CONTACT

Shuchat Group Real Estate Blog

Firstly, I would like you all to know that I am not an engineer.  I did receive a flyer from the City of Richmond with my utility bill that outlined where a typical house uses water and I happened to read it.  I did not know for example, that a typical home uses 32% of its fresh water in its toilets.  Take a second to let that fact sink in.

Please stick with me here.....(absolutley no pun intended)

Research has found that a healthy human bladder can hold about 2 cups, which is about 1/8 of a gallon. The average older toilet tank uses about 3.6 gallons per flush.  That is a ratio of about 28:1.  It is astonishing that we would need to use 28 times the amount of fresh water to dispose of the little that our bodies actually use.

Newer toilets use only 1.6 for gallons for larger flushes and .6 gallons for liquid flushes. Those of you contemplating switching to the new lower flush units should know that many municipalities offer a rebate on your utility bill of $100 with...
Read full post

QUOTED IN THE VANCOUVER SUN-Check out the article below!

After reading Peter McMartin's article in the Vancouver Sun on Heritage Property earlier in the week, I decided to respond to his question: "Heritage Property, Who Pays?"  After reading my letter to him, he picked up the phone and called me and we chatted about how to make the system better so that the city's goal of preserving heritage listed property would not be a burden on those honoured by having their property on that list.

Here is a link to the response article he wrote in the Vancouver Sun.  The city manager took note and promised change as early as next week!  Let's wait and see how effective that change will be..... more on that soon!

 http://www.vancouversun.com/Pete+McMartin+Heritage+preservation+fixing/9960532/story.html
Read full post

BC has a Property Tax Deferment Program which in certain cases allows a property owner with a principal residence to apply and receive the right to defer all property taxes on that residence for a one-time application fee of $60 with an annual renewal (not automatic) fee of $10.  The interest rate charged on the amount deferred is prime minus 2% which is currently 1.5%- there is no cheaper money around.  There are certain prerequisites which must be met, most notable of which is that one of the property owners must be over 55 years of age and there must be at least 25% equity in the home based upon the BC property assessed value.


This process takes some time so it is best to start it as soon as you get your property assessment.  The 25% equity calculation is sometimes tricky as it may include authorized but not drawn down lines of credit and will include a previous bank’s undischarged mortgage amount even though the balance was refinanced.  Therefore, you need to...

Read full post

Over the years, clients who are buyers have asked what they might have to do to back out of a deal that perhaps had a "subject to inspection" clause in it or based on some other technicality.  The discussion is probably not as important in a rising market as the seller could probably sell it for a higher price the following month with little in the way of tangible damages.

This all changes as soon as a market starts to approach its peak or perhaps experiences a downward correction. This was the case in the latter part of 2008 when Lehman Brothers in New York started to unravel and the underwritten mortgages which had been parcelled and sold off turned out to be worth a lot less than their face values. The entire market collapsed, and one couple who had negotiated a purchase of a beautiful single family home in Whistler for about $3.6 Million found themselves in a connundrum as the sale of another property of theirs in the US fell through just as others began unravelling.  They didn't...
Read full post

Everyone has been disussing possible solutions to the problem of affordability in the Vancouver housing market. Most of proposed solutions have been about increasing density around main transportation corridors, removing foreign buying power and using tax policy to discourage speculation.  I would like to propose a completely different approach whose time has come.

For years every time a new technology has emerged in relation to building construction, I have always heard the same comments from either professional planning staff or architects and engineers. They usually say something like, "it won't happen in our lifetime-good luck with that".  I suggest, that the time has come to open up our real estate and construction markets to new technologies which can drastically reduce costs and delivery times of housing stock.

Here are a few examples of products that involve construction techniques that warrant discussion and adoption:

1.  A 400 sqare foot 3D house is printed in 24 hours...
Read full post

Sifting through investment properties is often tedious.  Not every Realtor has access to a strata's bylaws at the very start of his mandate.  Sometimes the documents take time to obtain.  Accordingly, a computer filtered search requesting "rentals, no restrictions, or rentals-some restrictions" may not yield accurately described listings.

