Jane Field and Rachel Cochrane

Buyer Agency Agreements

Posted by on August 11, 2015 | No Comments

If you are looking to buy real estate you have likely selected your Realtor. But, maybe you are surfing the internet and emailing Realtors, or perhaps you are calling various Realtors on ads. If you have been talking to several there is little doubt you have been asked “are you already working with a Realtor?” The reason for this is they want to know if you are possibly going to select them to be your Realtor, or if you are just taking up their time. This is a fair question. You may or may not realize, Realtors work solely on commissions. So to earn their living, they must budget their time carefully and spend it with customers who will eventually buy from them.
There are reasons you will benefit by choosing to work exclusively with one Realtor. Primarily, darting around from Realtor to Realtor gets you information but not good service. You are not of enough importance to any of those agents. Whereas, if you select your Buyers Agent you are a high priority to that agent, and they will bend over backwards to serve you well.
Your chosen Realtor may now be asking you to enter into an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. Doing so gives you a written agreement that you have full representation in a transaction, elevating you from customer to client status. The Buyer Agency Agreement is similar to a Listing Agreement in that it outlines the fee that the Realtor will earn and under what circumstances. By you signing this agreement, your Realtor has received your written loyalty and commitment to buy from them, assuming the right property has been found. In return, the Buyers Agent is to be loyal to you and is to provide all the time, information and service you will require, from selecting the property, to representing you on your buying contract and through the closing of the sale. The Buyer Agent will investigate listings from all real estate companies on your behalf. When suitable new listings come on the market, they will be in touch with you as soon as they can. They can also negotiate on private sales for you. They will do this knowing that you will not end up with another Realtor and it will not turn out their time was wasted. It is important that you know that the fee your Buyers Agent earns, commonly comes out of the price of the house in the same way that listing commissions do and is not normally in addition to the typical commissions sellers pay. In fact, the Buyers Agent fee is already included in the listing fee in almost all cases.
Buyer Agency is a fair way to do business and you will benefit by the dedication and service, the ease and comfort of dealing with one Realtor you know and trust.

 

Filed Under: Buyers

Ending Confusion – Inspections, Appraisals, Assessments, and CMAs

Posted by on July 14, 2015 | No Comments

Are you ever confused by words like home inspection, appraisal, assessment, evaluation,  competitive market analysis?   Most people are. I will attempt to give you mini definitions that should sort this out for you.
Home inspections  are used to find defects in the construction of the home, including roof, foundation, plumbing, heating, wiring etc. These are performed by licensed Home Inspectors, not realtors or appraisers.
Appraisals are opinions of value done by accredited professionals that are educated and certified by the Appraisal Institute of Canada.  Their services are commonly requested by banks and mortgage companies so that the banks can determine that the value of the property is sufficient for their financial security. The beneficial by-product of this appraisal is that the buyer knows whether or not they are paying a fair and reasonable price for the property. Certified appraisals are primarily for purposes of establishing market value but they also determine replacement cost of the home. Market value and replacement cost are most often not the same. If you are needing to know your property’s value for legal or income taxation purposes, you are best advised to use this type of appraisal.
An assessment is done by government employees working with the B.C. Assessment Authority. It is their job to put a value on our homes and  other properties based on this years’ value to be used for next years’ taxes. These are very general opinions and should never ever be used to establish a sale or purchase price.
Evaluations and Competitive Market Analysis (C.M.A.’s) are interchangeable terms. These are done by realtors and are the most common way consumers determine market value. They use a similar process to the Certified Appraisers. Firstly, they view the property and establish the size of the home and land. They note both the good and not so good features of the home. Realtors then search out the sales that have occurred on the recent market. Hopefully, finding three sales to get an average. They are aiming to find homes that are most like the evaluation subject and in the most similar areas. They make value adjustments upward for things like new kitchens and downward for things like needing work, repair, paint etc. The art of this process is assessing what we call Buyer Appeal, and in knowing which market trends are creating particular added value to certain types of properties.
Hope that helps!

