Competing With Other Buyers?

houseWith historic low interest rates, buyers are making the jump into homeownership as it is a great time to get into the market. However in a sellers’ market, buyers find themselves in competition with other buyers to purchase a home. The seller is not obligated to negotiate or accept any of the offers. The seller has the liberty to choose the best offer to negotiate and they will accept the offer that best reflects their needs. While price is important, that will not be the only factor they consider. They will also look at things such as subject conditions, completion and possession dates.


Here are some things you can consider and help you feel more in control of the situation when going into multiple offer situations:

  • Prepare thoroughly and have all your financial documentation ready: It is important that you provide your mortgage expert all the documentation the lender is going to require upfront. Especially since time will be of essence, you don’t want the added stress of getting documentation when you are in the middle of negotiations and during the subject condition period.
  • Have the right real estate agent: It is critical that you work with an agent that has your best interests in mind. As a buyer it is not your job to seal the deal, it’s your agent’s responsibility, so make sure they know what your limit is and respect it. Don’t let your agent try to upsell you on the price and encourage you to go above your budget. It’s their job to research comparable in the area and advise you but you are the one that makes the final decision after all it’s your money.
  • Set your boundaries: Once you set your budget, stick to it. Determine exactly how much you can go over if you end up in multiple offers. Don’t get sucked in by emotion and peer pressure because in the end it can end up costing you a lot more money.
  • Consider doing a home inspection ahead of time: The buyer could consider your offer more readily, if it doesn’t include a “subject to inspection” clause.
  • Be flexible: Winning a multiple-offer situation might be as easy as agreeing to the seller’s conditions such as closing dates, buying the property “as is” or even tightening the subject removal dates. This is important if the seller has already bought another property and is anxious to moving on. Agreeing to make the transaction as easy as possible could mean winning over a more generous offer. When buying a property “as is” and limiting the subject conditions – such as requesting that a missing knob or floor tile be replaced – might work in your favour too. If your agent is aware of any information about the seller’s situation and if you can be flexible in any way, take advantage of this opportunity that might help you get your offer accepted.
  • Write it down: Perhaps you might want to write a quick letter to the seller explaining who you are and why you want to buy their home so much. Buying and selling a home is an emotional time for everyone, especially if the seller has lived in that home for a long time and raised their family there. Sometimes, it’s not about the highest offer but it can certainly also be about an emotional connection. Even though your offer might be lower than the others, some sellers might feel a strong connection to your story and decide that it’s not about the money but about someone who will really appreciate a great home.
  • Know when it is time to walk away: Multiple offer situations can be stressful and sometimes listing agents strategically set the price of the home below market value to start a multiple offer situation. Make sure you stand firm on the top end of your budget, and don’t give in to the pressure of the situation. If the seller doesn’t accept your best offer, it’s time to move on.

Buying your home is about getting a great investment and you have to be smart about it. In the end, it’s about being comfortable on what you are paying each month and happy with the decisions you make. After all it’s about finding a home that will be a great place to start building equity and creating memories.

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How to Renovate Condo Kitchen on a Budget

saveThe Vancouver condo market is hot and kitchen design is sizzling too! As condo square footage decreases, kitchen space is changing. Condo kitchens today are often more of a culinary wall in the great-room concept, with an island serving as the eating station, and extra storage and work space. With this new trend, condo kitchen renovations will most likely require wall removal, upgrades in appliances, cabinetry, and flooring, and maybe the addition of an island. To keep costs down, keep the following in mind when renovating:

  • Roll up your sleeves and pitch in with the demolition. And, for that matter, you can help with rubbish, recycling and general cleanup too. This can save you upwards of three to five per cent of your overall renovation costs.
  • Existing appliances can be resold or recycled. Check with BC Hydro for appliance rebate programs in your area. If not available, list them for free, and eliminate removal costs.
  • Culinary walls typically feature flush-mounted appliances, adding to the seamless, opening living feel. Tap in to your certified builder or renovator’s contacts. Chances are they will get better deals on appliances, saving you money to upgrade.
  • Re-use existing cabinetry. If cabinets are in good shape, door panels can be replaced or recovered.
  • Cabinet space-saving systems can exponentially increase your existing usable space per square foot, eliminating the need for excessive cabinetry.
  • If you are removing walls, the space will naturally lighten up. Look to under-cabinet lighting to warm up darker corners versus more expensive, recessed overhead lighting.
  • If you don’t have to move the kitchen sink, don’t. It will save you plumbing costs, and potential issues with your strata/bylaws. If however, you are working with a plumber, and have access to include natural gas in your kitchen, this would be a cost-efficient time to upgrade.
  • Open-concept living generally features a single floor covering. Buy in-stock flooring rather than making custom orders. This will save you on both time and money. And, make sure wall removal is complete before installing. Have your plans in place.
  • Countertops often become the statement piece in open plans, with a focal point around the island. You might like to splash out here, given all of the other dollar-saving ideas.
  • Finally, but most importantly, work with a professional contractor/renovator with condominium knowledge. There will be strata rules to consider, city bylaws, and limitations with common walls, supporting walls, and windows, just to name a few.

