Janine Thomson

Serving the Westshore with quality, integrity & accuracy.

Christmas is only one month away and Langford lights up Goldstream Ave to celebrate the festive season ahead.

Bring your family down on December 3rd to celebrate the 10th annual Christmas Light Up Celebration at Veterans Memorial Park. They wil be serving free hotdogs and hot chocolate, while entertained by shopping, crafts and music. You might just see St.Nick hanging around to greet all the excited children. See you there!


That same evening, sit back with your hot chocolate to watch the 2016 Truck Light Convoy. This event supports local food banks. Donation drop offs will be announced here, as well as the location map of the Convoy. 



10th Annual Christmas Light Up Celebration Event List




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Here are the Fridays figures posted today for Victoria's real estate market by Royal LePage. 

November 12-18 2016, 170 new listings and 167 new sales for this week. A bit of a slow peek compared to the weeks in the month of October.


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Today I had the privilege of viewing this 2 bdr. 15th floor apartment, with a gorgeous 180 degree view of Oak Bay, Fairfield and the Olympic Mountains. I couldn't help but be awe struck when I walked into the apartment's front doors to see these large window off in a distance and a magnificient view that pulled me in its direction. Manager Susan Greenlaw had the time to show me around this wonderful buidling that sits up hill on a hill 1/2 way up Belmont Ave in Oak Bay. Though it shares its property with a similar building. This by far has the most magnificeint view, that no wonder as Susan would say "rentals in the buidling go fast!" 


If your looking for a safe, quiet neighborhood for rentals in Oakbay, view online "The Belmont" at 1035 Belmont Ave 




Belmont Properties - OakBay


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Attracting LOVE
1) It's important to create the energy of partnership around you. Otherwise you are continually enforcing singularity. Add a second chair to a sitting area, double up on nightstands and surround yourself with pairs of everything.
2) Add Happy Family Photos... display smiling photos of yourself as a couple and your family in the hallways, kitchen or other high-traffic areas. Avoid the bedrooms.
3) Arrange the dining room table so everyone can see each other, and set out enough chairs for everyone even if the family doesn't eat together every night.
4) Oversized master bedrooms need to be cozier in order to have good relationship Feng Shui. Start by closing off any adjoining rooms, including a bathroom, office, patio or gym. If there's no door, install curtains. If you have a sitting area, arrange the chairs toward each other, and downsize with a smaller bed. Go from king to queen or queen to double. When the spaces become larger, people tend to live further apart emotionally.
5) Children can be even more susceptible to their surrounding energies, so it's very important to make sure their beds are placed in the commanding position. They will feel easily startled and vulnerable if their backs are to the door. Do not store or charge electronics near a child's bed.
6) Remove Negative Symbolism. To decrease stress and arguing in your home, check your surroundings. Keep photos and artwork pleasing, inspiring and up-lifting.
7) Focus On One Another. When it comes to the master bedroom, it's not about the view or TV. The bedroom is about passion and rejuvenation. To increase intimacy in your home, install heavy, cozy drapes over large windows, remove the TV and never sleep with a laptop, iPhone or other electronics buzzing near your bed. The bedroom should be low in technology & more relaxing and romantic ambience. Avoid pictures and decor featuring anyone other than the people sleeping there — wedding pictures work, but family photos don't.


Attracting Money
1) Keep the Kitchen Clean. Your kitchen is directly related to your ability to attract money. Keep your pantry and refrigerator organized and full of fresh food you actually use. Keep the stove clean, every burner must work and be used equally. Lastly, remove all clutter from the kitchen table.
2) Decorate in Red, Purple or Green. Color has a powerful impact on mood, and red is considered auspicious and powerful. Purple and green are also key colors for attracting prosperity. Don't paint the room if you don't like the color though. Be mindful of how your space feels! It's not just filling your home with stuff. It's about decorating and enhancing the vibration and power of your own home.
3) Make Your Front Door Inviting. If it's hard to find your front door or it's a confusing way to enter, it will be hard for opportunity to make its way into your life as well. Put in an archway or gate to denote the front door if you need to and make sure the doorbell works. The welcome mat should be bright and fresh. Sweep the steps and sidewalk in front, and add a potted plant to the entryway.
4) Lose Clutter, add Plants and Water. To bring in more prosperity, it's important to create a vibrant, healthy, inspiring and clutter-free home. Clutter jams up good energy and leads to procrastination. Bring in vibrant life forces such as plants and flowers, and don't forget to have fresh air circulating. Fountains are important wealth adjustments in Feng Shui because they stimulate prosperity, energy and also symbolizes money.
5) Bring In New Opportunities. This is my favorite, sometimes it doesn't take money to make money, just a yard sale. This is a zero-cost fix. Take out clutter to increase prosperity; what you don't use, don't love, don't need. Space equals opportunity.
6) Don't Use Water Symbols. Drippy faucets are a sign of money going to waste. Best to not use mirrors and water based artwork about the bed or even at face height. To increase your bank account, fix all fountains & water fixtures and remove all stagnant water from the property.
7) Set up a Sophisticated Office. Take yourself & your business seriously and bring in more opportunity and success. Make sure to have a large desk that is open and accessible. The amount of space in front of you relates to the amount of opportunities available to you!

*reference HGTV.com



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Langford's new YMCA opened up this Spring of 2016 with four stories of fun for the whole family. This 30 million dollar addition to Westhills and Langford’s City Centre Park includes a brand new wave pool, water slides, a lazy river, therapy pools, day care with fitness facilities including:


•8,000 square feet, state of the art fitness centre with strength and cardio equipment
•Leisure pool
•Warm water therapy pool
•Leisure pool with water features, lazy river, water slides and waves
•Whirlpool, steam room and sauna
•Personal Coaching
•Individual and group training programs available
•Unlimited drop-in fitness classes
•Swim lessons for all ages
•Activity Centre: Sports, games and social activities for children
•Playcare: Childminding available while using the facility (some limitations based on membership type)
•Family recreational programs


1319 Westhills Drive
Langford, BC V9B 0S2
T: (250) 386-7511


Hours of Operation:
Monday – Friday 5:30AM – 10:00PM
Saturday 7:00AM – 9:00PM
Sunday 7:00AM – 9:00PM
Statutory Holidays 7:00AM – 9:00PM


Visit here at http://vancouverislandy.com

or City of Langford: http://www.cityoflangford.ca/EN/main/lifestyle/amenities/ymca-ywca.html



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The government of British Columbia introduced the PROPERTY TRANSER TAX (PTT) in 1987. Purchasers had to pay 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the balance of the "fair market value" of any property (not necessarily the purchase price). At the same time, the government introduced the First Time Home Buyers Program, which eliminated or reduced the amount of the PTT a qualified purchaser would pay on the purchase of his/her first home.


