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Posts tagged ‘first time buyer’

Free Real Estate Seminar In Sooke: Buying Your First Home

Log Cabin In Sooke

Is 2016 The Year?

Learn all about mortgages, real estate, and how to buy your first home


Coming up Wednesday, January 27, 2016, you can spend a couple of hours with three of Sooke’s real estate and mortgage professionals learning about strategies you can use to get into your first home in 2016. The seminar is free, but you must pre-register, as there’s limited space.  Read more

30 Days Left To Claim Your $10,000

200451745-001

Yeah, there’s $10,000 there. I counted. Really.

This is going to sound like a pitch – but I promise there are no balloons, streamers, or wacky waving inflatable arm-flailing tube men here. If you’re a first-time buyer, there has never been a better time to buy a new home… Read more

First Time Buyer Friday #11 – When To Walk Away

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

Broken house

“Needs TLC”

Q. I made an offer to purchase a house and my inspector found a few problems. How do I know when to walk away?

A. Unfortunately, not all houses are created equal, and you may find that after finally getting an offer accepted on your first home, that the inspection report turns up some issues you missed on your initial viewing of the property. This is normal – it’s the inspector’s job to pick apart the various systems of the home and point out to you everything you’re taking on when you buy the house. The big question is – what is acceptable and what’s too much?

When I bought my home, it was only 11 years old. Everything that I needed to change was merely cosmetic, and if worse came to worse, I could always wait (and suffer through the pastel pink walls and mint-green carpet). But if you’re buying an older home, things like knob-and-tube wiring, a faulty roof, or a cracked or leaking foundation might be a reality and turn your dream home into a nightmare – and this is why an inspection is the best $400 you can spend when you’re shopping for a home.

You should be prepared to replace a few things and make a few changes once you move in, but you’ll probably want a good idea as to how much money this is going to cost. For example, if your inspection report finds that the roof is failing and you’ll soon need to replace it, it’s not hard to get a roofing contractor over for a quick drive-by estimate. It’s another thing altogether if your inspector suspects there may be substandard wiring, cracks in the foundation, or failing stucco or other exterior cladding. These repairs are often much more costly – and sometimes cover up other problems not visible to your inspector. It’s not necessarily the cost of the repairs that is the greatest cause for concern.It’s what you don’t know that can cost the most. If you aren’t comfortable with this, it might be a signal that it’s time to be glad you had an inspection, walk away, and move on to another property.

Your REALTOR® has probably seen lots of similar houses in his or her career and can certainly help counsel you, but you should always get reliable repair estimates from reputable contractors – they are the ones you’ll be writing a cheque to for repairs. The decision to walk away or not has to be your own; you need to be comfortable with any repairs or upgrades that may be necessary when you take ownership of the house.

A smart buyer will also consider if the house will be difficult to sell in a few years’ time if these issues are not looked after when he or she owns the house. The roof might not be leaking now, but the last thing you want is to take a hit on the price of your home because a subsequent buyer doesn’t want to fix the problems you inherited from the previous owner!

As with dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea when it comes to buying houses, and your REALTOR® will help you find the right house. And, also like dating, you’ll probably find that you love that house even more than you did the one you let get away.

I’d love to answer your questions about buying or selling a house. Give me a call at 250-885-0512, e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form. Connect with me on Twitter at Twitter.com/TimAyres.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First Time Buyer Friday #9 – Bidding Wars or Competing Offers

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

Multiple offers can still happen

Multiple offers can still happen

Q. I had my REALTOR® prepare an offer on the perfect house yesterday, but we lost out because there were competing offers. What can you tell me about how this works?

A. It can be so frustrating, especially as a first time buyer with limited finances, to find the right home for your needs only to lose it to another buyer in competing offers, sometimes called a bidding war.

With record low interest rates and falling prices, it’s much more affordable these days to buy a house than in recent years. Not surprisingly, many first time buyers like yourselves are stepping into the market, after having been sidelined by high prices and interest rates. There are many reports of multiple offers happening, especially with lower-priced, entry-level properties.

Typically, if you decide to offer on a property, your REALTOR® will inform the listing agent of your intention to write one and request the title and property disclosure statement. At this time, the listing REALTOR® will also inform your agent if there are any other competing offers.

If there are no competing offers, then your offer is presented to the seller of the house you want to by either by your agent or by the seller’s agent. The offer is either accepted (great), countered (not as great), or rejected (booo!).

If there is a competing offer, this changes the game plan considerably. You very likely will not see a counter-offer, so you need to decide with the help of your REALTOR® what your best possible offer will be. Often, this means going over the asking price, especially if the property is new on the market.

