The Lure of Living in BC

General Angela Calla 31 Mar

The Lure Of Living In B.C.

Real estate adviser Ozzie Jurock describes his passion for this province – and the reasons why he will always buy B.C. real estate.

By Ozzie Jurock





First off, I just love B.C. B.C.’ers have learned to become a “black belt in life” – that truly balanced life.

Our environment is majestic (I am awed every time I ski), the climate is outstanding, and the views spectacular. There is a very special flavour here. Call it the crisp mountain air, the sweeping, wide-open spaces, the fresh ocean spray, balmy sunsets, golf in February and wine in September. This is the best place in the world to be, where you can enjoy that truly balanced life.

People come here from all parts of the world (inward migration is at a high), bringing their individuality, their experiences and their business know-how.

To work here is a privilege. To live here is a true blessing. To study here is a benefit. To worship here is a natural. In the whole world there is no place like it. It is paradise.

So no great surprise, therefore, I am still buying B.C. real estate and here is why I think this province will continue to be a great real estate investment.

1. Values grow where people go. When employment rises, occupancy of apartments, houses and offices rises – and employment in B.C. will continue to rise.

2. We live in the world’s most unreported inflation, which has driven real estate prices in Vancouver from $16,500 in 1965 to more than $1 million today.

I believe that inflation will return worldwide and all hard assets – including real estate – will continue to rise, not necessarily in a straight line, but they will rise.

3. The world is discovering us. As cash (printed out of thin air) swirls around the world, it is more and more look- ing for a safe haven and B.C offers just that. Add to that Vancouver’s 400,000-strong Asian population and downtown Vancouver and other prime areas will continue to be hot.

4. I believe that timing (cycles) and trend identification remains vitally important. Your entry point in any real estate – or any market – is very important. Don’t fight the trend.

5. A worldwide expectation that our dollar will continue to rise (my predic- tions are coming true) means a built-in return on investment. We have large capital inflows into bonds but also into real estate markets.

6. We are one of the few truly international cities where you can talk to Europe and Asia on the same day – during business hours.

7. Social stability, excellent health services, low crime rates, lowest provincial personal income tax in Canada. No general corporation capital tax, no employer payroll taxes, no franchise tax and no machinery sales tax. We have Canada’s highest overall education levels and highest life expectancy.

8. An innovative and skilled workforce, world-leading universities, rich abundant natural resources.

9. Vancouver is the most livable city in the world, according to the 2010 Livability ranking survey of 140 cities by the Economist Intelligence Unit. B.C. is home to other vibrant cities and welcoming communities with booming tech sectors, such as Victoria, Kelowna, Prince George – each with its own distinctive characteristics, charm and beauty.

I do not believe the Lower Mainland is in a bubble and that bubble has to pop, but I do believe that some areas are overbuilt and that some resorts have been hard-hit.

No doubt 2011 will see higher interest rates (lock in these lifetime lows) and a “sideways market,” but there are also a lot of opportunities – such as:

– Rental properties in a number of small towns that cash flow – e.g. Kamloops and Prince George, Nanaimo and Comox. (Price per property is so low that the owner’s mortgage is paid by the tenant.)

– Some areas in the Lower Mainland where condos are overbuilt (such as Surrey) are great value.

– I would buy (make an offer) on any waterfront, anywhere: river, lakes, ocean.

– Any business owner (or professional) should buy his or her own building. Most buildings make sense at today’s low interest rates. Lock in the rates on all commercial buildings for 10 years.

– Small apartment buildings are not as sweet as earlier last year, but deals can be still found in the Fraser Valley, in New West and on the Island.


– Neighbourhood shopping centres.

– Mini-storage and trailer parks.

– Land (particularly farmland).

– Small investment/industrial market- type properties that have good returns.

– Recreational resort property.

– Okanagan if the deal is right, but particularly the undiscovered South.

– Vancouver Island – coastal areas.

My major point is that certain principles remain: No matter where or what you buy, you make the most money in real estate on the day you buy. Nevertheless, buy cautiously – don’t fall in love with the deal, because when investing – any investing – there is a new train (as in gravy) every 10 minutes. But with B.C. on your side, you can’t go wrong.

