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2 | Surrey-North Delta Leader | REAL ESTATE RESOURCE GUIDE | SPRING 2014

Getting the most out of your home Few homes are ‘market-ready,’ but plenty of simple ways to improve value


hether you’ve got a growing family and need to upgrade to a bigger house, or you’re nearing retirement and are hoping to downsize to something more practical, selling your home can be a lot of hard work. Take a look around your house. If you were a prosepective buyer, would you be interested? As you will learn from your Realtor, 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. this will compare your home to a collection of similar homes that have recently sold on the Multiple Listing Service (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 imperfections, or if need be minimize personal ‘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). 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 • Depersonalize your home

• Consider hiring a stager – 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 ...see more, page 4

We know real estate, inside and out. Your real estate sale, purchase or lease — large or small — is a big deal. Your signed contract is legally binding and protecting you and one of your most significant investments is important to us, whether we’re helping you close your first home or negotiating a commercial lease. With our experienced lawyers you’ll sign your contract on time and with confidence so you can move on with your plans. Ask any one of the realtors, homeowners, developers, landlords, management companies, or tenants who have depended on us for decades for all their real estate legal needs. We know Surrey real estate—inside and out.


Getting the most out of your home Few homes are ‘market-ready,’ but plenty of simple ways to improve value • 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 weight the cost of improvements versus the potential return. Before you emback 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 remodeling dollar is in the kitchen, bathrooms, and landscaping the front yard. Basement and bedrooms can be a waste of time and money. Work with your Realtor to


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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. –Courtesty of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

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determine what is essential to complete and then set a home-improvement budget. Lastly, there’s a part of the bigger picture that you as an owner may not consider, but could have the potential of either increasing or decreasing the value of your home – 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

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4 | Surrey-North Delta Leader | REAL ESTATE RESOURCE GUIDE | SPRING 2014

10 Questions to ask your Realtor Home owners - interview a few potential realtors before deciding on one... Your Realtor should be willing to answer any questions you have. How long have you been in the business? A freshly-licensed Realtor can do a wonderful job and will have up-to-date training; those in the business longer bring more practical experience to the table. How will your marketing plan meet my needs? Specifically, how will you sell my home? Where and how often do you advertise? Will you show me a sample flier? How do you market online? Will you provide references? Ask if any of the

references are related to the Realtor. Ask if you can call their references with additional questions. What separates you from your competition? Key phrases to listen for: assertive, available by phone or e-mail, analytical, able to maintain a good sense of humour under trying circumstances. Can you help me find other professionals? Your Realtor may be able to provide a list of service providers who can help with things such as home inspection, staging, and renovations, legal and financial advice. Get an explanation if you see

the term “affiliated”. It could mean the Realtor is getting compensation from vendors. How much do you charge? Real estate fees or commission are negotiable and may vary from broker to broker. How will you keep me informed? It’s very important to be up-to-date with the process of selling your home. How will your Realtor keep in touch with you? Will you have regular meetings, inperson or over the phone? How do you qualify potential buyers? You’re looking for buyers

who have the desire, means, and resources to purchase your home. It’s your Realtor’s job to ensure that you’re not spending your time with deals that can’t be closed. Do you have any questions for me? An effective Realtor will be prepared with specific, in-depth questions about your home and needs. What haven’t I asked you that I need to know? Pay close attention to how the Realtor answers this question, because there is always something you need to know - always. –Provided by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

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10 | Surrey-North Delta Leader | REAL ESTATE RESOURCE GUIDE | SPRING 2014

Pleny of ways to cash-in on rebates Here are the Top 15 Grants and Rebates There’s no question that becoming a homeowner is an expensive endeavour. From taxes and legal fees, to upkeep and repairs, the list of bills is never ending. However, whether you are a first-time homebuyer, or have been in the game for years, there are a number of grants and rebates available that can help ease the burden on your bank account. Here are the top 15 grants and rebates for homebuyers 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 Search ‘Home Buyers’ Plan’ 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 $350,000 or less. The rebate is equal to 36% of the GST to a maximum rebate of $6,300. There is a proportional GST rebate for new homes

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costing between $350,000 and $450,000. The rebate does not apply to homes $450,000 and above. Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘RC4028’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8287

does not apply to homes $450,000 and above. BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue business/Property_Taxes/ Property_Transfer_Tax/ptt. htm 250.387.0604

3. 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. The rebate

4. First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit (HBTC) This federal non-refundable income tax credit is for qualifying buyers of detached, attached, apartment condominiums, mobile homes or shares in a cooperative housing corporation. For the 2012 tax year, the maximum credit is $750. ...see more, page 12

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Surrey-North Delta Leader | REAL ESTATE RESOURCE GUIDE | SPRING 2014 | 11

Canada Revenue Agency Enter ‘FirstTime Home Buyers’ Tax Credit’ in the search box. 1.800.959.8281

BC Ministry of Small Business and Revenue or contact your municipal tax office.

