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There are so many things to factor into the equation when you are looking at buying a property. In Vancouver, the house market is out of the question for many first-time home buyers, but is a townhouse out of the realm of possibility?



The primary consideration you'll want to look at first is your personal requirements. Making an informed decision is always the path to making the correct one, so let's analyze these two property styles and see which will provide you the functional, stable home you are looking for.

Identify Your Needs

The first factor you'll need to analyze is how much effort you want to put into maintaining the property with your own know-how, which includes any outside space. If you like to garden, maybe looking at a townhouse is the right path for you – or perhaps we can find you a nice garden-level condo with lots of potential.


What about kids? Are you and your partner planning on having a family? If so, can you see the little munchkins being fully occupied within the walls of a condo or is an upgrade to the next level of property a better scenario to give them more space?


Remember that a condominium usually comes with plenty of amenities to make life a little more convenient, such as access to an exercise facility or a friendly gardener who comes by once a month to mow your lawn, making it very appealing to a lot of potential buyers.

Level of Control

One very real advantage to living in a townhouse is the possibility of having a certain level of control over alterations to the home, within the restrictions set out by the complex as well as the city. This will generally provide you with a higher level of flexibility that you would get within a condominium. It's not quite the level of flexibility you would get with outright house ownership, but depending on the townhouse complex you buy into there can be a lot of freedom available.


When you buy into a condo, you have to follow all the guidelines set out by the strata corporation. In addition to this, you have to pay a monthly fee which is generally much higher than you would pay in a townhouse or free standing single family home.

Planning is Key

Planning is an essential part of the real estate process – it's of critical importance to ensure you are making the correct decision for yourself and your future. Familiarizing yourself with the different options while taking a look at your personal financial capability is the key to choosing well.


Condo associations are full of rules that are decided by the community of owners within the building. So if you are OK with only having one voice among many in the decision making process, or even prefer it, this is a great option. If the thought of strict rules preventing you from making choices for your home gives you nightmares, but aren't able to afford a single family home, then exploring townhouse ownership could be a great middle ground. But if a maintenance-free lifestyle is just want the doctor ordered, then purchasing a great condo unit will ultimately provide the happiness and security you are looking for.


There are great options out there for first-time home buyers, even in a market like Vancouver.


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Post CommentComments: 0Read Full Story posted a perfect article for today's dreary fall weather that I would like to share with you:


Fall is in the air and with it comes vibrant red, orange and yellow foliage and cooler nights. It’s also the season when you need to spend a little time outdoors to prepare your home for the chilly temperatures ahead. With the heavy wind and rainfalls we experience on the West coast, a little fall clean-up will go a long way to avoid potentially expensive repairs or nasty slips.


REW spoke to Carole Briggs of Gardens of Eden Plantscaping and Mora Scott, media relations at BC Hydro.


Garden Clean-up

Taking a little time to prepare your garden for winter will make spring garden clean-up a breeze, says Briggs. First off, remove any dead foliage and annuals out of the ground. Then, it’s time to add new organic rich soil to ensure that you will have a healthier growing garden next spring.

“It’s also the time of year when I recommend fertilizing the lawn to strengthen your lawn’s roots and kill any weeds,” says Briggs.

Trimming Branches

Typically, pruning trees is a spring job. However, if there are trees growing too close to power lines, both Briggs and Scott advise hiring a professional skilled at maintaining healthy trees and plants and who are able to identify hazards created by vegetation.Falling branches and toppling trees can be prevented with regular maintenance.

Sprinklers and Outdoor Faucets

Before the first frost, disconnect your garden hoses and blow them out. Winter temperatures can freeze the water trapped inside your hoses, which can cause your indoor pipes to burst. Briggs suggests it be done in October or early November at the latest.

Gutters and Eaves

When cleaning the leaves off the gutters, pay particular attention to the downspout. If leaves and debris are clogging it, water won't drain properly and – along with mildew and mud – you’ll end up with sagging gutters.

However, Scott cautions against using a metal ladder near power lines when cleaning out your gutters. A fiberglass ladder is a better solution in this situation.

“It is also much safer if you have someone with you anytime you are up on a ladder,” adds Scott.