Ozzie Jurock is a senior real estate adviser and author of the Real Estate Action

Mortgage Experts get consumers the BEST mortgages

General Angela Calla 31 Mar

Experts best at brokering mortgage

 Denise Deveau, Postmedia News · Mar. 30, 2011 | Last Updated: Mar. 30, 2011 4:04 AM ET

Cheryl Hutton and Aaron Coates always thought getting a mortgage would be a challenge. But within 18 days of visiting a mortgage broker, they were able to close a deal on a new townhouse in Calgary without a hitch.

Now in their early thirties, both have careers in the theatre, something Ms. Hutton says has been a bit of a sticking point with banks. “In our industry we never fit the paperwork guidelines ‘for the banks.’ For some reason, people don’t think we pay our bills.”

Although it was their first home purchase, Ms. Hutton says it was surprising how easy the whole process was once they had someone who could walk them through it. “He sat us down, told us what our options were, showed us that it was possible and explained all the steps we needed to take. If it wasn’t for him, we may not have made the leap.”

Sorting through a mortgage process and negotiating rates can be overwhelming for firsttime and seasoned home buyers alike. That’s why people such as Ms. Hutton and Mr. Coates turn to brokers to do the legwork for them.

Yet mortgage brokers will tell you that a good portion of home buyers out there don’t really understand what they do. “Part of the challenge we have in our world is that people aren’t really sure what a mortgage broker is,” says Gary Siegle, regional manager for Invis Inc., a mortgage brokerage firm in Calgary.

Brokers should not be confused with “rovers,” mortgage specialists attached to a specific financial institution who visit customers outside of banking hours, Mr. Siegle explains.

“They only deal with that bank’s product. A broker, however, is an intermediary whose job is to make a match between a lender and a borrower. We represent the individual, not the bank.”

About 30% of mortgages in Canada are done through a broker, according to Perry Quinton, vicepresident, marketing, for Investor Education Fund, a Toronto-based non-profit financial information service.

“The reason more people don’t know about them is because the banks are so visible. It’s easy to gravitate to them when you have your savings accounts, credit cards and investments there already,” Ms. Quinton says.

Going for the comfort factor could cost you however, she adds. “A broker has access to different lenders including banks, and can shop rates and features. A halfper-cent may not sound like much but that could make a difference of about $20,000 for a $250,000 mortgage amortized over 25 years. Any little bit helps.”

Mr. Siegle confirms that shopping around can deliver significant savings.

“Let’s take today’s average posted rate of 5.44%, and you get a point off that at your bank. So you think you just got a really great deal. But the vast majority of rates we deal with as brokers would be another 30 basis points lower -around 4.14%. And if you look at preferred deals that don’t offer features such as prepayment privileges, it can get as low as 3.89%. That’s another 25 basis points below what’s generally available.”

The reason for that is simple, he says. “We offer wholesale rates, banks offer retail.”

For anyone considering a broker, Ms. Quinton advises people to do a bit of groundwork first if they have the time.

“It helps to educate yourself about options and what you can afford. Look at all your living expenses, including student loans and credit card debt. Chances are you are understating those.”

Another thing to look into is the different types of available mortgages and features, including interest rates, payment frequency, amortization, cash-back programs and the ability to make lump sum payments.

“Knowing these things before you go in can save you a lot of money,” she adds.

Any mortgage broker you choose should always meet the right licensing and education requirements, so be sure to check their registration.

If you’re not completely prepared, however, that shouldn’t be a concern when working with a good mortgage broker, Mr. Siegle says.

“After all, mortgages are pretty much all we do. So even if you come in cold, good brokers will walk you through the process and ask all sorts of questions,” Mr. Siegle notes.

“You just need to be prepared to answer them openly and honestly so they can get you the best deal possible.”

The Art of Negociation

General Angela Calla 23 Mar

With a busy spring market, I found this article of interest.

The delicate art of negotiation

When Jody bought his condo, he beat out a competing offer that was $10,000 higher. How? A little strategic psychology and the real estate system!




Jody W  is one happy man. Just before the holidays this renter became the proud owner of his first condo. The amazing thing is that he nabbed it with a bid that was $10,000 less than the nearest competing offer. As a first-time home buyer, Jody chalks his win up to a great real estate agent who really understands the power of negotiation. Turns out there’s an art to buying property as well as a science. And as Jody discovered, using a little psychology when you’re sitting across the table from the seller can pay off with a winning bid that’s thousands less.