Originally published in the Vernon Morning Star – July 2004

 

Filed Under: Vernon Real Estate

OPINIONS OF VALUE

Posted by on October 19, 2012 | No Comments

“How does one go about getting a reliable opinion of the current value of their real estate?” This question is not as complex as you may think.
Generally, you can ask a Realtor. Realtors will do what is called a Competitive Market Analysis, usually at no charge. We Realtors do this on the expectation that it will result in business for us, sometime in the future. A competent analysis involves a physical tour of the property, and a discussion with the homeowner regarding how much time is available to sell the property. The “time to sell” is important because selling a property in 30 days or less is quite different than if the seller has 90-180 days, which is the more typical time it takes to sell a property these days.
After the property has been viewed and the Realtor has interviewed the seller, it is time to begin the analysis. Firstly, your Realtor will seek out the sales that have occurred within the most recent 90 days. They will analyze the sales on properties which are as similar as possible to yours. All facets of comparison need to be addressed. For example, square footage, location, views, extra features or the lack of, and condition are the basics that need to be compared. Also, if the market is rising or falling the sold prices would need to be adjusted accordingly. Once the applicable “Sold Properties” have been isolated, the Realtor normally studies the current competition in much the same way. After all, the value of the subject property could not likely be considered to be above the asking price of similar properties which are currently listed.
Next question: “Do you need to seek multiple opinions of value?” The answer is “sometimes”. If you believe your Realtor has been very thorough in the analysis and that they are well experienced, and you are confident there are recent sales in your type of property for the Realtor to use to compare, then you can normally feel confident the opinion they put forth is reliable. Otherwise, by all means get multiple opinions. Bear in mind pricing is not an exact science and the Courts require even Certified Appraisers to be accurate only within 5% of Current Market Value. I would like to express a word of caution here. Please, never choose a Realtor based on their evaluation being the highest. That could easily take you down an undesirable path. You always want to choose a Realtor for their competence and how comfortable you will feel working with them.
If you are looking at your Tax Assessment and thinking you can rely on it, please do not do so. I would like to strongly suggest you get a Realtor Evaluation or a Certified Appraisal as a superior alternative. There are some solid reasons why I say this. Firstly, the odds are that the Assessor has not been inside your home and may not have even driven by. Please bear in mind, Assessors have a monstrous task of keeping up on the evaluation of hundreds of properties. At best, they can only reasonably attempt a general opinion of value. Another catch with assessments is that they are done the year before. They cannot be any more current than October of the previous year. The cut-off has to be that far ahead, so that the assessment opinions are prepared and mailed out to homeowners in January. This is so there is time for the property owners to initiate the Appeal Process if they take issue with the tax value shown on their assessment. Bottom line is that assessments are not nearly current enough to use to establish present market value.
The last question I would like to address is “Do you need a Certified Appraisal?” The answer again is “sometimes”. If you are in any kind of legal process or entanglement, get a Certified Appraisal!” These are the only evaluations that will stand up in a court setting. There are even different levels of expertise a court will recognize. There are extra accreditations the courts look to for opinions of value on unusual properties such as Native Land Claims and high end properties etc. etc.
If you are trying to settle situations like an estate or if you are going through a divorce, seek out the Certified Appraiser. There are several such appraisal firms in most cities. To find a good Appraiser, ask your Realtor.
If you are putting your property up for sale, it is never a bad idea to get a Certified Appraisal. It is a quality second opinion to combine with your Realtors’ evaluation. The cost for most Certified Residential Appraisals is currently about
$300-400. This is a well priced service for what the Appraisers do.

