The days of problems and monetary slowdown are over; there is no reason for us to worry anymore, or is there? There are possibly more issues facing the Canadian economy than we realize.

We have all seen the Bank of Canada’s views on this; that any difficulties are only short-term and then things will be improving rapidly. The reasoning behind the bank’s forecasts is based around energy costs; they tell us that they have hit the highest point with regards to price. The current excuse for the depression, however, is assumed to have arisen from events in Japan. This sounds feasible but it is not exactly true, especially if we look deeper, as it is the consumer who represents the economy. Of course, the Japanese disaster has an definite impact on the economy, but the thing is that it is not even close to being the fundamental reason for the slowdown. We therefore have to look closer to home, with the employment situation being poor, the increasing gas prices and all around prices increases, the future is uncertain.

In the US previous to the depression, the Canadian debt, how much income a person has in comparison to how much debt, was only slightly lower than the Canadian ratio is at this time. Another thing in our favour is that the banking sectors are on a lot firmer ground, suggesting that if there was a difficulty with debt, then the banks would still stay strong. If it came, the consequences of a drop in home prices caused by the recession would have considerably milder effects on banking sector profits than it had four years ago on the US one. This all has an influence on monetary bailouts which are unlikely especially compared to the problems surrounding the US Banking and US politics.

The US and Canadian monetary status are closely linked, so trouble facing the US could impact unfavourably on Canada, including banks and BC real estate. So, we can say the Canadian economy is quite healthy but that could fluctuate dramatically if the US economy declines any further. Europe is also something which needs to be monitored, with countries such as Greece declaring bankruptcy, the problems confined to these areas could increase to become bigger problems which could affect Canada. In this setting, we may face a series of very troublesome events: a decline in commodity prices, destroying the economy’s potential, or shifts in the equity market and the above-mentioned contagion of the housing sector in case of tightened credits.


The news is full of reports on a housing bubble in Vancouver. Buyers are not sure if it’s the right time to purchase a new property. Thankfully, if you are about to buy a kind of a normal estate and are also comfortable having to look for the best deal it does not make a difference.

The housing market in the City has been quite active since the latest trough in 2010 and has been on a rise overall. Yet, each section of the market has been following discrete market trends. While properties in the most prosperous areas have risen at a velocity that has been beyond anyone’s expectations, other locations have displayed mildly positive trends or mere slight commotion.

If you are persistent enough, you’ll find that there are deals to be made on the Vancouver (BC) realty market that let you get very good value for an affordable price tag. These are not exactly detectable amidst the other regions. Careful Realtors® will have hand-picked these so that they have an illustrative record to offer to their clients searching in this market segment. that they work for.

If you are clever to choose your next condo with open eyes, and if you’re willing to search for a variety of houses in a variety of locations with an open mind, it is possible you will dodge the occasional instances of price ruckus that takes place in Greater Vancouver for various reasons.

Don’t worry though. This does not mean that your home will not appreciate in value in the next few years. What we are discussing here are short-term estimates that will most definitely have to be revised when the marketplace changes.

home remodelling

by Andrew Ressa

1. Colour schemes that are at the extreme side of a particular taste need to be removed. Psychedelic walls in the bedroom may bring back memories of when you were young and the children may love the little mermaid themed bathroom, but it’s not going to be to everyone’s taste and can be quite off-putting to a potential buyer. Go for neutral themes and simple changes when you are readying your home for sale, make sure what you do can be easily changed by the person who buys your home. A potential buyer’s first impression could be the deciding consideration on whether they want your home or not, so keep decoration neutral.

2. Make sure that your yard is kept in good condition as this can reflect of the price you can get for your property. Any potential buyer is going to see that they will have to spend time and money sorting it out if left in that state;like that; so make sure those holes your dogs and children dug and rubbish left lying around are dealt with before you try and sell your home.

3. Many of us ignore something like a leaky faucet until it becomes a problem; don’t forget any plumbing problems need to be dealt with immediately. They can range anywhere from a dripping faucet to a broken pipe. Out of all the recommendations given this is definitely one of the most important ones, never ignore faulty plumbing. This can result in mold in the home which can make a home practically unsaleable.

