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REAL ESTATE: Support documents sell homes faster – Agassiz-Harrison Observer

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By Freddy Marks

Property buyers spend a lot of time asking questions to determine if a property is the right choice for them.

Buyers must perform some level of due diligence with every property they are seriously considering. A buyer must examine every aspect of a property to confirm your listing is accurately represented and there will be no unpleasant surprises down the line. Mortgage lenders also depend on documentation to determine if a property is factually represented in order to approve buyers.

Accurate and detailed listings with corresponding support documentation are a catalyst to sell your home faster and closer to the asking price.

Your realtor will ask you many questions about your property in order to create a detailed and accurate listing description. Your listing description is the white paper for your home, a chance to fully inform the reader of all the properties assets, services and features.

It is imperative that you have a comprehensive list of details and the supporting homeowner documentation that back up your listings claims. Documents make it real, they let a buyer know that what they read in your listing is actually true and honest integrity will prevail if they enter into a purchase contract with you. Their decision to make a competitive offer, and follow through with the final vetting and inspections, depends on how confident they are that the property is being truthfully represented.

Many buyers will still purchase property even if they know there are dated services, old wiring or major renovations are needed. It is to your advantage to be up front!

RELATED: Chilliwack and district real estate market back on solid ground

When a buyer ask questions of the listing realtor, for example, “how deep is the well, what year was it drilled and how many gallons a minute does it produce?” They expect that there is an honest and accurate answer backed up by the drillers’ well log.

Just typing out what details you know can be satisfactory, but it then puts the onus on the buyer to have a well inspection completed at their own time and expense. Quickly emailing a copy of the well drillers’ log directly to a potential buyer is the best way to answer their question and build a buyer’s confidence in selecting your property.

People don’t make major purchases that they don’t actually believe will be a benefit and asset.

Having the documents at the ready when buyers are vetting your listing puts your realtor in a position to market your property effectively. Confidence and accuracy of representation is extremely important and it is in every sellers’ best interest to keep a binder of all your homes pertinent documents that covers all the bases right from the beginning of ownership.

  • You may have old documents that you were given when you purchased the property. Include those, as well as all your own documents since becoming the homeowner. Like a property owner’s manual. Your property owner’s manual should include the official property deed, documents regarding loans on the property, your property tax invoice, copies of the property land survey, inspection reports, and copies of permits and contractors’ invoices for any upgrades.
  • If your home was built by a contractor in the last 10 years you will have warranty documents, and if you built your home yourself, an owner builder declaration certificate is needed.
  • If you own a mobile/manufactured home, the CSA number and registration papers are necessary.
  • Include records of your homeowner’s insurance to show the home/property are currently insured and the annual cost associated.
  • Keep and file records of plumbing, heating, service calls and any new appliance purchases with accompanying warranties.
  • Home buyers may want to know your homes energy consumption numbers, so include a years invoices for your hydro, natural gas/propane, pellet or wood cordage costs.
  • You may also have service contract documents, for example, an alarm system contract, pool servicing contract, or underground sprinkler contractor that services the property.
  • When the property is a rental unit, include a copy of the lease agreement.
  • Buyers should be aware of lease timelines, and if a buyer is purchasing the property for investment purposes, they will require the amount of revenue generated.
  • Pertinent rural farm or ranch property, water rights documents, irrigation equipment hour records, Crown range lease documents and other Agricultural Land Reserve documents should be in your property owner’s manual.
  • It is necessary to disclose any Homeowners Association (HOA) documents that include fees, charter by-laws, rules and insurance. Provide contact information for the HOA contact so buyers can conduct their own due diligence on the property.
  • Review the legal disclosures you are responsible for providing. They will be listed on your original purchase paperwork.
  • Properties in airport flight paths must be disclosed for noise.
  • Flood zones, earthquake zones and hazardous material sites must also be disclosed if you are aware of them.
  • When you enter into an agreement on a price with a buyer, transparency is important.
  • You are required to follow “disclosure laws” and make known to the buyer any hazards affecting the property before the sale is official. Examples of mandatory disclosures include: lead-based paint, asbestos, environmental hazards such as oil, gas, or toxic chemicals, water damage, defects/malfunctions of major appliances or systems, and past disputes over things like property lines or fencing.

Remember clarification improves efficiency and documentation can keep the forward momentum when a buyer shows interest in your listing.

It can be a very time-consuming process to perform due diligence research. Providing your properties “owner’s manual” to a buyer shows integrity and honesty. It can make a difference on how quickly potential buyers are able to make an offer, and ultimately, how long your listing will remain on the market.

SEE ALSO: B.C. fire department offers tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

Even if you plan to stay in your home for years to come, it is always a good idea to create and keep adding to your property owner’s manual, as the years go by fast. It will make selling your home when you are ready a much easier, less stressful and enjoyable experience.

I’d like to wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thank you for following our column.

