Tough decision – to buy a resale or a presale home?

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Done a lot of brainstorming and have read a lot of tips on buying a home for your family? Well, do not fret, it’s quite a tricky decision in itself! The very first debate is – whether to look for resale properties or presale ones! It’s not like you can change your decision later on. It’s something that you will live in and experience for a long time – so the decision must be taken with care. So, what will it be? Buy a resale home through a realtor or walk to a developer’s sales center and buy a brand new one?

Here are a few pros and cons that will help you with your decision:

Resale homes

Resale homes are usually cheaper per square foot than a new home. Well, resale homes are already built, so you can see the exact home that you would want to buy. You can imagine your life there as soon as you step in. There will be no nasty surprises later on with regards to the ‘imagined space’, feel and views. The best part of buying a resale home is that there is no waiting. You buy it and you can move in at your earliest possible convenience. What you see is what you get! Although it’s a good idea to get it inspected from professionals.

Well, on the downside, a resale home has already been lived in and so, it’s unlikely that the units’ fixtures and fittings will be brand new. So, the wear and tear might kick in sooner. The building will not be brand new either. This ultimately circles back to added maintenance costs for the new owners.

Presale homes

With presale homes, you get a brand new home which is in top condition and will definitely be under the New Home Warranty. New homes are built with the latest trends and have great amenities and the latest features. Since it not yet built, you have an option to make customizations as per your preference (and within the developer’s limits).

On the downside, new homes are always more desirable, which means that they tend to cost more than resale homes per square foot. Well, it’s not yet built and there could be a long waiting period. Also, the developer can show you only the floor plan and a model before it is actually built. Sometimes, all this adds up quite differently in our imagination than what it actually turns out to be. So, you do not know what it finally will look like. There is a lot of paperwork and you will need to do a lot of research to ensure that you get what you are paying for.

Well, whether you decide to purchase a resale home or a presale home, it’s important that you work with a real estate agent to ensure that you have all the data at hand before you make this life changing decision of your life. An experienced realtor could help you get exactly what you can afford and with all the amenities you want!

Whether you choose a resale or presale home, Feel free to visit us visit Naz Allahyari – Vancouver Realtor’s website.

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Buying a new home? Make sure that you understand your wants, needs and ‘must haves’!

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Buying a new home for your family is a big decision. Well, the process of viewing properties and matching them to your ‘wants’ and ‘must haves’ is quite an exciting experience. It’s but natural to focus on the space, the location and the weather and check whether it all works for you!

To begin with, it’s important to have a list of your needs and wants in terms of the size of the house, the number of rooms and outdoor space (if any). Along with all this, it is important to also make a list of things that you absolutely do not want in your new home. So that while you view properties, you can look for any red flags that could be enough to cross it off your list.

Here are a few tips to consider:

What about Condos?

If you are out in the real estate market looking for condos, there is always a lot of information available in the strata documents. It’s important to note that you must not always rely on the information there – a visual inspection is always a good idea. Check whether the property has rain screened exterior – for starters. If the house has a lot of existing possessions, look for signs of wear and tear etc. The idea is to look whether there have been any cover-ups to increase the price unnecessarily.

Things to look out for in town homes

The one thing you need to really take a close look at with town houses is the condition of the common areas. These usually include the fencing that surrounds the units. This reveals how the strata – handles the maintenance. Check the inside of the house and inspect every element carefully.

Top considerations for detached homes

The very first thing to check here is – whether the listing description matches the property you are actually looking at. Well, what exactly should you be looking for? The answer is whether there are any illegal suites and additions. Especially with the Vancouver Special style of homes, there are often two to three suites.

Attending an open house?

Open houses are a great place to get a whole list of properties that are for sale. You could also get acquainted with the owner or the current tenant at such open houses that could ease your investigation and enable you to ask questions to aid your selection process.

Well, it’s important that you keep a list of what you need in your house and what elements could be an added bonus. Start with the basic requirements such as budget and number of rooms. Moving further to special features such as garage, single storey or multi storey, basement etc. you can look at the luxury features in the end – such as wooden flooring, granite counters etc. Well, if you are moving in with your family other aspects of daily life also need to factor in the neighborhood, the nearby schools, parks, vicinity to local transport, convenient local shopping and such other important factors!

Naz Allahyari knows the Vancouver Real Estate market inside and out. As a Vancouver Real Estate Agent provide the expert advice and guidance you need when buying a new home from a builder.

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What are BC home hunters looking for when they purchase a home?

