Most of us live in safe and predictable neighbourhoods. But burglars are always on the look-out for opportune moments to enter homes in search of valuables, and they don't take breaks for the holidays. In fact, many burglaries take place during the holidays, especially when people go away on vacation or to visit family. Here are several tips you can use to burglar-proof your home during the holiday season.
Install a Security System
Whether you install a do-it-yourself security system or hire a professional service to do it for you, having security cameras reduces the likelihood that a burglar will choose your home. In addition to a security system, you might want to purchase a door alarm with a camera system to help protect against intruders. Some of the door alarms include video cameras with remote access, allowing you to interact with the people standing in front of your door. This type of system allows you to scare burglars away if they knock at your door to see if you are home. There are also smartphone apps that link to your security system and cameras; consider looking into a security system that does this.
Install Outdoor Lighting
Since burglars often prefer to remain hidden, setting up additional sources of outside lighting can deter them from breaking into your home. Simply install motion-activated lights for the walkway, doors, and driveway, and put up individual solar lights along the perimeter of your home and outbuildings to keep burglars away from your property.
Don't Advertise You Are Leaving
Whether you plan to go away for a single day or an entire week, try not to make it too obvious. Don't mention your trip on social media websites until after you return home. If you are traveling with luggage or taking bags of gifts with you, try and pack your vehicle while it is still sitting in the garage.
Secure Your Valuables
While it won't be possible to hide all of your valuables, you should try to camouflage at least some of them. For example, hide laptops in the linen closet underneath a pile of towels or place expensive jewelry in a wall safe. Alternatively, consider renting a safety deposit box at your financial insitution. The cost will far outweigh the loss if you have sentimental, rare, or expensive items that get stolen.
Pretend Someone Is Home
Although burglars have gotten wise to homeowners leaving on their lights when they go away, other strategies can help to convince them you are still there. In addition to connecting your lights to timers, connect a television to a timer to create the illusion that someone is home. Potential burglars will see the illumination from the TV and think you are home watching your favorite show.
On February 16th, the BC Government announced the 2016 Budget for the province, which introduced several changes to theProperty Transfer Tax Act. These changes affect any real estate transaction that is completing February 17th onwards, regardless of the date the contract of purchase and sale was executed.
1. Changes to the Property Transfer Tax Rate
One of the changes to the Property Transfer Tax Act is a new tax rate of 3% for properties with a fair market value greater than $2,000,000. The Property Transfer Tax (PTT) is now calculated as follows:
1. 1% of the taxable transaction’s fair market value that does not exceed $200,000.
2. 2% of that fair market value that exceeds $200,000 but does not exceed $2,000,000.
3. 3% of that fair market value that exceeds $2,000,000.
2. Property Transfer Tax – Newly Built Home Exemption
Another change to the Property Transfer Tax Act is the addition of a new exemption – the Newly Built Home Exemption. Below are some key points to consider:
1. The exemption applies only to newly built homes.
2. There is a full exemption for qualifying properties with a fair market value of $750,000 or less and a partial exemption for qualifying properties with a fair market value between $750,000 and $800,000.
3. The party claiming the exemption:
a. must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
b. must use the property as a principal residence.
c. does not have to be a first time home buyer.
3. Further Information
Below are some links with further information regarding the qualifications criteria:
1. Frequently Asked Questions about the changes to the Property Transfer Tax Act: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/property-transfer-tax/understand/exemptions/newly-built-home-exemption#qualify
2. A Guide to the Property Transfer Tax – Newly Built Home Exemption: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/property-transfer-tax/understand/exemptions/newly-built-home-exemption#qualify
3. A Table of Property Transfer Tax – Newly Built Home Exemption amounts: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/taxes/property-taxes/property-transfer-tax/understand/exemptions/newly-built-home-exemption/exemption-amounts
This email is only a summary of some of the changes and is not exhaustive. See the above links and the Property Transfer Tax Act for more information, and feel free to send us an email or give us a call at the office if you or your clients have any questions regarding this or any other real estate matter.
Spring is a delightful time of year. And for many, "spring cleaning" - whether inside the home, or in the garden, seems to be a ritual that folks look forward to. Spring also brings with it many "For Sale" signs, seemingly popping up like tulips. And for those who like to get out and browse through Open Houses, Condos and Townhouses, it can re-ignite dreams of moving to a new home.
These visits may begin quite casually, but can quickly get exciting if you come across a dream property. And this spring in the Greater Victoria area, we've seen many homes, priced just right, getting multiple offers the first day they're listed.
That’s why it’s always advisable to be well prepared when starting a real estate search. The first steps are determining the present market value of your current home, assessing your financial readiness, and considering advice by your REALTOR as to what needs doing to prepare it for the market. Then, when that perfect next home presents itself, you will be fully prepared to act.
Give me a call if you'd like me to help you determine the market value of your current home and to get prepared.
In the meantime, if you're interested in seeing regular real estate and marketing tips, you can sign up for my free monthly newsletter. Just send me an email or drop me a line and I will add you to my client list. My April Newsletter is coming to inboxes next week.
