Mostly correct… mostly…

My last blog was March 13th of this year. If you are on this page, you have probably read it. My predictions were quite accurate even if I say so myself. Nanny, nanny bo-bo to you! At the same time, I was wrong on “rents stay the same”. Rent, in B.C., has increased 10% on average across the province year to date.

As a local real estate agent I have been busy since mid-May. At times, it crazy busy and at other times just steady. Any “losses” from March, April and May have been recovered and surpassed by production from late May, June, July and August. The past three months have set sales records in my area. The gains cannot be passed off as “buyer frenzy” from the lack of April and May activity. Something has changed. People have changed.

Not all real estate is booming. Yet, some real estate is experiencing multiple offer bidding wars.

What’s hot?

Location: “Better” locations are seeing more action. Quiet streets, cul-de-sacs, views and higher end neighbourhoods are winning.

Features: Buyer’s want what they want. Newer single-family homes, pools, triple car garages, waterfront, views and “extras” are helping sellers get multiple offers.

Homes with Suites: Legal suites are helping buyer’s borrow more money-yes. At the same time, having secondary accommodation in a home is a strong trend. Stay at home pandemic orders help.

Why suites? One aspect of interest suited homes that people often ignore is tax creep. Utility costs, increases in taxation and homeownership expenses are pushing people to seek extra income. Growing up my mom could afford a home in a single income – No suite needed. Not today. Local taxation and utility costs are rising more than incomes and a large part of the interest in secondary suites is clearly monthly cashflow.

What’s not hot?

Higher priced older homes that need work are not hot. “Project” homes that require work prior to moving in are still selling but buyer’s are negotiating and expecting a discount. On the opposite end, a “move-in ready” house which is priced a little high will most likely get good activity (showings) and even an offer. If the price is too high but the house is “nice” it would likely see a buyer take a run at a “lowball” offer.

Condo’s and some Stratas are not hot. Recent strata insurance issues have dampened sales of older wood-frame building units. Lenders have also been reluctant to lend on older buildings and we have even seen lenders request a copy of the home inspection reports and deny lending if they don’t like what they see.

Yet, concrete construction and “rentable” condo’s are still a solid play in my opinion.

What does the future hold?

It’s a great time to be working with an experienced real estate agent.

More than ever, prices are in flux. Some up, some down.

The value of features are in flux. Some up, some down.

The number of moving parts in a deal these days is the highest I have ever witnessed. Prices will modulate up and down for the next 12 months. Interest rates, CMHC and gov’t tinkering will have an impact and these changes will appear in 30 to 60 days cycles. So, consult with your agent regularly if you are planning to buy or sell in the near future. Timing the market is not possible yet it is possible to create a flexible plan and see what happens.

Good luck out there!

Limited Dual Agency is truly limited.

June 15, 2018 saw the Real Estate Council of British Columbia overhaul the agency rules affecting more than 20,000 real estate agents in the province. 

At the core is the banning of “limited dual agency” or LDA. LDA is when the real estate agent, with the permission of both the buyer and seller (or sometimes both buyers) in a transaction, agree to let one agent(or team) act as “moderator”.

During the transaction, the LDA agreement allowed the agent to bend his or her fiduciary duty to facilitate the sale. Acting alone and technically working impartially, the agent was able to control the transaction for the benefit of the seller and the buyer. This was the theory.

BC has taken the bold step to ban LDA and it’s exciting.

I am not here to debate the good and bad of LDA. It’s gone and this is fact. It is also fact that sellers and buyers will not fully understand what this ban will mean. Many people will need to rethink the way they approach buying and selling real estate in BC. Some will be happy, some sad and some confused… at first. In time, it is expected that consumers will come to realize the benefits of the new approach.

If you would like to learn more in a hurry, call your agent up for a coffee. There is a four page form they need to share with you. 😉

The New answer is “no”

A big change just occurred in BC real estate with the banning of LDA, Limited Dual Agency. When seller’s asks, “do you have a buyer for my house?” The new answer is “no”. Or, it should start to become the proper answer.

