first time home buyers

Buying a home is a monumental purchase. It might seem intimidating to take the first step, but these easy DO’s and DON’Ts will make sure you’re headed in the right direction.

If you’re a real estate agent, be sure to add this list (or one like it) to the list of buyer resources on your agent website. Online prospects will appreciate the free advice!

DO’s

Know your credit score.

Check your credit score before beginning the home buying process so you know where you stand. The better your credit, the better the terms of your loan. If your score is looking a little low, you might want to spend some time trying to raise your number before meeting with a mortgage specialist.

Investigate programs for buyers in your area.

Many cities and workplaces offer programs to build their communities by helping first-time buyers. Check with your employer or local real estate association. They can point you in the right direction!

Get preapproved for a loan.

Make an appointment with a mortgage specialist to get preapproved for a home loan. Preapproval is a written guarantee by a lender or mortgage broker to grant you a loan up to a specified amount. Being preapproved also means that you will have more pull than a competing buyer who is only prequalified.

Learn more about local neighbourhoods.

Explore the neighbourhoods in your city in person and online. A lot of online real estate search websites, like Point2 Homes, will have information about the demographics and walkability about different communities in your area.

Interview real estate agents to find the right fit.

Ask your friends and family and search online to find your real estate agent. You may end up interviewing several before you find one with the expertise and communication style you’re looking for. A good agent will also be interviewing you, so keep your ears out for questions like these.

Identify your wants vs your needs.

Knowing the difference between what you really need and what you actually just want will help you compromise and stay on budget. You may need a certain number of bedrooms, but you want an open plan kitchen.

DON’Ts

Change jobs. 

If you’re hoping to secure a mortgage in the next 6-12 months, job stability is key! Stay in your present position until your purchase is closed, if possible. If you do get offered a job that pays more, you can probably still get your loan approved, but be warned that you will have to jump through more hoops!

Make large purchases.

Large purchases – like buying a new car or lots of furniture – can affect your credit and set off red flags for lenders who worry you won’t have money left when you need it. We advise you to wait to make substantial buys until after you move into your new home.

Get attached to the first house you see.

It’s easy to do. You fall in love with the first house you place an offer on, and then are heartbroken when someone else gets it. So many factors are involved in a successful real estate contract. Talk to your agent about your local market so you have realistic expectations from the get go.

Miss an opportunity to negotiate. 

First-time buyers don’t usually know the many different kinds of negotiation that can take place before escrow closes. In addition to price, you may be able to negotiate for repairs, a new paint job or an extended move-in/out window. The agent you choose will go to bat for you, so be sure to pick a good one!

Skip a home inspection.

Never skip a home inspection on your first home. You want to know exactly what your hard-earned cash is buying before you buy it, after all! Learn more about home inspections and read about 14 common home problems to be on the lookout for.

Give up. 

Buying a home can be a long process, but it is rewarding in the end! Don’t give up if you don’t find what you’re looking for right away. New houses come on the market all the time.

 

Thanks Point2.com!

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Barry Thomas ~ Living Bowen

Bowen Island Real Estate Specialist

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Barry Thomas Market Update

February 3, 2015 – The first month of 2015 saw home sale activity above historical

norms, while the number of homes listed for sale trended below typical levels.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 1,913 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in January 2015. This represents an 8.7 per cent increase compared to the 1,760 sales recorded in January 2014, and a 9.6 per cent decline compared to the 2,116 sales in December 2014.

Last month’s sales were 14.9 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

“While demand remains steady, we’re seeing fewer homes for sale at the moment,” Ray Harris, REBGV president, said. "This is creating greater competition amongst buyers, particularly in the detached home market. The number of detached homes listed for sale today is the second lowest we’ve seen in four years.”

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver1 totalled 4,737 in January. This represents an 11.4 per cent decline compared to the 5,345 new listings reported in January 2014.

Last month’s new listing count was 1.2 per cent higher than the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the REBGV MLS® is 10,811, a 14.2 per cent decline compared to January 2014 and a 4.8 per cent increase compared to December 2014.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $641,60022. This represents a 5.5 per cent increase compared to January 2014.

With the sales-to-active-listings ratio at 17.7 per cent, the region remains in balanced market territory.

“The Bank of Canada’s recent announcement to lower its benchmark interest rate is an important one for home buyers, sellers and owners to note,” Harris said. “A reduced rate could allow you to pay down your mortgage a little faster, save some money on your monthly payments, or change the amount you qualify for. It’s important that you do your homework and understand how these announcements impact your situation.”