Business and Revenue individuals/Property_Taxes/ Property_Tax_Deferment/ ptd.htm

5. BC Home Owner Grant Reducing property taxes for home owners with an assessed value of up to $1,295,000, this basic grant also gives home owners: • A maximum reduction of $570 in property taxes on principal residences in the Capital, Greater Vancouver and Fraser Valley regional districts; • An additional grant of $200 to rural homeowners elsewhere in the province; and • An additional grant of $275 to seniors aged 65+, those who are permanently disabled and war veterans of certain wars.

6. 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

7. Canada Mortgage and Housing Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program 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. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation co/prfinas/prfinas_001.cfm

1.800.668.2642, 604.873.7408 8. Home Adaptations for Independence A 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 Options/Home_Renovations 604.646.7055 | 1.800.407.7757 ext. 7055 9. CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance Premium Refund Home buyers with CMHC mortgage insurance who purchase an energy efficient home or make ...see more, page 13


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energy saving renovations qualify for a 10% premium refund and possible extended amortization without surcharge. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation moloin/moloin_008.cfm 604.731.5733 10. 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.

products/mortgages/ energy-saver-mortgage. html 1.800.769.2511 11. 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. RBC’s Energy Saver loan offers a 1% interest rate discount or a $100 rebate on a home energy audit with a qualifying purchase through a fixed rate installment loan over $5,000. For information visit your financial institution.

12. BC Hydro Appliance Rebates Mail-in rebates for purchasers of ENERGY STAR clothes washers, refrigerators, dishwashers or freezers. 1.800.224.9376 13. BC Hydro Fridge Buy-Back Program Turn in your old, energywasting fridge for recycling and BC Hydro will pay you $30. It must be clean and in working condition. rebates_savings/fridge_ buy_back.html 604.881.4357

14. BC Hydro Windows Rebate Program Receive rebates or tax savings when you buy ENERGY STAR highperformance windows. rebates_savings/windows_ offers/current_offers.htm 15. FortisBC Rebate Program A range of rebates for home owners include a $75 rebate for upgrading to an ENERGY STAR clothes washer, a $300 fireplace rebate, $500 off water heaters and $1,000 for switching to natural gas. Naturalgas/homes/offers/ pages/default.aspx; 1.888.224.2710 Provided by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board

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Surrey-North Delta Leader | REAL ESTATE RESOURCE GUIDE | SPRING 2014 | 13

Experience and professionalism are essential Building a new home comes with a huge amount of decision making, and perhaps the most important in the whole process is choosing a builder. When you are thinking about buying a new home, it’s a good idea to turn to a builder who is a member of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA). The CHBA represents the professional home building industry, with more than 8,000 members across the country. Membership in the CHBA is a strong indication that a new home builder is a professional, dedicated to the business of home building, and in business for the long term. Membership is voluntary. Members agree to the Association’s Code of Ethics, which is based on principles of fairness, integrity and consumer satisfaction. Home building is complex, demanding and constantly evolving. Through the CHBA, members can keep up to date on technological advances, regulations, new products, financing, and so on–in short, knowledge that no professional new home builder can do without.

Home building is teamwork that takes the skills and expertise of many different trades and suppliers. Builders who belong to the CHBA have ready access to a wide network of member companies to help them deliver a high level of quality and service to home buyers. Managing a successful home building business means being part of the community. Through their local associations, CHBA members work with local decision-makers to contribute to the vitality and well-being of the community, and perhaps most importantly, to make a difference in the lives of the people who live there. A great tool all consumers need to use when building or renovating their home is “Get it in Writing”. This is a collaborative initiative between the CHBA and the CMHC which provides a step-by-step process on the importance of having a signed contract before work begins to help ensure rebuilding or renovation projects go smoothly. Visit www.hiringacontractor. com to download further information. – Courtesy Christy MacLeod, Executive Director, CHBA Fraser Valley

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After $200 FortisBC Rebate. Until Dec. 31, 2014.

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16 | Surrey-North Delta Leader | REAL ESTATE RESOURCE GUIDE | SPRING 2014

February 25, 2014  

Section Z of the February 25, 2014 edition of the Surrey North Delta Leader