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Different people prefer different things and especially when selecting a home sweet home to live in for the rest of your lives, priorities change. It’s not always only the price of the house that matters. Surely, some people priorities the size, the number o bedrooms, the location and lots of such things.

According to a survey, the key home features that BC residents are currently looking for is outdoor space – of course within a specified price range! 65% responded that outdoor living spaces were just as important – whether it was a small yard or just a simple balcony. Over 55% had their priorities set on the number of bedrooms and 52% made their decisions based on the overall square footage. Well, 51% also included location based features such as whether the home is at a walking distance from the most common amenities.

Here are the most important features that home buyers are currently considering before they make a purchase in BC:

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Cost of housing – This is almost always the first priority on the list. Once the cost of the housing suits budget constraints, all other criteria can be checked and worked upon.

Private outdoor space – This criterion seems to be growing in popularity over the past few years. Outdoor spaces are an interesting addition to your lifestyles.

Number of bedrooms – This usually is a criteria for growing families and families with kids. The number of bedrooms needs to be considered.

Overall square footage – the size of the house could contribute to the living experience. Well, no one wants to live in a place where you feel like the walls are closing in!

Storage space – The amount of storage space is being considered as a criterion for a number of home buyers in BC.

Walking distance to the most common amenities – Shopping centers and malls at a walking distance means a lot to some home buyers.

Garage or indoor parking – Well, many families care about a proper parking space while purchasing a home in BC.

Pet friendly – A pet friendly neighborhood is on the top priority for those who already have a pet and are planning to move or for those who plan on buying a pet in the near future.

Reputation of the developer – Checking out the reputation of the developer seems to be an increasing trend in BC before buying a house. Home buyers contact agents and do their research before making a buying decision.

Access to public transit and proximity to work – this decides how convenient their lifestyle is going to be. This has been an increasingly important factor for a number of home buyers.

Priorities often decide the type of house people select and there could be certain tradeoffs there. For example, proximity to amenities and work could mean a smaller home or a spacious outdoor area could be far away from work. Finding the right balance for families to live comfortably is the key to selecting a home in BC.

Want to buy a home in Vancouver?, Naz Allahyari has been one of the most leading residential Realtors in Vancouver West and North Shore Real Estate

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B-lenders – What are they and what should you know before you buy a home in BC

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Mortgage lenders or alternative lending agencies could be the ‘go to’ people for some buying a home in BC. Canada’s mortgage regulations have changed recently and Vancouver’s real estate market seems to have taken a big turn. B-lenders have regained their popularity and are especially seen as a ray of hope for those new businesses that are unable to show two years of reported income and those with damaged credit.

A classic example of when B-lenders come into picture is when the business is new. Even if the owner has excellent credit and good revenue, but is unable to show enough income history to appeal to the lenders, traditional lenders will take little interest in doing business with this business. B-lenders however can help at this point.

B-lenders are not for ever

With any kind of mortgage, always remember that nothing is forever. This can have both positive and negative outcomes when it comes to renegotiations. The repayment time for loans taken from B-lenders is anywhere between two to three years. When you are up for renewal, talk to your mortgage broker and search for the best mortgage products including rates that suit your situation. New business owners can consider the income they are reporting and if you are able to produce the financial statements for the past two years, it is advisable that you go to the traditional lenders.

A changing mortgage market

The real estate world is changing and so is the economic landscape. A large number of Canadians are self employed. It is also a fact that the B-lenders usually have higher fees and also charge higher interest rates. Most of the times, with such loans a larger down payment is also required. The b-lenders are usually not interested in the income levels, but the returns and probably the property itself.

These alternate mortgage lenders are usually willing to look at each situation on a case by case basis. They have their own criteria to be fulfilled – but are willing to look at the overall story rather than pure statistics. The rates are usually high since your borrower profile is considered as more risky than average. So, if you are considering a B-lender, make sure that you understand that along with a higher down payment, the rate at which you pay back will be higher too. Plus the term will be short.

Finally, it’s also important to understand that B-lenders have very strict rules about repayments. You need to be diligent about paying on time. If for some reason you aren’t able to pay in time, make sure that you discuss with them and renegotiate the terms and help you solve any pressing issues.

Well, it’s always preferred that you go by the traditional means of borrowing when it comes to real estate. But if circumstances demand, you can always choose alternative lenders – and if you do decide to go that way, make sure that you abide by the initially negotiated rules of payments!