Sales of detached properties in January 2015 reached 781, an increase of 7.3 per cent from the 728 detached sales recorded in January 2014, and a 44.1 per cent increase from the 542 units sold in January 2013. The benchmark price for a detached property in Metro Vancouver increased 8.4 per cent from January 2014 to $1,010,000.

Sales of apartment properties reached 809 in January 2015, an increase of 7.4 per cent compared to the 753 sales in January 2014, and an increase of 40.5 per cent compared to the 576 sales in January 2013. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 2.5 per cent from January 2014 to $382,800.

Attached property sales in January 2015 totalled 323, an increase of 15.8 per cent compared to the 279 sales in January 2014, and a 38.6 per cent increase from the 233 attached properties sold in January 2013. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.3 per cent between January 2014 and 2015 to $479,600.

Greater Vancouver Home Price Index Barry Thomas

Editors Notes:

  1. 1.)  AreascoveredbyRealEstateBoardofGreaterVancouverinclude:Whistler,SunshineCoast,Squamish,West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

  2. 2.)  ThenationalMLS®HomePriceIndex(MLS®HPI)operationsgroupunderwentanannualreviewofthe model in January. This led to the following changes:

  • Neighbourhoods where home sales over the past three years totaled 12 or less have been removed from the model. Neighbourhoods where sales have increased to 20 or more over the past three years have been added. Historical MLS® HPI data has been recalculated to reflect these changes.

  • The benchmark property descriptions have been updated to reflect current buying trends.

    Background: MLS® HPI benchmark prices represent the value of a ‘typical’ property within a market. When the HPI was developed in 2011, a composite description was created for every neighbourhood and property type based on MLS® sales data for that specific area. What people typically purchase can change over time due to changes in affordability and buyer preferences. Therefore, it’s necessary for these descriptions to be occasionally updated.

    The MLS® HPI methodology has been updated to reflect these changes and is available at http://homepriceindex.ca/hpi_tool_en.html 

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Wishing you and your loved ones all the best for the festive season and a healthy, happy & prosperous 2015!

Bowen Island 2015 Community Offer

Barry Thomas ~ Living Bowen

Bowen Island Real Estate Specialist

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VANCOUVER, B.C. November 4, 2014 Home sales in the Metro Vancouver* housing

market continue to outpace long-term averages for this time of year.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 3,057 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in October 2014. This represents a 14.9 per cent increase compared to the 2,661 sales in October 2013, and a 4.6 per cent increase over the 2,922 sales in September 2014.

Last month’s sales were 16.6 per cent above the 10-year sales average for October.

“We’ve seen strong and consistent demand from home buyers in Metro Vancouver throughout this year. This has led to steady increases in home prices of between four and eight per cent depending on the property,” said REBGV president Ray Harris.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 4,487 in October. This represents a four per cent increase compared to the 4,315 new listings in October 2013 and a 14.7 per cent decline from the 5,259 new listings in September.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 13,851, a 9.2 per cent decline compared to October 2013 and a 6.6 per cent decrease compared to September 2014.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $637,000. This represents a six per cent increase compared to October 2013.

“Detached homes continue to increase in price more than condominium and townhome properties. This is largely a function of supply and demand as the supply of condominium and townhome properties are more abundant than detached homes in our region,” Harris said.

Sales of detached properties in October 2014 reached 1,271, an increase of 19.1 per cent from the 1,067 detached sales recorded in October 2013, and a 60.9 per cent increase from the 790 units sold in October 2012. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 7.9 per cent from October 2013 to $995,100.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,268 in October 2014, an increase of 15.5 per cent compared to the 1,098 sales in October 2013, and a 57.9 per cent increase compared to the 803 sales in October 2012. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased four per cent from October 2013 to $380,200.

Attached property sales in October 2014 totalled 518, a 4.4 per cent increase compared to the 496 sales in October 2013, and an 53.3 per cent increase over the 338 attached properties sold in October 2012. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.7 per cent between October 2013 and 2014 to $479,500.

 

 

* Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2013, 28,524 homes changed ownership in the Board’s area, generating $1.84 billion in economic spin-off activity and 13,977 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouver totalled $22 billion in 2013. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is an association representing more than 11,000 REALTORS® and their companies. The Board provides a variety of member services, including the Multiple Listing Service®. For more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, contact a local REALTOR® or visit www.rebgv.org. 