To qualify the purchaser must 1) be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident at the time the property is registered; 2) have lived in BC for 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the date the property is registered; 3) have never owned an interest in principal residence anywhere in the world; 4) have never received a first time home buyers exemption or refund. 


Under the FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS PROGRAM the property must be located in BC, have a fair market value of less than $475,000; and be 0.5 hectares or less. A purchaser may qualify for a partial exemption if the property is less than $500,000.


In February 2016, the BC government introduced the NEWLY BUILT HOME EXEMPTION. Under this program, the PTT is eliminated or reduced on the purchase of a newly built home less than $750,000.


The BC government also restructured the PTT in February of this year to as follows: 1% on the first $200,000, 2% on the amount between $200,000 & $2 million and 3% on the amount over $2 million of the fair market value. (The property Purchase Tax is complex and purchasers are well advised to consult their lawyer on this matter)


As of August 2 2016, the BC government sprung up an additional 15-per-cent land transfer tax on foreigners and non-residents who purchase residential property in Metro Vancouver, including Tsawwassen First Nation lands. Provincial Finance Minister Mike de Jong unveiled the tax as part of legislation aimed at addressing low vacancy rates and high real estate prices in southern B.C. In a recent poll, 9 out of 10 Vancouver residents supported this change.







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1) “How can I compare my monthly rental payments to mortgage payments?”

Of course, the amount of your mortgage payments will depend on the price of the home you buy, the size of your down payment, prevailing mortgage rates and the term and amortization you choose. But it’s actually quite easy to estimate typical payments using the mortgage calculators available on our website: go to www.rbcroyalbank.com/rentorbuy.

2) “How do I know how big a mortgage I will qualify for?”
A pre-approved mortgage is a great way to know how much you can borrow for your home. This, in turn, helps you set a price that’s realistic for your financial situation. It’s important to note that having your mortgage pre-approved doesn’t obligate you to buy a home: it’s simply a way to know how much your mortgage lender will approve you for.

3) “I want to become a homeowner as quickly as possible but I haven’t saved a large down payment. Any suggestions?”
You’ll be glad to know there are different options available, depending on how much of a down payment you can afford. A low down payment mortgage is required when your down payment is less than 20%. You can purchase a home with as little as 5% down. All low down payment mortgages require mortgage default insurance. Mortgage default insurance premiums can either be paid up front or added to the amount you borrow.
With the federal government’s Home Buyers’ Plan, you can use up to $25,000 in RRSP savings ($50,000 for a couple) to help pay for your down payment on your first home. You then have 15 years to repay your RRSP.

4) “Where can I find up-to-date information on home prices and the real estate market in my area?”
- The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) offers an easy
way to browse through home listings in every part of Canada. Easy links let you look at the housing market in specific cities by neighbourhood, price range, type of home and other parameters. It’s a great way to get a sense for the types of homes available in your community and their features and price ranges. Visit www.mls.ca.
- The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) website helps you look at average home prices in communities across Canada and locate a realtor in your area. The site also includes useful home-buying tips and a glossary of common real estate terms. Go to www.crea.ca.
- The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) provides a content-rich website with detailed, step-by-step information on buying, selling and renovating a home, as well as up-to-the-minute news of interest to homebuyers and sellers. Visit www.cmhc.ca and click on “Buying or Renting a Home”.

RBC Royal Bank® provides detailed information on mortgage options and first-time home buying at www.rbcroyalbank.com/products/mortgages/first_time_home_buyers.

Personal Message from TONY & JANINE:


Teaming up with Tony Preziuso & Royal Bank has been a rewarding experience by helping our clients in the buying process. Making things easier where Tony and I provide the quality service, the expert advise and the team effort to seal the deal on property/investment sales at ease. 


We know that providing the best service to your clients is your top priority. Now, when you refer your clients to me, they can get the same mortgage pricing as an RBC employee to help them save on interest. 

For a limited time your client can get the same great rate RBC employees get on 4 and 5 year fixed rate mortgages, along with:
- Flexible payment options – to help pay down your mortgage faster
- Firm, fast approvals – so there are no surprises on closing day
- Access to expert mortgage advice

Mortgage Specialist 
RBC Royal Bank 

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source: http://www.gmregroup.com/agent

1. Create an outdoor entertaining space. Try to decorate with weather-resistant materials like vinyl and wicker that will stand up to the elements. Apply a outdoor television, surround audio system, bar and lighting to add a splash of fun to your summer.
2. Add some natural light to the hallways, bathroom, kitchen or even your living room to give that feel of wide open spaces. Lighting in any home adds value.
3. Add some exterior finishes to the house from outside. Paint your door a different bright summer colour. Add some shutters or planter boxes to the windows. Add outdoor solo panel lights along your walkway to your front door. 
4. After a hard winter, freshen up the paint or wood stain on your fence, posts, beams, sundeck, garage door and siding. 
5. Replace your sliding deck doors with French doors. 
6. Add some sheers to your windows just enough for light to come through.
7. Add some fabulous outdoor lighting, whether it’s glass hurricane pendants hanging from the covered porch, tiki torches extending from the garden or dimly lit Chinese lanterns strung through the branches of a tree. Adding an element of summer romance to the backyard makes your home feel like your in vacation mode.
8. Add a parade of summer cool coloured umbrellas to your patio. 
9. Add a gas fire pit to your outdoor entertainment area. 
10. Spice up the bar area with some cool looking summer decanters, glasses, and wine bottles.
11. Add some fresh cut flowers to any room.
12. Freshen up the linens with neutral colors for both your bathroom and bedrooms. Add a splash of Rose Qaurtz and/or Serenity Blue (summer colors 2016) as an added accessory.
13. Touch up your garden in the front with rich green and flowering year round perennials and add a dogwood tree (British Columbia's provincial flower) to the yard.
14. Put up a cast iron bar around the deck and hang some loose sheer curtains. Add in some art and attractive pillows, throws, tealights, and arrangements to give a romantic ambience to your evenings. 
15. Make up some yummy cocktails, and invite some of your favourite people to join in on some summer fun! Here are two recipes to try!