Know more than the other sideWhen you’re buying a house, knowledge is power. Ask any successful home buyer and they’ll tell you that the key to a successful negotiation is to walk into the room fully prepared. In particular, you should find out how close the property in question is to public transportation and major roads. Look at the taxes and neighbourhood crime rates. Consider the quality and proximity of schools, community centres and stores. All of these factors can have a big impact on how much a house is worth. ” Location should always be first on the list of determing values” says Boies.

Most importantly, though, get to know the sale price histories of similar homes in the area. That way, if you think the price of the home you want to buy is too high, you could point out, for instance, that an almost identical house down the street just sold for $20,000 less and it has a second bathroom. Use this to negotiate a lower price.

Don’t stop thereRob Boies, the creator of the real estate system says the next step is to keep researching until you find out why a person is selling. He says the easiest way to get this is to casually ask the seller directly during an open house (don’t make it feel like an interrogation). If the seller isn’t accessible, do a little digging. “Ask neighbours or the local homeowner’s association/ strata,” Rob suggests. Explain that you’re interested in buying and you want to get a feel for the area. Once you’ve chatted for a bit, spring the question. “Nine out of 10 times you’ll find out the reason.” As a buyer, always use the services of an agent as the two agents can discuss certain motivating factors that can not be shared when the buyer has no agency and therefor the sellers agent is in a ” Limited Dual Agency”; Limited to the information he can give you regarding his sellers motivation, plus the buyers agent services are free! to you.

Once you have that information, you’ll have a big leg up in the negotiation. You can focus on what’s important to the sellers, and that gets you closer to a deal. If you know that the sellers have already bought a new house—conditional on the sale of the house that you’re looking at—you can push them harder on the price. On the other hand, if they’re just testing the waters, you might not want to haggle too much.

Chattel chatterWhat if you’ve done your research, made your offer, and there’s still a chasm between your offer and what the seller wants? Does that mean a deal can’t be reached? “Absolutely not,” says Boies. “Because in real estate, everything has value—which makes everything negotiable.” As a buyer, you can use personal items as a way to bridge the gap. For instance, if the seller won’t settle for less than $350,000 and you think the home is worth $340,000, then add your own incentive. Agree to the seller’s price, but only if they throw in some furniture, or bar fridge, or patio furniture, As a WillingSeller any item maybe included in the deal .

The key, says Boies, is not to get too attached to individual items, or you could sink the deal. For instance, while negotiating the purchase of a Vancouver home last year, Rob ran into a snag when the buyer and seller began to argue over the possession of a built-in cappuccino maker. “I couldn’t believe a $500 appliance threatened to derail the sale of a $1.5 million home.” The deal didn’t fall through immediately, but Rob is convinced that bad blood from the cappuccino tiff tainted the sale. The buyers eventually walked and the sellers couldn’t sell until months later—for $100,000 less than the original offer.

Focus on the deal, not the dollarOf all the advice on successful negotiating, probably the most important is that you’ve got to draw out the sellers’ motivation so you can make them feel like a winner. That’s what enabled Jody to get his condo, despite his lower bid.

Our agent knew the condo would sell quickly, so rather than faxing in the offer, he showed up in person, plus we utilized the “QuickStike” method which is a tool developed within the system. By doing so, he was able to tease out the motivation behind the sale: the sellers had recently become proud new parents and needed more space. A quick phone call, and half an hour later Jody was sitting at the negotiating table. That’s when our realtor stopped trying to buy the condo—and began trying to sell the motivating factors within the deal.

The strategy worked. The sellers formed an emotional connection with the buyer, and they could picture him enjoying the condo they loved just as much as they had. In other words, both parties walked away feeling good, feeling like a winner. And that’s worth a lot more than you’d think.

I’m never to busy to assist you or those you care about, call me anytime to achieve your real estate goals and dreams; Rob Boies 604 341 3009


Japan-The Financial Impact long and short term to Canada

General Angela Calla 18 Mar

Japanese disaster won’t plunge global economy back into recession: economists

By Sunny Freeman

TORONTO – Recent tragic events in Japan follow a string of global catastrophes that could slow economic recovery in the short term, but should not push either the Canadian or global economies back into recession, according to some of Canada’s top economists.

“Obviously horrible things have happened (in Japan) that will take some of the growth out of the economy for the next two quarters,” said Glen Hodgson, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada.

“Then people need to rebuild infrastructure, rail and housing and that will actually improve growth in the next four to six quarters.”

Hodgson joined two major banks Thursday in projecting that the crisis at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and last week’s earthquake and tsunami will conspire with a number of other global events — including uprisings in the Middle East and Europe’s sovereign debt crisis — to decelerate the global economic recovery.