When buying older units, make sure to do your due diligence: know the bylaws, use a building inspector and most of all, be sure to use a certified builder or renovator, and get the agreement in writing.

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*SOLD* 78 E 17th Ave, Vancouver

google earth
Location, Location, Location! One block west of Main St, this 1924 character bungalow is the perfect project for a home owner, builder or investor. Bonus, gorgeous backyard for summer parties.  Three bedrooms, two baths and spacious living room home on a 33′ x 120′ RS-7 corner lot. Corner of E. 17 Ave and Quebec Place.


The Importance of Communities for our Wellbeing

Some clients express frustration when looking for a home due to a dying sense of community in neighbourhoods. It is often something they can not define when I ask them what they are looking for; but something they definitely feel when it is absent.  What does community mean to you?  Recently, a friend sent me a link to a TedTalk by Charles Montgomery which presents solid evidence for the importance of communities and social systems for our well being as humans.  I found it very interesting and would like to share it with you in this edition of Corner Lot.

Comments welcomed!

5 Hot Trends in Home Décor

Painted Front Door

Trends come and go…. As a realtor I see many homes, from fresh off the press designs by highly rated interior decorators, to the spectacularly staged  and newly renovated. The following are a few hot trends in home décor which are showing signs of longevity:

  • 50 Shades of Gray

Warm grays with yellow or reddish undertones are the new neutrals. These shades are versatile, warm and enticing, shedding the old boring reputation of gray. If you have beige walls, switching to a warm gray is easy yet impactful. The shades are distant cousins, so the switch should not be too difficult if you find the right shade of gray to replace your beige.

  • Colour is knocking at the Front Door

A front door painted in a vivid colour might be all your home needs to give it a face lift. Popular shades include cherry, dark purple, emerald and teal.  This can be an easy do it yourself project and the colour does not need to be replicated on other accent pieces.

  • Black & White & Marsala

Black & White  combos, as well as Marsala can add sophistication to a room. Black & White patterns can be incorporated in wall paper, table linens, cushions and ceramics.  Marsala,  is a newbie, in that it is a less bold variant to burgundy and wine, which have both been popular over the years, allowing the colour to be used as a neural which adds to its appeal.  Consider using Marsala on accent walls, cushions and drapes to replace darker shades of beige for a punch of colour that adds class and warmth.

  • Holy matrimony of Wood & Metal

This combo revives ordinary wood furniture with a touch of industrial contemporary for a timeless clean-line design.  Wood, especially warmly stained or unstained and heavily grained varieties, plays up the natural look, while bold metals add interest and modern appeal. Dining sets, cabinets, bar stools, bookcases and coffee tables can become more appealing with the marriage of wood and metal.

  • Wallpaper Revival

Forget everything you know about wallpaper.  There are now many great options on the market. You can find just about any design, the only problem you may have is deciding which to choose.  The trend is to use wallpaper for an accent wall or a small space, such as an entryway or powder room.  Transform the dullest room to a chic Parisian escape or go bold for a contemporary oasis.

BC Buyers – Property Transfer Tax

When buying a home in BC, the buyer automatically pays the provincial Property Transfer Tax (PTT).

The tax is payable on the fair market value of the home or other property.

This is different from the property tax. You pay property tax on an annual basis for services you receive from your local government.

How much is it?

The tax is charged at a rate of 1% on the first $200,000 of the fair market value of the property, and 2% on the rest.

For example, if the fair market value of the property is $150,000, the tax is 1% of $150,000 or $1,500.

If the property’s fair market value is $500,000 the tax is 1% of $200,000 ($2,000) plus 2% of the remaining $300,000 ($6,000) for a total tax of $8,000.


Qualifying first-time buyers may be exempt from paying the PTT of 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% of the remainder of the purchase price of a home priced up to $475,000. There is a proportional exemption for homes between $475,000 and $500,000. At $500,000 and above the rebate is nil.

Time to sell?

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Todd Johnson Real Estate

“How much could we get for our house or condo in today’s market?” “How long would it take to sell?” “Does it make sense to make a move now, or should we wait?” “What’s pushing and pulling the market? Interest rates, exchange rate, foreign money?”

Even if you’re not the least bit serious about making a move, you probably ask yourself questions like these from time to time. Most home owners do. It’s natural. So why not find out the answers? How? Give me a call! I’d be happy to drop by to give you a clear idea of what the current market value of your house is and what to expect should you decide to sell. There’s no obligation.


Sutton West Coast Realty