16 ounces limoncello (lemon-flavored liqueur)
12 ounces gin
8 ounces fresh lemon juice
24 paper–thin lemon slices
16 ounces chilled club soda
8 mint sprigs

In a pitcher, combine the limoncello, gin and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours. Press 3 thin lemon slices against the inside of each of 8 collins glasses. Add ice to the glasses. Stir the limoncello mixture and pour it into the glasses. Stir 2 ounces of club soda into each drink and garnish with a mint sprig.

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
8 cups diced seedless watermelon (1 pound)
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1 3/4 cups blueberries
3/4 cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves, plus 8 sprigs for garnish
1 1/4 cups silver tequila

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a simmer with the sugar and stir over moderate heat until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute; let the sugar syrup cool.
In a blender, puree the watermelon until smooth. Set a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and strain the watermelon juice, pressing gently on the solids to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the pulp.
In a large pitcher, combine the sugar syrup with the lime juice, blueberries and mint leaves. Using a wooden spoon, lightly muddle the blueberries and mint. Add the watermelon juice and tequila. Refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.
Pour the cocktail into tall ice-filled glasses. Garnish with the mint sprigs and serve.

For non-alchol drinks, just skip the alcohol and add the goodness!

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Owning income producing properties (residential rentals, apartment buildings, mobile home parks, vacation rentals, summer homes) is the only true way to build wealth in real estate.  The possibilities are very real for positive cash flow, appreciation and several tax benefits which all play a strong role in increasing your net worth… and when done right your tenants, through the rents they pay, are making it all happen for you. 

Owning income producing properties allows you to build a passive income stream where if done right, your involvement can be less and less and the monthly income can be ever increasing.  

Millionaires weren't created over night but they were created over alot of real estate investments

So… what makes owning income producing properties so attractive and what does it take to get into this very lucrative deal? 

It’s positive cash-flow.  
This is what every investor seeks when they buy income producing properties.  Positive cash-flow is the amount of revenue that remains every month after operating expenses (management fee, maintenance, vacancies, taxes, insurance, etc.) plus the interest or mortgage payment are paid for that month.  For most investors, the target monthly cash-flow number is between $100 and $200 per month per unit.  In some areas of the country that is very easy to do, and in others it is almost impossible.

Benefits include:
1.  Refinancing a property, pulling cash out and not triggering a taxable situation. While I realize that this approach is very difficult to accomplish in today’s credit markets, it is still possible.
2.  A loan on the property that is amortized (meaning that both interest and principle are paid down with each payment) and with each payment the principle balance is decreased.  And guess who pays the mortgage for you every month?  Your tenants!
3. On average, appreciation can increase the value of your property by 3% to 8% in any given year.  At this time with changes to our market here in Victoria, appreciation is continuing and happening for those property owners.
4.  To sell an income producing property and roll the capital gains from that property into another property without triggering another taxation.  And this method of deferring taxes can continue for as long as you desire. 
5. In today's market, rental suites are hard to find. With extremely low rental vacancies, there is a strong possibility for long term income. Besides, with the ever so increasing cost of homes these days, families are choosing to rent!

As a new investor what does it take to become a successful income producing property owner?

Finding the deal… 

Getting it closed… By getting the right advice and financing!

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For years, the building industry has been constructing houses In North America with Polybutylene piping and fittings for plumbing. Between the years of 1978 to 1995, Polybutylene or Poly B was the major source of plastic material shaped fittings and pipes described as light grey in color. More than 700,000 homes in Canada have this as their major plumbing source. Recent claims have been coming out of the wordwork in relation to the deterioration and stability of Poly B. When exposed to extreme heat, such as water or sunlight and for extended amounts of time, the Poly B has been known to deteriorate, by cracking and then substantially breaking. High levels of chlorine and water pressure are also claimed to be a factor in its wear and tear. 


 Poly-B piping is no longer listed as an acceptable plumbing piping material in the current National Plumbing Code of Canada as of 2005. 


Over the recent years, Insurance companies have raised concerns about the insurable liabilities and risk associated with Poly B. Lawsuits have been taking place over North America in regards to Poly B claims. It is important to know now, that for some owners, insurance is not possible, or if any, premiums maybe significantly higher than average. In some cases, renewal of an owner's insurance has been denied. 


To further this concern, Poly B that breaks and causes water damage, insurers will not cover or insure the damage directly because of its attribution to Poly B. If Poly B becomes more of an issue in the next few years, most insurance companies will be opting out of insuring anything related to Poly B. For now, as acceptable coverage, insurance companies want all Poly B to be encased with copper fittings or collars on pipes and joints. 


When purchasing your next home, especially a house built between the years 1978-1995, it a good suggestion to have an inspection for Poly B piping. As your realtor, it is important that we enlist such advice and input clauses as subjects to in your offers, realtive to this discovery. Ultimately, you will not be a happy purchaser, if this part is off set or ignored and as time goes on, this could be a costly procedure to replace and manage. Significant costs can rise as high as $15,000 to replace Poly B, all depending on the size of the home.


To conclude, now is the time to check your home insurance if you know Poly B is going to be the source of your troubles. Check this article on 8 Ways to make the best of Poly-B. Better to crack down on Poly B before its too late!


Contact Janine Thomson 250-812-6920 for further information and we can recommend the right people to help you!



Sources of information & credits:


FYI Home Inspections 

Poly B - Know the Facts

Fleetwood Buidling Inspections

Intact Insurance


Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and is not a resolution or indication of Poly B in your home. 

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Purchasing a home can be both exciting and frightening!! It is probably one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make. You’ll not only have to live with your decision, but also live in it, so you don’t want to make any costly mistakes. Before you start looking for your “dream” home, organize yourself by considering a few basic questions:

What are my housing needs? 
What are the choices? 
What can I afford to spend?

Time spent answering these questions in advance may save you from frustration and disappointment during your search.


(image source expertbeacon.com)


Types of Housing Structures

To meet the many kinds of needs that people have, a number of different housing styles and types of ownership have developed over the years. Your individual requirements and your income level will govern the housing type which is most suitable for you at the present time.

Single Family, Detached Home – A detached home is one which has no common walls with any other residential structure, resting on its own land with front, rear, and side yards. It may be any size from a small, one-storey bungalow to a huge mansion.

Semi-Detached Home – A semi-detached home is two single family dwellings joined together by a common middle wall. It is sometimes called a “side-by-side” duplex.

Duplex – A duplex is two separate dwellings which are attached either side-by-side (a semi-detached home) or one unit above the other. It is important to note that this type of structure may be a strata titled property and therefore subject to the Strata Property Act. 