 

Filed Under: Vernon Real Estate

Price Sensitive Market

Posted by on September 10, 2012 | No Comments

Price Sensitive Market

We continue to have a high number of listings on our marketplace. This presents stiff competition for you, if you are a Seller. Certain price ranges are more difficult than others. I notice we have a large inventory in the $400-550 range in particu-lar. This kind of market is tough for Sellers, but quite wonderful for Buyers.
In my day to day practice I regularly observe that each property’s price has a trig-ger point. I will explain this further. I see that todays’ Buyers are almost always inspired to pursue a property only if they can see solid value at the asking price. Repeatedly I see even small price reductions create more interest from Buyers. It is accurate to say that reducing the price to be very close to the current market value is what creates more showings and offers. Alternately, if a Seller keeps a higher price on their property and instructs their Realtor to “bring an offer” the Seller sees little or no activity on their listing.
I also believe the way in which todays’ Buyers look for properties has a big influ-ence. Buyers get on various real estate websites, particularly www.realtor.ca and they punch in their various search parameters. They usually key in the area they want to be in, number of bedrooms and of course their preferred price range. As soon as they choose that price range they are eliminating viewing properties priced in the next higher price category. A Seller asking even one price range too high can just get passed by. Hence, the increased importance of an asking price close to current market value. The definition of Current Market Value is more or less as follows. CMV is the price Buyers have been paying for similar properties which have been exposed to the marketplace for a reasonable length of time.
We have been enjoying the presence of a fair number of Buyers this Spring and Summer. So, a Seller does indeed have a reasonable opportunity to get their property sold. However, as the market remains so competitive, it is critical that the list price be the “right” price.
If your property is currently listed for sale, it is a good practice to review your ask-ing price with your Realtor every month or so just to be sure your price is posi-tioned correctly. That way you are less likely to see your competitors get sold in-stead of yourself.

Self Employed Borrowers

Posted by on September 10, 2012 | No Comments

Self Employed Borrowers

It seems we have entered a new era in mortgage applications.
The body that controls lending rules in Canada is OSFI. OSFI was established in 1987 to “contribute to the public confidence in the Canadian financial system”. It is an independent agency. It is the sole regulator of banks, and the primary regulator of insurance companies, trust companies, loan companies and pension plans in Canada. It reports to the Minister of Finance.(research source Wikipedia)
In the past, self employed persons could apply for a new mortgage and be processed in much the same way as regular employed people. That is, as long as they had been self-employed for a period of two years preceding the application. If they had been self-employed for less time than that, it was always a problem. Fair enough. Lenders would reasonably have an expectation that the self employed persons’ business be established and reliable for the applicant to be approvable. Now, OSFI has made the lending process more demanding.
A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with a self employed woman who has been successful in her own business for over twenty years.. Recently, she wanted to buy a couple of rental/investment homes. I want to point out that she has a great track record of excellent credit ratings. When she applied for financing, the lenders made an in depth study out of her application. The lender went far beyond what would have been asked of this borrower even a year ago. This borrower was even asked to provide letters from her current tenants outlining the amount of rent they were paying. She was asked to provide details on her various lines of credit. It was necessary for her to explain the reason for the balances on her lines of credit. She was also asked to provide three years of her income tax statements for both her Company and her personal taxes.
In short, the lenders need to know every detail about the self employed borrower. No longer is a good credit history all a lender would be permitted to rely on. At one time, if the lender could see lots of equity and if the would-be borrower had a good credit rating, that was all that was needed. Now with recent economic difficulties, it is a new day. While this makes the borrowing exercise more comprehensive, it is intelligent thinking. We would certainly not want to end up with the number of delinquent loans the U.S.A. is experiencing. I have thanked my “lucky stars” hundreds of times that we are not in the situation our cousins are, south of the border.
The good news is she got the loans she was asking for and at the fabulous interest rates that are currently being offered. I do hope these very low interest rates apply for a while longer. It is such a good break for our buyers.
The take away message on this story is that if you are self-employed, you need to be prepared with organized statements of your business prior to your credit application. I know it takes time, but if you collect all this paperwork prior to your credit application, it will certainly streamline the process. In the long run, your preparedness will make it a lot easier for you.

