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Real Estate

Resource Guide

Fall / Winter 2012

• Home Decorating • Landscaping • Home Improvement • Legal / Mortgages • Realtors


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Things to consider

when building an in-law suite


n-law suites are often created by converting a room in the house, such as the basement or even a garage, into a livable suite. Such suites can benefit elderly relatives who might have been dealt an unforeseen financial blow. But in-law suites can also benefit younger homeowners who want to see their parents more. In addition, when older men and women move in with their adult children, they can provide some necessary relief from the escalating cost of daycare. But before building an in-law suite in their home, homeowners might want to heed the following tips. • Be certain it is legal. Making changes to your home may require a permit, particularly if your in-law suite will be an entirely new addition to your property and not just a strict room remodel. Contact your local zoning board to ensure the project is within your rights as a homeowner. • Consider the health of your in-laws when making plans. Many in-law suites are occupied by aging relatives who might not be able to get up and down stairs as easily as they used to. That makes accessibility of the suite a top priority. Typically, it’s best to locate in-law suites on the first floor, so relatives won’t find it difficult to get in and out of the suite. • Don’t overlook privacy. Just because your parents or in-laws will be moving in doesn’t mean they don’t still value their privacy. Chances are your relatives will initially feel as though they are invading your space and your privacy, so be sure the suite affords adequate privacy to all members of the household. It might be

best to build the suite so it has its own separate entrance from the rest of the home. The suite should also have its own full bathroom and, if possible, its own kitchen area so your in-laws can cook for themselves and entertain their own guests without feeling like a burden. A second kitchen is also something to discuss with a zoning board, as some locales prohibit having two complete kitchens in a single residence. • Tailor certain amenities to the elderly. If your in-laws are older, install certain amenities, such as grab bars in the shower and bathroom, during the initial construction so you won’t have to make changes down the road. Install easy-open drawers and make sure the suite has ample lighting. • Remember to install safety features. Safety features like fire, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are a necessity. Make sure the alarms on each of these detectors are loud enough so elderly men and women who have hearing loss can hear them without issue. Make sure all walkways leading to the in-law suite have motion detecting lamps at night to reduce risk of falling. Also, if the suite will be a separate building from your house, such as a converted pool house or detached garage, install an intercom system that connects with the main house so your relatives can easily reach you in case of emergency. In-law suites are becoming more popular as a greater number of older adults are moving in with their adult children. Such suites can bring families closer together and prove beneficial for all parties involved.

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Grant for new

secondary or recreational homes available


Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

f you buy a new or substantially renovated secondary or recreational home in BC, but outside of Greater Vancouver or Victoria, before April 1, 2013, you may qualify for a provincial grant for the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). The grant for new secondary or recreational housing is directly administered by the BC Ministry of Finance. This grant should not be confused with the BC New Housing Rebate available for new residential homes bought as a primary residence, and administered by Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The grant for new secondary or recreation housing is 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST paid on the new home up to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Secondary or recreational homes priced at $850,000 or more are eligible for a flat grant of $42,500. Eligibilty - secondary or recreational home • a new home (detached, semi-detached, duplex, condominium, townhome) constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) together with land bought from a builder; • a new home together with leased land; • a new mobile home or float home; • a new home bought through shares in a housing cooperative; or • a new home constructed or substantially renovated (more than 90%) by the owner builder. Eligibility - buyers • the HST was paid on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013 on the purchase of a new or substantially renovated house, or to build or substantially renovate a house;

• the buyer or a family member will use the house as a secondary or recreational residence; • the home is located outside the Capital Regional District and the Greater Vancouver Regional District; • the buyer (or any other co-owners) or family are the first occupants of the home, or in the case of a substantial renovation, are the first occupants after the renovation; and • the home will not be used for commercial purposes (vacation rentals, bed and breakfast, small business) by an owner who is an HST registrant claiming input tax credits for some or all of the HST paid on the home. In addition to the general qualifications above, buyers must meet other conditions depending on the type of home and whether the client buys or builds the house alone or with others. For example, if two or more individuals buy a new secondary or recreational home, or build or substantially renovate a home, each buyer must meet all eligibility conditions, but only one may apply for the grant as the claimant. You do not have to be a BC resident to be eligible for the grant. Buyers of secondary or recreational homes must complete an application form and provide supporting documents within six months from the date the HST was paid and before October 1, 2013 (whichever date is earliest). Learn more Call 1-877-388-4440 or visit and in the search box type in HST Notice #13.