Townhouse – In British Columbia, the term “townhouse” is usually used to describe one of a group of dwellings (most often two-storey) joined together by common walls, each with its own entrance from the outside.

Apartment – An apartment is one of several dwellings (most often single storey dwellings built one above the other) joined together by common walls, each having its entrance from a common hall. The overall building containing the apartments may be from three to 33 or more storeys.

Mobile or Manufactured Home – A manufactured home is a factory-built residential structure designed to be moved from one place to another, although wheels are not necessary. It is often placed on a rented space (called a “pad”) in a manufactured home park.


Types of Housing Ownership

While there are a variety of housing ownership interests, the most common include the following:

Freehold – A freehold interest (also known as a fee simple) is the more precise term for what we ordinarily refer to as “ownership” of a home. The owner of the freehold interest has full use and control of the land and the buildings on it, subject to any rights of the Crown, local land-use bylaws, and any other restrictions in place at the time of purchase.

Strata Title – The strata title form of ownership is designed to provide exclusive use and ownership of a specific housing unit (the strata lot) which is contained in a larger property (the strata project), plus shared use and ownership of the common areas such as halls, grounds, garages, elevators, etc. This type of ownership is used for duplexes, apartment blocks, townhouse complexes, warehouses, and many other types of buildings. In additiion, some single family home developments may be part of a bare-land strata development. Because ownership of the common space is shared, the owners also share financial responsibility for its maintenance.

Leasehold – In some cases, you might purchase the right to use a residential property for a long, but limited, period of time. The owner of this right of use has a type of ownership called a leasehold interest. This type of ownership is used most often for townhouses or apartments built on city-owned land. It is also used occasionally for single detached homes on farm land, on First Nation reserves, and for apartments where the owner of the freehold interest of an entire apartment block sells leasehold interests in individual apartment units to other “owners.” Leasehold interests are frequently set for periods of 99 years, but regardless of the length of the original term, you will only be able to purchase the remaining portion. Of course, the shorter the remaining portion, the less you, or the person who eventually purchases from you, will be willing to pay for the leasehold interest.

Cooperative – In the cooperative form of ownership, each owner owns a share in a company or cooperative association which, in turn, owns a property containing a number of housing units. Each shareholder is assigned one particular unit in which to reside.


Once you consider the types of choices in properties or homes you are desiring, then you can move onto Step 2: What Can you Afford? 




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What Can You Afford?

Before you start looking for a new home, it is important that you become aware of how much you can afford to pay. This knowledge will allow you to spend your valuable time looking productively at homes which are within your predetermined price range. You can calculate a relatively accurate figure for yourself if you assemble the following information:

$ _____ The cash you have saved to be used for this home purchase is called the down-payment.
$ _____ Plus: The amount of borrowed money you are able to arrange.
$ _____ Less: Closing costs and other “last minute” costs associate with the real estate purchase.
$ _____ Equals: Maximum Price


The Down-payment

Lending institutions will usually require you to make a down-payment of at least 5% to 10% of the purchase price of the home. Lending institution policies may vary from time to time. However, as a general rule, you should make your cash down-payment as large as possible. Your deposit for the real estate transaction may form part of your down-payment.


The Borrowed Money

Almost everyone who purchases a home borrows some of the money needed to pay for it. The easiest way to determine how much money you will be able to borrow as a mortgage loan is to consult with one or more lending institutions. These lenders will apply standard tests, based on your family’s current income and debts, in order to decide the amount of money they will lend to you. They will ask for information about your finances and make a thorough credit check, in order to be sure you are able to repay a loan.


What is a Mortgage?

Obtaining a loan to finance the purchase of your new home will probably require you to sign a document called a mortgage. This document will set out the terms and conditions for the loan and its repayment. If you fail to meet your debt obligations, the lender may have the right to claim your home to pay off what you still owe.


What Types of Mortgage Loans Are There?

All mortgage loans are of two basic types: 
A conventional mortgage loan allows borrowing up to 75% of the purchase price or the appraised value of the home, whichever is less. A high-ratio mortgage loan allows borrowing more than 75% of the purchase price or the appraised value of the home, whichever is less. But the borrower must pay a mortgage default insurance premium to protect the lender if payments are not made. Check with your lender to find out the amount of the insurance premium.


What is an Amortization Period?

Typically, the size of a mortgage loan payment is calculated as if the loan payments were going to be paid over 20 or 25 years. This is called the amortization period. Each payment will repay the interest due up to the payment date along with some of the principal owed. The longer the amortization period you choose, the lower the regular payment will be. Keep in mind that the faster you repay any money borrowed by choosing a shorter amortization period, the more you reduce the total cost of borrowing.


What is a Term?

Most mortgage loan contracts only permit the regular payments to continue for a specified term which is shorter than the amortization period. The term can be as short as six months or it can be five years or more.

At the end of the term, you are required to repay the full unpaid balance. If you don’t have the cash required to pay the balance, it may be necessary to refinance the loan.

Deciding on the length of term you want will depend partly on whether you think interest rates will go up or down. Keep in mind that the longer the term you choose, the longer your monthly payment remains stable. 
CAUTION: The lender is not obligated to renew your mortgage loan at the end of the term.


How Much Can You Afford to Pay in Mortgage Payments?

Based on Your Income: 

A general guideline is to allow no more than 30% of your gross monthly income (before deductions) to make your monthly housing payments. This test of your ability to repay a mortgage loan is generally referred to as the Gross Debt Service Ratio.

Complete the following calculation to determine the approximate amount you may be able to afford for the mortgage payment, the property taxes and, where applicable, 50% of the strata maintenance fees. Some lenders will require that this total maximum monthly payment also covers heating costs.

  • Your gross monthly income $___
  • Co-signor’s gross monthly income (if applicable) $_____
  • Other income (monthly) $______
  • Total monthly income $______
  • Multiply the Total line above by 30% to calculate your: Total monthly maximum housing payment $______

Based on your Other Financial Obligations: 
If you have other monthly financial obligations, such as car or credit card payments, the lending institution will also apply the Total Debt Service Ratio test to determine the maximum mortgage loan for which you can qualify.

$ ____ Your monthly housing payment
$ ____ Your calculated monthly debt payments (car, credit card, etc.)
$ ____ Total monthly payment

A general guideline should be that the total of your monthly housing payment added to your other monthly debt payments should not exceed 40% of your monthly gross income.