Freddy Marks, together with his daughter Linda Marks, runs Agassiz’s 3A Group Sutton Showcase Realty. He has been a Realtor in Canada and Germany for more than 30 years, and currently lives in Harrison Hot Springs.



news@ahobserver.com

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Moody’s Doubles Down On Forecast of Canadian Real Estate Prices Falling Soon – Better Dwelling

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One of the world’s largest credit rating agencies doubled down on its Canadian home price forecast. Moody’s Analytics sent clients its September update on Canadian real estate prices. The forecast reiterates they expect price declines to begin towards the end of this year. The report also names impacted cities this time, with Toronto expected to be a leader lower.

Forecast Vintages 

A quick note on reading Moody’s charts, which includes “forecast vintages.” If you’ve only looked at consumer forecasts, these might be new. They’re scenarios that vary depending on the forecasting model’s inputs. Instead of giving a forecast like, “prices will drop x%,” they give a range based on factors. These factors are fundamentals that have typically supported prices. 

The Moody’s forecast shows vintages as baseline, S1, S3, and S4. The September baseline is the scenario they believe has the highest probability. The S1 is what happens if indicators are better than expected. This would mean unemployment drops fast, and disposable income doesn’t fall much. The S3 is what happens if fundamentals are worse than expected. S4 is the worst scenario that can unfold in a reasonable amount of time. Abrupt scenarios and black swans can still be worse. It’s just those are outside of the range of reasonable expectations.

Canadian Real Estate Markets To Start Showing Weaknesses Soon

Moody’s previous forecast didn’t expect the market to show signs of weakness until Q3, and they’re doubling down. The report’s economist expects stimulus, mortgage deferrals, and interest rates to contain damage until Q3. They expect by Q3, the optimism of those programs will begin to wear thin. The reality of how meaningful the improvements are, should be apparent by then. The optimism should then fade. It’s at this point they believe prices can no longer defy employment, vacancy, and delinquency rates.

Canadian Real Estate Prices To Drop Around 7%

The firm expects all scenarios to show a drop in the near future, but how much depends on fundamentals. In the September baseline, the firm’s economist is forecasting a ~7% decline at the national level. This scenario expects unemployment at 8.56%, and a 2% drop of disposable income next year. Since the rise in disposable income was due to temporary supports, the fall is expected.

In the other scenarios, things vary from a brief drop to a very deep, multi-year decline. In the S1 scenario, there’s only a brief dip in Q1, before prices rocket even faster and higher. In S3, a slightly worse than base case, prices fall about 15%, taking them back to 2016 levels. In S4, if disposable income, GDP, and/or unemployment worsen,  prices drop about 22%, back to 2015 levels. Of course, this trend isn’t evenly distributed across Canada. However, it’s also not distributed how most might expect. 

Prairie Cities and Toronto Real Estate To Lead The Declines

The base case sees Prairie cities and Toronto real estate leading price declines. Calgary, Edmonton, and Regina lead the drop, with a peak-to-trough decline between 9 to 10%. This is a trend already apparent in the regions’ condo markets. Toronto, a little more unexpected, is forecasted to see a 9% price drop, from peak to trough. Vancouver’s drop is forecasted below the national average, with an average decline of almost 7%. The last market is interesting, since other organizations gave Vancouver much worse forecasts.

Toronto Real Estate To Experience Uneven Declines Across Regions

The base case for Toronto expects an uneven decline, with some regions harder hit. The drop across Toronto CMA is expected to be about 9%, from peak to trough. Pickering should see smaller declines, but experience minimal growth through 2025. Markham is the most surprising though, not expected to hit 2017 highs by 2025. The trend here appears to be regions short on space will recover the fastest. Although that is likely to depend on the type of housing as well.

The forecast notes pandemic uncertainty, and its potential to bring greater downside. As it gets colder, the potential of more indoor activity may lead to a second wave. The report’s economist believes this can bring even larger declines to prices. Shifting consumer behavior is also a wild card that can also push prices lower, as are any vaccine delays.

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Will development remain key growth strategy for REITs? | RENX – Real Estate News EXchange

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IMAGE: Transit City Condos, being developed by a JV led by SmartCentres REIT, at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre just outside Toronto. Development and intensification have been key growth strategies during the past decade for Canadian REITs. (Rendering courtesy SmartCentres)

Transit City Condos, being developed by a JV led by SmartCentres REIT, at the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre just outside Toronto. Development and intensification have been key growth strategies during the past decade for Canadian REITs. (Rendering courtesy SmartCentres)

Development has been a key growth strategy for many real estate investment trusts over the past decade, but will that continue during the next 10 years?

That was the theme of a five-person panel moderated by Lincluden Investment Management real estate equities vice-president and portfolio manager Derek Warren on Sept. 23, as part of RealREIT.

