B.C. First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus Clarification


Please note that this bonus nothing to do with a home buyer's income tax return itself. The home buyer, assuming he or she meets the criteria, applies for the bonus. If they are eligible, the government approves the application and sends a cheque to the applicant for the amount claimed up to $10,000.


The credit will be available on purchases of newly constructed housing where both the HST applies and where a written agreement of purchase and sale is entered-into on or after February 21, 2012.


For the Finance Minister’s speech and more details on Budget 2012, visit

Visit the Province’s website at for online information and services.


Join us March 29th, 2012 for a free of charge seminar catered to First Time Home Buyers. Presented by Realtor - Tim Hill of Royal LePage Coronation West, Mortgage Brokers - Yuki Urasaki & Ambrose Kwong of Dominion Lending Centres Interest Advantage and Home Inspector - Gord McDougall. RSVP details below.

Registration will begin at 6:30pm with the presentation beginning at 7:00pm for approximately 45 minutes. There will also be a question and answer period afterwards as well as First Time Buyer Packages for everyone to take home. Snacks and beverages will be available for your convenience. Kids are welcome s no need for babysitters! Door prizes will also be given away during the presentation.

The First Time Home Buyers presentation will cover the following aspects and more:
-The Buying Process
-Perks of being a First Time Buyer
-Credit Analysis
-Mortgage Pre-Approval
-Mortgage Rate Hold
-Home Inspections
-Hidden Closing Costs
-Government Exemptions
-Harmonized Sales Tax
-Property Transfer Tax

Please RSVP at your earliest convenience by email or calling any of the below Presenters:

Tim Hill - 604.319.4700
Yuki Urasaki - 604.537.9432
Ambrose Kwong - 778.838.882


Going Green - Spring Tune Up Tip


Did you know that you have an advantage if you get your furnace tuned up in the Spring rather than in the Fall? When a furnace sits idle all Summer long, combustion residue that settles in the heat exchanger absorbs humidity from the basement and becomes nearly impossible to remove in its entirety. Have your furnace tuned up in the Spring, before it goes on hiatus for the Summer months. Any residue will still be dry, not affected by humidity, and easily and effectively vacuumed from the heat exchanger, helping you achieve maximum efficiency for your furnace.


RRSP Home Buyers' Plan


The Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP) is a program for first-time homebuyers that allows you to withdraw funds from your RRSPs to buy or build a home. You can withdraw up to $25,000 tax-free ($50,000 for a couple). Your RRSP contributions must remain in the RRSP for at least 90 days before you can withdraw them under the HBP. Generally, you have to repay all withdrawals to your RRSPs within a period of no more than 15 years. You’ll have to repay an amount to your RRSPs each year until your HBP balance is zero. If you don’t repay the amount due for a year, it will have to be included in your income for that year. Click here for more information from Canada Revenue Agency.


Do It Yourself or Call in an Expert?


With Spring on the horizon, many homeowners will be getting their hands dirty with home improvement projects in the hopes of saving money while improving their living space or perhaps to get their homes ready to sell.


Although some projects can be tackled by homeowners, the do-it-yourself (DIY) route isn’t always the most economical – or safest, for that matter.


It’s often difficult to determine if a project entails more than you can realistically handle. Most people tend to gauge the complexity of a project by doing research online, as some DIY websites grade a project’s difficulty. But you should also look at the tools that are required for the job. If you come across complex tools you know little about, it may be best to call in an expert.


If you’re unsure about your ability to correctly finish a project, get an expert opinion before proceeding. Sometimes, you may end up spending more money to repair a bungled DIY job than if you had hired someone to do it right from the onset of the project.


Following are some examples of when you may want to consider turning to a pro:


When safety is an issue. Getting involved with your home’s electrical system can be risky. Not only could you be electrocuted, but doing a job incorrectly could also create a safety hazard within your home’s structure. Another often unsafe DIY project includes extending a gas line. If you don’t know how to check for gas leaks, for instance, this DIY project could lead to an explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. As well, if you’re considering tackling a project that involves heights, make sure you have the know-how to safely complete the job or call in an expert. Even some power tools can be beyond your capabilities and result in serious injury or death. It’s always important to remember that potential money savings aren’t worth risking safety.


When water is involved. Leaks and water damage can lead to more costly and complicated repairs. If left unfixed, they can lead to mould, which affects air quality and, if found during an inspection, can be a deal breaker on a home sale. Water-related projects don’t have to strictly involve your home’s pipes. Putting in a skylight may seem like a DIY job you can handle. Do it incorrectly, however, and you could end up with a leaky roof, water damage and mould.


If the costs of materials or tools are too high. Sometimes the costs of materials and the expense associated with making a mistake are enough to make hiring an expert a no-brainer. For something like crown moulding, for instance, you need an expensive tool and the material itself is costly. A kitchen cabinet can cost a couple hundred dollars and, if you order incorrectly, there may be a restocking fee and special orders may be non-returnable. Being off on measurements for granite countertops can also prove to be a costly error.