Craig Munn, Assistant Manager of Communications

Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver 


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VANCOUVER, B.C. October 2, 2014 Home buyers were active in Metro Vancouver last

month, with home sales well exceeding the 10-year average for September.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that residential property sales in Greater Vancouver reached 2,922 on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in September 2014. This represents a 17.7 per cent increase compared to the 2,483 sales in September 2013, and a 5.4 per cent increase over the 2,771 sales in August 2014.

Last month’s sales were 16.1 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month and rank as the third highest selling September over that period.

“September was an active period for our housing market when we compare it against typical activity for the month,” Ray Harris, REBGV president said.

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver* totalled 5,259 in September. This represents a 4.6 per cent increase compared to the 5,030 new listings in September 2013 and a 33.5 per cent increase from the 3,940 new listings in August. Last month’s new listing total was 0.4 per cent above the region’s 10-year new listing average for the month.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 14,832, an 8 per cent decline compared to September 2013 and a 0.4 per cent increase compared to August 2014.

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $633,500. This represents a 5.3 per cent increase compared to September 2013.

“Gains in home values are being led by the detached home market. Condominium and townhome properties are not experiencing the same pressure on prices at the moment,” Harris said. “Individual trends can vary depending on different factors in different areas, so it’s important to do your homework and work with your REALTOR® when you’re looking to determine the market value of a home.” 

Sales of detached properties in September 2014 reached 1,270, an increase of 24.1 per cent from the 1,023 detached sales recorded in September 2013, and a 113.8 per cent increase from the 594 units sold in September 2012. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 7.3 per cent from September 2013 to $990,300.

Sales of apartment properties reached 1,188 in September 2014, an increase of 16.7 per cent compared to the 1,018 sales in September 2013, and a 75.7 per cent increase compared to the 676 sales in September 2012. The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 3.3 per cent from September 2013 to $378,700.

Attached property sales in September 2014 totalled 464, a 5 per cent increase compared to the 442 sales in September 2013, and an 88.6 per cent increase over the 246 attached properties sold in September 2012. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.2 per cent between September 2013 and 2014 to $477,700. 


* Areas covered by Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver include: Whistler, Sunshine Coast, Squamish, West Vancouver, North Vancouver, Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Richmond, Port Moody, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, and South Delta.

The real estate industry is a key economic driver in British Columbia. In 2013, 28,524 homes changed ownership in the Board’s area, generating $1.84 billion in economic spin-off activity and 13,977 jobs. The total dollar value of residential sales transacted through the MLS® system in Greater Vancouver totalled $22 billion in 2013. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver is an association representing more than 11,000 REALTORS® and their companies. The Board provides a variety of member services, including the Multiple Listing Service®. For more information on real estate, statistics, and buying or selling a home, contact a local REALTOR® or visit www.rebgv.org


Barry Thomas ~ Living Bowen

Bowen Island Real Estate Specialist




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An interesting article from BC Business:

 

"Good news for homeowners hoping their property value will go up (and bad news for buyers looking for a deal): a new forecast is calling for moderately higher sales and prices across B.C. for the next three years.
 
Central 1 Credit Union has increased its provincial pricing outlook, citing stronger population and economic growth. It predicts that the median resale house price in B.C. will end this year up about 1.5 per cent, at $388,000, and will increase steadily to $415,000 by 2016. That’s another 1.5-per-cent increase in 2014, followed by 2.5-per-cent bump in 2015 and three-per-cent hike in 2016. 
 
“We are past the bottom in terms of our housing market correction in the post-recession period,” says Central 1 economist Bryan Yu. The bottom was in 2012, when the number of home sales across the province was 63,798, compared to 71,737 the previous year. Central 1 predicts sales to reach 68,085 in 2013, 72,560 in 2014 and 83,750 in 2016.
 
While the growth appears significant, Yu says the sales level is moderate when the province’s growing population is taken into consideration. Central 1 forecasts B.C.’s population to increase by about one per cent annually, to reach 4.7 million by 2016. At the same time, it expects the B.C. economy to grow two per cent next year and 3.1 per cent in 2015.
 
“We see a relatively stable environment going forward in most areas,” says Yu. “There isn’t a catalyst for a substantial drop off in pricing.”
 
