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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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A real estate transaction gave me neighbours. A car crash taught me to value them – CBC.ca

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This First Person article is the experience of Becky Sarafinchan who lives in Calgary. For more information about CBC’s First Person stories, please see the FAQ.

The crush of glass and metal silenced us mid-phrase, the kids and I on that early spring day. I saw their frozen expressions as I wondered if I had really heard or felt that sound. We ran outside. 

Across our busy street, a SUV straddled the yellow line. Its grill faced the crumpled remains of our neighbour’s two parked cars. Two cars, swiped by one driver. My neighbours stared in shock at the sad mix of wreckage, nose to bumper.

But this is a feel-good story. It’s not about race track streets or distracted drivers. It’s about neighbours. It’s about me discovering that I care what happens to the people across the street, even when their lives merge little with mine. It’s about the unexpected cheer that brings.

For most of my 16 years on Coventry Hills Way, in the suburbs of north central Calgary, the greatest common bond I shared with my neighbours was geographical. The random act of real estate mixed me up with folks I only knew in smiles and waves outside our garage doors. My life was filled with kids and work; I rarely thought of those who lived around me.

Until the pandemic, that is. Until human interaction became a source of anxiety worldwide and we were told to run for cover. In those long and bizarre periods of isolation when I couldn’t see friends and family, I could still see my neighbours walking by every evening. We could share a weary smile and sometimes — from a distance — we talked. 

A group of five people stand around talking on a driveway.
Front driveways are a natural gathering place on this street in Calgary’s Coventry Hills. From left to right: Gina Williams, Jennifer Robinson, Jesse Williams, Becky Sarafinchan and Glen McLaughlan. (Elise Stolte/CBC)

On the afternoon of the accident, I noticed Jennifer standing with the stunned car owners on the other side of the street. She was talking and pointing; the first to offer assistance. Although I’ve only ever spoken with Jennifer a few times, I knew she was open and kindhearted. It relieved me when I saw her talking with the neighbours. It felt like they were in good hands.

Someone called the police and a few people left to check their home security cameras for footage. Another neighbour motioned for the driver of the SUV to move to the sidewalk; he was still standing in the street. 

A group of teens, armed with the vehicle description, headed off to find an eyewitness who had left the scene. The adults compared stories of what each had seen and felt. 

Across the road, a young man dragged the bumper of his car onto his lawn. He crossed the street to a group of us, onlookers, huddled in a semicircle. He was debating if he should accept the offer: should he just settle with the driver of the SUV?

The group reacted at once: No! You can get help. It will be OK.

We lingered on the sidewalk and a conversation expanded beyond the crash. We began to talk about hockey and school; about work and the vacations we hoped to take. Normal stuff, but I had never stood and talked, never opened up about anything with my neighbours before. It felt new. 

People stand beside a residential street with vehicles driving past.
The street in front of Becky Sarafinchan’s house can feel like a race way. (Elise Stolte/CBC)

Soon the teenagers returned from their search for an eyewitness. “We found the guy who left the scene!” they grinned, triumphant. They had checked his vehicle. “We even felt the tailpipe on his truck and it’s still warm!” To their delight, the police wanted to know.

I watched those tall boys talk, eager to share and flush with their success. 

Standing in this group of people, suddenly feeling that they were my people, I felt lighter. It took me by surprise. I’d never thought of them as my people before. In the past, I was aloof and comfortable — a wave and smile would suffice for neighbourliness.

In truth, we don’t share interests; we don’t share the same ethnic backgrounds or weekend habits. We weren’t all on the same page about COVID-19 – some of us were supportive and others against mask and vaccine mandates. 

Maybe that’s what makes the huddled conversation on the day of the accident so special. It doesn’t matter if we’d naturally be friends had we not physically lived beside each other. It doesn’t matter that we have different views and beliefs. We are neighbours. That counts for something.

In the months since the accident I’ve thought a lot about what changed for me that day. It’s like the pieces fit together and I was able to discover a gift I’d never seen before.

We visit more now. We share gardening tips and someone suggested a block party. There’s even – imagine! – an inside joke or two we share. Community is growing where once I saw a street of strangers. I don’t ever want to lose sight of that gift.


Telling your story 

CBC Calgary is running a series of in-person writing workshops across the city to support community members telling their own stories.

Read more from the workshop hosted by the Northern Hills Community Association:

To find out more about our writing workshops or to propose a community organization to help host, email CBC producer Elise Stolte

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Here's what you need to know about Squamish Real Estate – Squamish Chief

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With Canada’s annual inflation rates spiking in June and a market still reeling from a global pandemic, local real estate in Squamish has seen its fair share of unpredictable ups and downs. 

“In May, I started saying that it felt like someone had flipped a switch,” said Jennifer Sale, a local Realtor in Squamish with Sutton West Coast Realty. “I’d say the peak was probably end of March, beginning of April. That was when I [saw] multiple offers and things going for quite a bit over. That has definitely changed.”

With various factors coming into play, such as higher mortgage rates and low inventory, Sale says that some buyers appear to be growing wary of the local market while having trouble qualifying for a mortgage.  

“We were experiencing a really hot period earlier in the year because the inventory was so low that there were so many more multiple offers versus pent-up demand,” Sale said. “So buyers were competing for properties.”

“Now with the increased rates … it’s really tapered off the number of sales,” she said. “There were only eight detached home sales in July.” 

(See prices and trends for the last 28 days in Squamish.)

Feeling the pinch

“Everybody’s feeling the pinch in one way or another,” said Lisa Bjornson of Royal LePage. “Since the beginning of June, probably into May, we started to see a shift in market trends in that … multiple offers are off the table, days on the market have lengthened, inventory has come up somewhat. So it’s definitely slowed the market down.” 