Subject to Sale Offers

Posted by on June 28, 2011 | No Comments

 When selling, have you ever wondered why you should or should not consider offers which are subject to the sale of a Buyer’s property?
 Many possible factors can influence your decision.  At the top of the list would be to find out if the Buyer will accept you adding a “time clause.” A time clause allows the seller to keep their property on the market.  If the seller receives another acceptable offer then the Seller notifies the first buyer (through their Realtor®) that they have so many hours to remove any and all conditions from their offer or step back and let the second Buyer proceed to buy the property.  The number of hours for notice is set at the time the purchase price, possession etc are negotiated.  Sellers should be aware that the higher the number of hours, the more of a deterrent it is to any other buyer.  Commonly 24 to 72 hour periods are used.
 In a time clause, buyers sometimes ask to exclude weekends, or at least Sundays and statutory holidays from the calculation of time.  Sellers need to be cautious about such exclusions. This can directly affect out of town buyers who come to the area to look on weekends.  If that buyer must make their choice, or even prefer to make their choice on the concerned weekend, they may be put off by the existence of a time clause.  The shorter the time clause, the less effect it has on the saleability of the property.
 If you are a buyer and you have made your offer subject to the sale of your current home, it is best you decide early if you would actually finance the purchase of you new home, rather than wait to sell your existing home.  Even if you only think you might wish to bridge/interim finance then go see your banker or mortgage broker as soon as you sign the purchase contract.  Don’t wait until a second buyer comes along and triggers the time clause.  You may find your banker needs more time to process your loan application than the time clause allows.  Better to be safe than sorry.
 As a seller, another question you may have is trying to assess if there would be fewer showings, if you have accepted an offer to sell that is subject to the sale of the Buyers home.  The answer is that it doesn’t change the number of showings substantially.  Realtors® accept that “subject to sale” seldom means they will not be able to bump the first offer, and they are therefore usually happy to show the property.  Of course the shorter the time clause, the less the effect it has on showings.
 Sellers, please know that your Realtor® is not required to notify the Multiple Listing Service that a subject deal is pending.  In the case of “subject to sale” it is doubtful your Realtor® would report the sale and it is your right to ask your Realtor®  not to.  Your Realtor®  will have to tell Realtors® who show your property of the existence of a time clause; however.  Once the Realtors® get the details, they usually do continue efforts to show the property.
 All in all, I think “subject to the sale” offers can be managed to not have too much negative effect on the Sellers position.

Jane Field works with RE/MAX Vernon.  To suggest topics for future articles or to ask Jane questions, email her at [email protected] or call 250.503.3755. 

 

Filed Under: Buyers, Sellers, Vernon Real Estate

Downsizing

Posted by on May 31, 2011 | No Comments

 Downsizing is a popular trend.  This type of consumer forms a large part of our current pool of buyers.
 Most downsizers don’t choose a smaller house, but rather they choose to go to apartment condos or townhouses.  Part of the joy of downsizing is the joy of no longer being a slave to yard work.  Yard work is just fine if you have physical health and you enjoy the gardening and upkeep as a hobby.  Somehow though, most empty nesters call it work and look to other activities to fill their leisure time.  They choose golf, camp, boat or do any number of other activities that potentially conflict with maintaining their own lawns and gardens.
 Deciding on what type of real estate the downsizer will choose can be a multi-faceted question.
 The first basic decision is between apartment-style or townhouse style.  In an apartment you generally have more privacy.  Your neighbours don’t see your comings and goings.  Usually they don’t even know if you are at home.  You enjoy lower heat bills in most apartments and good views are easier to come by.  However, the amount of daylight in units with only one face to the sunlight can be an issue.  Storage can be a factor.  Many apartments have both a utility room and a storage locker, but not always.  Secure underground parking is commonly available.  The majority are in downtown locations and so one can benefit by using one’s car less or even not at all.
 Adult community townhomes offer different benefits.  Firstly, you have a front door and back door and no elevators.  So, it feels like a house.  You usually have the use of a rear green space.  Sometimes one can find green space in both front and rear yards, as in the case of detached bare land strata developments.  Your covered parking is commonly attached in most cases.  That saves the trips with the grocery cart from the parkade that apartment dwellers experience.  Adult communities are generally safer than regular communities but apartments are safer yet.  Access is more difficult for thieves and so on.
 The transition for a homeowner from a house to a townhouse is easier.  It is not such a stark change.  Many adult community townhomes feel almost exactly like homes on their own lots.
 You can see there is diversity in the benefits and the differences.  I recommend that if you are downsizing, you look at both types of properties.  You will soon know which type feels the most like home to you.