11 Critical Home Inspection Traps to be Aware of Weeks Before Listing Your Home for Sale Abbotsford - According to industry experts, there are over 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection when your home is for sale. A new report has been prepared which identifies the eleven most common of these problems, and what you should know about them before you list your home for sale. Whether you own an old home or a brand new one, there are a number of things that can fall short of requirements during a home inspection. If not identified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair. That’s why it’s critical that you read this report before you list your home. If you wait until the building inspector flags these issues for you, you will almost certainly experience costly delays in the close of your home sale or, worse, turn prospective buyers

away altogether. In most cases, you can make a reasonable preinspection yourself if you know what you’re looking for, and knowing what you’re looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones. To help homesellers deal with this issue before their homes are listed, a free report entitled “11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection” has been compiled which explains the issues involved. To hear a brief recorded message about how to order your FREE copy of this report, call toll-free 1-800-478-1805 and enter 2003. You can call any time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Get your free special report NOW to learn how to ensure a home inspection doesn’t cost you the sale of your home.

This report is courtesy of mako @ keller williams realty. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright © 2011. ADVERTORIAL

4 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide

New Rules

for Mortgage Finance in Canada (July 2012)


Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

he government has announced that as of July 9, 2012, new rules will apply to government-backed insured mortgages where the borrower has less than a 20% downpayment. The government will: • reduce the maximum amortization (pay back) period on a mortgage to 25 years from 30 years; • lower the maximum amount borrowers can refinance to 80% loan-to-value (LTV) from 85%; • limit the Gross Debt Service (GDS) ratio to a maximum of 39% of income. The GDS ratio represents the amount of household income spent on the mortgage, property taxes and heating; • limit the Total Debt Service (TDS) ratio to a maximum of 44% of income. The TDS ratio represents the amount of household income spent on all debts including the mortgage; and • limit government-insured mortgages to homes priced at less than $1 million. Buyers of homes priced at $1 million or more must have a minimum 20% downpayment. The new rules apply to mortgages on residential property with four units or less. They DO NOT apply to: • mortgages with a 20% downpayment or more which don’t require government-backed mortgage insurance; • borrowers renewing their existing insured mortgages, where there are no new funds being added to the mortgage; or • development or construction of multi-unit buildings of five

units or more, owned by a landlord. Refinancing What will the new rules cost buyers refinancing a home valued at $625,000? • When refinancing at 85%, the home owner can access up to $531,250 • When refinancing at 80%, the home owner can access up to $500,000 Four years of tightening borrowing rules This is the fourth time in four years that the government has tightened borrowing rules. • In 2008, the government reduced the maximum amortization period to 35 years from 40, required home buyers to have a minimum down payment of 5% (compared to the previous 0% down), and introduced new loan documentation standards. • In 2010, the government required all borrowers to meet standards for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage, reduced the maximum amount borrowers could refinance to 90% from 95%, and for non-owner-occupied investment properties, required a minimum 20% down payment. • In January 2011, the government reduced the maximum amortization period for government-backed insured mortgages to 30 years from 35 years and reduced the amount borrowers could refinance to 85% from 90%.

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Create a positive first impression De-clutter before you sell!


ust hearing the word ‘Clutter’ can make a potential buyer and realtor cringe. If you are considering selling your home in the next 6 – 12 months or just looking for a fresh new look, then de-cluttering MUST BE AT THE TOP OF YOUR LIST OF TO DO’S! Ask yourself, “Are you willing to pay to have items moved that you no longer like or have a need for in your new home?” Your answer is probably NO! This is all well and good but how does one untangle themselves from items they no longer like, were bought on that special holiday, or gifts received from family and friends? It can begin with a willingness to change! Giving yourself permission to donate, give away, or recycle the items you no longer love or like, can be a very liberating experience. Think about how good it would feel to have only items in your home that you loved, made you feel good and reflected who you are as a person. When you are de-cluttering, start small. If this is new to you, begin with one drawer, one closet, or a single room. Most people have an emotional attachment to their belongings and every home tells a story. Sometimes there has been some great loss maybe a loved one, family member, spouse, or maybe a divorce has transpired. Please be kind to yourself, start with 15 minutes per day. Start de-cluttering with things you feel comfortable with; for example, letting go of old clothes. Get 3 boxes & label each one: • Items to keep • Items to donate • Items I am not sure what to do with. Take clothes out of the closet and decide, piece by piece by asking yourself some questions: • Do I LOVE this outfit, and do I feel good wearing it? • Does it fit me? • Is the outfit outdated? • If yes, the item can go back in the closet If no, donate to a cause in your neighborhood such as women’s/men shelters, thrift or consignment stores, garage sale, family and or friends. 1. As you go through your clothes create zones for the items you Love and feel terrific in by colour and put back in your closet 2. Clothes you no longer like or wear can be packed away in boxes. Give to thrift stores, shelters, etc.; there are ALWAYS peo-

Committed to Excellence Bringing Families Home

By Louise Henry, Pair Home Design

ple in greater need. 3. Set aside the clothing you aren’t sure about for a few more months. If you don’t wear it over the next 6-9 months you’re probably never going to wear it again! If you need help to declutter due to downsizing or wanting a more minimalist home, consider contacting a professionally trained home staging consultant. They can help you to get started on the de-cluttering and packing, to bring subtle or more dramatic positive changes to your home! Article courtesy of Louise Henry, Pair Home Design Suggested reading to help you get started: Clear Your Clutter With Feng Shui ; by Karen Kingston Throw Out Fifty Things: Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life; by Gail Blanke. The Clutter-Busting Handbook: Clean It Up, Clear It Out, & Keep Your Life Clutter-Free; by Rita Emmett