I've had some great feedback from an article in my October Newsletter. Because not all my followers subscribe to that, I decided to blog it as well. Here it is:
There are two main reasons why homeowners invest in a home renovation or major redcorating project: They want to enjoy the results of the new kitchen, bathroom, flooring or other improvement they've made; and/or they hope that the money they spend will come back to them ~ at least in part ~ when they sell their home.
So which projects are most likely to increase the resale value of a home? Here's 5 Renovation Projects that give you the most bang for your renovation buck.
FLOORS. Old, scuffed or dated flooring tends to get noticed by home buyers, regardless of how well the rest of the room is decorated. New flooring - especially good quality tile or hardwood - can make any room look larger and more inviting.
KITCHEN. When it comes to selling your home, the kitchen is one of the most impportant rooms. The more modern, new and spacious it looks, the faster your home will tend to sell. That's why you can expect a payback of up to 80% of the cost of a kitchen renovation.
BATHROOMS. Who isn't impressed by a new and gleaming bathroom with a big shower, modern faucets and other attractive decor? That's why hotels spend so much time and money making their bathrooms look great. Often a homeowner can expect to get a pay back of up to 75% on the cost of a bathroom.
CLOSETS. Any improvement that makes a closet look roomy and organized tends to result in a pay back of most of it's cost. Even something as simple as a good closet organizer can have a dramatic effect.
ENERGY-SAVING UPGRADES. In this age of increasing energy costs and environmental concerns, home buyers are drawn to such features as energy-saving windows, lighting, thermostats and more. Upgrading your home heating systems can be more expensive, and thus don't have as fast a return on investment - so be sure to get quotes and calculate potential near-term savings before embarking on full system upgrades.
Of course, whenever we embark on a renovation project, we tend to purge our unwanted, outdated or unused material from the space. This also helps your new space look organized & new. So even if your project is small, be sure to de-clutter as you go.
NOTE: The above information should be considered guidelines and not guarantees; returns on any investment are dependent on cost of product & install, and current market activity & trends. Always speak to a professional before beginning a renovation project.
If you'd like to recieve my monthly newsletter, or if you have any questions about Real Estate, please drop me a line or send me an email.
TERRY L. CALVELEY REALTOR®
Pemberton Holmes Ltd. - Victoria, BC
REALTORs in the CRD now have additional data to help our clients in their Residential real estate ventures.
Released in the Fall of 2013, the Home Price Index (HPI) has been developed with complex algorythms using MLS data, dating back to 2005.
When we talk about housing prices, we often refer to trends in average and median sale prices. These measures are commonly used as they are easily understood and data is readily available. However, averages and medians have their issues when attempting to use them to determine trends:
- Data can be skewed by "outliers" (unique properties, or very high or low value compared to others)
- All homes are treated as equal
- Home "composition" is not taken into consideration
The HPI provides us a "Constant Quality Price Index" and was introduced to provide a better measurement of price and price trends for residential properties; and to compare trends in different markets. For instance, a 2-storey home in Oak Bay-South may have a different HPI than a 1-storey home in the same area; and would be different than a 2-storey home in Oak Bay-Henderson.
Some advantages of the MLS HPI include:
- Understanding current market conditions and true price trends
- Estimating current market value or selling price of a typical home
- Tracking typical asset price changes
- Comparing characteristics and price trends in different markets
While the HPI data isn't intended to replace REALTORs current tools, expertise and conversations, it does COMPLIMENT them. And in my opinion, any data that helps our clients determine the market value of their home (or future home) is worth understanding and discussing.
If you'd like to know a bit more about how the HPI can assist in determining YOUR home's market value, contact me at Terry@ThisIsTLC.com or 250.384.8124.
Everywhere we turn, we see Stats on the Economy and it's affect on Real Estate. "The Economy is improving...no wait, it's holding" "Mortgage Rates are as low as ever, but consumer debt is staggering" "Housing starts are below normal"..."home prices dropping, Seller's aren't listing"..."Property Transfer Taxes killing the market"... You get the idea. When we see even a slight improvement in the market, the negatives instantly seem to turn to positives.
And while the economy (global or local) and statistics are important and shouldn't be ignored, it can be overwhelming - and let's face it - confusing and even annoying at times - even to savvy investors. In my everyday world I often get questions about this. Here's my take on things:
When it comes to Real Estate transactions, I believe the most important part of my job is to know you, my client. I spend plenty of time getting to know you, to understand your motivation for wanting to buy or sell your home.
In those conversations we talk generally about the local economy, household debt and mortgage rates, but my primary job is to understand the "Why" - and very often financials are not the driver at all. The first focus is on the "Wants & Needs" - and defining the two. Next step is to start the paperwork and develop the marketing plan. And then we can get down to some serious fun in the hunt for your new home...or the excitement of preparing your home for sale and offers to come in.
Real Estate transactions ARE a serious business (and not all transactions come with happy memories), but I believe that together we ought to make it the most positive, memorable and pain-free experience it can be.