West Vancouver Real Estate with Naz Allahyari, top performing real estate agent specializing in homes for sale in the Vancouver Westside, Burnaby, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, and as well as condos in Downtown Vancouver.

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All You Need To Know About Vancouver Home Sales, Listings and Benchmark Prices

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Vancouver Home Sales

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) released statistics that show that the beginning of the year 2017 had a lukewarm start in the real estate market as compared to what it was in the January of 2016. Last year saw record breaking sales in the beginning of the year. That said, there was a flurry of new home listings that led to increased number of home purchases – especially due to the sliding rates. The home buying trend has balanced the market this year. Overall, the composite bench mark price was 15.6 per cent higher than that is January 2016.

It is a known fact that the conditions in the market vary according to the property type. At the moment, the condominium and town home markets are more active than the detached home market. The prices for town home and condominium markets stayed steady for quite a long time.

Sales and Listings
Whether it was the New Year motivation, or the potentially falling values for homes, the January of 2017 saw a rush of new home listings and over four thousand homes. This is more than three times of the listings seen in the December of last year. January sales are lower than the previous month, but they reflect the closure and board registration of purchases that were made during the holiday season. There is a lot of inventory in the market as mentioned earlier, and the current listings in Greater Vancouver are over seven thousand with a whopping 9.1 per cent increase as compared to January 2016. And a whopping 14.1 per cent increase as compared to December 2016. The good news is that the current sales to active listings ratio is brought closer towards balanced market conditions.

Benchmark Prices
When it comes to benchmark prices, it’s important to note that the Metro Vancouver single family home benchmark price increased 15.8 per cent over January 2016 and dropped 0.6 per cent as compared to December. This property type has been driving the price decline and detached houses are now priced at 6.6 per cent less than what they were six months ago – a good time to buy!

Town houses remain in demand as always and the benchmark price of an attached home saw the biggest year over year rise and is up by 19.9 per cent.

Furthermore, condo-apartment prices saw a steady rise of 15.6 per cent year over year and 0.3 per cent over the past six months and 0.4 per cent from December 2016.

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The BC Government Down Payment Loan – Should You Take It?

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The new loan program launched by the BC government -for first time home buyers, created room for a lot of debate. Premier Clark announced on December 15th, 2016 that first time home buyers were eligible for a down payment loan which is interest free for five years. This will be registered as a second mortgage on your home.

The debate
This announcement created a storm in the real estate market and economists are busy debating whether this is a good move or bad. Their logic is that this policy will encourage the already stretched home buyers to borrow even more money to put down less down payment than they otherwise might have – and in turn burden the tax payer in the process.

Some others argue that this policy increases prices and stimulates demands without improving the supply. The third point put forth is that the rise in the interest rates could mean a widespread repayment crisis after five years when the loan repayments kick in.

On the other hand, those in the real estate development industry are totally in support for the policy. After all the criticism over the federal policy to change the mortgage qualification rules and stress test buyers, who have less than 20 percent down payment cutting their buying power considerably and meaning some can’t enter the market at all. The BC program is an attempt to redress that balance and give those buyers some purchasing power and help them get a foot on the property ladder.

So, should you actually take the loan?

The most important thing to consider here is whether it is a good idea to take advantage of this loan or not. The answer is simple, the math is simple too. But, the final decision depends on your own financial situation. The new government loan is definitely cheap money and could empower you to buy that home you always dreamed of – plus it will reduce your stress over the first five years where buyers usually feel most stretched.

It is especially beneficial for those buyers who are on the cusp of raising the 20% down payment. They can easily borrow the remaining amount from the five percent down payment loan. Another way to look at it is that it is easier to raise a smaller down payment and take advantage of this loan. It is however a good idea to consult a mortgage expert or someone knowledgeable in the real estate market to ensure that you do not have a pitfall in the process.

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Everything you need to know about getting a mortgage in 2017

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If you are thinking of buying a home in 2017, here are a few essentials that you need to know about getting a mortgage. Get to know the basics of lending requirements, down payments, loans and qualifications here.

What is the minimum down payment for a home in BC?

For someone who is fully income qualified, the minimum down payment is five percent. However, if the purchase price of the property is over $500K, a minimum down payment of five percent is required for the first $500K and a minimum of ten percent for the remaining amount. Other than that, those who are self employed with stated income are looking at a minimum ten percent down payment, no matter what the sale – price is. Well, anyone with a poor credit or non-verifiable source of income will need to look at alternative lending sources and a minimum of 25% down payment.

Where can my down payment come from?