Sidewalks and Driveways

Make sure to check your sidewalks and driveways for any cracks as water can seep through and freeze, creating larger cracks. Invest a little time now to fill in the cracks to avoid falls or more high-priced repairs later on. Not only that, clearing your sidewalks and driveways regularly throughout fall will help prevent a nasty slip.

Chimneys and Fireplaces

Although most of today’s homes are equipped with gas or electric fireplaces, there are still many Lower Mainland homes with wood-burning ones. A chimney is essentially an exhaust pipe, which funnels away soot, smoke, gases, hot ashes and sparks. A fall sweep should be an essential part of your yearly home maintenance.

If you have a gas-burning fireplace, when was the last time the flue was swept? Has it been tested to ensure that no cracks or faults have occurred? Are dangerous gases escaping? Experts suggest your chimney should be swept once a year, or if it’s used daily, then twice a year.


If you want to extend the life of your roof one of the easiest and most important things you can do is regularly inspect it. When examining your roof you want to pay close attention to any leaves or other debris. The problem with leaves and debris collecting on your roof is they start to gather water or moisture which will begin to break down the shingles. Debris can also collect in valleys which will eventually prevent the proper flow of water away from your roof and into your roof gutters.


During the colder, wetter months of the year, weather causes the most power outages in BC. From mid-November to mid-February, storms hit BC more frequently.

  • More than half of all electricity outages in BC are caused by trees.
  • In addition to causing power outages, trees too close to power lines create safety hazards such as a risk of fire.
  • BC Hydro reminds customers to never approach a downed power line. If you see one, call BC Hydro immediately at 1.888.POWERON.

Taking some time for those important outdoor fall jobs will not only save you money but potential accidents, but will allow you to rest easier at night knowing your family is safe.


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Real Estate Weekly has some great advice, and today I'd like to share something on Real Estate Investing:



Are you looking for a great real estate investment deal but struggling to find one? Don’t dismiss options that don’t seem particularly promising at first. A skilled investor can turn even a mediocre deal into a money maker.


Take our example. We bought a Nanaimo property in September 2005 and sold it in June 2011. We bought it in a hot market and sold it in a soft market. That’s not the recipe for success, but we made it work.


By drawing on some equity in another property and getting bank financing, we were able to buy this property with only $10,000 out of our pocket.


From 2005 to 2010, it basically broke even each year. For most of those years, we didn’t worry about the fact that it wasn’t a super-duper cash-flowing property because we both had jobs that paid us enough so we didn’t worry about it.


When I left my job in 2008, we couldn’t afford to have any of our properties underperforming. We needed cash coming in to pay our bills. So we listed the property for sale in 2009 but it didn’t sell; we had very few showings and we didn’t get a single offer. To make matters worse, it was vacant and our property manager wasn’t very proactive in helping us fill it.


Stuck with a property that was starting to cost us money, wasn’t selling and didn’t have great management, we decided to fix it up a bit more and try to turn it into a rent to own.


Unexpectedly we discovered a tremendous demand for rent-to-own properties in that area. The property filled instantly, and because it was now a rent to own, we:


  • received a $10,000 option fee, which paid for all the upgrades and repairs we had to do;
  • no longer had a property management expense because the tenant handled most maintenance issues;
  • received slightly higher rent because some of the rent went towards a credit they would receive when they bought; and
  • created an exit strategy for the property that didn’t require a realtor and made it easier to sell an investment property in a soft market.

Thirteen months later, the tenant successfully closed on the property and he is now a happy home owner. In the end, this mediocre property made us $118,000 after six years of owning it.


The best part is that even if the property had not gone up in value, we still would have made a pretty awesome return on it.


Here’s how it looked:


  • Our purchase price: $274,000
  • Our sale price: $344,000
  • Appreciation: $70,000
  • Mortgage pay down: $33,000
  • Cash flow: $15,000

Total cash return over six years: $118,000

Even cooler than the money we made was that we helped a young guy who was struggling to qualify for bank financing to become a home owner. Without this program, he would still be a few years away from home ownership.