The Gross Debt Service Ratio and the Total Debt Service Ratio tests protect both you and the lender by ensuring that you do not take on more debt that you can reasonably afford to repay.

Many lending institutions will prequalify you for a specific size and type of mortgage loan before you begin searching for your new home. Taking the time to apply for a pre-approved mortgage will give you the security of knowing how much you can afford to spend.

Before concluding the loan agreement, most lending institutions will require an appraisal of your selected home. The appraised value is a professional opinion of the value of the home and may differ from the purchase price you are willing to pay. The appraised value may affect the approved value of the loan.


The Closing Costs

It’s easy to count your available cash, but remember that all of these cash savings cannot be used as your down-payment. There are last-minute costs, such as taxes, legal fees, appraisal fees, moving expenses, and home insurance to pay before you are finally in your new home. The time to budget for those “end” expenses is now. You must be prepared to pay most, and perhaps all, of the following closing costs.

Property Transfer Tax – The British Columbia Provincial Government imposes a property transfer tax, which must be paid before any home can be legally transferred to a new owner. Some buyers may be exempt from this tax. For further information, please view the Property Transfer Tax office website at www.sbr.gov.bc.ca/business/Property_Taxes/Property_Transfer_Tax/ptt.htm.

Goods & Services Tax – If you purchase a newly constructed home, you may be subject to GST on the purchase price. There may be some rebates available depending on the value of the home. For further information, contact the Canada Revenue Agency at www.cra-arc.gc.ca.

Property Tax – If the current owners have already paid the full year’s property taxes to the municipality, you will have to reimburse them for your share of the year’s taxes.

Appraisal Fee – When the lending institution requires an appraisal of the home before approving your loan, it may be your responsibility to pay the appraiser’s fee.

Survey Fee – The lending institution may also require that a survey certificate be presented to them. The purpose of the survey is to formally establish the boundaries of the property and to ensure that all buildings are within those boundaries. 
Note: Lending institutions may ask for either a building location survey, which establishes where a building is located on a property, or a monumental survey, which establishes the actual boundaries of a property. If the current owner cannot provide a recent survey certificate, it will be your responsibility to pay the surveyor’s fee.

Mortgage Application Fee – Lending institutions may charge a mortgage application fee. This application fee may vary between lending institutions. 

Don’t forget about last minute costs 

Mortgage Default Insurance – This type of insurance is required on most mortgage loans in excess of 75% of the appraised home value. Its purpose is to ensure that the lender will not lose any money if you cannot make your mortgage payments and the value of your home is not sufficient to repay your mortgage debt. The insurance premium is paid to the lender and, in most cases, is added to the loan amount and paid for over the term of the

Life & Disability Mortgage Insurance – At your option, you may purchase insurance which will ensure that your outstanding mortgage balance is paid if you die or become disabled.

Fire & Liability Insurance – The mortgage lender will insist that you purchase an insurance policy which guarantees that, in the event of fire, the lender will receive the balance owing on the mortgage loan before you receive any insurance proceeds.

Legal Fees – The transfer of home ownership from the seller to the buyer must be recorded in the Land Title and Survey Authority Office in order to protect the new owner’s interests.

You will probably want to engage a lawyer or notary public to act on your behalf during the completion of your purchase. The lawyer or notary public will charge a fee for this service, plus disbursements, including the Land Title Registration fee. If you are financing your purchase with a new mortgage loan, there will be a further fee and disbursements to prepare and register the mortgage documents.

Other last-minute costs you shouldn’t forget to set some money aside for:

  • home inspection fees
  • moving expenses
  • deposits required by utility companies
  • household goods:
    • kitchen appliances,
    • garden equipment,
    • garbage cans, tools, window coverings, etc.
  • redecorating or renovations


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Where Should You Purchase?

Before you begin looking for your new home, it is important that you consider the needs of all the people it must shelter and what effect their daily activities will have on your desire for a certain size or location, both now and in the future. Thinking about some of the following factors will help you determine where and what you should purchase.


  • Rural? Small town? Suburban? City?
  • What facilities are available: shopping centres? places of worship? recreational facilities? hospitals? schools?
  • Are property taxes comparable to those in other communities?
  • Are there any future developments planned which you may not like?
  • Are the sewage and water systems adequate?
  • What is the availability and cost of utilities: electricity? gas? water?
  • What public services are provided: police? fire protection? ambulance? garbage collection? mail delivery? snow removal?


  • Is there nearby public transportation available?
  • Do you mind a long commute to work or to visit friends?
  • Can you afford to drive to and park at your workplace?
  • Will another car be needed for your partner to drive to work, to shop, or take children to school or other activities?
  • Are major roads easily accessible?


  • Is public and private property maintained to your satisfaction?
  • What is the composition of families living nearby: quiet, mature people? teenagers? potential playmates for children?
  • Are their incomes and lifestyles compatible with yours?
  • Have home values risen, fallen, or remained stable in the recent past?
  • Are there any known projects on the horizon which could substantially change the quality of the lifestyle or the home prices in the area? Do you feel comfortable with the current zoning regulations? Will they protect home values yet still allow you to use a dwelling in the way you envision: outdoor basketball hoops and barbecues? storing your boat? a home-based business? keeping chickens/rabbits/horses? cutting trees? high fences? a basement suite? etc. When you walk up and down the streets of the neighbourhood, can you picture yourself living there for several years into the future? Do you understand the effect of the registered bylaws of a strata corporation? For example, do the bylaws restrict your right to rent the property or prohibit pets? Could the bylaws affect your quality of lifestyle and/or impact or protect the property’s value in the future?


  • Are you interested in brand new only? an historic, character home? an already renovated resale? a solid, older home that just needs redecorating? or can you purchase a “fixerupper” and do major renovations yourself?
  • What combination of space do you require? Think not only about bedrooms, bathrooms and garages, but also about areas for hobby activities and children’s play; and storage for clothes, skis, bicycles, wind surfers, tools, garden equipment, etc.
  • Is a large, well-equipped kitchen important to you? How about a fireplace? A large entrance hall? A sun deck? A pool?
  • Would you prefer a small lawn and low-maintenance garden, or do you enjoy cutting grass and making things grow?
  • Do you need a dwelling with room to eventually accommodate more children? Elderly parents? Inlaws? Do you require wheelchair accessibility either for you or your visitors?
  • Are there any restrictions which could prohibit pets or rentals?