The Central 1 forecast comes amid predictions of a “soft landing” for Canada’s housing market from Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz and several national economists. The Vancouver and Toronto markets are closely watched because they are among the biggest and the most expensive in Canada. “If any city is at risk of correcting, it’s pricey Vancouver,” says a recent report from BMO Capital Markets economist Sal Guatieri. It notes the Vancouver market has bounced back from a slowdown earlier this year. “Buyers held the upper hand last year, but the pendulum has swung towards balance today,” Guatieri says.
 
Central 1 predicts a stronger market for condos and townhomes as increasingly scarce, high-priced detached homes become even more out of reach for many homebuyers. Rental vacancy rates are also predicted to fall in 2015 and 2016, as more people turn to renting over buying. Central 1 expects the provincial vacancy rate to dip to 2.5 per cent in 2014 and down further to about 2.2 per cent by 2016.

According to a Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC) report released December 18, condos made up 35 per cent of the owner-occupied housing stock in Vancouver in 2011, “the highest market share by far” among Canadian cities. Vancouver’s share of condo starts among all housing starts was also highest in 2012 at 64 per cent, compared to 59 per cent in Toronto and 58 per cent in Montreal, according to the CMHC report." - BC Business

 

Barry Thomas ~ Living Bowen

Bowen Island Realtor

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We want to thank the Real Estate Buyer's Council  (REBAC) for forwarding us this great list!  For all potential home buyer's seeking a new home, be sure to go over this list to ensure everything meets your requirements.

Step One: The Home

Here is everything you will want to look over and ask about for each house that you look at:

  1. Square footage
  2. Number of bedrooms
  3. Number of full baths
  4. Number of half-baths
  5. Condition of walls (interior)
  6. Closet/storage space
  7. Kitchen storage space
  8. Basement – well kept? any strange odors? no mildrew or mold?
  9. Fireplace
  10. Cable TV/Internet
  11. Exterior appearance (condition of outdoor walls, overall appearance)
  12. Front and back lawn areas
  13. Deck/porch/patio?
  14. Fence
  15. Garage
  16. Windows/screens
  17. Age and condition of roof

Step Two: The Neighborhood

Here is everything you’ll want to ask about, look into, and research about the neighborhood you move into:

  1. Appearance/condition of neighboring homes
  2. Safety
  3. Noise level
  4. Traffic issues
  5. Kid-friendly? Average number of children per residence?
  6. Parking
  7. Police
  8. Fire Protection
  9. Pet restrictions
  10. Parks/recreational facilities
  11. Trash removal

Step Three: Schools

If you have children or are looking to start a family in the next few years, here are the things you’ll want to check for in relation to education:

  1. Age/condition of schools and buildings
  2. Reputation of school district
  3. Test scores of current students
  4. Quality of teachers and educators
  5. Private school locations (if you’d prefer private school)
  6. Play areas/playgrounds
  7. Class sizes
  8. Curriculum
  9. School safety

Step Four: Community

It’s important to live in an area where you not only love your house, but you feel at home in the community. Here are some things you’ll want to ask about:

  1. Schools
  2. Religious community centers (churches/synagogues/etc)
  3. Shopping centers/grocery stories
  4. Proximity to your place of employment
  5. Hospitals
  6. Doctor and dentist locations/quality
  7. Parks and recreation
  8. Restaurants
  9. Entertainment (movie theaters, shopping malls, etc)
  10. Airport
  11. Proximity to highways
  12. Public transportation – bus? metro?

Barry Thomas ~ Living Bowen

Bowen Island Real Estate Specialist

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Its almost the end of the month, but we have had such a beautiful fall, that most of these tips still apply.

Barry Thomas ~ Living Bowen

Licensed Bowen Island Realtor

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I have listed a new property at 1745 Cape Drive in Bowen Island.
This world class, very private, ocean view estate is only a 20 minute ferry ride from West Vancouver. Bowen Island is a friendly community rich in culture, history and natural splendor. This stunning, one of a kind, 10 acre property is located on the Southwesterly corner of Bowen Island. It offers spectacular views overlooking the ocean sunsets and islands to the West, Sunshine Coast and Mt. Gardner. A grand private driveway leads through a lush, mossy forest, to a bright building site that has been prepared for you to create the estate of your dreams. A short walk from the property will take you to some of the best beaches and hiking trails that Bowen Island has to offer. Don't miss the opportunity to create your own seaside island escape in pristine natural forest.
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