With Easter weekend just around the corner I thought I would see what is happening in and around the Langley area for activities.



I found on the Langley Tourism website a whole list of activities for children and adults alike.  Everything from photos with the Easter Bunny to a flashmob contestSmile


604pulse.com also has a great list of activities and events in the entire Lower Mainland.  There is really something for everyone this weekend!


The weather is looking down-right fine too in Langley!



Whatever you end up doing, whether it be going to church or just spending quality time with your family, I trust you will have a blessed long weekend, coming back refreshed and excited for what's ahead!  The spring time is looking like the PERFECT time to buy a home!


Till next time ...


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This story is too wonderful not to share!  I found it on REM.com and just had to share with you!

Realtor honoured for standing up to rioters


"When sales rep Hootie Johnston walked from his Strathcona home to the downtown section of Vancouver on June 15, 2011, he had no idea the events of that night would earn him the Certificate of Merit, the Vancouver Police Department’s highest civilian award for bravery.


It was the last night of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Boston Bruins and the Vancouver Canucks, series tied 3-3. The City of Vancouver had closed off several streets surrounding Rogers Arena and set up two Jumbotron TV screens for fans to watch the hockey game. The large screen TVs had been set up for the previous playoff games and tens of thousands of fans came downtown to watch.


“I just went down to celebrate,” says Johnston, who was not anticipating any trouble with the crowds because there’d been no problems on the other nights. “There were more people down there during the Olympics and it was a fun party zone.” Vancouver has earned the nickname “no fun zone”, but during the 2010 Winter Olympics the city set up screens and the downtown area was turned into a big party with activities and singers keeping the tourists entertained. Johnston was hoping for the same fun atmosphere during the last game of the Stanley Cup finals. He hoped the evening would end with the Canucks winning and the fans holding a huge celebratory street party.


Johnston remembered the riot that took place in Vancouver on June 14, 1994 after the Canucks lost the last game in the Stanley Cup playoffs. He wrote it off to a certain group of people who felt they had to be idiots. It couldn’t happen again.


With each goal the Bruins scored, the mood in the crowd changed. When the Canucks were defeated and the Bruins claimed the Stanley Cup, the celebratory mood in the street turned sour. A group of rioters lit cars on fire and began throwing barricade fencing at the police. Johnston estimates about 20 to 30 rioters were in front of the CBC building with thousands more watching and taking pictures. He was outraged that the crowd stood around watching two dozen rioters attack the police with metal barricades and no one tried to stop them.

Johnston moved in alone and braced himself against the metal fencing, acting as a one-man barrier between the rioters and the police. However, outnumbered 20 to one, he was quickly overwhelmed and couldn’t hold back the fences any longer. The rioters broke through and he got into a scuffle when he tried to stop them from using the barricades as shields and weapons against the police. He was swarmed by the rioters and no one in the watching crowd stepped in to help. The police threw in a smoke grenade and pulled him out. Johnston was not hurt but he did get hit by the smoke grenade.


“I have a scar on my butt for life,” he says with a laugh.


Johnston did not require medical attention and returned home without giving his contact information to the police, who were too busy dispersing the crowd to take down names of Good Samaritans. Afterwards, the Vancouver Police Department set up a web page and posted photos of the rioters. Citizens were encouraged to take a look and report anyone they recognized who was involved in the riot. The police tracked Johnston down in the summer of 2012 after a video was posted on Facebook where he was confronting the rioters and someone recognized him. “That’s Hootie Johnston!”


With a name like that he was easy to track down. His website is www.hootie.ca. He has worked as a Realtor with Royal LePage Westside in Vancouver since 2005.


Chris Simmons, owner/manager of Royal LePage Westside, says it was a difficult evening and everyone in the office is proud of Johnston for what he did that night. “He’s a great guy who can always put a smile on your face,” says Simmons.


Everyone was smiling on Jan. 8 when Johnston was awarded the Vancouver Police Department’s Certificate of Merit for his bravery."


Thank you Hootie!!  Your bravery is greatly appreciated! 


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Be safe out there, and have a wonderful Spring Break!





Till next time ...


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We ALL have them, well, unless you’re 13!  A CREDIT SCORE.   Some people love them, some fear them. Sealed  Being an adult in today’s society makes them necessary for almost any large purchase.  So, while your credit score may seem to be a mystery, I’m here to show you that they are actually determined according to a set of rigid mathematical formulas. 


