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On moving day, you'll have a big task. You’ll need to get your possessions from your old property to your new one — ideally without delays or damage! Surprisingly, many people underestimate the time and costs involved in doing that. Careful planning and budgeting are crucial to ensuring moving day goes smoothly.

You basically have three options:

  1. Hire a moving company to handle everything.
  2. Hire a truck and crew, while doing some of the work yourself. (For example, you can pack and help with loading.)
  3. Do it all yourself by renting a moving van and getting friends and family to help.

If you're going with option one, get quotations as early in the buying/selling process as possible. Services, costs and quality vary widely among full-service moving companies.

If you're going to do some or all of the move yourself, the best place to start is by making a list of what you'll need. In addition to renting a moving van, or hiring a truck and crew, there are many supplies you may require. For example, you’ll need boxes, protective fill and/or wrapping (i.e. bubble wrap), markers for labeling boxes, packing tape, and more.

You may decide to rely on friends to help load the truck on moving day. That's fine. Just be sure you have enough people to do the job within a reasonable timeframe, and confirm everyone's attendance at least a couple of days before.


Imagine you’ve dreamed of living in a particular neighbourhood, perhaps for years, and then, when you're finally ready to make a move, finding out that the area is competitive and buying there is definitely a challenge.

A disappointment? Not necessarily.

 

There is a lot you can do to buy into a popular neighbourhood, even in competitive offer situations.

 

Your first step is to start targeting that area now. Find out about property types, prices and trends. In particular, you’ll need to know what price range you should be thinking about, and making sure that it’s going to fit your budget. To do that, you might need to get a determination of the Fair Market Value of your current home.

 

Next, begin making preparations so you can get a jump on opportunities in that neighbourhood quickly. You don't want to see a great property come on the market and not be ready to make a move. So, get your current home in order so it’s ready for a quick listing.

 

If possible, make arrangements to get alerted to new listings as soon as they come on the market. Keep in mind that a new listing may not appear online for several days. By getting advance notice, you can be among the first buyers to see the home and have an early advantage over other buyers.

 

If it's likely there's going to be competing offers for the home you want, there are many strategies that can increase your chances of winning. These involve going in at the right price, minimizing conditions to the offer, presenting the offer appropriately, and negotiating effectively.

 

Is there a neighbourhood you want to get into? Let me know how I can help!


If you're thinking ahead to your next dream home, the road you need to take to get there may seem confusing. Do you search for listings online? Drop by Open Houses on the weekends? Call the number on For Sale signs?

 

Let's break it all down! Here are the specific steps you need to take to ensure you find a home that fits your wants, needs and budget.

 

1.  Find out how much your current property will likely sell for on today’s market.

2.  Arrange for financing, so you know what you can afford.

3.  Select neighbourhoods you'd love to live in. (That may involve some fun exploring!)

4.  Decide on the type of home you want to buy. (For example: detached, three-bedroom, etc.)

5.  Prioritize the property features you want most, so you can be flexible if a feature is missing from a home listed on the market that is otherwise ideal.

6.  View properties on the market that closely fit your criteria, particularly new listings that may not yet be posted online. (Tip: Arrange to be immediately notified of new listings that are a good fit for you.)

7.  When you find a home you want, make an offer designed to get the property — without overpaying.

8.  Negotiate until you secure the deal. This may involve counter-offers.

9.  If the negotiation is skillfully done and all goes well, the home is yours.

 

As you can see, there isn't a lot of mystery in finding your next dream home. You just need to take the steps and get the professional help you need along the way.


How BC Assessment works

​BC Assessment's business is to provide a stable and predictable base for real property taxation in British Columbia. The corporation determines ownership and tax liability, classifies and values each property in British Columbia. To meet its goal, BC Assessment completes an assessment roll every December 31.

How we assess properties

BC Assessment estimates the value of most properties (e.g. homes) as of July 1 each year, based on market value. In other words, your current assessment notice is based on a value of what your property would have been worth according to comparable market sales as of the prior July 1.

BC Assessment determines the current assessment roll property assessments reflecting their physical condition and permitted use as of October 31, using a valuation date of July 1, in the year immediately prior to the annual assessment roll.

In determining assessed value, an appraiser considers a wide variety of factors such as size, age, shape, quality, condition and location of properties. Services in the area (location, views, neighbourhood) and supply and demand may also influence property value. Changes such as new construction or inventory, permitted use (e.g. zoning), property class, occupation, eligibility for an exemption or in the taxing jurisdiction boundary will be reflected on the assessment roll.

Our service to British Columbia

BC Assessment mails individual assessment notices, with entries recorded from the assessment roll, to all property owners in the province. Once audited and authenticated by the Property Assessment Review Panel, BC Assessment presents the assessment roll to various tax jurisdictions: municipal governments, regional districts and the Ministries of Education and Health. The assessment roll is used by tax jurisdictions to form the basis of their tax rolls. Tax jurisdictions set tax rates for each of the nine property classes.

