Paul Liberatore

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Maple Ridge is in for a population boom.


According to a community profile from the City of Maple Ridge, more than 35,000 people are anticipated to move into the community over the next 25 years.

And in the next five to 10 years, many of these newcomers will likely put down stakes in the Albion, Thornhill, and Silver Valley neighbourhoods, where heavy residential development continues.

The Albion neighbourhood is projected to grow to 10,250 residents, while an estimated 9,250 people will be living in Silver Valley by 2031.

These estimates provided from the City of Maple Ridge’s Official Community Plan (OCP) are 20-year projections and reflect the total number of people who will live in an area at build-out (estimated to be around 2031.)

For the here and now, there are a growing number of homebuyers looking at Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as an option, according to Darcy

McLeod, a local realtor who is president-elect of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

Real estate activity in 2014 varied from month-to-month, McLeod said, adding “some months, it was surprisingly busy.”

“I would characterize it as a fairly balanced market,” McLeod said. “It wasn’t super hot but I also wouldn’t call it a depressed market, for sure.”

Affordability continues to drive the market in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.

Take from the equation the Sunshine Coast, where the benchmark price of a single detached home is $350,800, and you won’t find a cheaper place to buy a house among the 21 regions covered by the REBGV than Maple Ridge, with a benchmark price of $478,500 this past December.

It costs slightly more for a detached home in Pitt Meadows, at a benchmark price of $526,400.

Among REBGV communities, townhouses are also cheapest in Maple Ridge (benchmark price of $279,100 in December) and Pitt Meadows ($331,200), while apartments for sale in Maple Ridge averaged out to a relative bargain of $165,800 on average last month (by far the most affordable in the REBGV). In Pitt Meadows a condo set you back $249,100, on average, in December.

“It’s probably the most affordable area in Greater Vancouver in terms of real estate,” McLeod said, regarding Maple Ridge.

“For a home you can buy in the Albion area, to buy a similar home in Coquitlam would be 20 per cent more money,” McLeod said. “We’re seeing a lot of people moving from North Vancouver, Coquitlam, Burnaby, and they’re starting to look at Maple Ridge. You can sell a home in Vancouver, go to Maple Ridge, and buy a new home and be mortgage free.”

So what’s keeping home prices so relatively low? As they say in the real estate biz, location, location, location.

“What keeps prices a little lower is the distance from downtown Vancouver,” McLeod said. “As you travel further east away from core of Vancouver, prices go down.”

Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge are the easternmost regions under the REBGV umbrella.

And location, that key driver for keeping home prices affordable, especially in Maple Ridge, is also a big reason why McLeod feels the potential for future market growth is so strong.

“It is still affordable and it’s a great place for families to live and raise their children,” McLeod said. “There’s so much to like about the area; there are so many outdoor activities, and so many parks and trails.”

McLeod should know: he’s called Maple Ridge home for the past 19 years.

But with dense development comes the risk of market saturation.

McLeod doesn’t believe that will be the case in rapidly developing areas such Albion and Silver Valley.

“I don’t see the prices falling any time soon because of over supply,” he said.

According to the Real Estate Investment Network (REIN), Maple Ridge was voted No. 5 Top Canadian Investment City, No. 2 Top B.C. Investment Town, and the place to live for lifestyle.

A community profile done by the City of Maple Ridge sees its current population of 82,861 jumping to 118,000 by 2040, and the number of local jobs more than doubling from 24,000 to 42,500 over the next 25 years.

Maple Ridge’s Town Centre area is expected to grow by close to 14,700 residents over the next decade, which is 50 per cent of the total expected population increase for all of Maple Ridge to 2021.

“You’ll see more people living in the centre of town,” McLeod said.

These growth projections in Maple Ridge haven’t had an impact on housing prices, at least for the time being.

“I see modest rises in prices but I don’t see any huge increases over the next 12 months, for sure,” McLeod said. “If I had a crystal ball I’d be a billionaire but there are no indications, or any reasons for prices to increase dramatically.”

A rise in population also means steady demand for new homes, he added.

“All these new people have to live somewhere,” he said.

McLeod noted that as a whole in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows, the price of condos are impacted by the amount of new development.

“If inventory is not selling as quickly as developers would like, it puts downward pressure on pricing,” he said.

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Love It or List It Vancouver beginning third season on the W Network (wnetwork.com).

A funny thing happened on the way to the theatre.. .Actor Todd Talbot was heading to rehearsals of the Stanley Theatre's production of High Society a few years back when his phone buzzed to life. The voice on the other end suggested that it was time Talbot's two worlds collided.Talbot had spent 25 years working as an actor and for almost as long he'd been building a real estate career "on the down-low."There's a joke about what you call an actor with a bottle of champagne. The answer, of course, is a waiter. It's a stereotype with which Talbot is well acquainted.