However, you should keep in mind, that price isn’t everything, and making it easier for a seller to accept your offer will also help your position. If the offers are very close in price, the one with the easiest conditions could win, even if it’s a few thousand dollars less. Keeping your offer free of unusual conditions (like parental approval) and keeping the conditions short (no more than 5 business days) could bump your offer into first position.

One thing a first-time buyer has going for him or her is that there is no current property to sell. A subject-to-sale offer has almost no chance of acceptance in a multiple-offers situation.

When I present multiple offers to sellers, I usually present them in the order in which they were received, taking notes along the way. Once all offers have been presented, we go through the notes, comparing one offer with the other(s), and the seller decides which one to go with. Again, price isn’t everything, and I have had sellers accept a few thousand dollars less for an offer that just “felt right” to them. That is one of the most fascinating things about residential real estate – the emotional connection a seller has to his or her home when selling bears largely on their decision-making process.

If you are unsuccessful in getting the deal on the property, ask your REALTOR® if he or she can arrange to have your offer in backup position. This way, your offer is automatically accepted if the first one collapses.

I love helping first-time buyers get into their first homes – nothing is more rewarding than handing over the keys to my first time clients. I provide guidance and assistance every step of the way and beyond, all at no cost. If you have any questions, please  give me a call any time at 250-885-0512, e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca or fill in my contact form. Connect with me on Twitter at Twitter.com/TimAyres.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First Time Buyer Friday #4 – Closing Costs

Closing Costs

Closing Costs

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

Q. What additional closing costs are associated with buying property in Victoria, Sooke, or anywhere else in British Columbia?

A. “But wait! There’s more!” This is how it can feel sometimes when you’re buying your first home. It seems sometimes that there is a big vacuum cleaner that is after your money. Welcome to closing costs.

When many first-time buyers start looking at homes, they often very carefully examine their credit, their savings, and calculate out to the penny what their anticipated monthly payment will be. Often, a large oversight is that they do not calculate closing costs or are completely unaware that they exist or just how much money they’ll need.

The largest chunk of the closing cost for most first-time buyers in BC is amount that you have to spend on legal fees. In order to register your mortgage on the title and register the title in your name, you must use either a lawyer or notary public to act on your behalf to convey the property from the sellers to you (often called conveyance or conveyancing).

There are advantages and disadvantages to using either a notary or lawyer. I spoke to Notary Public Sabrina Hanousek of Notaries on Douglas about her side of the story. Recently, Sabrina did an absolutely outstanding job and went above and beyond the call of duty for some of my clients who had a difficult situation arise at closing.

Sabrina says that people who choose to use a notary usually do so because they charge less than a lawyer, which is often the case, but not always. What they find out, however, is that notaries tend to have a lot of experience with real estate conveyance, because that is the bulk of their business in many cases. She also finds that notaries are more “hands-on” and rely less on support staff, and meet directly with the clients rather than delegating this task to secretaries. If things go wrong, she has access to experienced lawyers who can try and fix things. Sabrina charges $795 for a purchase, and $495 for a sale, all disbursements and taxes in. Some items like strata forms would be extra, and a purchase and a sale would sometimes be eligible for a small discount.

I spoke to Rob Connolly of Victoria law firm Jones Emery Hargreaves Swan about how a lawyer is different from a notary. While a lawyer’s fees are sometimes higher, they can deal with issues directly if they come up, rather than having to refer the file to a lawyer if the client used a notary, if, say, a dispute arose about something in the contract. There are also lawyers who specialize in nothing but real estate law, and would be very well equipped to handle any conveyance file. Most people that choose to use a lawyer to handle their real estate transactions do so for peace of mind, and they may already have a lawyer for other legal matters. Rob’s firm charges $800 for a purchase, plus $300-$500 for disbursements (documents, copying, etc). For a sale, it’s $600 plus $50-$75 for disbursements.  A $200 discount is offered if the client does both a sale and a purchase.

It’s best to get a referral from a friend or your real estate agent and to call around to get a few different quotes.

Another source of closing costs are any taxes payable on the purchase. GST is not payable on resale housing, but is payable on new housing, although it’s often included in the purchase price. The provincial property transfer tax (PTT) is calculated at 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance of the purchase price. However, most of the time, first-time buyers are exempt from paying it.

Depending on your financial institution, you may have to pay for an independent appraisal of the property you’re buying. Often, a mortgage broker will pay for the appraisal, that would be a good question to ask before deciding on who to get your mortgage from. If you have to pay, budget around $300-$500 for this.

