January 2013

There are 7 blog entries for January 2013.

The majority of Vancouver home buyers today order and pay for a home inspection. They do it for peace of mind and an assurance that they're purchasing a sound home.

Unfortunately, major defects listed on that report often go unnoticed. Why? Because the buyer didn't read the report carefully, or because the buyer expected his or her agent to read it and sound the alarm if a real problem existed. The buyer may even expect the home inspector to advise them – but that's not his or her job.

Also unfortunately, some agents are so anxious to close on a home that they gloss over the importance of a notation on the inspection.

If there's anything you're not sure about, or if you feel uncomfortable with your agent's assurance that it's "no big deal," call

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Bank of Canada leans away from interest rate hike

Economic growth forecast lowered to 2% for 2013 as lending rate held at 1%

CBC News

The Bank of Canada lowered its growth forecast for 2013 today, keeping its  benchmark interest rate steady at one per cent for the 19th consecutive time.

The bank also lowered expectations for how much it thinks the economy will expand  in 2013 to two per cent. In October, it had estimated 2.3 per cent growth in gross domestic product for the year.

"The slowdown in the second half of 2012 was more pronounced than the Bank had anticipated," the bank said in a statement posted on its website today.

The bank ended its policy announcement by saying: "Some modest withdrawal of monetary policy

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When you're hunting for a new home in Vancouver and using the Internet to search, it's tempting to click through and ask for information or a showing from the agent who has listed the property - and talk with a different agent with each click.

But that's really not in your best interests.

First, you do need your own agent. The listing agent is bound by law to get the best price and terms for the seller – not for you. If you want advice, the listing agent cannot provide it.

When you sign a buyer's representation agreement with an agent, that agent becomes bound by law to do his or her best for you – and to keep your confidential information confidential. (No, you don't want the seller or the seller's agent to know that you can spend more than

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When you receive multiple offers on your home you're faced with a choice. You can, of course, reject all of them, but let's assume that you really do want to sell the house, so you're going to accept one of them.

Some might say "Well, take the highest offer, of course." But as you'll see, the highest offer isn't always the best offer. It isn't even always the offer that puts the most money in your pocket at closing.

Often that offered price is reduced by a request for you to pay part of the buyer's closing costs, give an allowance for new carpeting, or to make some kind of repairs.

As your agent I'll do the math so you can see the net proceeds from each offer.

Then there are contingencies. Standard contingencies include a response date, the

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Some home sellers are led to believe that because their home is beautifully decorated, it doesn't need to be staged. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Staging does involve the kind of de-cluttering and possibly even some fix-up or painting that a beautifully decorated home probably doesn’t need. Thus, people sometimes believe that only "tired," un-decorated, or vacant homes benefit from staging. But staging isn't about decorating.

While stagers do make an interior space look beautiful, this is not their only function.

Stagers are trained to present a home to give it appeal to a wide variety of buyers. Thus, the decorating is "neutral", rather than a reflection of the occupant's personal taste and style. The furnishings are chosen and

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We wish we had a crystal ball and could answer that question. As of right now, we only know that it's a good time to buy a home because interest rates are unbelievably low.

A home mortgage for $200,000 would have carried a principal and interest payment of $1,264 when rates were at 6.5% just a few short years ago. Now, with rates hovering around 4%, that payment would be only about $955. And some borrowers are finding even lower rates.

Those who stay in their homes for the long term will be smiling broadly a few years from now, when their incomes have risen and their house payments are still low.

Will prices drop again? Will they go up? No one knows. But in our opinion, if you're in a home and plan to stay, fluctuations in the market are

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