  • What schooling is available: primary? high school? adult evening programs? college?
  • How close are the schools and how do the students get there?
  • Are the schools crowded?
  • Is the sports program satisfactory?
  • Do the students have a high achievement record?
  • If your family has special educational needs, are these available?
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The Big Search

Now it’s time to begin your informed search for that “right” home. You have gathered all the information you need to make a rational decision rather than an emotional one, but it may not be easy! You, like everyone else, will probably want what you can’t afford. Try not to become discouraged. Every homeowner started somewhere and it is most likely that there is a place for you!


What Should You Look For?

After you have found a home, don’t be shy! You are about to invest a lot of money and you should investigate each home thoroughly. Pay particular attention to the following:


  • What size and shape is the lot? Is it fully serviced with sewage, water, gas, and electrical lines?
  • How many square feet of living space is there? How many rooms?
  • Condition and age of the roof: Are there any leaks or recent repairs? If only part of the roof was repaired, will the rest cause trouble?
  • Are there proper roof gutters and adequate downspouts which are properly connected to storm drains?
  • Are the interior walls and ceilings solid? drywall or plaster? Is there any evidence of leaks or cracks?
  • Are floors firm and level? What about the condition of the floor boards? and supports? Does the ceiling sag?
  • Is there evidence of termites or dry rot?
  • What types of floors are beneath the carpeting?
  • Are stairs and door frames level and well joined? Is the natural lighting to your liking?
  • Which way does the front face—north, south, east or west?
  • Are the room sizes adequate for your family’s needs? Is the layout compatible with your habits?
  • Is the kitchen suitable? Are there enough outlets and space for appliances? What about cabinets?
  • Are storage areas and closet space adequate?
  • Does it look like renovation work has been done? If so, are there copies of building, electrical and gas permits for this work? Plumbing work is covered by a building permit; however gas and electric work require separate permits.
    • What is the condition of the electrical wiring? Are there cables visible in the basement or close to the electrical panel that are not fastened at regular intervals to the floor joists or walls? If so, that may be an indication that work was done on the electrical system without a permit.
    • Is there a hot tub or swimming pool installed? If so, check for evidence that there are electrical permits for these installations—it is very important for you and your family’s safety that proper grounding of the electric systems for these devices is in place.
    • Has a gas fireplace insert been added at some stage? Is there a gas permit for this installation? Proper clearances from combustibles for these installations are critical and evidence that a permit was taken out for this work is confirmation that the work was done by a licensed contractor and/or inspected by a qualified person.
  • What about satisfactory ventilating equipment? Are there exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms?
  • What type of heating system is it (forced air, gravity, etc.)? What kind of fuel is used? Is there a heat pump?
  • Is there sufficient electrical wiring? Is there enough power for your electrical equipment? Are there adequate outlets in the home? Has the fuse box been updated?
  • Can the wall space be utilized to suit your needs? Check the locations of doors and windows.
  • Drainage—is the home well drained and has landscaping been done to prevent erosion?
  • What is the condition of the basement and foundation? You should check the walls and floors. Is the floor dry?
  • Are there hookups for a washer and dryer?
  • What about the attic or crawl space? Is there evidence of leaks? Dry rot? Is there proper ventilation and insulation? Does the insulation meet current specifications?
  • Are there severe cracks in or excessive or uneven settlement of the foundation?
  • How large is the garage? Is the driveway adequate? Is there cracking or lifting and is drainage satisfactory?
  • What is the condition of caulking on windows and doors? What kind of storm windows are there and what condition are they in? Do windows and doors open and close easily?

Each home is unique. Keep some notes to enable you to remember the details later!


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Buyer Beware!

If you think you have found the right home, but you have some concerns about its structural soundness, now is the time to call in an expert. Consider having the home inspected by a building inspection service which will prepare a written report. Your purchase is a big investment, so think of the fee for this service as an insurance premium.

Be aware that home inspections are primarily visual inspections and they may not reveal problems with electrical or gas systems. If there is evidence that there are some issues with the electrical or gas systems and/or work has been done without appropriate permits, you should consider having people with qualifications in those areas inspect those systems.

Stigmatized or Psychologically Impacted Properties 
Sometimes when dealing in real estate, the onus will be on you, the buyer, to ask questions regarding issues of specific importance to you and your family, rather than relying on a real estate licensee to try to anticipate all of your needs.

If, as a potential buyer, you are concerned about the less obvious structural and mechanical aspects of a property, you can have a property inspection done. However, consumers may have other areas of concern that would cause them to avoid a property. Certain events may cause a property to be described as a “stigmatized property” or a “psychologically impacted property”. These terms are sometimes applied to a property that has had some circumstance occur in or near it, but which does not specifically affect the appearance or function of the property itself.

Examples of these in a residential context might include:

  • a sexual offender is reported to live in the neighbourhood;
  • a former resident was suspected of being an organized crime
  • gang member;
  • a death occurred in the property;
  • the property was robbed or vandalized; and
  • there are reports that the property is haunted.

British Columbia law does not define stigmatized properties. It also does not require sellers or licensees who represent them to disclose circumstances which some may be considered to be stigmas. Buyers are advised to carefully consider the areas of concern they have, discuss them with their licensee, and ensure the necessary inquiries are made to avoid purchasing a property they will not feel comfortable living in.


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What Other Questions Should You Ask?

Is a Property Disclosure Statement available? 

In British Columbia, sellers may have completed a Property Disclosure Statement. This statement provides information about the state of the home to potential buyers.

What is the Zoning on this Home? 

The zoning on a home is established by the local government. Zoning sets the type of buildings which may be built on any particular piece of property and how those buildings may be used: single-family residential, duplexes, multi-family residential, commercial, or industrial. You may also wish to ask about the zoning on the surrounding properties to determine if, for instance, a factory or a park could suddenly appear nearby.

Is a Land Title Search Available? 

A Land Title Search will allow you to see who is registered as the current owner of the home and if there are any registered mortgages, easements, restrictive covenants, rights of way, etc. which may affect the use or value of the home.

Are There any Restrictive Covenants? 

A restrictive covenant places a specific limitation on the owner’s use or occupancy of the property. Such things as a prohibited type of exterior finish, the minimum size of the structure, or the maximum height of the structure are only a few examples of the type of restrictive covenants you may encounter. The act of purchasing a property which has a restrictive covenant compels you to abide by it.

Are There any Easements?

