Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following are frequently asked questions from various clients of mine:
1) Q: Where is the best place to buy Real Estate in Vancouver?
A: By far, the most desirable area to live in Vancouver is the westside. That includes Fairview Slopes, False Creek, Kitsilano, Dunbar, Point Grey and UBC which are the most popular. The reason is proximity to downtown, beach and ocean-side properties, or ocean view properties which are popular in Kits, park land, good schools, quaint café neighbourhoods, old-growth forests, old homes with manicured lawns, low crime, sailing clubs, sea-side walking and biking trails.
2) Q: What are the rules for buying property in Vancouver or Whistler if you don’t live in Canada?
A: If you require financing, you must have a mortgage with a Canadian-based financial institution. In order to obtain that financing, you must have 35% of the cost of the property as a cash deposit. And you must be present in Canada to sign the closing documents with the bank or have a document notarizing the procedure performed in your country.
3) Q: How do I use my RRSP for a down payment?
A: The RRSP Home Buyers Plan allows first time buyers to withdraw up to $20,000 maximum per person on a tax free basis from their RRSP. Taxpayers may contribute to their own or their spouses RRSP, wait 90 days, withdraw the funds and make a considerable tax savings which they can use as a down payment.
4) Q: When does that need to be repaid?
A: Equal annual payments/installments need to be made over 15 years. First payment is due 60 days after the end of the second full calendar year following the year the deduction was made. i.e. 1997 withdrawal ----> 1st payment Feb 29. No interest is payable. Funds may be repaid more quickly if desired. Revenue Canada sends payment amount verification to the client every year to inform them how much their payment must be. If 1/15 is not repaid in any year, the unpaid portion is added to income and taxed at their marginal tax-rate.
5) Q: Do I have to use a lawyer?
A: A lawyer is highly recommended. If you are getting a mortgage, your lender will probably require that a lawyer handle the transaction.
6) Q: Who holds the deposit when I make an offer to purchase?
A: It is negotiable between you and the seller. Usually the seller’s brokerage holds the deposit “in trust” for you and the seller.
7) Q: What is the difference between chattels and fixtures?
A: Chattels are unattached goods that go with the seller. Fixtures are attached goods that stay with the property. Any chattels you want included must be written into the purchase contract and agreed to by the seller.
8) Q: How do I go about finding open houses?
A: If you are a client of Aleya Bhaloo, we will send you a comprehensive list of all the open houses happening in Vancouver’s desirable neighbourhoods every single weekend! If you're just browsing, feel free to contact us for open house information on specific properties - or you can check out MLS.cafor their list.
9) Q: Can I get a lockbox code from you and just visit a house myself?
A: For the protection of all parties to a trade in real estate, you must be accompanied by your Buyer Representative when visiting a property (unless the seller is holding a public open house).
10) Q: What is your referral policy?
A: The majority of our business comes from friends, family members and happy clients who introduce us to their friends and work with us again and again. Of course we also meet new clients who've found us on this site!
11) Q: Should I buy first or sell first?
A: Each strategy has its advantages & disadvantages depending on your unique situation. Contact us and we will be happy to help you craft a strategic plan that works best for you.
12) Q: Can you tell me more about bidding wars?
A: Bidding wars, known in our industry as multiple offers, occur when there is more than one offer on a property. We can often advise you in advance whether a property is likely to have multiple offers. If you're interested in putting in an offer, we will let you know of any competing offers so that we can adjust our offer strategy.
13) Q: Should I buy new or re-sale?
A: While we work primarily with residential re-sale properties we do occasionally assist our clients with purchasing newly constructed properties. When we meet we can discuss whether your needs are best served by re-sale or brand new properties!
14) Q: When should I make my offer conditional?
A: A condition inserted into the offer means that the contract will not be firm and binding until certain things are fulfilled or waived (i.e. you getting financing from the bank, or your lawyer reviewing status certificate documents in the case of a condo). Conditional offers are considered weaker than firm offers, and may harm your chances of getting your dream property - we will discuss your best options with you.
15) Q: Do you know any mortgage brokers or financing specialists?
A: Yes! As referrals are the backbone of our business, we would be happy to refer you to several trusted colleagues in mortgage financing. Please contact us for this information or review the “My Connections” section of this website.
16) Q: How long should a closing take - how soon before I can move in?
A: Most closings are from 30-60 days from the date of acceptance of the offer, however this can vary based on buyer & seller needs and other practical concerns. Our systems help ensure a smooth closing for you whether it's a leisurely wait to move in or a quick closing!
17) Q: I saw a great house on MLS.ca but when I drove by, it was already sold?
A: MLS.ca imports its information from the Great Vancouver Real Estate Board, and there can be a time lag of up to 3 days. In addition, it often takes a brokerage a couple of days to report a property as sold, depending on administration. For the inside scoop on whether a property is really still on the market, please contact us.
18) Q: If I just want to get in to see some houses, why do I need a Realtor?
A: A Realtor does a lot more for you than just open up a house! In our consultative role, we listen carefully to your deepest needs & values so we will know how best to help you find the best property. We negotiate with your best interests in mind, acting as an intermediary between you and the seller & insulating you from costly mistakes. Finally we handle the (literally hundreds!) of transactional details so that you don't have to.
19) Q: Is a Realtors service free to me as a Buyer?
A: Yes! The Buyer Representative is typically compensated by the listing agent for the property once a purchase has been made, so we act on contingency when working for you.
20) Q: How much do I have to put down on a property when making an offer?
A: Offer deposits are generally 5% of the offer price, rounded up. Getting a certified cheque or bank draft for this amount can make a great difference to sellers, especially in a multiple offer situation - you will be seen to be prepared, confident and serious about buying the property.
21) Q: What are homes selling for on a certain street?
A: We'd be happy to send you information on recent sales on a particular street - to satisfy your curiousity, show you how your investment is doing, or as part of your buying or selling research! Just let us know the street and we will send you the most current data.
22) Q: Offers are being accepted by fax on a property I'm interested in. What does that mean, and how does that affect my chances of getting my dream home?
A: Our clients frequently encounter this situation when offering on homes - it most often means the sellers are out of town. To help increase your chances of getting the home, since the sellers will not get to meet us face to face, we will write a letter to the sellers introducing you and letting them know more about you!
23) Q: What happens if I buy a house and the sellers don't deliver on their promises?
A: Occasionally this happens...it's unfortunate. Our course of action depends on what they have failed to deliver on - for instance, if the house is not in broom swept condition we will contact the sellers' agent to ask them to rectify this. More serious issues often will involve your lawyer. We will advocate on your behalf to help ensure you are compensated!
24) Q: Do I get a better deal if I buy a house being sold by the bank?
A: Sometimes homes are listed as Foreclosures, which means the mortgage holder has obtained the right to sell the home and retain the proceeds when a mortgage is in default. These homes are listed at fair market value, though there may be room to negotiate.