Yet historically, real estate sales during the summer are often low. 

“Summers traditionally aren’t a hugely active market in the Squamish area,” said Bjornson. “It’s not uncommon to have July and August be on the slower side.” 

However, looking back at summer sales in Squamish real estate from last year, Bjornson says there has been a drastic difference.

“Last year was a record-breaking year,” she said. “We’d never seen the likes of it in Squamish, in B.C., in Canada.”

COVID factor

Originally when the pandemic first hit in 2020, Bjornson says that the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation advised realtors that housing was going to plummet with a market drop of 20%. Yet their predictions were incorrect, with sales going up at the same rate they thought they would fall.

“COVID had the opposite effect of what everyone anticipated,” said Sale. “Since then, we’ve had these unprecedented increases not only in Squamish, but throughout B.C..”

When remote work became more of an option during the pandemic, many people realized that they did not have to remain in cities and began looking to buy outside of urban areas. Those within the Vancouver region who were of middle to high income were able to afford the prices just outside of the city, bringing an influx of buyers to Squamish. 

“It locked everybody up, changed everybody’s mindset,” Bjornson said. “Many people started to work from home and people started to homeschool. People thought, ‘I’m not putting my loved one in care’. We’re going to generationally live. How people viewed housing and what their needs were changed drastically.”

Over the course of the two years from March of 2020 to now, other challenges such as supply chain issues and labour became evident and began to affect real estate. 

“There’s so many forces at play when it comes to what makes up a housing market.” 

In addition to an influx of people leaving the city to be in smaller areas, Sale says that she has also noticed single people moving between townhomes to condos to half-duplexes.  

“People are always a little worried about getting out of the market. So it’s always nice to move within the same market,” said Sale. “Now that it’s slowed down, I think that’s gonna be a lot easier for many people.”

Overall, though interest rates are currently high, real estate prices in Squamish are seeing a return to relative normalcy. 

“We’re not seeing multiple offers. We’re not seeing things go for $200,000 over ask,” said Bjornson. “We’re seeing negotiations, we’re seeing prices moderate.”

As for the coming months heading into fall, Bjornson says that she predicts longer days on the market.

“If we suddenly get an uptick COVID coming into the fall of winter, does that change people again about how they’re feeling and what their wants and needs are? Hard to say,” she said. “The general feeling kind of across the board is that we had a tremendous run-up for 20 plus months and for any real estate cycle that was long. So the normal calming and settling of the market is to be expected.”

For those currently looking to sell in Squamish, Bjornson recommends that people be reasonable and pay attention to what the market is currently doing. “It’s still an OK market; you’re not losing anything. Govern yourself according to what the market conditions are. And if you’re a buyer, get your pre-qualification and know what price point you should be shopping in.”

“I would say to list a realistic price point,” concurred Sale. “Take the advice of your realtor and watch the market carefully.” 

Sale adds that comparing prices month to month with your neighbours is not helpful when trying to place a price on a home. 

“It’s always hard to see what your neighbour sold for in February or March,” she said. “You have to work within the market that we’re in.”

“The last couple of years there’s greater demand for people wanting to be in Squamish,” said Sale. “I don’t think there’s going to be a big drop-off. I think now it’s changed from a seller’s market, shifted briefly into a balanced market, and I think in some product categories, it’s definitely a buyers market.”

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The Self-Made Million Dollar Real Estate Entrepreneur: Steven Parks – Net Newsledger

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Steven Parks always knew he was an entrepreneur at heart. Even at the young age of 14–he knew he would make it. After working on a farm in a small town in California, he chose to go big.

Steven Parks is a real estate entrepreneur. He’s purchased over 40 properties and typically flips them for a profit. He also rents them out–turning them into Airbnb’s or long-term rentals. Aside from that, he is the founder and CEO of Cash Offers LLC which is precisely what it sounds like. He makes cash offers to those looking to sell their properties. It’s easy for the seller and profitable for him. Needless to say, Steven Parks has the acumen needed for a successful entrepreneur.

His success comes from his deep dedication to himself and what he envisioned for himself. When he was young and working on a farm, he realized the blue-collar lifestyle wasn’t for him. He ventured into the auto industry where he began flipping cars. Steven was naturally interested in the successful people around him. This curiosity led him to introduce himself to the company that financed a lot of his customer’s transactions at the car dealership–and this was the moment that shifted his career trajectory.

“If you don’t ask, you don’t receive.” Steven said. Steven Parks was able to finance his first real estate deal with this company, and as people say, the rest is history. He now owns over 40 properties. Steven eventually wants to own “100 doors” which is real estate lingo for units. It’s all about the rental income in real estate–it creates wealth and the ability to procure more properties. It hasn’t been just about the money for Steven Parks, though.

For Steven, he wanted to do something big. When asked how he got into real estate he said, “I wanted to create my own story.” He had a rough start in life. His upbringing was tumultuous–having lost both parents, he was raised by his grandmother. His experience motivated him to act, so he put a focus on himself and those around him. He was interested in what other people had to offer and he always put himself out there. Even when things got bad in his career, Steven persevered. For example,  in 2008 he lost his Dodge franchise due to the recession, but he didn’t allow it to stop him.

He kept going. Steven Parks is an entrepreneur: he’s an open-minded, curious, spirited, and hard-working individual. He plans to own more properties and become the 100 million dollar company he dreams of being and there’s no doubt that he will get there. Steven will continue to move and adapt through his career–writing his own story with every move.

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