4. Where the house is located: This is one area that you can’t do anything about. As a British Columbia real estate professional, my listings are usually in beautiful environment. The first most important factor of a house purchase for most individuals is where the home is built. If the prospective buyer has young children, they may want a house near a school or the buyer may feel that being near a park or the main roads for work is important. There was a case , which I am sure you have heard about, where the value of the home depended on whether it had an odd or even number. There was a simple explanation for this. The odd-numbered homes backed on to an interstate highway and some ugly utility lines, and the result was that the even-numbered houses were worth about 10 percent more than the odd-numbered ones.

5. Bathroom/kitchen carpets: Carpets in your kitchen and bathroom may feel good for your feet, but they usually to soak up moisture and fumes and are more difficult to keep clean, leading to damp, mouldy floors that are not likely to appeal. Carpets in kitchens can have food dropped on them which will also stain and become unsanitary, so for these rooms look at putting down tiles or a wooden floor.

Most of us need every penny of a home sale to plough into our new home, as a result selling your home can be extremely stressful. There is a line between good and bad renovations and many people decrease the value of their property by making mistakes. If you manage not to fall into these common dangers, you will be surprised at how much your house can sell for. Over the next two months, I will try and cover some of the issues property sellers can make:

1. One of the main drawbacks as a seller is floor space, a future buyer is not going to look twice at your house if the rooms look and feel confining with no space to move. Space is the keyword; try and come up with ways of making the rooms look more spacious, give the illusion of space even if space is in short supply. Think about the layout of your property, avoid access trouble to rooms; for example going to the family bathroom through a bedroom.

2. Sloppy DIY:home improvements: Don’t forget the problems of the 1970s. For those that remember stone cladding, brick fireplaces and fancy plaster on the walls; this is a definite turn off for future buyers. If there is DIY in your house make sure it is not falling apart, but generally make sure it blends well the the home itself. Plastic windows and fake wooden floors may work well in a new condo, but can cheapen a Victorian house. If you want to add an extension to your home, do not use up all your outdoor space, families like to have an outdoor area they can relax or even have friends around for a B-B-Q.

3. If you want to put buyers off then neglect the roof at your peril, no-one is going to want to spend lots of cash on a roof just after moving in. Seeing damp patches on the ceiling, or the building inspector’s records stating there is problems, is going to mean that buyer is probably going to walk away. Before trying to sell your house, check your roof for potential concerns or get in an expert to give you their views.

4. The bathroom is one of the most essential rooms in the house to any future sale. Have a critical look at your bathroom; look for cracked tiles, broken toilet seat, lime scale build up, tired and dated toilets to mention just a few likely troublesome problems. A quick repair here and there could pay off greatly

5. Plants and flowers: They can brighten rooms and make them instantaneously attractive, but not if they’re dead or dying.. As a Vancouver lofts professional I see plants can create a bonus even in a condo. Seeing half dead or dead potted plants can have a detrimental impact on what the buyer feels about you and your home, so dispose of them before anyone comes round to look at your home.

hammers by Velo Steve

hammers by Velo Steve

Parking your Vehicle – A Problem?

One thing that is very uninviting to a potential buyer is seeing lots of cars parked in front of your property. Many home owners think just because they don’t have a garage there is nothing they can do about parking their cars on the road. If you don’t have the land available to extend your drive, then check with your local council who may award you planning permissions to drop the curb of the pavement next to your house. Supplying parking around your home may seem like such a little thing to do, but it can add up to 10 percent value to your home.

Swimming Pool/Tennis Court

Building a pool may prove to be a bit tricky, and depends on where your property is situated and whether you’re adding an indoor or outdoor pool. Think about the weather when making your choice, to attract buyers if your climate is not very warm then look to construct an indoor pool. Buyers need to know that buying a property with a pool will be of use to them, they are unlikely to buy your home if it has an outdoor pool regardless of any covers or heating you put on it. A more favourable choice would be a lovely heated indoor pool, maybe with patio doors leading out to a decking area; bring the outdoors inside. A potential buyer wants to have fun, so an attractive, warm pool is going to look inviting. If you get it completed well, a pool could add up to 10 percent to the value of your property.