An easement is a right or privilege one party has to use the land of another for a special purpose. Examples are: easements given to telephone and electric companies to erect poles and run lines over private property, easements given to people to drive or walk across someone else’s land, and easements given to gas and water companies to run pipelines to serve their customers.

How Much are the Property Taxes? 

As stated earlier, the amount of property taxes payable will figure in the calculation of how much money you can borrow to finance your purchase.

Is the Structure Covered by any Warranty? 

Homes built by a licensed residential builder under a building permit applied for on or after July 1, 1999, or where construction began on or after July 1, 1999 in areas where no building permit is required, are subject to the mandatory third-party warranty insurance provisions of the Homeowner Protection Act, unless there is an applicable exemption. The licensee with whom you are working can assist with acquiring warranty information. The Homeowner Protection Office Branch of BC Housing (HPO) can assist with questions regarding warranty issues. The HPO can be reached through their toll-free information line at 1-800-407-7757 or you can refer to their web site at www.hpo.bc.ca

Fixtures vs. Chattels 

Things contained in a building or on the land are classified as either fixtures or chattels. The difference between a fixture and a chattel is very important to you because fixtures stay with the home when it is sold, but chattels depart with the old owner. If you see an attractive fireplace insert, a “murphy bed” in the spare bedroom closet, a vacuum canister in the utility, or custom window blinds which you think should stay, but are not certain if the seller agrees, ask if it is a fixture.

Are there permits in place? 

Are there permits in place for building and/or renovation work and for the electrical and gas systems including original and alterations/additions? For information on what type of work in a home requires gas and electric permits, please contact the BC Safety Authority at 1-866-566-7233 or visit www.safetyauthority.ca.

What About Strata Properties and Cooperatives? 

If you are contemplating the purchase of a home which involves the strata or cooperative type of ownership, there are some additional points to consider:

  • What are the monthly charges for common area maintenance (strata fees)? What services or utilities are included?
  • Does the building have a good reputation for honesty and successful operations? Are units not controlled by the developer being successfully resold?
  • Who controls the recreational facilities? Will you be required to pay extra fees for using any of the facilities or amenities? If it is a new development, is there a certain date when your unit will be ready for occupancy? Will the swimming pool and recreation facilities be completed by that date?
  • How is the property being managed? Is the property being managed by a company licensed by the Real Estate Council to provide strata management services or is it being “self managed” whereby the management is the responsibility of the owners collectively?
  • How much money is in the contingency reserve fund and what portion of the strata fee is being contributed monthly to this fund? What capital expenditures (common expenses that usually occur less than once per year or do not usually occur) is this fund being maintained for (e.g. roof replacement, water piping replacement, interior decorating upgrades, etc.)?
  • Are owners permitted to rent their units to tenants? How many rental units will be allowed in the project?
  • Are pets allowed in the building? Are there any other restrictions on use?
  • Have any special assessments been agreed upon or have any structural problems been noted which may lead to a special assessment in the future?
  • Has the building envelope been renovated in the past? Since October 1, 2000, all contractors who engage in, arrange for, or manage building envelope renovations in British Columbia must be licensed as a building envelope renovator with the Homeowner Protection Office and must provide applicable third-party home warranty insurance on applicable building envelope renovations.
  • What about parking stalls and storage lockers? There are two main designations of property in strata developments which can be found on a strata plan—those being property designated as either a strata lot or common property (CP). Common property can then be further designated as limited common property (LCP) for the exclusive use of one or more strata lots. The strata plan usually contains one or more of the following arrangements for parking stalls and storage lockers.
    • the parking stall or storage locker is a separate strata lot. Although rare, parking stalls and storage lockers can exist as a separate strata lot with their own strata lot number. This designation can be identified by looking at the strata plan.
    • the parking stall or storage locker is part of a strata lot unit. Parking stalls and storage lockers that are part of the strata lot will share the same strata lot number as the unit (the main strata lot) which uses the stall or locker. This designation allows the buyer to have automatic use of the stall or locker.
    • the parking stall or storage locker is part of the common property. If the parking stall or storage locker is part of the common property, the strata corporation has ultimate control over the use of those areas, except in cases where there is a developer’s lease. Common property is owned by all owners as tenants in common. The strata council has the authority under the Strata Property Act to permit an owner to exclusively use common property.

If the parking stalls or storage lockers are designated common property, owners are entitled to use a particular area as a result of the strata council’s grant of exclusive use to that owner. This designation is handled by way of a short-term exclusive use agreement whereby the strata council allows the owner to exclusively use a particular parking stall or storage locker for a limited time period of one year. Although the strata council can renew the arrangement, it can also choose not to renew.

In some strata developments, the developer has entered into a lease of the common property parking stalls and storage lockers to itself or to a company related to the developer. After leasing the common property, the developer then enters into agreements with buyers in which the developer subleases one or more parking stalls or storage lockers to each buyer. Often, the developer will assign one parking stall or storage locker to a buyer. These leases are seldom registered on title, which can make discovering them a challenge.

    • the parking stall or storage locker is limited common property. Limited common property (LCP) is common property for the exclusive use of the owner of a particular strata lot. If the property is designated LCP, although it continues to be owned by all owners within the strata corporation as tenants in common, it may be used exclusively by the owner whose strata lot is identified on the strata plan as being entitled to use the LCP.

What information should you obtain about the building? Ask to see the registered bylaws, current rules, annual operating fund budget, Information Certificate (Form B prescribed under the Strata Property Act) and at least the last two-years’ minutes of all meetings (including strata council meetings, annual or special general meetings and meetings of the executive (or of the members) of any section in the strata corporation to which the strata lot belongs). You should also ask to see any applicable warranty information, envelope inspection reports or remediation reports, the registered strata plan and any amendments or resolutions dealing with the common property and any correspondence to owners from the strata council over the last twelve months. These documents will govern the manner in which your unit and the common areas may be used. They will also advise you of what has been going on in the building. Read these documents very carefully as they may reveal potential problems in the building.

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You have a property on which you want to make an offer! In addition to the information and suggested areas of investigation that you have reviewed earlier in this brochure, you may consider engaging the services of experts to provide inspections and reports on important components of a property.  These services may be engaged prior to you making an offer or, more commonly, you may make your offer subject to you receiving and being satisfied with applicable inspections or reports. The cost of commissioning any inspection or report will vary and should be factored into your overall purchasing budget.


Why do an inspection?

It a wiser solution to knowing what you are purchasing and the cost that maybe incurred if the property were to have some unknown weaknesses. Otherwise, without, you could be purchasing a home with a heavier cost than anticipated.