As a result, BC Assessment's annual property assessments provide the foundation for local and provincial taxing authorities to calculate billions of dollars in property tax revenue each year that fund the many important community services provided by local governments around the province as well as the public school system.

Property information

BC Assessment maintains an extensive and up-to-date information database on all properties in British Columbia. Public access to this electronic database is available through our online assesment search service. For a fee, BC Assessment will also produce custom information reports.

BC Assessment provides accurate property and value information to:

  • tax authorities;
  • property owners;
  • municipal, provincial and federal government agencies;
  • realtors, appraisers, lawyers, bankers, title search companies;
  • other private and public agencies.

Understanding Property Assessments & Property Taxes

Property assessments are about determining HOW property taxes are distributed.

BC Assessment provides local governments and other taxing authorities with accurate and independent assessment information. Local governments and other taxing authorities use that information to determine funding for important services used every day in communities all over British Columbia.

An increase in your assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in your property taxes. Properties with assessment changes below the average within their municipality or taxing jurisdiction will likely see a lower than average change in property taxes. Those with changes above the average will likely see a higher than average change in property taxes. 

Source: https://info.BCassessment.ca

Finding a New Home on a Tight Schedule

 

Wouldn't it be nice if you had all the time in the world to find your next dream home? You could leisurely browse the current listings, select homes you'd like to see, schedule visits on dates that are most convenient for you, and make an offer on a property only after you've had plenty of time to consider all the alternatives.

 

Sure, that sometimes happens, but it's not typical. Often, people shopping for a home are on a timeline. Sometimes a very tight timeline.

 

So how do you find your next dream home when you don't have all the time in the world?

 

First, you need to develop a clear picture of the home you're looking to buy. How many bedrooms? What size of property? What type of structure (two story, back split, etc.)? Then, you need to list your preferences. These might include "large kitchen" or "main floor office".

 

Once you've completed that exercise, you'll have a more detailed profile of the type of property you want. That will make it easier to decide which of the listings on the market you want to see.

 

You should also narrow down the area in which you'd like to live. If you have three or four targeted areas, and only consider listings in those areas, your home search will be much faster.

 

What if you don't know the neighbourhoods well? Visit a few. Drive around. Explore. Get as much neighbourhood data as possible, such as demographics, recreational activities, parks, shopping, schools, etc. Then choose the neighbourhoods that fit your lifestyle.

 

Finally, the best way to find a new home on a tight schedule is to work with the right real estate agent — someone who, like me, is experienced in the local market.

 

I look forward to working with you! Jeff


The VREB noticed an increase in sales from last month, which may surprise some people as the yearly trend continues to fall

The number of home sales across Greater Victoria continues to drop when compared to monthly figures from 2017, but October saw a bump when compared to previous month-over-month sales figures.

Just under 600 properties changed hands in the Victoria Real Estate Board region last month, which is 10 per cent fewer than October 2017, but the 598 properties sold were 12.2 per cent more than September 2018.

Condo sales made up the majority of this spike from Sept to Oct 2018, with 20.8 per cent of sales. Single family homes only made up 1.4 per cent of the rise.

“We continue to see the housing market shift into a more balanced state, though the trajectory is not smooth,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr.

“This month had slower sales compared to last year and a slightly lower level of inventory coming into the market, but it also had an increase in sales from last month, which may surprise some people. The moderating changes over last year have been punctuated with some competition and price pressure on lower and mid-priced homes while the upper end of the market has softened slightly. Right now pricing is key across all segments as we transition to a more balanced market.”

The amount of active listing at the end of October 2018 represented a 31.8 per cent increase in inventory compared to Oct. 2017, which Kerr says could be caused by new mortgage lending requirements.

“Lending was made tougher to dampen the market and these measures have certainly had an impact on purchasing power,” Kerr noted.

“The threat of the looming Speculation and Vacancy tax has also cooled development in our area, which is unfortunate because the only way to create affordable homes in our area is to build them. We hope that moving forward the municipal, provincial and federal governments will work collaboratively to enable more supply at all levels of housing by funding public / private partnerships to support the increase of home stock in our area. We hope that aside from taxation and mortgage rules, governments will work together to ensure a future supply in our area to stabilize prices in the long term.”

The average current price of a home in Greater Victoria last month was $881,000 – an increase of 6 per cent compared to the same time last year. The average price for a condo in the Victoria core last month was $502,600 – an increase of almost 10 per cent from October 2017.

Source: Ragnar Haagen, Nov. 2, 2018, Oak Bay News


Demand for homes is gradually recovering and expected to pick up this fall, asserts BCREA

Is the B.C. real estate market already showing signs of bouncing back from its government intervention-induced downturn?