If you are going one step further for the luxury market, look at a tennis court; but remember these type of luxuries only fit in certain neighbourhoods. Between 5 and 10 percent boost in house value, is the going rate for adding a tennis court to your home.

These type of items are thoughts on what you can entice a potential buyer with. But be aware, you may risk a reduction in the number of potential buyers your home would appeal to. On the plus side, if they are completed right the price your home goes for could astound you.

Installing a Waterside Display

My years of selling Vancouver MLS listings confirmed me one thing. A waterside attraction is likely to keep its cost. A survey shows that it may add a third to the price of a house. Although there is no way you can build a lake or a small romantic stream by your property, you can build a pond in your yard. A pond is simply a small amount of water in which light can permeate all the way to the bottom, in other words, ponds are not very deep. Depending on the size of your yard, you can install a pond which may even have fish and other accessories in order to make it look aesthetically attractive.

Depth, area, water source are all things that need thinking about when planning your pond, as is avoiding attracting mosquitoes and other bugs if the water doesn’t move freely. If done right it will be worth it, but it is one of those renovation jobs best left to the professionals or at least with the help of a professional.

picture by Noel C Hankamer

picture by Noel C Hankamer

When looking at increasing the value of your house, the most straightforward way to do this is to improve the external. The outside of your house is the first and last image a potential buyer will get, and could be a deal-breaker if it isn’t appealing and neatly cared of. If you are thinking about selling your house you are going to have a lot of competition, so make sure your house looks great. Try and be unprejudiced and view the house as a buyer would do. The grounds – does it look like it requires some time put into it? How is the grass? Does the house look clean and free from rubbish? Of course, not everything you do to the outside will increase the value, some will just be a nice touch and more appealing. Up to 10 percent can be added to the value of your house if it makes a decent first impression.

Door Appearance

Your front door is the doorway into your house, so it is going to be one of the first things a prospective buyer will see. If the door needs replacing think about replacing it with a glass door that has lead or coloured glass panels, but if it doesn’t need replacing but could do with livening up, decorate around the door. An affordable way to make your house feel more homely is by adding sidelights. By lighting the porch a tiny area can seem more spacious and less formidable. Money-wise, you’re not looking at a massive value-booster, but this little modification greatly affects the first impression of a purchaser.

Windows Appearance

Windows need to be efficient as well as appealing and a buyer will assess your home on both these points in mind Have the windows got decent insulation such as are they double-glazed? To keep in the warmth your windows also need to be energy efficient. Is the window glass safety glass and are the locks secure? Think about all these factors if you decide to change your windows. Something else to look at is not just replacing but also upgrading to bigger windows which will let more light into the property, making the rooms look more spacious and open to the world. A dark property feels closed in and rarely appeals to a prospective buyer, most buyers are looking for homes that feel spacious and welcoming.


Most of us will admit that the outside landscaping of our homes could do with a little tidying up and this can be achieved by some nice plant pots, coloured stones or garden ornaments, but if it is totally overun, then a professional landscaper may be the solution. Work that should be left to the professional landscape architects and designers are the installation of sunrooms, patios and decking, for example, into the existing landscape. Paying for that kind of expertise isn’t cheap; however, professional landscaping proved to add up to 20 percent to the home value, as much as the return on a new kitchen or bathroom. A surprising fact is that mature trees have a strong impact on the saleability of properties This is not just a regular opinion, as a number of surveys have shown that an increase of between 7 and 19 percent is seen on the value of the home if a garden is nicely landscaped and also has mature trees.. I have several fruitful years in BC Real Estate and saw how small improvement kick started a home in the Vancouver BC market!

picture by Robnit

picture by Robnit

Golf, the noble sport, constitutes an important part of the lives of many of us.  It is no longer affordable only to the elite.  Therefore, more and more of us are discovering the beauty in this game.  It is a sport which permits players to relax, but also stay active or even competitive.  At Jay Banks, we like to predict the favourite activities of our visitors and clients and, frankly, we are passionate golfers ourselves!  Therefore, we chose to compose a golf guide about golf courses in and around Vancouver, British Columbia.