“There has been some dislocation in the short-term operating metrics,” CIBC World Markets REIT analyst Dean Wilkinson said. “I think the question we’re all struggling with is: Is this a permanent structural shift in a downward direction with the underlying fundamentals of the real estate, or have we overshot?“

“Projects are getting bigger and more complex, and we’re seeing a lot of mixed-use,” said Altus Group cost and project management senior director Marlon Bray, who noted he’s being inundated with proposals. “I’ve got people sending me six, eight, 10 projects to look at in the space of two or three weeks.

“They’re looking long-term at pipelines and thinking of the future and not just what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

Transit-oriented and mixed-use development

Immigration has slowed considerably during the pandemic, but it’s starting to rise again and those people will need places to live and work.

While public transit ridership has decreased during the COVID-19 pandemic, SmartCentres REIT (SRU-UN-T) development VP Christine Côté said transit-oriented development is still desirable and should remain a focus for REITs and all levels of government.

Dream Unlimited (DRM-T) chief development officer Daniel Marinovic said a lot of critical transit infrastructure work began in the Greater Toronto Area in 2008 and, while it will be ongoing for years to come, he believes it’s a “phenomenal” long-term investment.

“I’ll continue to be a big believer in density,” said Marinovic.

Allied Properties REIT (AP-UN-T) executive VP of development Hugh Clark remains a strong advocate of the “live, work and play” concept and believes it will continue to prosper. He said mixed-use projects need amenities to help people socialize.

Grocery stores, restaurants and services and amenities catering to the daily needs of the local community will become more important additions within residential buildings, according to Côté.

“We feel strongly that value-oriented retail will continue to be strong,” she said.

Development costs

Construction costs levelled off from April through June, but have ramped back up due to supply and demand factors.

Bray attributes some of the increase to the 7,000 condominium units and 10,000 rental units under construction in the Greater Toronto Area, more than double the numbers from 10 years ago.

Bray pointed out construction costs comprise less than 50 per cent of residential development expenses.

Land can account for as much as 30 per cent, while development charges and taxes are also major costs. Development charges have increased by multiples and are always changing and hard to predict, said Bray.

Wilkinson said the saving grace over the last several years is that rent increases have “probably gone at, or at a level higher than, the inflation surrounding those construction costs. But if the script gets flipped and it goes the other way, what could happen?”

Specific issues for REITs

No more than 15 per cent of a Canadian REIT’s funds are generally allowed to be spent on development, which Wilkinson said is lower than in other countries.

The potential build-out for some Canadian REITs, particularly those with retail sites with inherent density, is larger than their current gross leasable area.

Wilkinson added that development activity isn’t included in the underlying value of a company until a building is finished. Thus, a short-term construction expenditure is a diluted effort because capital is put into something that’s not creating immediate cash flow.

There’s an increase in NAV after the completion of projects, but the public market is still focused on quarterly results instead of longer-term cycles, according to Wilkinson.

As a result, Allied is taking a prudent, market-driven approach to development and isn’t looking to expand just because it can.

Clark said the REIT may slow the launch of new projects and ensure it hits certain pre-leasing requirements before starting construction so it doesn’t put itself in a “position of strain.”

Returns for REITs are getting smaller

Clark said it’s “getting harder and harder to make some big gains, with eight or nine or 10 per cent returns on investment.” While it’s possible with some high-priced condos, those are few and far between.

Clark thinks REITs will be lucky to keep a 100- to 150-basis point spread going forward. A development yield of 150 basis points over the acquisition cap rate is much lower than the 400- or 500-point spreads of the past, Wilkinson added.

The convergence between the two figures could mean the elimination of compensation for development risk, so developers may have to start looking more closely at portfolio quality versus straight economic accretion.

“There’s value to that, but it remains to be seen how the market wants to treat that,” said Wilkinson.

Apartment rents have sagged recently due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and Wilkinson said there are concerns market rents may be just 10 per cent higher than in-place rents when apartments being built now are completed.

“The premium that was afforded to a lot of the apartment REITs was really based upon the fact that their in-place rents were 20 to 25 per cent below what was deemed to be market rent. So, they were trading at 20 to 25 per cent premiums to NAV.”

SmartCentres REIT

Côté has been with SmartCentres for 17 years, and her focus in that time has changed from building Walmarts and shopping centres to intensifying existing properties across Ontario.

“We’ve got countless master plans that are in place now and we are preparing, submitting and processing development applications for those initial phases of redevelopment across the portfolio,” she said.

SmartCentres has made applications for more than 20 development projects since the onset of COVID-19 and will submit another 20 over the next six months, according to Côté.

The REIT has more than 40 million square feet of density planned, mainly on sites it already owns, and has a long-term plan for much more than that.

Côté said SmartCentres is taking more time with new building design to increase efficiencies and make them more economical.

Despite the recent softness in rents, Côté doesn’t think the REIT’s planned purpose-built rental apartments will be switched to condos.

She believes the market will be past its short-term challenges by the time those buildings are ready for occupancy.

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'Busiest year ever': Hot rural real estate market isn't cooling off – Ottawa Valley News

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‘Busiest year ever’: Hot rural real estate market isn’t cooling off | InsideOttawaValley.com


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