"If you're an actor and you're seen doing something else it somehow insinuates that you're not successful as an actor," he says.While his evenings were spent persuading theatre audiences to invest in his character, his days were spent investing in properties - but he kept his real estate life secret.

As is the fate of most secret identities, Talbot's alter ego slowly become public knowledge until he was the "de facto real estate guy in the acting community in Vancouver," he recollects.

It was because of that reputation he got the call.

They were looking for a real estate agent who could play a real estate agent on TV to co-host Love It or List It Vancouver.

The spinoff, co-hosted by The Bachelor survivor Jillian Harris, asks homeowners who have grown disenchanted with their dwelling to renovate or relocate.Despite a professed addiction to HGTV shows, Talbot had never pursued reality TV. "I had huge hesitation," he admits. "How would (doing the show) impact my ability to go and do Taming of the Shrew at Bard on the Beach?"If he had been offered a role on TV that involved extolling the virtues of spray-on hair or dating Flavor Flav, Talbot would have passed - but this was steady work.

"My actor's mind looked at it and went: 'This is a big, long gig that pays better than theatre.'"With a second child to support and his gut leading the way, Talbot blindly threw himself into the show and his worlds collided.

"It kind of engulfed my life a little bit," he says of the show's first two seasons.With 26 episodes each season, the show is perpetually in production, ruling out theatre for the time being.

"Hopefully I'll be able to exercise that muscle somewhere down the road," Talbot says.The actor, who was once presented by his family with a Motor Mouth t-shirt, speaks quickly - his verbosity peppered with humour and the relentless optimism of someone who can barely see dark clouds past the silver linings.However, Talbot is quite candid when discussing the challenges of keeping Love It or List It Vancouver fresh without deviating from the show's defining formula.

"It's the blessing and the curse of show," Talbot says of the show's format. "It's a challenge in every episode because you go, 'Really? Are we dealing with another: I don't want to leave my neighbourhood?'"Vancouver's multitude of interesting locations has helped, he says.

"I think the Vancouver production, as opposed to the Toronto one, has managed to find its own legs and find its own personality."Much of that personality is supplied by the homeowners, all of whom bring a different energy and allow for a creative way to tell the same Budget vs. Location story.

"You always end up in that conversation. You can't not," Talbot says with a chuckle. "Unless you're (Lululemon founder) Chip Wilson, there's a compromise to be had."A resident of Lions Bay, "poor man's West Van," Talbot is aware of what a compromise can produce."I couldn't afford the house and the view that we have in West Vancouver or on the west side of Vancouver, for that matter," he says.

Love It or List It Vancouver, somewhat inadvertently, also chronicles the "destructive trend" of maximizing square footage at all costs in building mansions, notes Talbot.

"I really wish people would consider the environment that they're putting the house in as much as they consider the function of the internal elements of the house," he says. "I shudder to think what the city might look like in another 25 years."

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Livability poll finds we love Vancouver, but hate real estate prices

Courtesy of The Vancouver Sun

 

Only three per cent of people who live in the city of Vancouver think they are paying a reasonable amount for their mortgages or rent, according to a new poll funded by Vancity.

And across the Lower Mainland — known for its sky-high real estate prices — just one quarter of residents think they are getting good value for money when it comes to housing or rental prices.

The poll results, released to The Vancouver Sun less than a month before the Nov. 15 municipal election, delved into the topic that Vancouverites love to debate — housing affordability.

“Whether you grew up in this region, moved here 20 years or two months ago, housing costs are increasingly becoming part of how we define our relationship to Metro Vancouver,” said Shachi Kurl, senior vice-president of Angus Reid Global, which conducted the poll.

“It’s not a new conversation. We’ve been talking about these issues over coffee, in line at the grocery store, on date night or at family dinner for a generation. But as time goes by, housing costs appear to take on a more significant and prominent role in our lives.”

 

The city of Vancouver had by far the lowest percentage of fiscally happy homeowners — only three per cent thought they were getting good value from their mortgages or rental payments. The next most disgruntled lived on the North Shore (17 per cent) and Burnaby (19 per cent).

In no community was there a majority of residents who were happy with housing bills, although it came closest in Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge (49 per cent) and New Westminster (45 per cent).

Nearly 1,100 Metro Vancouver residents were asked to rate their cities on “livability” factors, including green space, ethnic diversity, transit, family issues, safety, and the economy. Vancity used the results to produce a “Livable City Study.”