Buyers are cautioned to review strata Bylaws themselves in detail and even seek legal advice to avoid these inaccuracies entering into an investment decision.

The recent Court of Appeal case of 
Mathews v. The Owners, Strata Plan VR 90, 2016 BCCA 345  addressed the issue of the clarity and force of law of rental restrictions contained in strata bylaws.

I have been asked in every investment mandate I have had, whether the hardship provisions which may be contained in strata bylaws could be used as a reliable lifeline in the event an investor may need to rent out a unit due to changing circumstances. The answer has now become more...
Read full post

From my archive: I sold a sweet 1 BR condo midtown which generated 4 offers in a very short time.   Our initial bid was the lowest one by a very substantial amount; substantial as in the value of a new car....  In the end, we still won!
How is that possible?  

To understand that, you would have to remember the fable about the Sun and the Wind having a bet as to who could best make a man remove his coat. The wind huffed and puffed, but the man held on tighter and tighter.  Then the Sun started to shine and the man removed his coat. And that's about as much of the secret as I will disclose here... except that the process involved bagels, the ones from my previous post; 6 of them is all it took!
 
My mother never taught me how to make bagels, but she did teach me how to take a chance and make "something from nothing" in the kitchen,  and she would be smiling ear to ear to know that my culinary adventure paid off in real estate matters. It was tough to let...
Read full post

Think back to when you were growing up.  Can you remember any of your friends moving? Moving more than once? Moving more than once in a two year period?


Things are different now.  A recent review that I conducted in Richmond over a two year period from 2014-2015 inclusive revealed that out of 160 single family properties described as having lots greater than 7000 sq ft, frontages greater than 60 feet and homes on the land older than 34 years, 42 of them, or around 25% were sold and relisted at least once during that two year period, often within a few months.

Here's the problem.  They are houses. Houses may qualify for the principal residence exemption and therefore afford a tax free gain on the price increase since purchase. If a person bought a property and sold it, they would only be required to file taxes on it by April of the following year.  That is, if they account for the gain at all.  Being that it is a house, its sale is likely to not even be reported. ...

Read full post

I have always advocated that Canadians need to be involved and interacting with their governments in between elections instead of during elections.


I am happy to say that any time I did write my elected officials, I not only received a response but I more often than not woke up one day to find that a suggested policy was actually enacted.

I am pleased that our current Liberal government through its Finance Minister finally made a policy decision regarding limiting the availability of the Principal Residency Exemption that was desperately needed and which I personally have been advocating for over the last two years, both in this blog forum of my web page, in local and national newspapers, and most recently in meetings with senior Canada Revenue Agency real estate auditing staff.

A principal problem as I explained it was that non-residents could purchase a real property and sell it shortly thereafter, regardless of whether they lived in it or not as there was no real mechanism in place to enforce...

Read full post

First published in my May 22, 2015 blogpost, I haven't given up on this concept.  The 4th suggestion (I added it a little after the original post) had to do with allowing some portion of resident Canadians' mortgage interest payment to be tax deductible. 

Thinking about this a little bit more, and weighing all of the options, I think this No 4 option has some political potential of being more acceptable that some of the others.  This is why:

1. It doesn't overtly target foreign investors and give the appearance of Canada "closing" its borders to investment as might some of the others. 
2. It focusses on increasing affordability for Canadians who have Canadian earned income and hence by implication pay taxes here.  Therefore it is self screening in nature. Foreigners would not likely benefit as they do not often pay income tax here and hence could not deduct interest expenses against their income.
3. It could assist in domestic residential debt management policy by r...
Read full post
The data relating to real estate on this website comes in part from the MLS® Reciprocity program of either the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV), the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) or the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board (CADREB). Real estate listings held by participating real estate firms are marked with the MLS® logo and detailed information about the listing includes the name of the listing agent. This representation is based in whole or part on data generated by either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB which assumes no responsibility for its accuracy. The materials contained on this page may not be reproduced without the express written consent of either the REBGV, the FVREB or the CADREB.