The bottom line is that there are a lot of ways to make money from a rental property. A good understanding of what is possible can really change your perspective. Plus it’s nice to see that even a mediocre deal in an average Canadian market can make really solid money in times like these.


Forget about the things you think are holding you back. Instead, think about what’s possible.


This is an edited excerpt from the Amazon #1 bestselling book More than Cashflow by Julie Broad. You can get your copy and get more valuable investing advice from Julie at

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BC Home Building Investment Up 12.3% Year Over Year: Report


Investment in new housing construction in BC in May fell 2.7 per cent compared with April – but increased 12.3 per cent year over year, according to Statistics Canada data released July 22.


$604.9 million was spent on home building in the province in May 2014, compared with $621.9 million in April and $538.5 million in May 2013.


Broken down by dwelling type, the biggest year-over-year increase was seen in townhomes, as investment in BC row housing construction rose 24.9 per cent to $61.2 million.


Investment in single-family homes was $278.4 million, up 14.2 per cent. For apartments, investment was up 10.7 per cent to $242.9 million.


The year-over-year increases in BC contrasted starkly with the national average statistics, in which investment in new home construction fell 4.2 per cent compared with May 2013, with increases in row housing and duplex investment being offset by drops in single-family home and condo construction.


British Columbia saw the country’s highest year-over-year investment increases, with Alberta the only other province to record a year-over-year rise in investment for combined dwelling types in May.


To see Statistics Canada’s interactive chart, click here.


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I came across a "food for thought" type of article today from on the (sometimes) challenging thought of owning your own home and found that some are considering co-ownership.



This may, or may not, be an alternative for you. Here's more:


Jeremy Wilson, 38, was frustrated with paying high strata fees and wanted a bigger back yard for his dog.

When he and his wife, Kim, started looking at single family homes, their frustration only grew.


“I work in Kitsilano and my wife in Richmond and we really wanted to stay in Richmond. However, what we could afford and what we wanted were miles apart,” says Wilson. “In our price range, the homes were either really small bungalows or in complete disrepair.”


The couple came up with an idea that is growing in popularity in cities across BC — co-ownership, whether it’s one or more roommates, co-workers, friends or family members buying and sharing a home together and splitting the expenses.


The couple approached Kim’s mother and asked if she wanted to purchase a home together. At the time, Kim’s mother, Jean, also owned a townhome and was fighting cancer. It seemed to be a win/win situation.


“We knew we could all live under the same roof and it gave Kim peace of mind that her mother was nearby,” says Wilson.


They ended up buying a 2,500-square-foot home in Steveston for nearly $900,000.


“We never could have bought this house on our own,” he says, adding Kim’s mother passed away and her half-share of the home was divided between Kim and her sister (who now lives in the lower part of the family home. “We split the expenses three ways and we’ve never had a problem.”

Here are some reasons why it may not be a good fit for you:


Randy Klarenbach, real estate lawyer at Richards Buell Sutton LLP, strongly cautions his clients against these types of arrangements.


“What happens if one owner loses their job or gets sick and can’t work, or moves out of town?” says Klarenbach. “A lender can’t foreclose on half a property.”


Or, he went on to say, one party simply can’t pay? It becomes the other person’s responsibility to make the mortgage payments or risk losing the house.


“Bottom line, it’s a huge financial risk,” he says, adding he’s seen co-ownership agreements as long as 500 pages, covering every conceivable eventuality.


“Even though some of these arrangements do work well, it is my job to think of everything that can go wrong and let my clients know.”


Colin Lawrence concedes that, as with any financial arrangement, there are drawbacks.


But if all parties come in with eyes wide open, with a workable plan, with expectations drawn up and good legal advice, co-ownership can work well.


“Everyone must be aware of all of the things that can go wrong and that’s why we provide our members with an agreement checklist,” adds Lawrence.


It’s been five years since Wilson entered into a co-ownership agreement and “it’s been fantastic … the only drawback is the lack of privacy.”

Please click here for the full article on for all the pertinent information surrounding co-ownership.


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Thanks to, a few surprising numbers surrounding some of the trends in Canadian mortgages:
 Spending and Saving Infographic

Till next time ...

For purchase, renewal and mortgage refinance rates, visit
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