All to often in BC and other markets, some real estate agents’ business practices revolve around the “list with me, I have a buyer for your property” mentality.

When I sold in Ontario 14 years ago, my agent gave me this line as a powerful incentive to sign a listing agreement that night. At the time, I was not a real estate agent. The urgency to sign the paperwork was miss placed yet we were powerless. We were scared, didn’t understand the system and the thought of the agent having a buyer waiting in the wings was all to tempting. Papers signed. Not wanting to “risk it” and feeling no need to question it, the listing presentation, contract paperwork, hugs and kisses all took about 2 hours.

Did my agent at the time give me a harmless little white lie?

There were more than 500 realtors in my area at the time. His team of 15 people technically had a slightly better than 15 in 500 chance of selling my home to one of their clients.

What we failed to focus on was the service and support the agent would offer us. How would he or she “stick up” for our price? What was their negotiation style? Who would be helping us with the actual sale (we never met the listing agent a second time and we got handed off to a junior, inexperienced “salesy” guy)? This poor experience motivated me to become and agent and write this blog. It’s been 14 years.

Many will decry the loss of LDA. Me, not at all. Sure, LDA can work at times. However, if you want your agent 100% in your corner, it’s best that the answer to the question be “no”, I don’t have a buyer. But, I will help you get the best price and terms from the best one that comes around…

Rarely first…

Rarely am I first to do things and rarely am I considered the best. I don’t need to be first or best but I do want to be significant. Meaningful. Helpful. I think most people have this desire. I do.

As kid I was tall, awkward and slow but I was clever. Multiple trips to the principals office was proof of my cleverness. I had the unique ability to see things a certain way and blurt out my feelings. This was not truly appreciated until I went into business where creativity, brashness and being memorable was important.

I also loved volleyball and sports.  Yet, most of my grade 9 and 10  season was spent sitting on the bench. I couldn’t keep up to the the smaller, faster and more skilled players on my team. My coach was supportive. He was a tall drink of water and always said, “it will come”.

One afternoon, it did. It was a regular season game near the end of my grade 10 year. We were losing but the game was close and it was my turn to be “rotated in”. As I approached the front of the net I could feel the stress of the “hitting” position coarse through my veins. The pass came to Alex and he made a decent set. Alex was a natural and the game came easy to him. The set was perfect. As the ball approached me, it seemed to slow down in the air. I made my jump and time seemed to slow down; both eyes on the ball and I swung.

Interestingly enough, the ball did not come back. Turns out it hit the ground straight away right through the blockers hands. The roar of the crowd and my team was earth shaking. It was an ace. My timing had come and I was gaining command of my body and the game. I couldn’t stop shaking. Ball after ball came to me and I simply jumped and swang away. Everything seemed to work. What a feeling.

What people most people miss about this story is that It took more than two years of work and practice to get me to this point. Tons of teasing from my team mates but an encouraging coach, Mr. Hardy and my commitment to show up for practice was all that was needed. My height certainly had helped but there were a number of boys taller than me who still could hit the ball.

I wasn’t first, but with practice I became good. How many times did I swing and miss? All I do know is that from that day forward, all those miss hits seemed to vanish. My dedication and commitment had paid off.

So, why are you here? You have found my corner of the web most likely because you already know me. You have seen my “social” and clicked your way to my blog. Thanks!

Certainly, its the not the first blog on the web about real estate but my promise is to keep swinging.

In the coming weeks and months I will do my best to populate this blog with some amazing stuff.. Drivel will be included, free of charge. My goal is to give you my best ideas, concepts, arguments, thoughts, feelings and perspectives.

My goal is for you to WIN. I want you to WIN by helping you make better real estate choices. Whether you are an agent, first time buyer, luxury home seller or just like me, someone trying to get the best out of real estate. I truly want you to make better choices, win when you can and have a great life.

Real estate is not a swing and a miss game. Miss hits are expensive. This is where experience and good old fashioned service can help.