Again, depending on the financial institution and type of property, you may need to have the property surveyed. In the Contract of Purchase and Sale, the seller has to provide a survey if it’s available, but often, especially with older properties, the survey is gone or outdated. Surveys can cost over $1000, but most financial institutions will accept title insurance instead, which insures the lender against depreciation caused by something that an up-to-date survey would discover, for example, that the house is not where it is supposed to be on the lot due to an error by the builder. A title insurance policy costs around $400.

Last but not least, you’ll need homeowner’s insurance. If you’re buying a condo, you’ll just need contents and liability insurance. These policies cost $300-$500 per year.

So, all told, you’ll want to set aside $1700-$2200 in addition to your down payment to cover closing costs. Remember this when calculating how much you can afford. And don’t forget a hundred bucks or so for pizza and beer for your friends when they help you move!

If you have any questions about buying your first home, or any real estate matter, call me any time at 250-885-0512 or e-mail Tim@TimAyres.ca. Be sure to check out the other First Time Buyer Friday posts!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First-Time-Buyer Friday #3 – Strata Properties

Shutters Spa and Residences

Shutters Condominiums on The Songhees in Victoria

In my continuing series, First-Time-Buyer Fridays, I answer a common question from a first-time buyer. If you have a question to submit, first-time-buyer or experienced investor, put one in the comments below, or fire me an e-mail at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

Q. I hear the terms “strata property,” “strata fee,” and “strata council” all the time when looking through listings and talking to real estate people. What exactly does strata mean?

A. Strata properties are just another type of property ownership. It’s a legal concept for dividing up a large property such as a condominium project into individual units that individual owners can own. Typically, a strata property will be either a condominium, townhouse, or bareland strata.

When you buy a strata property, you become a member of that project’s strata corporation, along with the other owners in the building. The strata corporation elects a strata council, which makes decisions and handles things like by-law enforcement, record-keeping, paying the common bills, and so on. Strata corporations are operated much the same as non-profit societies in this way.

A strata property is divided up into three types of property. There is the strata lot (SL), which is the unit that an individual can own; the actual townhouse or condo. There is common property (CP), which each owner in the strata corporation owns a proportion of, depending on the size of their strata lots. This would include things like the driveway, exterior of the building including the roof and exterior walls, hallways, elevators, and so on. Basically everything outside of the interior walls of the condo or townhouse. Finally, there is limited common property (LCP), which is common property designated for the exclusive use of an individual unit. For example, balconies are almost always LCP, and a parking space for a unit will often be LCP, especially in older stratas.

Strata fees are charged to each owner to cover the common expenses like heating the common areas, cleaning, maintenance, water, sewer, insurance, and so on. Strata owners are responsible to pay the strata fees (usually, once a month) levied to their strata lot. The amount each owner pays varies depending on their unit entitlement. Unit entitlement is a fancy way of saying the size of their strata lot in proportion to the other lots in the building or complex. So, the bigger in square footage you go, the more you can expect to pay in strata fees compared to smaller units in the same complex. Strata fees really to vary from property to property in Victoria and Sooke. I would budget about $200-$275 for a two-bedroom condo, and $100-$150 for a one-bedroom. I’ve rarely seen a monthly strata fee over $300 for either a townhouse or condo in Victoria or Sooke.

When buying into a strata corporation, you will be given the opportunity to read over records of all the meetings, letters, and financial statements from the last couple of years. You will also have a chance to read over the by-laws, to make sure they fit with your lifestyle. Many condominiums in Fairfield, for example, do not allow pets. Several others have an age by-law which restricts the units to those aged 19, 55, or even 65 and over. Some complexes allow rentals, and some do not, which is something to keep in mind, also.

All of this discussion about stratas has pushed me to start writing a new section on this blog focusing on strata issues. So, now we’ll have FTB Fridays, and Strata Saturdays Mondays (sorry, can’t guarantee writing on a Saturday!). For detailed information about British Columbia’s Strata Property Act, have a look at the Government of BC Website.

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions on buying your first or fiftieth home, I’d be happy to help. Call me any time direct at 250-885-0512 or e-mail me at Tim@TimAyres.ca.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First-Time-Buyer Friday #2 – Needs vs Wants

house-shoppingQ. There are lots of potential homes in my price range. How can I narrow down the field so I don’t waste time viewing homes I really have no interest in buying?