Well, the primary source of funding your down payment could be your savings or inheritance. Another option, especially for the first time buyers is the Home Buyer’s Plan. Also remember that for first time buyers, there is a property transfer tax (PTT) exemption for those buying homes up to a value of $475K.

For those who are self employed, and who choose to state their income, at least half of the 10 percent down payment will need to come from your own source. The other clause is that you will need to be in the same business for at least two years or beyond that. You must also be able to show a two-year average of NOA income and two years of taxes filed as a business.

If your business is less than two years old, you can still be able to obtain a mortgage from a B lender. However, if you select this route, you will need bank statements for at least one year and other related documentation. The income you state must also be reasonable enough for the property you wish to purchase.

What about the new BC government down payment loan program for first time buyers?

This program was introduced in the December of 2016. It helps the first time buyers to get into the real estate market. It is essentially an interest free loan from the government for the first five years.

What is the maximum amortization on a mortgage?

The maximum amortization on an insured or insurable mortgage is usually 25 years. If the mortgage is not insured, it is 30 years.

If I am here on a work visa, can I get a mortgage?

For those on a work visa, you will be required to pay a 10 per cent down payment on an insured mortgage and for a non-insured mortgage; you will need to pay 35 per cent. The new foreign buyer’s tax of 15% will be additional.

Why is it important to speak to a broker?

A mortgage broker could be of help especially if you are buying for the first time. It will help you with getting it right.

Find Mortgage Calculator in Vancouver at nazproperties.com.

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Winding up a Strata Corporation? Here are a few points to consider

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The Strata Property Act came to effect on the 28th of July 2016. This act made it easier for strata property owners to wind up or dissolve their strata corporation by lowering the voting threshold to 80 per cent.

Dissolving a strata corporation could be beneficial due to many reasons. As strata properties reach the end of their life cycles, they require more frequent repairs and more expensive maintenance which the property owners may not be willing to pay. As developers look for new development opportunities, aging strata buildings become appealing assets. As a strata owner you could get top dollar for your unit in this case.

However, it is important to note that winding up a strata corporation is a complicated process and you must take advice from a reputed property agent and a lawyer to take you through a successful wind up.

Here are a few pointers to dissolve a strata property successfully:

1. Each strata corporation is unique
The physical condition, zoning and the potential for rezoning for each strata property is unique. It may be made of a diverse group of owners too. Make sure that your stake holders understand that you are in a wind up conversation and will need their support and cooperation so that you can achieve your goals.

2. Information meetings
The key owners and the strata council members must understand the wind up process thoroughly. Informational meetings are essential so that everyone is well informed about the proceedings. Invite advisors and experts to these meetings so that all doubts can be cleared instantly. Overall, ensure that the right information is provided to the other owners and tenants.

3. Distribution of sales proceeds
The distribution of the proceeds is determined by the Strata Property Act and the legislature that was prevalent prior to this act. The distribution of the sale proceeds should be determined early in the process.

4. Conditions for listing agreements and purchase and sales agreements
The inability of the strata corporation to force owners to sell their units before the windup process is complete must be addressed by the wind up agreement. The wind up approval process must be reflected in the agreement. Approval by the owners, the court and the due diligence process that is required by the developers must be accounted for.

5. Sale of property
The nature of marketing selected and the timing for sale might be different for different kind of properties. There may be just one logical buyer willing to pay a premium amount for the property, or there may be many buyers. It is hence essential to choose the right real estate agent for this purpose. Appraisals from professional appraisal firms may also be required in some cases.

6. Authorizing windup
The winding up of a strata property could be a long and stressful process that requires strict adherence to the Strata Property Act. It’s important that you seek authorization before marketing your property.

7. Rezoning
You must provide further information to the owners on the current and potential zoning. In order to accomplish this, ensure that you work with your real estate brokers and appraisers. They can help you understand the timing and the realistic potential of any re-zoning so that your strata captures it’s fair share of that potential.

8. Land title and conveyancing process
Work closely with the Land Title Office staff and be sure to look for lawyers that provide the software and precedent knowledge to help expedite the process and achieve cost savings.

If you are think of buying or selling in West Vancouver, call Naz Allahyari for a free home evaluation today.

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Just purchased a new home? Here are a few financial tips to consider!

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Five Top Financial Tips for New Homeowners

After years of planning, budgeting and saving, you finally purchase your dream home! Just when you thought you’ve finally ‘arrived’, you realize that buying a home is not the end, but the actual beginning where all your financial expenses start adding up. You will need to buy home appliances, furniture and bedding etc. You will also need landscaping services to beautify your front and back yards. Suddenly, you realize that there are a lot of things that you need in order to keep your home functioning.

