, I am positive we will all come out of this a stronger society. With spring in the air, I am sure we are all looking forward to spending some time outdoors, and hopefully resuming some normalcy in the near future.


Stay healthy everyone and keep your social distance.

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Should I Buy or Sell  in a Slower Market?
 
Last week, I participated in a podcast with mortgage advisor, Heather Wood to discuss home buying and financing during this COVID-19 crisis. We briefly discussed mortgage rates and utilizing less risky modes of financing and refinancing mortgages as well as whether buying now could be beneficial. Click HERE to listen to our podcast.
 
As mentioned in the podcast, move-up buyers could greatly benefit from a slower market. The example I used was with someone who wants to sell a $500k condo and move into a $1 million house. This person needs to buy and sell no matter what market they are in, but would ultimately save more money in a slower market because getting less for a $500k home will make less of an impact when they are paying proportionately less for their $1 million home. If they waited till the prices go up, they would have to pay way more for that $1 million home despite getting a little bit more for their $500k home. It’s all about the proportions.
 
Who else can benefit from a slower market?
 
An obvious candidate would be the investors. If you are looking to invest in real estate, you want to make sure you’re paying as little as possible for your investment. Right now, prices are still fluctuating as we are still in the beginning stages of figuring out what impact COVID-19 will have. As a result, sellers are starting to relax on pricing and it is very possible this will continue on in the next few months. However, that being said, those looking to flip a home (buy a fixer-upper, renovate and sell it quickly) may not see much return right now, since market conditions are still uncertain in the short term. 
 
Additionally, first time home buyers may also benefit right now if they have been saving up and looking for the right time to get into the market. The Bank of Canada has made cuts to the prime rate three times in March by 1.50%. This is not normal by any means and could be the perfect opportunity for any buyers to take advantage of these low rates, especially if it means you could be saving $78 per month for every $100,000 you borrow. That’s HUGE!
 
Regardless of your situation, waiting for the market to recover is often not the right choice, as I have shown above. Timing is everything when it comes to any real estate transaction and now may or may not be the right time for you. If you are wondering about whether or not you should consider buying or selling right now, we are here to listen. Contact us today and we can give you valuable insight on current market conditions and statistics to help you make the right choice.
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Following the US Fed, The Bank of Canada, in an unprecedented move lowered the overnight rate, twice by two basis points (-.5%), on March 4th and March 16th; resulting in a reduction to lending institutions of a full percentage point. Hopefully this becomes the lowered amount that they will pass along to consumers, when issuing mortgages to new purchases and refinances.

The overnight rate is the interest rate at which major financial institutions borrow and lend one-day (or "overnight") funds among themselves; the Bank sets a target level for that rate. This target for the overnight rate is often referred to as the Bank's policy interest rate.

Whether you are contemplating a purchase, an upgrade or a refinance, this means that it is not all “bad news” out there.


Don’t wait until everyone is back into the market to start planning for your families future!
“The smart buyers are already looking at homes, to take advantage of price value and interest rate opportunities”
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As a real estate agent, the question I’m often asked, whether I’m at the supermarket, a party with friends, or at a restaurant from a server, is usually “what’s happening in the market?”. As we might all know, the media can be a very scary place. It is often the source of prevalent information on current trends, but can also create a circulation of irrational fears. 
 
Many people I encounter are under the impression that the real estate market is “SLOW” or that we are in some sort of recession. The good and bad news here, is that this is not the case! 
 
The good? Houses are selling and people are buying. Just in the last couple of months I have continuously seen homes sold within a week with multiple offers. As such, I have many times, called about property showings to find out they are already sold before viewing. This applies to condos, townhomes, and detached homes; none are excluded. 
 
The bad? This misinformation creates complacency. We now encounter many people who feel it is still a buyer’s market and end up placing themselves in many situations where they lose out on the perfect home. The worst feeling is finding the perfect home, imagining a life there, then losing it in a multiple offer situation. Then, what’s even worse? Having this happen over and over again!
 
As real estate advisors, we are here to make sure that doesn’t happen to you. In today’s market, pricing and timing is everything. This is why we have systems in place to help you beat out other buyers in getting the perfect home. 
 
If you would like to stay active and be notified about the true market trends, just let us know and we can definitely provide you with that information. 
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Homes in the Greater Vancouver Area are starting see market shifts in home values.  It seems that the prices are starting to vary acording to "micro markets."  This applies mostly to the Single family homes category as it's seeing higher inventory levels in some areas.  Despite the increase, sales in some markets remain strong.  In the attached categories, the Condo and Townhouse market is remaining strong.  Prices are continuing to surge in these markets.  Are you wondering what your home's value is or just curious about the market in your area?   Home owners please visit www.allvancouvergroup.com and click on "Home Evaluation" under the "Selling" tab.  

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