Very few residents in Vancouver, the North Shore or Burnaby thought there were any affordable homes left, the poll found, while a majority of respondents in Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge and the Fraser Valley thought well-valued homes could still be found with some diligent searching.

The poll also showed, though, that just because housing was expensive, it didn’t mean people were unhappy. When asked whether “it is worth every penny to live where I live,” nearly three-quarters of respondents said yes in the Fraser Valley, the North Shore and Richmond/Delta — often commenting about the region’s beauty and mild weather.

That happiness was lowest — dropping to just over half of respondents — in Surrey, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver.

Courtney Komonasky, 42, is happy living in Vancouver, where she has been for 20 years, but cannot afford to buy a home. She has rented the same apartment for 11 years, so her rent has stayed reasonable, but she has watched similar units go up and up in price.

“I have a good job and I get paid a good wage, and I really don’t know how people do it getting paid just minimum wage jobs,” said Komonasky, a registered massage therapist.

Komonasky answered the Vancity poll and, like many others who completed the survey, believes escalating real estate prices are partly due to foreign buyers who invest in local houses and condos but leave them sitting empty.

This situation has been debated by candidates in Vancouver’s mayor race, sparked by COPE’S Meena Wong who suggested investors should pay a fee if they don’t live in the properties they own. That’s an issue Komonasky will follow during the election.

“There should be some kind of tax on the people who don’t live here,” she said. “(Empty houses) makes the cost of things less affordable. They are not here to eat in restaurants or shop in the stores.”

Komonasky will monitor candidates for affordable housing solutions, saying she hasn’t witnessed cheaper rental units available in the city despite all the political talk in recent years.

All of Vancouver’s main political parties have included affordable housing in their platforms, but they range significantly in details and depth.

Perhaps the catch-22 of living in expensive Vancouver is that residents often can’t afford to take advantage of local playgrounds — sailing on the ocean or skiing in the mountains — because they are house poor.

“I don’t know that I necessarily take advantage of the things that people talk about, like the skiing. I used to snowboard but that is expensive,” Komonasky said.

Indeed, more than two thirds of poll respondents from Vancouver (67 per cent) said they have “given up a lot” to be able to afford to live in the city, followed by 59 per cent on the North Shore and 52 per cent in Burnaby. That concern was lowest among residents in the Fraser Valley (36 per cent) and Surrey (39 per cent).

The survey results showed people had made sacrifices to save money, regardless of where they lived in Metro Vancouver, including: living in a smaller space (Burnaby), getting an extra job (Vancouver), quitting golf and skiing (North Shore), reducing bills such as eliminating TV cable (New Westminster), and taking transit instead of driving (Surrey).

Nearly all respondents on the North Shore (91 per cent) and in Vancouver (89 per cent) agreed that people born in those cities cannot afford to buy real estate there. That sentiment existed across Metro, but dropped to two-thirds of people in the Fraser Valley and Pitt Meadows/Maple Ridge.

In Komonasky’s case, most of her friends moved to the suburbs after having children, searching for cheaper housing.

Survey respondent Frank Wirrell dismissed as “propaganda” that Vancouver is considered one of the most livable cities in the world, promoting instead his hometown of Abbotsford. “Living in the Fraser Valley is more affordable and is excellent for retired persons,” he said.

Deanna Overland of Burnaby appeared to suggest that livability and affordability can be polar extremes in the region. “Vancouver is beautiful and has a lot to offer however the cost of housing makes it unlivable for the average person,” she said.

These issues will undoubtedly be weighing on voters’ minds when they cast their ballots Nov. 15.



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A friend of mine wrote this article comparing Selling a home to giving birth....funny read for sure. Ladies that have given birth and sold a home, what do you think?

 

This article is courtesy of http://www.thingsyouwontlearninschool.ca/

 

 

Before You Buy Your First Home, Beware The Selling Process

Look up, pause briefly for a moment, and remember the good times you had when you bought your home.

We’ll compare those brief moments when the world was your Oyster Rockefeller (because that’s the only way to eat oysters). The emotion you felt when you were buying your home was exciting, thrilling, exhilarating, heck even titillating whatever that means. This emotion was downright erotic.

But what happens when you pull the plug and want to upgrade your place or sell and head for Costa Rica where you can buy twice the house, some beachfront and open up a surf school and still have money left over? You have to sell your place.

And it can be a HUGE pain in the part of your body that regulates sitting.

 


 

You hop in your car or take a private ride with Uber to a few open houses and condo showhomes on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon just to kill time. A few espressos, hours and fancy salespeople later you feel like getting a mortgage, borrowing some money from Uncle Fred for a down payment and closing a sale to have a place to call your own. 