A. Many first time buyers are hit with this problem. Often, because they’re just starting out and want to make sure they don’t miss any potential homes, they search REALTOR.ca for all homes under a certain price level, and go from there. This is what I would call a shotgun approach. Sometimes, a buyer will get so many results it’s overwhelming. So an exercise I like to have my first time buyers do is the Needs vs Wants Inventory.

It’s simple really. Just take a sheet of paper and divide it into two columns, one entitled Needs, and the other Wants. Then think of all the home features or attributes of your lifestyle and put them in the appropriate column. For example, if you have pets and intend on taking them with you to your new home, then obviously “pets” goes on the needs side.

If you like stainless steel appliances, but are willing to cope with harvest gold, then that goes in the wants column. Thinking about this further, you could put the commute time to work in both columns. Put the maximum commute time you’d allow on the needs side, and the ideal commute time on the wants side.

Continue down the page and you should be able to come up with a pretty good summary of what you’re looking for. Talk to an agent and ask him or her to search for listings that match your criteria. This will really help narrow it down and will ensure that you find a home that will be the perfect balance between what you really need and what you want.

If you’re a first- second- or twenty-time buyer and have a question you’d like answered, contact me and I’ll get you a prompt, accurate response!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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First-Time Buyer Fridays! – New Feature on the 642Blog

They're a little crooked, but soundly built!

They're a little crooked, but soundly built!

Welcome to the first edition of First-time Buyer Friday! In this new section of the blog, I’ll chat about a different topic each week that is specifically important to first time buyers in the Victoria and Sooke marketplace. I’ve been working with a lot of first-time buyers lately, so I am getting a lot of questions from my clients which inspired me to start writing about them. Sometimes the post will come in video format, other times written.

Q. What’s the first step in owning my own home?

A. With Victoria and Sooke real estate prices dropping, and interest rates at historic lows, many renters are considering making a move to their own property. Other than surfing around on Realtor.ca, your first step should probably be to meet with a qualified mortgage broker or your bank to determine how much you can afford, and to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will help you in numerous ways. First, it gives you the confidence that you are financially able to purchase when you find the right home, and will save you valuable time by focusing only on properties you can afford.

Working with a mortgage broker has several advantages. Being independent, they have access to many different lenders, and will work for you to get you the best rate and the mortgage product that best suits your needs. Contrast this to a bank’s mortgage officer, who is usually tied to that bank’s mortgages and has limited flexibility to offer different products.

If you have any questions about mortgages, buying, or anything else real estate related, contact me at 250-885-0512, Twitter.com/TimAyres or Tim@TimAyres.ca. I would be happy to refer you to a mortgage broker to get you started!

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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Sooke Real Estate Under $300,000

First Time Buyer? Investor? Looking to stop renting?

There are currently 21 properties as of today (October 20th, 2008) for sale in Sooke under $300,000. And we’re not talking tiny, cramped condos or bachelor pads. The type of properties available for this price range varies from spacious condos and townhouses in waterfront complexes in the Sasseenos area, a small acreage in the Otter Point area, half duplexes in the town core, and even some under-construction brand-new townhouses. The best buy might be the 0.39 acre parcel on Church Road which will be ripe for redevelopment in the future. There are also lots of mobile/manufactured homes in Sooke for between $75,000 – $200,000.

Sooke MLS Real Estate Listings under $300,000

The link above is updated live, so feel free to bookmark it! If you have any questions about how you can get into your own home for under $300,000, give me a call at 250-885-0512 or send me an e-mail to Tim@TimAyres.ca

For your information, a $300,000 property would cost you approximately $1400 per month if you put 5% down and took out a 30-year mortgage, according to RBC’s mortgage calculator, based on a rate of 5.0%. I know several excellent mortgage brokers who can get you pre-qualified with the best rates, saving you thousands of dollars in interest.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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BC Budget Increases First-Time Buyer PPT Exemption Threshold

For the fourth time in as many years, the British Columbia Government announced in its yearly budget last week that it was increasing the threshold for the first-time buyer property purchase tax exemption. The exemption threshold will rise from $375,000 to $425,000, reflecting the increase in real estate prices throughout the province over the past year. A proportional exemption is available for properties purchased for between $425,000 and $450,000.

Another change: Previously, to be eligible, buyers also had to take a mortgage of at least 70% of the property’s value, and if within the first year of ownership paid down the mortgage to less than 70% of the home’s value, they would lose their exemption. This has been phased out, and the mortgage may be paid down by any amount within the first year without losing the exemption.

A video about the budget:

http://timayres.vodpod.com/video/929642-video

Tim Ayres


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