Today, we are happy to reveal the long-expected take-off of our brand new Vancouver Golf Courses Directory on our website.

The golf guide is a place where Vancouver residents and our clients can look for and exchange information about this noble sport.  We decided to assume a unique approach, seeking to deliver interesting descriptions to both leisure and “family event” golf players and more skilled players seeking variety.  On top of that, we tailor the guide so that anyone thinking about moving into Vancouver or elsewhere within the Greater Vancouver area can learn about golf around the target location.  We invite you to contribute to the usefulness of the Vancouver Golf Guide by sharing your personal opinions about the courses and ranges.  Also, please leave us a comment if you wish that we review a specific facility.

In order to top all the other golf guides, we are actively communicating with the managers of golf courses and ranges, trying to provide you with the clearest and latest information.  To enhance the guide, we are would welcome golf enthusiasts who have a critical eye to help us judge (test-play) the courses of Vancouver.  Our goal is to write the most complete Vancouver golf guide out there!

Currently, our guide contains over 51 listings of facilities including ranges and there are many more entries coming your way.  Also, we always enhance the content of all our entries!  Visit us often and we are sure that our guide will help you find many agreeable golfing experiences in Vancouver!

Picture by R'eyes

Picture by R'eyes

To give your property that advantage in the property market, then correct remodelling of this area is a must.

When buying a house, most buyers are concerned about the issue of water in the basement. As a result completing work on your basement, making sure it is dry with good insulation will benefit you in the long run. Still, if you have some sort of water problems, do something about it because it’ll be a huge negative.

In general a basement is extra space, so by hiring a tradesperson to complete a basement renovation is going to be a great investment in your property. A vast number of basements in houses are unfinished and often occupy quite a large amount of square footage. Why waste such a valuable area in your property.

As with all redesigning jobs, planning is the key to success and once it is finished perfectly a source of immense satisfaction. The initial issue you’ll find with this type of project is the ceiling height. The majority of basement ceilings have less height the other ceilings in your property This can be solved by building the ceiling around your HVAC system.

A carpet for comfort and warmth is the normal advice by specialists once you decide to look floor coverings. Of course price is going to be your first concern, but try and purchase a good quality under-lay and a nice thick carpet. The thickness of these carpets will go some way into shielding your feet from the hardness and chill of a concrete floor. Unlike floors in the main part of the property, a basement flooring is normally concrete and can hurt your feet to walk on.

Adding a Home Gym and Home Cinemas to Increase the Value of Your Property

A buyer may be willing to pay for these sort of features and it could help your property sell more quickly, but you have to remember that they are considered luxury items and as a result buyers may not want to pay the price. However, if done correctly, both of these features can add from $30,000 to $60,000 in a large country property, according to various agents. If you want to set up a gym or home cinema room, then redesigning your basement would be an ideal time to plan this project.

Putting in a good cinema system is not as easy as most of us think. If you are starting from scratch and thinking about a few types of setups, then it is wise that you ask the advice of a home theatre specialist. What does this cinema system need:have as its basics: Video or DVD player, a stereo, a minimum of a 27″ HDTV, surround-sound capabilities and speakers for all items and last but not least, some comfy seating.

Adding a gym in your basement is a great idea and doesn’t require much organization. Think about the following points before making the decision to incorporate a gym into your house:

  • Sound issues, although if it is in your basement this is unlikely to be a concern
  • Ventilation of the space would need to be dealt with
  • A music system for music while you go through your regime is always a decent idea
  • A mirrored wall so you can observe what you are doing and mats for floor exercises

Then you need to make a decision on the gym facilities you want; what do you want to buy? Research the Internet and go into convenient stores to see what equipment is around. Ask about different brands, prices, and individual machines that you should have in your gym set.

