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All of you who go looking for the cheapest Strata fee you can find, should be aware of the following, so should anyone who owns a strata unit. Sometime next year the Strata Act will be updated.

 

http://www.leg.bc.ca/39th1st/3rd_read/gov08-3.htm

 

There are some disturbing modifications about to be made; the bill has passed 3rd reading that will probably affect your strata fees. Section 94 will require stratas to bring experts on site to do depreciation estimates. I.e. Roofs, how long is left for the useful life and how much approximately will it cost to replace it. The stratas' will have 2 years from the bills passing to complete this task. The strata will then have to fund this in contingencies. In other words the strata fees could be increased to cover this and build up the funds over a period of time. There has been no consultation with the strata organizations about this, similar laws were enacted in Alberta and Ontario and do exist in some other provinces.

The unknown is that when the 2 year grace period is up the government has told no one so far how much time must elapse for the funding to take place. In Alberta the government did not allow very long , resulting in some horrifying increase and special assessments, in Ontario on the other hand more time was allowed to phase the collection of monies in. There are other changes also and perhaps the best place to start getting information is

 

http://bcstratachanges.ca/

 

Townhouses could be especially hit hard as the sewer and water lines that run under the roadways and common property will probably have to be factored in also. If you live in a strata make sure your strata council knows about this and gets the strata manager on it, most of them already are, but there are a few who do not know anything about it.

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Well here we are again, at years end, well almost, and what a year it’s been.

We started the year a slow Real Estate market and by the end of July had experienced the busiest month ever on record for sales and the market kept going. Even in December usually a quiet month the market is very active and looks to be for the first 1/2 of 2010.

What the impact of the HST will be remains to be seen but it really will only effect the new house market and the resale market stands to benefit form that. The only concern most sellers will have is the change, on commissions, in sales taxes from 5% to 12%.

The prime rate appears to be stable for the next few months so that will be good news for those locked into variable mortgages. The fixed term rates of 3 years and more are not affected by the prime rate and those have been creeping up a little in the last 2 months and several “experts” think they will slowly increase over the next year. Of course “experts” have a 50-50 chance of being right the best definition of an economist I have heard is “someone who has to explain tomorrow, why the prediction they made yesterday, did not happen today” perhaps not entirely true but close enough from my point of view.

Anyhow I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and health New Year when ever you New Year Starts (see Happy New Year maybe Dec 08.

 

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Despite all the media attempts to paint the Lower Mainland Real Estate market as a disaster, it’s not that bad. Yes it is a little slower that the last few years but that really should have been expected to happen at some time or other, that time turns out to be now, but it could not keep going at the frantic pace it was.

I still believe that the future will be an increase in price and a steady market.

If you were to go up to the top of Burnaby Mountain and look West there is Water, East and North mountains and South is the USA, unless there is a whole scale out migration in the tens of thousands or we extend the city, over the border to Bellingham, we are running out of land so land will continue to hold or increase its value and as you know land is the major price component the property value. The house just depreciates in value from new until demolition.

The only alternative is to build on all the farm land and I don’t think any level of government would allow that to happen in a large scale as the cost of food goes up and their re election chances go down after all the true purpose of party politics is to get elected then re elected, and you thought it was to represent the people!

As long as we have a steadily increasing population (Surrey grows at approximately 1000 people per month) there will be a demand for housing, be it rental or residential.

If you were to graph out the market for the last 30 or so years you will see ups and downs, the funny thing is that, normally, the down is never as low as the last down and the high is always higher that the last peak proving that Real Estate is a medium to long term investment and most people who try and continually flip properties will get caught out by a down turn eventually.

 Why do we keep getting “experts” come through town and tell people how to get rich in Real Estate when most of these so called “experts” don’t even know that the foreclosure procedure in BC is not the same as the States, people here have rights and normally 3 months to redeem their mortgage after it goes to court and the property has to be appraised and not sold for what is owing but at a fair market value as deemed by the court.

 

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I can not believe how many calls I get from potential buyers calling all the listings that they might possibly be interested in.  What is wrong with you, I know you think you will get a bargain but you won’t, in most cases the Realtor keeps all the commission and does not get you a deal because they are bound by law to get the seller the best price possible. Normally ,in Canada anyhow, the listings are posted on the realtor .ca 72 hours after hitting the Realtors MLS site so the Realtors that have buyers signed up will find them before you even see them.

Wouldn’t it be easier to find a Realtor that will work with you to find a place that you like and not spend countless hours looking at places you have not interest in?  You just tell your Realtor who now works for you what you want and they will find it a lot quicker that you will and they will represent you in any negotiations, more and more we are seeing deals where the buyer goes to the listing realtor and if you look at the contract it says there is no agency with that realtor, this means that you are on your own. I often think of this as going to court without a lawyer and asking the Prosecutor to defend you. To all you potential buyers out there get a Realtor, let them spend that all too expensive gas rather than it coming out of your pocket. I met someone the other day that had a list of 73 Realtors to call talk about wasting everyone’s time. He had been trying to do this over 3 weeks and guess what most of them were sold by the time he talked to the Realtor

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