To suggest topics for future articles or to ask Jane questions, email her at [email protected] or call 250.503.3755.  Previous articles published in the Morning Star appear on Jane’s website – www.vernonrealestate.ca

 

Filed Under: Buyers

Importance of Deposits

Posted by on April 28, 2011 | No Comments

 When making an offer to purchase, it is a good idea to show your sincerity by offering as good a deposit as possible. Sellers look most favorably at offers that give them peace of mind. 
 Every aspect of an offer effects the seller. For instance, if your offer is subject to financing the seller is aware that they cannot be sure your offer will become firm. The same thing applies if you have made your offer “subject to the sale of your present home”. Again, your offer is not a “sure thing” to the seller. All conditions have some effect on the confidence of the seller.  The more confident you can make the seller, the more favorably the seller looks at your offer. Deposits are a vital part of this picture.
  (I am not suggesting for even a minute that you should refrain from putting your necessary conditions on your offers. You absolutely need the protection these clauses provide. i.e. subject to home inspection, financing, sale of home etc.)
  If you tender a poor deposit , the seller is less assured that they can rely on you. Alternately, if you offer a generous deposit, the seller knows you mean business.
 Remember to, that most sellers will become buyers themselves, as soon as they accomplish a sale on their present home. If a sturdy deposit is part of the contract of sale on their existing home, they can go forward to buy, having the necessary faith that nothing is likely to happen to their sale.
 In our area, deposits are sometimes tendered in two parts.  A small amount of perhaps only $1000 at the time of the offer, and then significantly more, often $9000 to $20,000, when you remove your conditions and make your offer firm and binding.  This practice works quite well as it keeps the buyer from surrendering savings account interest or avoiding borrowing charges until and unless they are actually going ahead with their purchase.  Deposits are often even larger on more expensive properties.
  Your deposit is not an added expense. Rather it forms part of your purchase price and it goes towards the monies you will need to complete the transaction.
 Deposits are not paid to the seller until the property actually goes into the buyers’ name. Instead, they are typically held in trust by the buyer’s real estate company. In private sales, notaries or lawyers hold the deposit monies in trust.
 In the United States, they call deposits “Earnest Money”.  That pretty much says it all, does it not?

Jane Field works with RE/MAX Vernon.  To suggest topics for future articles or to ask Jane questions, email her at [email protected] or call 250.503.3755.  Previous articles published in the Morning Star appear on Jane’s website – www.vernonrealestate.ca

 

Filed Under: Buyers, Vernon Real Estate

New Listing at Turtle Mountain

Posted by on March 18, 2011 | No Comments

#105, 3808 – 35th St. Vernon, BC

Listing Price – $ 189,900

2 bedroom – 2 bath  with quick possession possible.

Beautiful city & mountain views with a South-eastern exposure.

Showings will start on Saturday, March 26th – Be the first to view!

 

Filed Under: Vernon Real Estate

2287 Catt Avenue, Lumby BC.

Posted by on February 22, 2011 | No Comments

Don’t miss our new listing in Lumby…

Immaculate 4 bedroom + den, 3 bath home situated in a nice quiet neighbourhood!      $379,900

View details and more photos here!

 

Filed Under: Buyers, Vernon Real Estate

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