If the project is too big. If you’re planning on replacing all the windows in your home or remodelling your kitchen, think twice about how much of the project you want to take on yourself. Often, you can leave the heavy lifting to the experts, and work on the finishing touches, such as painting or tiling backsplashes. But, while installing hardwood or laminate flooring can be a good DIY project, its complexity will largely be determined by its scale. For instance, installing laminate flooring in a small, square bedroom is often manageable for homeowners to do on their own, but doing a larger-scale flooring project – involving a transition between rooms or perhaps around a kitchen island – is where people often get tripped up.


If you decide to call in an expert, make sure you do your research, get multiple quotes, ask friends and family for referrals and check references. Unfortunately, there are many contractors who claim to know what they’re doing and then get in over their heads, which could end up costing you in the end as well.



Three Top Spring Home Buying Tips



If you’re thinking of buying your first home or upgrading to a new one, the inventory of homes on the market come Spring is definitely plentiful – providing for a great selection of homes to serve your unique needs.


Still, there are also generally more people out looking at homes in the Spring as well. And while some homebuyers feel anxious about securing their dream home as soon as possible, it’s important to take the time to be patient and make sure the home is a good fit for you and your family.


After all, home-buying is likely the largest investment you’ll ever make, and doing your due diligence when determining which house to buy ensures that fewer surprises arise after your moving day.


Following are three top considerations to keep in mind when looking for your new home this Spring:


1. Get preapproved for a mortgage. Not only will this step help you compete against other buyers who have not been preapproved, but it will also ensure you only look at home’s within your price range – saving you the trouble of falling in love with a home you can’t afford. Your mortgage broker or lender will be able to get you preapproved before you start browsing homes.


2. Think about what you need. Jotting down specifics regarding what you “need” in a home – as opposed to what you “want” – will help determine the types of homes you should be viewing. It’s rarely possible, however, to find a perfect home for your needs, tastes and budget. While it’s important to weigh your priorities before you start your home search, it’s equally important to be flexible and willing to change your mind once you see what your true options are – viewing properties can shift your priorities. And remember that if you can only find places that require too many compromises, it’s okay to keep looking – new homes come on the market daily!


3. Look past the staging. Many sellers enlist staging professionals to help sell their homes faster and at a higher price. While this often makes listings more visually appealing to buyers, some major flaws may be covered up through staging. And while minor cosmetic issues can often be overcome with a simple fix such as a coat of paint, larger, more costly issues can arise with a home if you don’t notice poor conditions before you buy. Some things to look for include: leaks around plumbing fixtures and ceilings (thanks to upper floor bathrooms); stains on walls or ceilings; evidence of mould; poor workmanship on flooring, moulding, windows and doors; or aging and worn seals around windows and doors.


As always, if you have any questions or concerns about buying or selling a home, or you’d like some useful tips, information and answers to your questions are just a phone call or email away!



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Greater Vancouver housing market trends near long-term averages as spring market approaches


REBGV - March 2nd, 2012


Closer alignment between home buyer and seller activity helped bring greater balance to the Greater Vancouver housing market in February.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,545 on the MLS® system in February 2012. This represents a 61.4 per cent increase compared to the 1,577 sales recorded in January 2012, a decline of 17.8 per cent compared to the 3,097 sales in February 2011 and a 2.9 per cent increase from the 2,473 home sales in February 2010.

February sales in Greater Vancouver were the third lowest February total in the region since 2002, though only 151 sales below the 10-year average.

“With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of over 18 per cent, we see fairly balanced conditions in our marketplace as we move into the traditionally busier spring season,” Rosario Setticasi, REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Greater Vancouver totalled 5,552 in February 2012. This represents a 2.5 per cent decline compared to February 2011 when 5,693 properties were listed, and a 3.5 per cent decline compared to January 2012 when 5,756 homes were added to the MLS® in Greater Vancouver.

Last month’s new listing count was the second highest February total in Greater Vancouver since 1996.

At 14,055, the total number of residential property listings on the MLS® increased 12 per cent in February compared to last month and increased 17.9 per cent from this time last year.

“Region-wide we’ve seen relative stability in home prices over the last six months, but it’s important to do your homework and consult your REALTOR® because pricing can vary considerably depending on the neighbourhood and property type,” Setticasi said.

The MLS® HPI benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver currently sits at $670,900, up 6 per cent compared to February 2011 and an increase of 0.9 per cent compared to January 2012. The benchmark price for all residential properties in the Lower Mainland is $601,300, an increase of 5.5 per cent compared to February 2011.

Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in February 2012 reached 1,101, a decline of 21.5 per cent from the 1,402 detached sales recorded in February 2011, and a 12 per cent increase from the 983 units sold in February 2010. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 10.5 per cent from February 2011 to $1,042,900.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,020 in February 2012, a decline of 15.4 per cent compared to the 1,206 sales in February 2011, and a decrease of 5 per cent compared to the 1,074 sales in February 2010. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 2.8 per cent from February 2011 to $373,300.

Townhome property sales in February 2012 totalled 424, a decline of 13.3 per cent compared to the 489 sales in February 2011, and a 1.9 per cent increase from the 416 townhome properties sold in February 2010. The benchmark price of a townhome unit increased 0.7 per cent between February 2011 and 2012 to $472,800.


Reciprocity Logo The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Greater Vancouver REALTORS® (GVR), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the GVR, the FVREB or the CADREB.