Here are a few tips that will ensure that you do not go overboard with your expenses. These essential financial tips will help you be more careful with your spending and help you find a way to live within your means.

#1. Plan your purchases carefully
Owning a home is not child’s play. There are a number of thing that need to be accounted for – financially. Furniture, artwork, lighting, appliances – all are pricy and need a lot of money to be spent. It’s very easy to get carried away. It is hence important to create a strategic plan for all the purchases you make. Instead of impulse shopping that could max out your credit card, save up for the important and absolutely necessary things you want to buy. Make sure that you spread out your purchases so that you do not end up spending a lot of money at once.

#2. Learn the art of budgeting
While you might have a sort of budget in place, the first few months in a new home are always nerve wracking. It’s a good idea to revisit your numbers and prioritize and adjust the budget accordingly. Mortgages are generally more expensive than rent payments and you feel a dearth of cash inflow. Keep an eye on all the expenses that you can avoid and allocate appropriate amounts for those expenses that you cannot avoid.

#3. Major annual expenses need to be accounted for
With a new home, a lot of recurring costs add up on a monthly or yearly basis. Annual property tax, home owner’s association dues and other similar expenses are common. Take all these expenses into account while assigning budgets for your new home.

#4. Inevitable repairs and maintenances
It’s important to save some money for repairs or maintenance. Sometimes insurance covers these costs, but many times it does not. Check your insurance to understand what you can and cannot claim. If you purchased an old home, repairing budget might need to be higher. Run a thorough check of the entire house before you allocate budgets.

#5. Emergency funds
However well you plan, emergencies always come unannounced. It’s always a good idea to keep aside an emergency fund. You never know when you might need extra money. Make sure that you have something to fall back on.

If you thought that the down payment you made was all that you needed to pay when buying a new house, think twice – there are a lot of hidden costs involved. Ensure that you budget your expenses carefully.

Find West Vancouver real estate listings and browse homes for sale at Nazproperties.com

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New Down Payment Loan to First Time Buyers

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A new government backed loan program was announced by Premier Christy Clark on December 15, 2016. This program includes lending homebuyers in BC up to $37500 to first time home buyers. The program matches the amount that first time buyers have saved towards down payments and up to a maximum of $37500 and no more than 5% of the home’s total value. The loan only applies to homes with a total purchase value of $750,000 or under. It’s also only for certain qualified buyers with insured high ratio mortgages (with a down payment of less than 20 percent).

This program is especially designed for helping home buyers who already qualify for an insured high ratio mortgage but usually cannot afford the initial down payment.

It makes the dream of owning a home within the reach of the middle class in BC. The good part is that this 25 year loan is interest free and there are no payments required to be made for five years. The interest after five years will be as per the current market rates.

There are a few conditions however:
• All applicants must be first time home buyers
• Applicants must also have a total household income of less than $150000.
• They must have been citizens of Canada for the past five years.
• They must have lived in the province for at least two years.
• The applicants also must have paid taxes in Canada for at least one year.
• This program is funded from the province’s property purchase taxation, and also includes the foreign buyer tax.
• The program will last for a minimum three years and there is no cap on the amount of money or the number of applicants that can avail this facility.

Is this program great or a terrible plan? Here are a few things to know and understand:

This new program will definitely encourage already stretched home buyers to borrow money so as to put down a less down payment than they otherwise might have. The program stimulates demand without improving supply. The program might just increase prices. The rise in interest rates could also mean a widespread repayment crisis when the loan repayments start kicking in.

Interest rates by then are expected to be higher and you might have to start the repayment at those higher rates. However, if you do take advantage of the loan and do buy a home, remember that you need to keep saving and use those savings to pay off chunks of your mortgage. This new money is like a second mortgage and make sure that you carefully consider and plan it’s repayment.

So, even though this new down payment loan program empowers real estate buyers with the bulk money that they require to buy their first dream home, it is only wise to take it after considering all the implications and the financial changes that the five years will bring and take a prudent decision – after all it’s like a second mortgage!

Find West Vancouver real estate listings and browse homes for sale at Nazproperties.com, Naz Allahyari is a Canada’s leading and full-time Vancouver Real Estate Agent specializes in homes for sale in the West Vancouver, Yaletown, West Vancouver, Coal Harbour, and Downtown Vancouver.

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