You’re feeling great. You and your significant other have good jobs, life is grand with no worries, accountabilities or responsibilities. You want to grow up and prove to your parents, family and especially your peers that you are SOMEONE. How else do you do that except to buy a home. There's no better display of wealth. Buying a home is soooooo awesome.

Selling a home is the complete opposite. It's like scrubbing a barbecue grill spotless after a biker rally.

In fact my wife, who has successfully undergone the life-altering dark comedy known as child labour, can attest that selling a home is more painful (emotionally – stay with me here ladies) than labour.

The Sex, The Scandal and the Labour of Selling Your Home

Buying a home = sex (pleasure)

Selling a home = labour

Some sex is terrible just as some home buying experiences are terrible - usually because you haven’t found the right one. Other times the sexual (err home buying) experience is fantastic. You fall in love, forget all the baggage that comes along with it, put your best offer forward and seal the deal. Maybe you had a drink and a smoke to celebrate – who am I to judge.

Then the realities of life start to kick in. 

Things need work.

You notice more of what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside and it starts to bother you. Things start breaking down, leaking and some parts even develop funky odours that weren’t previously advertised like on your first date (or first showing). It was all patchwork and staged to look good to catch your attention. The cliche says it was lipstick on a pig. And by golly he/she got it and you were hooked. 

Your logic put you into the market 
We need a place to call our own, with a den for an office space and an extra bedroom for our future child”, 

And your emotion guided you into the purchase 
Well, we can make this 2 bedroom work. The granite looks beautiful and that patio is amazing for entertainingOMG look at this bath tub and those granite counters – it’s perfect.

This is the definition of house horny. When you notice these trigger feelings, know that you might be on the cusp of acting on emotion. Most of these rationalizations are for one reason:
 
This is what you really mean:
I can show off my place and people will like me.
 
You don’t have to admit it yourself now, that’s fine. But I can attest to this because I’ve been there.
 
Selling Your Home

So when you do decide to sell, it’s time to cash in the value of your home sweet home. But you won’t get any money, honey, until you seal the deal.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get a bidding war and your place will sell like a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato on a fall day in downtown Vancouver. If you’re like the other 99% of listings you’ll be on the market.

Waiting.

Patiently.

How’s that drying paint looking?

Agony abounds watching the phone in earnest, for it to ring. Well, nowadays it’s mostly text messages and email, who am I kidding. Just trying to paint a picture here.

Selling a home can really suck. Like I said, labour. When it sells, it’s like pregnancy brain. You forget what it was like carrying all the weight around for up to 9 months. As soon as the ordeal is over with – poof – out of your memory.

Your asking price is very important. When a realtor gives you a range of prices to list for, they will give you a range. Don’t get all excited about the top end of that range unless properties exactly like yours are selling at that price. Not asking prices, selling prices.

The real estate agent should be pulling comparable listings for you and giving you a great idea of what your place is worth. It’s worth doing some digging on your own as well.

But where do you look?

Check the assessed value of your home on your latest property tax form or go to your city’s website and check. Usually you can find the property tax assessment of any home in the city for several years back. Quite a handy tool and part of every smart buyer and seller’s war chest of information.

The Selling Process – Like Child Labour, But Longer
 
Open houses, waiting, showings, waiting, another open house, waiting, showings, waiting. 

Arguments with your roommate, spouse or co-owner.

More time elapses. Your real estate agent calls you to discuss lowering the price because market conditions have changed. (News flash, market conditions are always changing).

Alas, an offer!

Oh wait, it was based on buyers financing that fell through. Now you're back on the market. Waiting, open houses, showings.

At least birth is usually no more than 24 hours.

Then finally a legitimate offer comes down the pipeline.

An offer can contain anything really, as this is done through a formal Contract of Purchase and Sale. The first time you see this document it can look a bit intimidating. As you do this more and more, it gets pretty standard. A good real estate agent will be very transparent and explain all the requirements to you. If they don’t, make sure you ask. 

If you need any clarifications, ask your realtor to explain any term in the contract offer that you’re not familiar with. It’s their job and you’re paying - You’re the boss.

The main part of offer contains the bid price and 99/100 times an offer contains subjects. Subjects are other things that can be included in the offer and this mainly includes:

·      Subject to Financing (aka getting a mortgage)
·      Home Inspections
·      Sale of the buyer’s home (so they can come up with the money to buy your place)
·      Anything else the buyer wants out of you, such as:


o   Subject to carpet cleaning
o   Subject to repairs being completed 
o   Subject to 120 days closing period before the completion day
o   Subject to leaving the pet dog, Ginger
o   Subject to the Corvette in the garage

I’m fairly confident the only things off limits as part of the sale are human beings. 