“They will have a negative impact … (but) we’re certainly not returning to recession in any place,” Hodgson said.

G7 countries, including Canada were set to meet in a teleconference Thursday night to discuss the economic impact of the disasters in Japan.

Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) economists said in a report that they had trimmed their forecast for global growth by a quarter point to 3.75 per cent as a result of recent events.

“Prior to Japan’s earthquake, we had been calling for global GDP growth this year of four per cent,” they wrote.

“Until we see how the (Japanese) nuclear crisis plays out, it’s next to impossible to properly assess the full economic impact, but a rough guess would be that events in Japan could cut this year’s GDP growth by nearly a percentage point.”

As a result, the bank doesn’t expect an increase in the Bank of Canada’s key overnight lending rate until at least this summer.

However, the effect on the Canadian economy will be minimal and short-lived as Canada stands to benefit from higher oil prices and Japan’s rebuilding process, Paul Taylor, chief investment officer at BMO Harris Private Banking, said during a conference call Thursday.

There will be a short-term impact on the financial sector— where Canadian insurer Manulife (TSX:MFC) has taken a beating due to its exposure in Japan — as well as uranium producers, as governments around the world begins to rethink the use of nuclear energy.

However, many Canadian businesses, including lumber producers and engineering and construction firms, will see an increase in business during the rebuilding phase, he added.

“The Canadian economic impact, we expect to be quite limited,” he said, adding that trade between Canada and Japan doesn’t compare with Canada-U.S. trade.

“For us, it’s only the secondary impact of Japan’s effect on U.S. economic activity that were focused on,” he said.

Meanwhile, his colleague, Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at U.S.-based subsidiary Harris Private Bank, said he was knocking down his U.S. growth forecast by a percentage point because of the crisis in Japan.

Japan’s earthquake and nuclear disasters will likely reduce manufacturing output for several months, potentially creating shortages that could disrupt North American producers, such as automakers, that rely on Japan for parts.

General Motors said Thursday that it was suspending production at its Shreveport assembly plant in Louisiana next week due to a parts shortage resulting from the crisis in Japan, but so far its Canadian plants are operating normally, a spokesman said.

CIBC also cut its growth forecast for the U.S. growth by a tenth of a point, to 2.7 per cent, mostly due to the negative impact of oil price hikes and government spending cutbacks.

Among other things, CIBC senior economist Peter Buchanan noted in a report that surging gasoline prices raise questions about whether U.S. consumer spending can continue its increasingly healthy pace.

However, Buchanan believes that oil would have to reach US$160 a barrel to derail the economic recovery, a scenario he does not see playing out. After plunging in recent days, crude jumped $3.44 to settle at US$101.42 a barrel Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

“Oil has risen dramatically before, only to crash back to earth, and there are still good reasons why history may repeat itself,” Buchanan said.

Inventories in industrial countries were adequate when the Middle Eastern political pot began bubbling and OPEC, while it likes firm prices, has no interest in recession-inducing ones that crush demand.

Since Canada is one of the world’s top dozen net exporters of oil and oil products, higher crude prices are a modest plus for the economy in the near term.

But beyond four to five quarters, the drag on the economies of its major trading partners means the bad more than cancels the good, and the level of GDP is actually lower than it would otherwise have been.

While Canada is not immune to issues facing the global economy, the report forecasts real GDP growth of four per cent for the country in the first quarter of 2011 and Buchanan expects the Bank of Canada to hike its trend-setting overnight rate as early as May.

Important Bank Change

General Angela Calla 11 Mar

Important bank announcement coming!

One of the major banks announced that as of March 16th they’re going to make it easier for  people who rely on alternative courses of income to get approved for a mortgage.

This shows us that the banks are feeling more confident in Canadian consumers and seeing that the channels they’re getting business from (ie, mortgage brokers) are doing the due diligence required to ensure these borrowers are of the quality the banks expect.

We expect other banks to follow suit throughout the week.

One thing that will never change is this will be a yo-yo that will continue for decades, but for now it will give the leading lenders a competitive advantage, and maybe some room to promote further change. As always, borrower beware.  

The pendulum has swung to each side over the past three years and keeping on top of it makes all the difference in a borrower’s financial freedom.

As always, if you have any questions, I’m here to help!

Angela Calla, AMP

Dominion Lending Centres-Angela Calla