That’s the message from the B.C. Real Estate Association, which reported September 13 that MLS home sales across the province totalled 6,743 in August. That’s lower than the 7,055 transactions in July this year, and down 26.4 per cent from August 2017.

Despite the continued slide in home sales totals, the BCREA said that the market is already looking like it is recovering from the recent downturn, which it believes was largely caused by government intervention in the market, especially the federal mortgage stress test introduced in January.

Cameron Muir, BCREA’s chief economist, said in a phone interview that the actual sales totals do not take into account seasonal trends in home buying, and a much more accurate graph looks at the seasonally adjusted sales figure – a common measure of economic trends. According to the association’s calculations, the market has turned from its trough in June, and since then has seen a relative increase in activity of around 3.5 per cent, on a seasonally adjusted basis.

 

Muir said, “The BC housing market is evolving along the same path blazed by Ontario and Alberta, where the initial shock of the mortgage stress-test is already dissipating, leading to increasing home sales.” The Greater Toronto Area has seen a marked increase in home sales and prices over the past three months, following significant sales declines in spring, following the stress test’s launch.

The BCREA’s August figures also show there has been little to no improvement in affordability of B.C.’s home prices. Although price growth has decelerated from the past couple of years, all but one of the province’s 12 real estate boards registered an overall average sale price rise in August, compared with one year previously.

At $669,776, the province’s average August sale price was 1.2 per cent lower than one year previously. However, Muir said that this doesn’t mean that home prices are dropping. “It’s misleading, because it’s dependent on the mix of housing being sold, and the areas. As we’ve seen bigger sales declines in more expensive areas such as Vancouver, and an increase in apartments being sold compared with houses, the average prices get skewed.”

Source: Victoria Times Colonist, 
September 13, 2018

A local realtor warns against reading too much into figures that show a drop of 25 per cent in year-to-year sales.

According to new figures, the Victoria Real Estate Board recorded 755 sales in May 2018 – 25 per cent fewer than the 1,006 properties sold in May of last year. Compared to April 2018, sales dropped 2.8 per cent. But Cheryl Woolley, president-elect of the Victoria Real Estate Board, said these numbers tell only a part of the story.

While sales might be down, prices and the value of sales have continued to go up, she said. “Is the market going to crash? I don’t think so,” she said, pointing to strong fundamentals such as the desirability of the region at large.

So what accounts for the drop? While the market was bound for a slow down, recent changes in mortgage rules and the introduction of various measures such as the speculation tax have amplified this decline.

“It’s an artificial slow-down,” she said.

Elsewhere, Vancouver recorded a drop of more than 35.1 per cent in recorded sales over the same time last year.

Looking at specific categories of properties, condominium sales dropped 17.4 per cent in May 2018 compared to May 2017. Sales of single family homes dropped 23 per cent.

Local realtor Leo Spalteholz noted on his blog House Hunt Victoria that sales are “down substantially” from last year. He described this drop as “quite unusual” when measured against historical trends. Looking at monthly sales over 10 years, the general trend lines shows that single family homes sales start rising in January, with the general peak of sales happening around May. But this year diverges from this general trend line, with sales actually dropping in May. Sales for this year have also failed to match the average.

Spalteholz said this phenomenon happens in times when the market is slowing quickly enough that it overpowers the normal seasonal increase.

This said, the local real estate market continues to favour sellers with the ratio of sales to active listings hovering around 40 per cent – well into seller’s market territory, which starts above 20 per cent.

While supply is ticking up, inventory is still very low, said Spalteholz. “It is increasing more quickly in recent months but will still take quite a while to get even to the 10-year average, let alone to the highs of [five] years ago when there were nearly twice as many detached homes on the market,” he said.

The low inventory means that about 20 per cent of single family homes are selling over asking price, he said. “It’s like a pot that you’ve turned down from a roiling boil to a simmer,” he said. “Still not a great idea to stick your hand in there but at least the soup isn’t splattering all over the place.”

Source: Wolf Depner, June 7, 2018, Saanich News

Real estate association says prices rose by just 0.2 per cent compared to same time last year 

Home prices across B.C. showed little change in April, according to the BC Real Estate Association.

In figures released Monday, the association said the average home price rose by just 0.2 per cent compared to April of last year, up to $730,507.

Some regions saw bigger increases, with Chilliwack prices going up by 16 per cent, Fraser Valley prices by 10.2 per cent, southern Okanagan prices by 15.9 per cent and Vancouver Island prices by 11.3 per cent.

However, sales were down 17 per cent across the province compared to the same time last year.

BCREA chief economist Cameron Muir said the new mortgage regulations have made buyers wary, but they have been adjusting.

The new rules, known as the “stress test,” mean all borrowers must now qualify for a mortgage based on either the five-year benchmark rate or their lender’s actual rate plus two per cent, whichever is higher. The change will apply to all mortgages, new or renewed, even if the down payment exceeds 20 per cent.