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6 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide 102-32544 02-32544 George Ferguson Way Office 604-852-2234 • Cell 604-854-2827

Seven inexpensive ways to update a home now


uying a home can open up a bottomless pit of opportunities for projects and improvements. While some homeowners engage in different repairs and fix-ups out of necessity, many others like to freshen-up their spaces out of personal preference instead of need. But even the most well-intentioned projects can be waylaid if budgets are tight. The following are seven projects that won’t break the bank. 1. Move furniture around. Interior designers know how to arrange furniture for maximum appeal, but the average homeowner can do it, too. Find a focal point in the room and angle the furniture toward it. Don’t make the focal point the television, however. Try changing the placement of chairs and sofas. Simply moving a curio cabinet from one corner to another can make a difference. 2. Add lighting. Lighting at different levels in the room can create a vibrant impact. Many homeowners mistakenly put in a couple of table lamps and think that will be adequate. However, properly illuminating a room means varying the lighting to create different moods at different times. Plus, more light can make a room feel more welcoming. 3. Add new pillows or drapes. Changing a few aspects of a room can give it an entirely new look. If you want to add a splash of color but don’t know what to do, think about incorporating some new throw pillows or change the curtains. An accessory here and there in a bright color also can introduce a new color without it being overwhelming. 4. Change knobs or small accents. Give a room a new look by focusing on the small details. Switch out cabinet knobs for something updated and modern. Take inventory of wall outlets and light switches and think about

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selecting new ones that coordinate with your home decor. 5. Use plants. Empty corners or spots you’re not certain how to fill may benefit from a plant. Plants are inexpensive ways to add instant color and visual appeal to a room. 6. Hang new wall art. It may be time to look at your photos and artwork and make a few adjustments. Hanging new prints could instantly change a room’s ambience. And you needn’t spend a lot of money on professional photography, either. Grab your camera and take a few close-up shots of flowers or take in a landscape scenery. Many of today’s home printers can produce professional-quality prints in minutes. 7. Try a new coat of paint. After you’ve exhausted other avenues, choosing a new paint color may provide the new look you desire. Painting is one of the least expensive yet most dramatic methods of changing a home’s interior. With dozens of hues to choose from, and new apps that enable you to take snapshots of things in nature or in your life and match them up to a paint color, you will have scores of opportunities to explore fresh new colors for your home. When you get inspired to make improvements to the home but fear how much it may take out of your wallet, consider inexpensive tricks that can induce a big “wow” factor.

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We’re committed to all your Agriculture Real Estate needs. Contact Gord or Greg today for your own confidential meeting.

Gord Houweling 604.793.8660

Greg Walton 604.864.1610 Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide - 7


CENTURY 21 AGENTS ARE Geek out with CENTURY 21 Plugged into the local real estate market, thanks to a mobile site, iPhone app and neighbourhood websites, CENTURY 21 Sales Professionals are geeking out over the technology available to them, ensuring their clients receive the most innovative services.

Get Plugged in Independently Owned and Operated. ®/™ trademarks owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC used under license or authorized sub-license. © 2011 Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership ®™ Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V. Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership.

8 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide


Plugged into the local real estate market, thanks to a mobile site, iPhoneAce Agencies Ltd. app and neighbourhood # 2 – 33555 South websites, CENTURY 21 Fraser Way, Abbotsford, B.C. V2S 2B7 Ph: 604-853-3374 or 1-877-857-1921 Sales Professionals are Fax: 604-853-2133 Email: geeking out over the technology available to them, ensuring their clients receive the most innovative services.

Ace Agencies Ltd. has been part of the industry leading CENTURY 21 system for over 36 years. Why? Simply put, CENTURY 21 continues to bring innovative change to the way we market properties that ultimately benefit our clients. Whether you are an investor, tenant, buyer, long time home owner, upsizing, down-sizing, strata property owner or first time buyer, we can help you make good decisions with real estate by supplying the information you need. Once you decide the direction you need to go we have the tools to get the job done. Our agents are connected to more . . . and ready to work for you.


Independently Owned and Operated. ®/™ trademarks owned by Century 21 Real Estate LLC used under license or authorized sub-license. © 2011 Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership ®™ Trademarks of AIR MILES Trading B.V. Used underby license by 21 LoyaltyOne, Inc. and Century Canada Limited Partnership. Independently Owned andInternational Operated. ®/™ trademarks owned Century Real Estate LLC used under21 license or authorized sub-license. © 2011 Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership ®™ Trademarks of AIR MILES International Trading B.V. Used under license by LoyaltyOne, Inc. and Century 21 Canada Limited Partnership.

Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide - 9

BEST of Fraser Valley

Commercial Real Estate Awards 2012

Courtesy of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

The Crossing


he Fraser Valley Real Estate Board honoured the best of commercial real estate south of the Fraser River at its 2nd annual Commercial Building Awards held on September 20 at the Langley Coast Hotel & Convention Centre. In partnership with the Business Fraser Valley (BFV) newspaper, FVREB presented 11 awards in nine categories with the highest honour, the Judges’ Choice Award, going to the Surrey City Centre Library. Dennis Germyn is the Chair of FVREB’s Commercial Executive Council. “Surrey’s library is a spectacular building. Our judges recognized that it will become an iconic piece of architecture in our region because it fulfills the needs and aspirations of its users and the surrounding community. “And that’s what these awards are dedicated to, recognizing innovation, talent and hard work from professionals committed to building better communities.” The crowd of over 150 applauded as Sunridge Gardens in Langley received a special Green Building award for being the most energy efficient. The seniors’ residence awaits gold certification for new construction by Leed Canada’s green building rating system. It expects to save approximately 1,250 tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Langley developments took home over half of the awards of the evening. Here are the other 2012 Commercial Building Award of Excellence winners:

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Surrey City Centre Library, 10350 University Drive, Surrey (Community Institutional – in addition to being the Judges’ Choice Award) Avalon Gardens at Murrayville, 22323 – 48 Avenue, Langley (Community – Seniors’ Housing) Sandman Signature Hotel & Suites, 8828 201 Street, Langley (Hospitality) Corix Langley Gateway Facility, Gateway 200 Business Park, 84 Avenue & 200 Street, Langley (Industrial) The Crossing condominiums, 33538 Marshal Road, 33539 Holland Avenue & 1975 McCallum Road, Abbotsford (Mixed Use – Commercial/Residential) Encore condominiums, 19899 55A Avenue, Langley (Multi Family) Grandview Business Centre, 2626 Croydon Avenue, South Surrey (Office) Kensington Prairie Community Centre, 16824 32 Avenue, South Surrey (Restoration) Tamlin International Homes head office, 26020 31B Avenue, Aldergrove (Renovation) Aldergrove Credit Union – Otter Community Branch, 3661 248 Street, Aldergrove (Retail) In addition, eight Merit Awards were presented in five categories. All 29 nominees were evaluated on the following criteria: • Does the development complement or add to the surrounding properties and neighbourhood? • Is it esthetically pleasing? • What construction materials were used in the overall design? • Was it built in an environmentally sensitive manner? • Does it incorporate any unique architectural features? • How does this project compare to others in the same category? The event’s main sponsor was RBC Financial. Also sponsoring the event were RE/MAX Commercial, Fortis BC and BFV. The event was coordinated by FVREB’s Commercial Division and BFV. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 2,900 real estate professionals with 200 Commercial Division members committed to serving the commercial real estate needs of the communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford and Mission.

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How to save

on home improvement projects


he cost of a home improvement project depends on a host of factors, including the scale of the project and the availability of materials. Upscale projects like a full roof replacement will set homeowners back a substantial amount of money. In its 20112012 “Cost vs. Value Report,” Remodeling magazine revealed that the average cost of a such a project was nearly $38,000. However, a smaller project like a garage door replacement could be completed for fewer than $3,000. When deciding if a home improvement project is within your budget, it’s a good idea to consult such figures before choosing a project. For example, if your home is a fixer-upper, then one project may not be more urgent than another, something that may allow you to choose less expensive projects now while saving money for more expensive projects down the road. It’s also important for homeowners to know that figures such as those in the “Cost vs. Value Report” are just averages. Some projects might cost more than the average, while others might come in well under budget. To ensure your project is one of the latter and not the former, consider the following ways to trim costs off your next home improvement project. • Avoid the DIY movement if you don’t have adequate experience. Many homeowners fall into the DIY trap, feeling they can pull off a project without hiring a professional contractor. While this is an option for those homeowners with home improvement experience, it’s an approach that’s best avoided by those without such experience. Homeowners who decide to go it alone on a home improvement project should know that mistakes are costly. One mistake could have you paying for the same materials twice: once when you begin the project, and then again when you need to hire a contractor after your efforts didn’t work out. A failed DIY project also costs you time, something homeowners hoping to sell their homes post-project cannot afford to waste. • Hire the right contractor. The best contractor for the job won’t necessarily be the one who comes in with the lowest estimate. The right contractor will know how long a project will take and what the materials will cost. The wrong contractor, who might lack the experience of his competitors, might make empty promises that ultimately cost you more money via overrun costs. Find a contractor who comes highly recommended and is willing to provide references and show you his or her past projects like the one you’re hiring him or her undertake. If you hire the wrong contractor, the project may never be completed and you may find yourself in court, where the money you had budgeted for home improvements is being spent on lawyers