You can feel free to check court cases at your provincial/state court for that if you’re into the human buying business. If that’s the case, you have bigger issues.

clean offer involves only a price, a home inspection and a reasonable closing date. Anything more than that and it becomes more convoluted than Laplace Transformation Equations in differential calculus. Yeah, exactly.

I once had an offer on one of my homes that was 10% below my asking price (I listed it at the lowest price the realtor proposed to be competitive). This lowball offer included the following clause “subject to the sale of the buyer’s property if it sells before (4 months from the date signed)

Are you kidding me? I thought. 

These buyers haven’t even listed their home for sale and they make an offer based on fairy dust and hope. I hope they make smarter decisions in the future than buying a new place when you haven’t even put your current one on the market. I forgot to mention their place for sale was an apartment, identical to 8 other places in their building, for sale. As Uncle Jesse said, haaaave meeeercy.

My First Sale

The first time my wife was involved with a sale, we were selling her condo in Vancouver for $438,000. After a couple of months on the market and still no offer, we got our first one - for $418,000.

My thoughts – “Sweet, an offer! Counter with a fair price and let’s seal the deal.” Of course, I never told her my thoughts. I was watching her reaction.

My wife’s thoughts – “How dare they offer such a low price!” 

She was seething. Fangs started to grow from her teeth. Her blood was boiling. She was livid that someone would offer $20,000 less than her asking price. She was yelling at the RE agent on the phone to tell that buyer to piss off when the buyer refused to budge when my wife countered with $435,000.

After half an hour of the most illustrious curse words this side of the Adriatic, she looked at me from atop her perch at the kitchen table while I was reading a book. “Babe, what would you do?”

Eureka, my turn to talk. Finally.

“I think you should take the deal or counter very close – say $420,000. The money is on the table for you to take. Who knows when another offer will come.”

She took the deal and the buyer went for the counter. My wife got her equity out, the buyer got a place and everything was more awesome than the Lego movie.

I love it when a plan comes together. 

I could see that if left alone, she would have gone crazy, left the deal and God knows how long the place would’ve been on the market for.

You will get emotional.

You will feel threatened and disgusted when someone gives you an offer lower than your asking price.
"How dare they offer that price on MY home"

Remember this:

The seller is always an optimist. (My place is beautiful, why wouldn’t anyone pay me more than I’m asking for.)

The buyer is always a pessimist. (This place is alright, needs some work, here’s a low price)

This is a word of caution to plan for the whole process when you plop down that down payment: Buying, living AND most importantly, selling.

Unfortunately you wont learn this lesson until you go through it yourself.

These things you just won’t learn in school.
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VANCOUVER, B.C. – November 4, 2014 – Home sales in the Metro Vancouver* housing
market continue to outpace long-term averages for this time of year.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in
Greater Vancouver reached 3,057 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2014.
This represents a 14.9 per cent increase compared to the 2,661 sales in October 2013, and a 4.6
per cent increase over the 2,922 sales in September 2014.
Last month’s sales were 16.6 per cent above the 10-year sales average for October.
“We’ve seen strong and consistent demand from home buyers in Metro Vancouver throughout
this year. This has led to steady increases in home prices of between four and eight per cent
depending on the property,” said REBGV president Ray Harris.
New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,487
in October. This represents a four per cent increase compared to the 4,315 new listings in
October 2013 and a 14.7 per cent decline from the 5,259 new listings in September.
The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver
is 13,851, a 9.2 per cent decline compared to October 2013 and a 6.6 per cent decrease compared
to September 2014.
The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro
Vancouver is currently $637,000. This represents a six per cent increase compared to October
2013.
“Detached homes continue to increase in price more than condominium and townhome
properties. This is largely a function of supply and demand as the supply of condominium and
townhome properties are more abundant than detached homes in our region,” Harris said.
Sales of detached properties in October 2014 reached 1,271, an increase of 19.1 per cent from
the 1,067 detached sales recorded in October 2013, and a 60.9 per cent increase from the 790
units sold in October 2012. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 7.9 per cent
from October 2013 to $995,100.Sales of apartment properties reached 1,268 in October 2014, an increase of 15.5 per cent
compared to the 1,098 sales in October 2013, and a 57.9 per cent increase compared to the 803
sales in October 2012. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased four per cent
from October 2013 to $380,200.
Attached property sales in October 2014 totalled 518, a 4.4 per cent increase compared to the
496 sales in October 2013, and an 53.3 per cent increase over the 338 attached properties sold in
October 2012. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.7 per cent between October
2013 and 2014 to $479,500.

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