“The impact of more burdensome mortgage qualifications for conventional borrowers is expected to soften over the next several months as potential buyers adjust both their finances and expectations,” he said.

For the first four months of 2018, home sales dropped by 12 per cent, although the average price rose 5.7 per cent to $731,661.

Source: Katya Slepian, BPdigital.ca, May 14, 2018

Tip 1: Get Organized!
Relocating involves many moving parts! From setting up and canceling leases and utilities to hiring movers and finding new medical providers, there can be a lot of information and paperwork to keep track of. So that you have a landing zone for all things move-related, create a moving binder. Place anything into it that you may need during your move, and add to it as you acquire paperwork, receipts and other items along the way! 

Tip 2: Do Your Research
Save yourself weeks of stress and chaos by researching as much as you can about your new hometown before moving. Investigate school districts, neighborhoods, public transportation options, access to shopping, the closest grocery store, medical providers, fitness centers and more. Prior research will allow you to hit the ground running once you arrive, smoothing the transition for all.

Tip 3: Prepare Weeks in Advance
Use the weeks leading up to your move to sort, purge and organize. Hold garage sales and use Craigslist to get rid of unwanted items. Organize and group items that should be packed together so they are in the right spot when unpacked in the new home. If packing yourself, scout big-box stores for (free!) empty boxes and collect newspapers from neighbors (always ask first!). Remove light bulbs from lamps, place dry goods (like flour and sugar) into sealed Ziploc bags, and bag up any loose or small items that can make a mess of boxes. Heading into packing day with everything organized will make the experience easier!

Tip 4: Designate “No-Pack” and “First Unpack” Items
Whether or not you are using professional packers, be sure to clearly dedicate zones or items that should not be packed into boxes. No-pack items can include things for the trash, things you will transport personally in your suitcase or vehicle, or things you need to return (like cable boxes and remote controls). Additionally, pack an “Unpack First” box that contains living essentials like sheets, towels, shower curtains, basic cookware, eating utensils and clean sets of clothes. Once you get into your new place, this allows you to easily access your necessities instead of digging through all the boxes!

Tip 5: Take Apart Unstable Furniture
Depending on how far you’re moving and how your stuff is being transported, it may be essential that you disassemble furniture. Keeping furniture in tact makes for less hassle getting setup on the other end. However, keeping things fully assembled can also lead to unnecessary damage! We’ve found it best to take off table and chair legs, shelving units with removable shelves and any awkward or oversized items. If you know your furniture has weak spots or previous damage, alert the movers (or your helpers!) to disassemble and/or wrap it appropriately.

Tip 6: Keep Track of Hardware
One of our best tips is to attach hardware to whatever you are disassembling with Ziploc bags and packing tape. Whether it’s a full piece of furniture or simply the screws that attach a shelf to the wall, keep everything together. This not only keeps you from losing hardware along the way, but it makes putting furniture and the house back together much easier. When it’s time to hang that shelf, everything you need will be there!

Tip 7: Label Boxes
Take the time to label boxes really well. Once things get unloaded on the other side, it can be frustrating when all the dishes get placed into the bedroom because the boxes are poorly labeled. Clearly label every single box with a good description of the contents inside and where it will go in the new place. Use color-coded markers, tape or stickers to sort and organize boxes by room.

Tip 8: Use the Right Materials
Proper packing materials make all the difference in ensuring your items arrive in tact. If you have fragile items (like dishes, china, frames or figurines), invest in special boxes (dish packs) and paper for transporting such things. Wrap furniture, especially painted furniture, in plastic wrap or blankets to prevent nicks and scratches. Use original boxes and packaging (when possible) for electronics such as televisions, speakers and computer devices. Lastly, don’t pack boxes (or the truck or car) too full. Items get broken when you stuff things in. Use an extra box or make an extra trip to ensure everything travels safely.

Tip 9: Bring What You Can
Setting up a new home can be very expensive. From buying furniture to fit your new space to restocking the pantry and cleaning supplies, new home purchases can add up fast. When possible, bring items with you. Professional packers often won’t pack foods, liquids, hazardous materials (like propane or fire extinguishers) or live plants. If possible, bring these things with you so you don’t have to spend the time or money to replace them.

Tip 10: Ask for Help!
Whether you use professional packers or do it yourself, moving is exhausting. From prep work to packing boxes and loading the truck all the way through unloading and getting settled, there is a lot of work to be done. Many hands make light work, and it’s worth calling in favors. If you can, hire movers. If you can’t, enlist the help of friends and family along every step of the way. From packing boxes to loading heavy items to watching the kids while you pack, every little bit of assistance will help you get moved and settled quicker and easier!

Source: Forrent.com, July 23, 2015 Edition

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