instead. • Consider supplying your own materials. If you diligently research your project, you should be able to buy the materials yourself, even if you plan on hiring a contractor to do the work. Some contractors mark up the materials as a means of padding the bill. If you research the project and learn about the materials you want to use, you can save a substantial amount of money buying those materials yourself and then hiring a contractor. • Don’t overlook recycled materials. Buying recycled materials is another way to reduce home improvement costs. Bathroom fixtures, doors, flooring, and lighting are just a few of the materials that are commonly recycled and resold at a fraction of the cost of new materials. Shop around for stores in your area or peruse the Internet for recycled materials. Homeowners undertaking a replacement project rather than a remodel might even be eligible for tax breaks if they donate their old materials. • Choose projects that provide more bang for your buck. Another way to save is to choose projects that provide a strong return on your investment. The “Cost vs. Value Report” compares the cost of popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale. If money is a motivating factor behind your project, choose a project that will get you the most money back at resale. While the economy has not necessarily been kind to the home improvement industry, there are still plenty of homeowners looking to improve their homes. Savvy homeowners can do just that and save some money along the way by putting a few strategies to work for them.


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Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide - 11

12 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide

Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide - 13

BC and Canadian

Real Estate Websites to know


echnology has been a driving force behind the transformation of many industries. While real estate remains a people business, consumers today have access to scores of information that can help them find an property, a REALTOR® and connect all the dots in between. Purchasing a home will likely be the most important buying decision you’ll ever have to make so it is important to do your own research, understand your rights and find professionals that you are most comfortable working with. If you’re deciding whether to buy or sell a home, it’s critical that you understand and properly assess your personal and financial circumstances against current housing opportunities. The REALTORS® of Canada and other real estate professionals have provided a wealth of information online to help you understand what opportunities are out there for you and your family to consider.

Formerly, this is the most comprehensive and popular real estate listing website in the country. In 2008, the Canadian Real Estate Association rebranded and redesigned to become This change brought upgraded search functions and capabilities, which provide a streamlined experience for people using the site. If you’re looking for a property in BC, you can search by area or

Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

MLS® number. If you’re looking for a REALTOR®, you can search the province by name, company or area of specialty.

Learn about the real estate market and homes for sale in Greater Vancouver and the province. The online version of this publication, the Realtylink website is an excellent resource for consumers looking to buy or sell a home in BC. The website contains a vast range of home listings for properties across the province and features indepth walkthrough-style information that everyone should know when dealing in real estate. If you’re buying, you can find a REALTOR® in your community or learn more about the mortgage process and details regarding offers and completion. If you’re selling, you can learn about establishing your home’s value and how to prepare it before it goes on the market. The site also features links to market data and online versions of the Realtylink In Print newspaper produced for each geographical area in Metro Vancouver.

A wide-ranging, one-stop website for real estate information. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s website offers visitors a 360-degree look at local real estate, providing detailed MLS® statistics, monthly podcasts, consumer guidance and other information

I will make your Real Estate experience as relaxing as a walk in the park.

Pat Brown

Finding your way home.


CAN-DU EXCAVATING Jim Thiessen 604-832-1399

Toll Free: 1-866-956-1555 Homelife Glenayre Realty Co. Ltd. TF 604• 857• 1098 14 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide

and links related to local real estate. On the site, you can track home prices in your area, search for a REALTOR®, read about government initiatives that impact local real estate, and learn about the various cost-savings programs available for homebuyers and sellers. The site also features a wealth of consumer information related to buying and selling a home, from checklists and FAQ’s to market data and community profiles. One of the most important measures of home value in real estate is the MLS®Link Housing Price Index (HPI), and this website contains the latest HPI data as well as a comprehensive breakdown of home values across the region.

A site for consumer protection and industry regulation. The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is the body responsible for licensing and regulating REALTORS® in BC. Their website is full of valuable consumer protection information, as well as information on how to become a REALTOR®. One of the most important features of this site is the Complaints and Discipline section, which allows consumers to file complaints against REALTORS® and inform themselves about recent disciplinary decisions.

Built and maintained by the Canadian Real Estate Association, this site is filled with good information for those looking to buy and sell a home. The site offers information for buyers and sellers on a variety of topics and includes brief videos to illustrate examples. You can also find handy tools like checklists for buyers and sellers and mortgage calculators.



to all the people that have chosen me to help them with their Real Estate business, I appreciate every customer!! If you are planing a move, please give me a call to discuss, anytime.”

Dan Peters 604-864-5333

Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide - 15

Atmosphere Sells!