Vancouver realtor Jay Banks is Vancouver Condos agent, author of Vancouver Home Remodelling Self-help Series

picture by JAGwired

picture by JAGwired

To increase the value of the home the most, adding an extension is the best choice. Extensions could go upward or outward, depending on the room that you have to play with. However, if adding an extension is not possible for space or money reasons, you can still convert any sufficient room in the basement, the roof space, or convert a home study or office (often this is as simple as removing the office equipment and installing a wardrobe, a bed and few drawers) into an extra bedroom. You will have to make sure that the space that you are planning to alter will meet all of the local requirements for space and safety.

Be aware of the ceiling price of the home’s location. If a four-bedroom home is on a street of mainly two and three-bedroom houses, you might find it hard to get back the cost of adding a fifth or sixth bedroom.

The other option is to covert the loft in your home (as usual in Vancouver Lofts). Obviously it will depend on the area, but converting the loft into an extra bedroom can add double the cost of the conversion to the value of your home. What has in the past been surplus space could now be a handy bedroom. Instead of building an outdoor extension for the home (which will inevitably consume outside living space), loft conversions can be a very profitable and worthwhile home addition to create usable living space.

Look at using the services of a professional architect to help you design and draw up plans for your attic conversion, they can help you make the best use of the area and available budget. An architect not only draws up the plans, but they can also help with any building regulations and restrictions you may come across. On a more practical side, an architect can advise you on concerns you may come across such as where to install windows and how to keep the air well ventilated.

Within the attic you may also find structures that can’t be changed such as a chimney stack, your air-conditioning unit or heating systems. Rather than try and the issues, which could look quite unattractive or impractical, by drawing up plans you can incorporate and make the most of these features.

Try not to convert the attic so it can only be used in one way, if you decide to sell the property in the future, a potential buyer needs to be able to project their own thoughts onto the space created.

picture by Dean Terry

picture by Dean Terry

In our previous column we looked at ways of refurbishing the kitchen, so we are now going to focus on the bathroom. As with any space you are going to refurbish there are some things that you need to look at. This report will concentrate on some tips on how to remodel the bathroom and at the same time add value to your property.

Any house that has two or more bathrooms is going to add to the value of it. If your house only has one bathroom, then you are going to find that it is purchased for less and is probably harder to sell than a property which has more. Putting in a second bathroom can also enhance the livability of the property, whether you decide to sell or not. A bathroom off the main bedroom is the most attractive for any second bathroom and that is seen in the house value. Kids think its fantastic to have their own bathroom and it definitely gives parents privacy. One thing to think about though, is never take away a bedroom to make it into a bathroom, as this would make little monetary sense and not boost the price of your property.

When looking at replacing flooring, remember that the kind of flooring you put down can add value to your home. Making the wrong decision can make your bathroom look inferior and unattractive. Choose the flooring with care, what you like may not be what other individuals like, so choose with care.

There are numerous different flooring options and not all of them appropriate for a bathroom. Nevertheless, if you want to add value to the house, your best bet is to pick ceramic, porcelain, or any other neutral stone tile. Floor coverings such as laminate or carpet can get stained and are not easy to clean, for that reason not the ideal solution for this space. Keep in mind floor coverings such as wood are liable to water damage.

The most essential piece of furniture in the bathroom for function and need is the toilet. If you are going to alter the rest of the bathroom, remember to replace the toilet for a newer model, otherwise the whole revamped effect will be wasted.

Adding a jet tub to the house bathroom can be another valuable home improvement scheme. While functional they can add a touch of elegance to bathroom and they are definitely relaxing after a long day working. You can buy a jet bath for a very reasonable price if you shop around and keep your eyes open for a good deal.

When refurbishing the bathroom, make sure everything matches and is not a clash of different designs. The colours, styles, and designs you select for your upgrade project should fit and flow well with each other, and with the overall design of the property too. Do not try and do a number of ideas in the bathroom, select one and make it as luxurious as you can.

The Refurbishment handbook is prepared by Jay Banks, REMAX Vancouver.

picture by limonada

picture by limonada