I have plenty of resources available to me that I can pass along to my clients, like referring them to good Mortgage Brokers or Financial Planners. Those folks are the experts in their field, and by working with them, my clients will get their price points established. And so too, I must remain an expert in my field - which is to help you find the right home, or list yours, at the right price for you - and make your real estate experience an excellent one.
Call me, and let's start a conversation about your real estate needs.
Located in the Heart of Oak Bay, a bright, spacious South facing unit overlooking a serene private garden. Great location - with Oak Bay Rec Centre, Oak Bay Village with shops & restaurants, Monterey Centre/Library, and more. This building has wonderful energy & friendly neighbours.
Recently, through a referral, I was working with a bright and articulate senior contemplating selling her home. There are courses and designations Realtors can obtain to assist us in working with seniors. Beyond training, I believe that sincerity, compassion and service should be what guides us.
Regardless of the demographic, people buy and sell their homes for a myriad of reasons. My job is to know you well enough to understand your reason for wanting change; and to provide you with market information that will help guide you to your decision.
But just because a market is "slow" or "hot" or "steady"; or is a "buyer's market" or a "seller's market"...shouldn't be the sole criteria on which homeowners base their decisions. Yes, the economy and market trends should be considered, but there's no crystal ball to tell what tomorrow will bring - and it can get overwhelming very quickly. So we must consider your personal reasons first. Do you NEED to buy or sell, and Why? Do you WANT to buy or sell, and Why? What will you gain or lose (and not just financially) by transacting real estate now versus in the future?
In my practice, in order to serve my clients successfully, we may spend several hours together (sometimes over several months!) getting to the heart of it. Other times there's a legitimate urgency - and then we need to work fast. Either way, it requires me to understand your motivation as well as your financial ability to act. Trust and confidentiality are a big part of Agency and when we have our first meeting we'll talk about these and other items, like the difference between being a "customer" and "client".
I'm happy to report that the senior I mentioned at the beginning of this blog has decided to stay put for now. As much as it was logical for her to liquidate her assets (primarily due to age), after our discussions and "getting to the heart of it", she and her family decided that staying in her home surrounded by her neighbours and friends was more important to her happiness. Oh, and we're having tea together again in a few months; I'm looking forward to seeing her!
If my clients are happy, I'm happy, and that's TLC. Call me - let's talk about your plans.
Greater Victoria has an abundance of community and lifestyle options for homeowners. But what does Community mean to you? Let's kick-start a conversation about what real estate means to people.
Is it LOCATION?
From funky and eclectic Fernwood, to sprawling Uplands and historic Oak Bay. Or Victoria's vibrant Downtown, Inner Harbour and it's seawall walks. Perhaps it's our amazing waterfront corridor from Beach Drive to Cadboro Bay, Arbutus and Cordova Bay Roads - out to Sidney-By-The-Sea.
Is it STYLE?
Do you have a passion for what architcture style does for a community? Condos or homes with large lots; Modern or Arts and Crafts? Or is it the combination of mixed use (commercial and residential) and how well they complement each other? Built-green to reno'ing old - and everything in between.
Is it NEIGHBOURHOOD?
Off-leash parks, kids play spaces and schools, beaches, or places to worship? Pro-active and engaged Community Associations? Want to walk or bike to all your necessary amenities? We have that too.
Is it INVOLVEMENT?
Private and secluded versus vibrant and engaged - are you moving from one kind of community to another, or looking for more of the same?
Is it INVESTMENT?
Investment in your future, or investment for short term? From "Sooke to Sidney", Greater Victoria offers many options for new construction purchases. And in the current market, there are equally as many opportunities for bringing your own style to older homes in need of revitalization.
My job is to help you find your COMMUNITY. And I'm passionate about it.
So whether you're upsizing, downsizing, or "right-sizing", let me help you find what you're passionate for.
One just never knows what's going to happen every time we make a choice.
On Friday a colleague asked if I could sit his Open House the next day so that he could attend to a family commitment. Of course, I said - I could easily spare a few hours, and this was a lovely home to be showing off to prospective buyers.
I could have declined with the excuse that I had to spend time on my blog and other social media accounts - marketing my services from my keyboard. Yes, this is a viable and important aspect of our jobs, and an excellent way to keep customers apprised of the market.
But if I'd declined his request, I would have forfeited the opportunity to meet some VIP's (Very Interesting People), and that's exactly who I met. A wonderfully interesting Canadian couple living in the US, in the early planning stages of moving back and want to make Victoria their forever-home. They've made successful careers, and now want community and lifestyle to be the most important aspect of their lives. What an honour to spend time talking with them about their exciting future.
Another couple were sussing out properties while on a leisurely bike ride. They've been taking their time looking through Open Houses on weekends checking out home styles and neighbourhoods. They haven't been working with a REALTOR® and weren't familiar with Buyer's Agency, so I had an opportunity to share my knowledge with them - and how buyer's agents work specifically for them, not the Seller. They left more informed than when they arrived, and I was happy to have been able to help them out.
In the end, my choice to "Blog or Not to Blog" was a good one on Saturday. So if you're following my Blogs, Tweets and Posts, and I haven't updated for awhile - you'll know it's because I'm out spending time with people or previewing property for clients.
Happy Home Hunting!