Archive for May, 2013

Some tips on how to sell your home fast

Monday, May 6th, 2013

While homes in big cities may sell quickly, outside major centres homes can sit on the market for months and months. Sometimes it’s a slow market. Sometimes it’s silly mistakes made by sellers. Whether you are selling in the city or hoping to move your rural property into new hands, don’t make these mistakes:


You may have put a lot of love and a lot of money, into your home, but buyers don’t care. They aren’t comparing the home before you loved it with the one you’re selling now; they’re comparing your home to all the other options on the market. If you start off too high, you’ll stop all the people who might be interested from even looking at what you’ve got.

Limiting showings

Really? You’re trying to sell your home but you’re not making it available when buyers want to see it? While it might be a major pain being on call for showings at the drop of a text, if you want that puppy gone, you’ll have to make it easy for buyers to see it.

Failing to prepare

Would you want to buy a home that was full of clutter, needed repairs or had a front yard that had run to weeds? The guy who you’re trying to convince doesn’t either. Rumour has it that it takes only about 60 seconds for a prospective buyer to form an opinion about a home. I know that of the four homes I’ve bought, I knew it was “the one” within minutes of walking in the door. Clean out the rubbish, tidy up the cupboards and the garage, stash your excess stuff in a friend’s basement until the home sells. And make sure the place smells wonderful. (You’ll benefit from that too.)

Becoming offended

A low-ball offer hasn’t been made to offend you, it’s the buyer’s signal that the negotiation is going to be a rollercoaster ride. Buckle up, but keep smiling. Letting your emotions get in the way of a deal is immature. This is a business deal, treat it as such.

Thwarting inspections

If you’re afraid of what an inspection might turn up, rather than get in the way of the inspection process, hire your own inspector to highlight what you need to fix. If you aren’t prepared to replace the 34-year-old furnace or 15-year-old roof, be prepared for the buyer to negotiate the cost of a new one off your sales price.

Source: Gail Vaz-Oxlade, MoneySense

April sales numbers may be down but Vancouver properties priced right are selling

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

People are still shying away from investing in Vancouver real estate, April sales numbers show.

This April’s sales were the lowest April total since 2001 and 20.9 per cent below the 10-year sales average for the month, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported yesterday.

“While the number of home sales remains below average, properties that are priced right are selling and we’re seeing greater balance between buyer demand and the number of homes listed for sale,” says Sandra Wyant, REBGV president.

There were 2,627 home sales in Vancouver in April, a decrease of 6.1 per cent from last April and an increase of 11.9 per cent from March.

In the Fraser Valley, sales were also up from March, but down from last year, the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reported.

Board president Ron Todson said sales usually increase in the spring, and this year is no exception.

“What’s different this year is that a number of external factors, such as tighter credit rules and the government’s spotlight on consumer debt have made some consumers more cautious about buying or selling a property,” Todson said in a news release.

Despite sluggish sales, prices have been creeping up again across the Lower Mainland, the real estate boards said.

“There have been modest increases in home prices across the region over the last three months. This comes on the heels of home price declines of approximately five to six per cent in Greater Vancouver during the last half of 2012,” Wyant said.

The home price index composite price in Greater Vancouver is now $597,300 for all property types, the board’s numbers show. Although this is down 3.9 per cent from April 2011, it is up 1.6 per cent from this January.

In the Fraser Valley, the benchmark composite price is $426,900 for all property types, down 0.2 per cent from a year ago, but up 1.4 per cent from January, the RVREB numbers show.

“Pricing is incredibly important in slower than average markets,” said Todson. “We’re not seeing the rapid increases in home values of the last decade, which means that sellers may need to sharpen their pricing in order to be competitive, but buyers won’t see dramatic price drops.”

On April 1, the province reverted to the GST and PST tax structure. Buyers in April saved a bit of money on their real estate commissions under the new rules, because tax on real-estate commissions is reduced to five per cent from the 12 per cent HST.

The Fraser Valley region includes North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission, while the REBGV includes Vancouver, Richmond, Ladner, Tsawwassen, North Vancouver, West Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Bowen Island, Maple Ridge, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, Port Moody, Squamish, the Sunshine Coast and Whistler.

Meanwhile, a new BMO report out Thursday found that Eighty per cent of prospective buyers know if a home is right for them as soon as they step inside.

The BMO Psychology of House Hunting Report says Canadians spent an average of five months house hunting and viewed 10 homes before buying.

Nearly 70 per cent of buyers are willing to settle for less than perfect, but one-third feel rushed into making a purchase, the report says.

Canadian homeowners spent an average of five months house hunting and visited ten homes before making the decision to buy, the report says.

Source: Tracy Sherlock, Vancouver Sun

US home price rise continues to pick up speed

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Good news for our cousins south of the border as the pace of home price increases continued to accelerate in February, according to a reading yesterday that showed the biggest gain since near the height of the housing bubble.

The S&P Case-Shiller index of home prices in 20 major markets posted a 9.3% rise over the last 12 months. That’s up from the 8.1% rise in January. It was the biggest 12-month gain in the index since May 2006, which was just one month after the index showed record-high home prices.

The index showed a 12-month decline in prices almost every month over a five-year period through May 2012. But every month since then has shown a gain in home prices, and each month’s gain has been stronger than the one that came before.

“Despite some recent mixed economic reports for March, housing continues to be one of the brighter spots in the economy,” said David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices.

Stan Humphries, chief economist for home price tracker Zillow, said there are signs in the market that the pace of increase started to slow in March.

“Regardless what data you look at, home values are clearly rising at an unsustainable pace,” he said. He said the increases in the index need to be taken with a grain of salt, being distorted by the shift in transactions to private home sales rather than the foreclosure sales that had been dominating the market.

The housing recovery has been driven by a number of factors, including near record-low mortgage rates, a drop in foreclosures and reduced unemployment, all of which have helped lift both new-home sales as well as sales of previously owned homes. The rising home prices has helped bring back some buyers who had been reluctant to buy while prices were falling.

Mike Larson, real estate analyst at Weiss Research, said he’s concerned that much of the increase is being driven by investors flooding into some markets to buy homes in order to rent them out, outbidding the potential homeowners who want to live in a home.

“Prices are not at bubblicious levels, but you’re talking about a trend that can be destabilizing,” he said.

Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities, said part of the reason for the sharp rise in prices is the comparison to depressed prices a year earlier. He said comparisons will become more difficult later this year. and the pace of increase should slow.

Home price increases boost the overall economy. Besides the jobs created by a pick-up in construction and home sales, rising prices mean fewer homeowners are underwater on their mortgages, owing more than the home is worth. That allows more homeowners to refinance, saving money they can spend on other things.

Source: Chris Isidore at CNN Money

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