Courtesy of Louise Henry, Pair Home Design

ave you ever walked into a home and said, “I could live in this home”? To feel this way there must have been some type of atmosphere within the home that made you feel completely at ease. Perhaps it was the way the home flowed from one room to another, the right amount and size of furniture, or maybe it was a combination of design, fresh paint and cleanliness that made the home so inviting. For your home to be attractive to buyers you need to create a similar atmosphere. This will make your home appeal to the maximum amount of buyers viewing your home, whether on the Internet or in person. Over 86% of potential buyers will check out listing on the Internet before arranging a viewing. First impressions count! For many, selling their home is an overwhelming and daunting task. Almost everyone wants to get as much money as they can for their largest investment: their home. Your home can be staged in 3 different ways: 1. Using all your own furniture, art & accessories. This is the most cost effective way but is dependent upon having the right furnishings, suitable for your style of home. 2. Using some of your own furnishings and adding an accessory package to compliment your existing furniture. 3. Vacating the home and using a full to partial rental package of furniture, art and accessories to suit your home




Potential Benefits of Home Staging: 1. Gives your home a competitive edge over other listings 2. Can reduce the time home is on the market 3. Can get your home on the top 10 list of must see properties. 4. More interested buyers = more potential for offers 5. More appealing pictures on the Internet 6. Potential buyers can better visualize living in YOUR home 7. Gives your home an updated look 8. Makes your home move-in ready! When selling, it is worth investing in a Professional Home Staging consultation. During your consultation (usually 1-2 hours) you will be given a list of suggestions, going from one room to another. The list will include such things as best paint colours for selling, cleanliness, and de-cluttering advice! Most of us have too much clutter in our homes. Pre-packing,

PROFESSIONALLY STAGED HOMES sell an average of 78% faster, and for more money!


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Staging consultation Home staging De-cluttering Move in make-over Color consultation Vacant properties / New builds Furniture rental packages available

CLIENT RESPONSE... “We had a sold sign on the front lawn in less than a week. I wouldn’t hesitate to get Louise to stage our home again! She is amazing! Thank you, Pair Home Design.”


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esthetic upgrades and de-personalizing of items is recommended, as potential buyers are not interested in your personal items and clutter is often a big distraction from buyers purchasing a home. A de-cluttered home will appear cleaner, better organized, and more welcoming. Some Tips To Get You Started 1. De-clutter. Buyers want to be able to walk freely in your home and feel comfortable. Rent a storage locker if necessary. 2. Hire a professional painter and choose neutral light colours. This will make the home look cleaner and smell fresher. 3. Upgrade lighting. People want modern fixtures. 4. Upgrade door hardware to match light fixtures. 5. Service furnace & clean filters; perform basic house maintenance tasks. 6. Ensure interior & exterior light fixtures and doors are all in good working order 7. Shampoo carpets to get rid of unpleasant odours 8. Your lovely pets! Cats, dogs and other animals can have quite a distracting odour. We suggest removing pets during viewing to ensure your home has a nice fresh scent. 9. Curb appeal – buyers will drive by and check you out, so gardens should be clean, garbage / junk free and appealing. Add colourful potted flowers. 10. Lastly, but most importantly, ensure the interior and exterior of your home is spotless! Clean, Clean, Clean – Unclean homes turn buyers away instantly unless they want a deal! Consider hiring a professional cleaning company. If you feel you need help, contact a Professional certified Home Staging Consultant that can guide you through the process. If we can assist you or someone you know with staging their home please call us today at 778.834.7247. We’d be happy to provide our services. View our work and check out our free home staging tips at Cell: 778.834.7247 Louise Henry is a Professional Home Staging Consultant and owner of Pair Home Design. Louise is trained by the Canadian Redesigners Association and is a member of the Professional Real Estate Stagers Association. Pair Home Design serves: Langley, Coquitlam, Mission, Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, and Chilliwack, British Columbia

How much money should I spend on preparing my home for sale? Statistics say you should spend approx 1 - 3 % of sale price if your home has not had work done in the last 5 years 3 - 5 % if home has not had any work done in 5-10 years

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Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide - 19

How Sellers can help in a Buyers’ Market


ccording to the most recent statistics from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®), home sales have slowed — for every 100 properties on the market, eight are selling. This means home buyers have the advantage of greater selection, more time and more leeway when it comes time for their REALTOR® to negotiate on their behalf. It also means sellers will be asked by their REALTORS® to become more discerning when it comes to their homes. Take a look around your house, if you were a prospective buyer, would you be interested? As you will learn from your REALTOR®, very, very few homes are ‘market-ready’ because let’s face it, we live in our homes, we don’t tip-toe around like we’re in a museum. Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, one of the first important pieces of information your REALTOR® will provide you is a detailed Comparative Market Analysis – as outlined on – they will compare your home to a collection of similar homes that have recently sold on the MLS® in your neighbourhood in order to calculate your home’s value within your market. However, the shape your home is in will also help determine its value in the eyes of prospective buyers. It’s sometimes difficult, but you must see your home through a buyer’s eyes and address its little imperfections, or if need be minimize personal

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20 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide

Courtesy of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

‘quirks’ like a huge assortment of model cars, stuffed animals or figurines visible on every shelf and coffee table (yes, we all know someone with a favourite collection). As outlined on, here are the main steps to preparing your home for sale: Get rid of clutter Clean everything Repair as much as you can, within reason Never underestimate the power of paint Depersonalize your home Consider hiring a stager – a professional who can bring in furniture, draperies, mirrors and knick-knacks to create a ‘wow’ factor – your REALTOR® will be able to recommend a few to choose from Consider economical ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency Don’t forget the outside of your home too... curb appeal is huge! The bottom line is, you need to weigh the cost of improvements versus the potential return. Before you embark on significant renovations, your REALTOR® will help you answer these two questions: Will this make my home more desirable to buyers? Will this increase the value of my home more than it costs me to do it? Some repairs are absolutely vital, like a leaky roof or basement and unsafe electrical problems. It’s against the law to knowingly sell your home with a material latent defect and not disclose it to the buyer. However, it’s not against the law to leave a visible defect unrepaired; it just may not be smart. But how do you know which home improvements will make your home’s value jump, and those that won’t? It’s well documented that the best return on remodelling dollar is in the kitchen, bathrooms and landscaping the front yard. Basements and bedrooms can be a waste of time and money. Work with your REALTOR® to determine what is essential to complete and then set a home-improvement budget. Lastly, there is the bigger picture that you as an owner may not consider, but a professional REALTOR® who specializes in your neighbourhood will. It also could have the potential of either increasing or decreasing the value of your home. I’m talking about the benefits and/or drawbacks of your immediate neighbourhood and community, including proposed zoning changes that may result in future developments (good or bad). For example, long-term owners may not perceive nearby hydro lines or train tracks as a detriment, but your potential buyers could. And the flip side is you may not be excited about the new community centre slated to begin construction a year from now, but it could seal the deal for a prospective buyer. A buyer’s REALTOR® will not only closely examine your house, but any neighbourhood feature that may detract from or add to the value of your home. Your REALTOR® will make sure that you see the big picture too. It’s all part of the preparation involved in getting your home ready for listing.

How to qualify for a mortgage when you’re self-employed


ortgage lenders at banks and credit unions consider you to be self-employed if you: • run a business alone as a sole proprietor, with a partner, or as a corporation; • receive 25 per cent or more of your income from the business; • work on short contracts for different employers; or • are paid solely on a commission basis. You are not self-employed if you receive a regular paycheque from an employer, even if it is part-time work performed for more than one employer. Under these circumstances you are considered a salaried employee. Net income Lenders evaluate salaried and self-employed borrowers the same way: on the size of their down payment and on their ability to repay the mortgage. But there is a difference. Salaried borrowers must verify gross income through paycheques or a letter from an employer. Self-employed borrowers must verify net income, or what is left after business deductions are subtracted from gross earnings. For example, as a self-employed person, if you make $100,000 annually in gross earnings but write off $30,000 for business expenses, you have net earnings of $70,000. Unless you have documentation to convince lenders your net income is higher, you will be treated the same way as a salaried employee making $70,000 annually. Lenders will average your earnings over a minimum of two years to get a big picture of your finances. If your net income was $60,000,

Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

followed by a net income of $100,000 in the following year, you may qualify for a loan based on an average income of $80,000. Credit rating As proof that you have a viable business, a good credit rating and make timely payments on loans and monthly bills, you’ll need to provide the last two years of the following documents: (a) monthly bank statements, (b) corporate tax returns, (c) business balance sheets, (d) profit-and-loss statements, (e) business credit card statements, and (f) credit references or letters from financial institutions. Some lenders may also ask for proof that your industry is growing and has prospects for future growth. Other useful documents include a letter from your accountant, proof that you pay your rent on time, and a personal balance sheet showing assets such as stocks, and debts such as credit cards or car loans. Package Photocopy sets of all your documents and neatly prepare them as a package. Since you will likely shop for a mortgage at different financial institutions, you’ll want to present yourself as an organized and responsible borrower. Compare lenders to get the best loan package to meet your needs, combined with the best rate. Remember to negotiate. Even one quarter of one per cent can save or cost you a lot of money. As a self-employed business owner, getting a mortgage with a good interest rate depends on your ability to maintain payments and your preparation.