It is very important to keep your credit score as high as possible. When it comes to obtaining a mortgage some lenders will not even consider approving files when the credit score becomes too low.   They will also start charging higher rates when your credit score is low.    According to Equifax Canada, a “good” credit score is:



Many factors contribute to your credit score.   Every debt, credit card and late payment is weighed differently.  In general, Equifax Canada weighs its components something like this:


Type of Credit – 10%

If you have a mix of different types of credit, including revolving credit, such as credit cards and lines of credit, and installment loans that you pay  monthly, such as student loans, the better your credit picture will be.


Payment History – 35%

This typically involves recent payments that are more than 30 days late, as well as any collections, judgements or bankruptcies.


Outstanding Debt – 35%

This includes the number of creditors owed, credit card balances and allocated limits.  A maxed out credit card will have a deeper impact on your credit score than a card with a $200 balance.


Recent Inquiries – 10%

Every time you apply for a loan or credit card lenders have to access your credit report to see your score and assess your credit worthiness.  Too many of these in a 12 month period, say, if you were shopping around for a mortgage, can reduce your rating.


Credit Account History – 15%

This refers to the length of time your accounts have been open.  If you’ve been using a credit card for 10 years and have been paying it off on a regular basis, this actually has a positive effect on your overall credit rating.


Till next time ...


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It's important to stay current...in ALL things.  I've decided to go paperless, and here's a little something special I'd like to share with you ...



When you're ready to buy or sell with me you will definitely get one of these beauties too!


Till next time...


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What is Market Value and Property Assessment?  To help understand easier, book value is the price paid for a particular asset. This price never changes so long as you own the asset. On the other hand, market value is the current price at which you can sell an asset.

For example, if you bought a house 10 years ago for $300,000, its book value for your entire period of ownership will remain $300,000. If you can sell the house today for $500,000, this would be the market value.


I'd like to provide you today with the fact sheet on Market Value and Property Assessment directly from BC Assessment. 

How is market value determined?

When establishing the market value for a particular property, BC Assessment considers each property's unique characteristics. These are the same characteristics that a home purchaser would consider, including size, layout, shape, age, finish, quality, number of carports, garages, sundecks and condition of buildings. Services in the area, location, views and neighbourhood may also influence a property's market value.

Appraisers may enter a home to conduct property inspections, ensuring that the description and condition of a property is accurately reflected on the Property Assessment Notice. BC Assessment appraisers analyze all real estate sales in their area and develop common units of comparison and corresponding values. They review similarities and differences between properties to arrive at a uniform assessed value for a particular property.

Why are assessments based on market value?

Market value assessment is widely considered to be the fairest system for distributing the property tax burden.

In any tax area, properties of equal value contribute the same tax, while higher-value properties contribute more than those with lower values. Both assessors and taxpayers can readily check assessments by comparing recent sales and assessments of similar properties in the neighbourhood.

Why is there a difference between my property’s value on the Assessment Notice, the bank mortgage appraisal or the real estate assessment?

The real estate market is the single biggest influence on market values. Market forces vary from year to year and from property to property. The market value on an assessment notice may differ from that shown on a bank mortgage appraisal or a real estate appraisal because BC Assessment’s appraisal reflects the value as of July 1 of the previous year, while a private appraisal can be done at any time.

When reviewing the annual property assessment notice, property owners should check that it reasonably estimates what the property would have sold for on July 1 of the preceding year, and that it relates to the value of other properties in the neighbourhood.

Do taxes increase as a result of inspections?

Not necessarily. A property inspection may reveal previously unrecorded improvements or evidence of physical deterioration. This could lead to a change in the value of the property assessment.
Property taxes increase for three reasons:
• the tax authority raises the property tax rate to raise more revenue;
• Improvements increase the property’s value; or
• Improvements raise the value of a property in relation to most other properties in the jurisdiction.
Changes in classification or exemption status can also affect the value of property and subsequent taxes. For more information on tax relief and deferments, contact your local municipal office.


You can access the BC Assessment website by clicking here.  They may have more information that you will find pertinent.


I hope this has helped, and look forward to being able to assist you with any questions or concerns you may have in this regard.


Till next time,


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It always amazes me how quickly Spring Break comes upon us every year.  Even though I don't have children in school anymore, that doesn't mean I forget about it.  In fact, we ALL need to be very aware as there will be kids EVERYWHERE starting Monday, March 18th, for 2 weeks. 



You may be thinking, "what can I DO with these kids while they're home" ... so I'd like to offer some suggestions that you'll enjoy doing together with them!


I found this GREAT website (I actually like their Facebook page better) called Homesteading and Survivalism.  Now, it's not really exactly what you think, it's not all about living off of nothing, but it's more about making creative choices and solutions with what you DO have.