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Top 22 Grants and Rebates for Property Buyers and Owners 1. Home Buyers’ Plan – Qualifying home buyers can withdraw up to $25,000 (couples can withdraw up to $50,000) from their RRSPs for a down payment. Home buyers who have repaid their RRSP may be eligible to use the program a second time. Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287 2. GST Rebate on New Homes – New home buyers can apply for a rebate of the federal portion of the HST (the 5% GST)if the purchase price is less than$350,000. The rebate is up to 36%of the GST to a maximum rebateof $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes costing between $350,000 and $450,000. Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287 3. BC New Housing Rebate (HST) – Buyers of new or substantially renovated homes priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a provincial enhanced New Housing Rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. – 1.800.959.8287 4. BC New Housing Rebate (HST) for Secondary Vacation or Recreational Homes – Buyers of new or substantially renovated secondary or recreational homes outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts priced up to $850,000 are eligible for a provincial enhanced New Housing Rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at $850,000+ are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. calculator – 1.800.959.8287 5. BC New Rental Housing Rebate (HST) – Landlords buying new or substantially renovated homes are eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion (7%) of the 12% HST paid to a maximum rebate of $42,500. – 1.800.959.8287 6. BC First-Time New Home Buyers’ Bonus – First-time new home buyers may be eligible for a one-time grant equal to 5% of the purchase price of the home, or if you are building a home, 5% of the land and construction costs, up to $10,000. The bonus is based on the net income of the home buyer. This program ends March 31, 2013. – 1.877.387.3332 7. BC Property Transfer Tax (PTT) First-Time Home Buyers’ Program – Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $425,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes priced up to $450,000. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue – 250.387.0604 8. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC) – This federal nonrefundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. Canada Revenue Agency ncmtx/rtrn/cmpltng/ddctns/lns360-390/369/menu-eng.html – 1.800.959.8281 9. BC Home Owner Grant – Reduces property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,285,000. The basic grant gives home owners: 22 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide

Courtesy of the Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board

• a maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts; and • an additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue or contact your municipal tax office. 10. BC Property Tax Deferment Programs – Property Tax Deferment Program for Seniors. Qualifying home owners aged 55+ may be eligible to defer property taxes. Financial Hardship Property Tax Deferment Program. Qualifying low-income home owners may be eligible to defer property taxes. Property Tax Deferment Program for Families with Children. Qualifying low-income home owners who financially support children under age 18 may be eligible to defer property taxes. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue 11. Canada Mortgage and Housing (CMHC) Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) Grants – This federal program provides financial aid to qualifying low-income home owners to repair substandard housing. Eligible repairs include heating, structural, electrical, plumbing and fire safety. Grants are available for seniors, persons with disabilities, owners of rental properties and owners creating secondary and garden suites. finas/pr finas_001.cfm – 1.800.668.2642 | 604.873.7408


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12. Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) – A new program jointly sponsored by the provincial and federal governments provides up to $20,000 to help eligible low-income seniors and disabled home owners and landlords to finance modifications to their homes to make them accessible and safer. BC Housing – 604.646.7055 or toll-free 1.800.407.7757 extension 7055 13. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund – Provides home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance, a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge when buyers purchase an energy efficient mortgage or make energy saving renovations. 604.731.5733 14. Energy Saving Mortgages – Financial institutions offer a range of mortgages to home buyers and owners who make their homes more energy efficient. For example, home owners who have a home energy audit within 90 days of receiving an RBC Energy Saver™ Mortgage, may qualify for a rebate of $300 to their RBC account. 1.800.769.2511 15. Low Interest Renovation Loans – Financial institutions offer ‘green’ loans for home owners making energy efficient upgrades. Vancity’s Bright Ideas personal loan offers home owners up to $20,000 at prime + 1% for up to 10 years for ‘green’ renovations. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers 1% off the interest rate for a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000 or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit on a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution. and products/personalloans/energy-saver-loan.html 16. LiveSmart BC: Efficiency Incentive Program – Home owners improving the energy efficiency of their homes may qualify for cash incentives through this provincial program provided in partnership with Fortis BC and BC Hydro. Rebates are for energy efficient

products which replace gas and oil furnaces, pumps, water heaters, wood stoves, insulation, windows, doors, skylights and more. The LiveSmart BC program also covers $150 of the cost of a home energy assessment, directly to the service provider. 1.866.430.8765 17. BC Residential Energy Credit – Home owners and residential landlords buying heating fuel receive a BC government point-of-sale rebate on utility bills equal to the provincial component of the HST. residential_energy.htm 1.877.388.4440 18. BC Hydro Appliance Rebates – Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, or freezers. – 1.800.224.9376 19. BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program – This ongoing program rebates BC Hydro customers $30 to turn in spare fridges in working condition. – 604.881.4357 20. BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program – Pay no HST when you buy ENERGY STAR highperformance windows and doors. 604.759.2759 for a free in-home estimate. 21. BC Hydro Mail-in Rebates/Savings Coupons – To save energy, BC Hydro offers rebates including 10% off an ENERGY STAR cordless phone. Check for new offers and for deadlines. 1.800.224.9376 22. FortisBC Rebate Program – A range of rebates for home owners include a $50 rebate for upgrading a hot water tank, $300 rebate on an Ener-Choice fireplace and a $1,000 rebate for switching to natural gas (from oil or propane) and installing an ENERGY STAR heating system. aspx – 1.888.224.2710



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24 - Abbotsford News Fall / Winter 2012 Real Estate Resource Guide

Special Features - Real Estate Resource Guide Fall 2012  


Special Features - Real Estate Resource Guide Fall 2012