Here is a craft project I saw there once, and just think it's such a great fun project:



Check out THIS LINK to see more of their amazing ideas!


You can always turn to Pinterest too for crafty, stay home during spring break and DIY ideas! 


Whatever you DO end up doing for spring break, I hope you have a wonderful and safe time with your kids!!  Hey, there's always house hunting if you're done crafting!  Wink


Till next time ...


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Bank of Canada Interest Rate Decision


The Bank of Canada announced this morning that it is holding its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent.  The Bank sees economic growth in Canada picking-up through 2013, as growth in exports and business investment offset a slowdown in household spending and residential construction.  On inflation, the Bank noted that low core and total CPI inflation have been more subdued than the Bank projected, owing to significant excess capacity in the economy. Given low inflation and what the Bank terms a "constructive evolution of imbalances" in the household sector (meaning a lower pace of debt accumulation), the Bank has walked back its previous rate tightening bias stating that, "current levels of monetary stimulus will likely remain appropriate for a period of time, after which some modest withdrawal will likely be required."


Weak economic growth through the second half of last year will likely bleed into the first half of 2013, which means a continuation of subdued inflation of just over 1 per cent. In fact, the outlook for growth and inflation is weak enough that, if the Bank had not spent the last year voicing concern over the perilous state of household finances, a 25 basis point cut in the Bank’s overnight target would be increasingly likely.  Instead, the Bank will put a future rate hike on hold for the foreseeable future, with rates gradually increasing in 2014.


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Can you Believe these Mortgage Rates?!


5 year 2.89% mortgage with NO restrictions!! 


It is an awesome time to purchase! 


If you are paying more than 4% it's time to consider making the move!


I am always on the lookout to help those looking for a change; a move or an improvement in their financial situation [using real estate] and when I came across this statement I just HAD to share it with you!


There is a great website, called RateSupermarket.ca, that gives the most up-to-date rate information for today's Canadian real estate shopper.  Check it out here.


Let's not only get you THE HOME OF YOUR DREAMS but at the VERY BEST RATE POSSIBLE!!


Time to go shopping soon! Smile





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Spring is around the corner, the time changes in a few days, and all things feel new and refreshed ... or getting there anyway!  The sun is breaking through the grey every once in a while!  That  makes people smile and think happy thoughts!


I had a very happy thought the other day as I was pondering on how to provide you, my customers, clients and social media followers, with more value!  Then it came to me ...




So, right now, I'd like to introduce you to my LATEST contest on social media.  It is a give away of a wonderful book by David Chilton, otherwise known as "The Wealthy Barber".  In his newest book, The Wealthy Barber Returns, David's introduction goes like this:


Until recently, I believed I would never write another personal-finance book. Luck played such a huge role in The Wealthy Barber’s success that I didn’t want to tempt fate.


So what changed my mind?




After watching Canadians’ savings rates plunge, debt levels skyrocket and investment returns consistently disappoint over the last decade, I was pulling my hair out. I wondered, “How can I help?”


I’m hopeful that The Wealthy Barber Returns will answer that question.

Here is my personal invitation to my newest contest:



I look forward to seeing a lot of you in the entry draw!  Can't wait to give this away!


Till next time ...


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There are positive signs Fraser Valley housing market is starting to move


Good news today from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board:

"Sales on Fraser Valley’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in February experienced a typical ‘early spring’ surge, increasing by 48 per cent in one month going from 617 sales in January to 913 last month. However year-over-year, they reflect a decrease of 28 per cent compared to the 1,269 sales processed in February 2012. Since last September, home sales have idled at levels last seen in the early 2000s.


Based on February’s increase in activity, Ron Todson, President of the Board, is guardedly optimistic, “We’re seeing signals that the stand-off between buyers and sellers over the last six months is coming to an end.


“Business has picked up in the last month with increased traffic at open houses, sellers quicker to accept offers and homes selling on average two weeks faster than they did in January.”

Todson adds that tightening inventory has also had an effect, “When buyers see that their selection is diminishing they’re more motivated to act.” The Board posted 2,582 new listings last month, a decrease of 9 per cent compared to the 2,846 posted during February last year pushing the total number of active listings down by 1.6 per cent compared to 2012.


“As your REALTOR® will explain, each market is different. Right now, the market for detached homes is balanced in North Delta and Langley. The condo market is brisk in Abbotsford and Central Surrey and townhome sales are steady in North and Central Surrey as well as Cloverdale."

You can read the entire post here.


If you have questions regarding the latest update on the status of real estate in the Fraser Valley area please don't hesitate to get in touch with me at 604-832-8229 or email me at michele@michelecartwright.com.


Till next time ...



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