The types of inspections and reports you may wish to obtain will depend on the type of property, e.g. detached house, strata titled unit, recreational; the mechanical and service components, and geographic location of the property. Below is a list of the more common inspections and reports that are available to buyers. The list is organized alphabetically, not by order of importance, as the degree of importance of a particular inspection or report will depend on the specific nature of the property.

  • Appraisal Report: provides guidance to the value of a property and may be required by mortgage companies or obtained by buyers who want an estimate of the value of a property.
  • Depreciation Report: helps strata corporations plan for future repair and maintenance costs and helps prospective buyers to understand what repairs will be required and the future costs to a strata corporation to undertake the repairs.
  • Electrical Inspection: an inspection of the electrical system and components of a property which will identify the deficiencies, if any.
  • Engineers Report: provides information on the integrity of any buildings and other aspects of the property.
  • Environmental Report: assists in determining if there are any environmental problems or considerations with a property, including but not limited to asbestos, radon gas, underground oil storage tanks or riparian areas.
  • Furnace and Chimney Inspection: assists in determining if the furnace and the chimney meet current safety and insurance standards.
  • Gas Line Inspection: undertaken by a natural gas utility, determines the integrity of gas lines and if any improvements to the property have been built over the gas service lines requiring their relocation.
  • Home Inspection: provides information on the physical condition of a property.
  • Municipal Compliance Report: from the municipality provides information relating to (non)compliance with municipal bylaws and regulations, or to waivers granted by the municipality.
  • Plumbing Inspection: an inspection of the plumbing and drainage components of a property outlining any deficiencies.
  • Property Disclosure Statement: a statement provided by a seller concerning the condition of a property, to the best of their knowledge.
  • Surveyors Certificate: a report showing the property boundaries and the location of all improvements in relationship to those boundaries.
  • Septic/Sewer Inspection: determines the condition of the sewer/septic system.
  • Title Search: ascertains the ownership of land and whether there are any easements, restrictive covenants, leases, mortgages and encumbrances and charges registered against the land.
  • Water Quality/Quantity Test: determines the recovery rate and quality of the water supply.
  • Wood Stove/Fireplace Inspection: undertaken to determine if the wood stove or fireplace meets insurance requirements.

You may request other inspections or reports concerning specific components of a property, such as the roof, air conditioner, or any other component where the condition of that component would be material to your decision to buy a property.


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Making an Offer

Once you have found the home you would like, a written offer to purchase must be prepared. Considering the substantial nature of this investment, you should work with a lawyer, notary public, or a real estate licensee when preparing an offer to purchase. An offer is usually recorded on a standard form entitled Contract of Purchase and Sale.


What Should the Offer Contain?

When you prepare an offer, it should contain a number of standard details, plus any conditions which are important to you. Be fully aware that once you sign this document and the seller also signs it, a legally binding contract has been formed. Legally binding means both you and the seller will be bound by the terms of the contract and must each perform your respective obligations as stated within that contract. Either of you can go to court to compel the other to perform his or her part of the contract. Even if a contract contains subject clauses, it is legally binding as soon as both the buyer and the seller have signed the contract.

Your offer should include:

  • Date of offer. Date and time your offer expires.
  • Full legal names and addresses of both the buyer and the seller.
  • Full legal description of the home.
  • Amount of the deposit you are giving (which will be held in a trust account and will form part of your down-payment).
  • Sale price.
  • Amount of your cash down-payment and details as to how you will finance the remainder of the purchase price. Your desired closing and possession dates.
  • A list of the conditions which must be satisfied before the sale can occur. These are called “subject clauses” or “conditions precedent.”
  • A list of items which are not attached to the building (chattels), but which you state are to be included in the sale price; for example, drapes, refrigerator, stove, etc. It is helpful to be specific in the description of these items. Your signature.

What are the Seller’s Options?

When the seller receives your “offer to purchase,” he or she has four options.


Accept the Offer Exactly as Written 

If the seller signs your offer without making any changes, a legally binding contract has been formed. Again, legally binding means both you and the seller will be bound by the terms of the contract and must each perform your respective obligations as stated. Your performance can be enforced in a court of law.

Reject the Offer 

The seller is under no obligation to accept your offer or to make a counter-offer.

Ignore the Offer 

The seller is under no obligation to acknowledge receipt of your offer.

Make a Counter-Offer 

If the seller changes anything at all on your original offer, the seller is considered to have rejected your offer and to be making a new offer back to you. This new offer is usually referred to as a “counter-offer.” 
When you receive a counter-offer, you then have the same three options as the seller had: accept, reject or make a further counter-offer. The process of counter-offers may continue until an agreement is reached. 
If the counter-offer is unacceptable to you or if you have changed your mind about the purchase, the seller does not have the option of returning to your original offer and accepting it.


What are the Buyer’s Options?

If, after making a written offer, you decide you don’t want to purchase the home, it may be possible to revoke the offer. Many legal problems can result from the revocation of an offer, so you should seek professional advice about the correct procedure to follow.


More About “Subject” Clauses

The purpose of a subject clause (also known as a condition precedent) contained in an offer to purchase is to set out a specific condition which must be fulfilled before the sale can go through, although the contract is legally binding once it is signed by both parties.

Subject clauses must be carefully and precisely worded. You would be wise to get professional help in composing them; however, it is ultimately your responsibility to be sure the clauses mean what you want them to mean.


There can be as many subject clauses as you are able to negotiate with the seller; however, the fewer you put into an offer, the more serious you seem as a buyer and the better the chance is that your offer will be accepted. Remember that you are, in effect, asking the seller to take the home off the market during the period while you are attempting to fulfill the conditions you have set.

Some possible items you might wish your purchase to be “subject” to include:

  • a satisfactory professional building inspection
  • the arrangement of the financing you require
  • the lender’s approval of your application to assume the seller’s existing mortgage
  • the sale of your present home
  • if the home is a strata lot, satisfactory review of all relevant strata documentation, including engineer’s reports and/or building inspection reports, if any.

When you place “subject” clauses on your offer to purchase, you are required to use every reasonable effort to see that the conditions are satisfied. It is important to know that subject clauses are not “escape” clauses that allow you to avoid your legal responsibilities in the contract. Once you have fulfilled the conditions, written notification should be given to the seller that you are removing the subject clauses.

If you are unable to meet the conditions after making every reasonable effort to do so, the contract ends and there is no legal obligation to complete the purchase. It is important to remember that if the brokerage is holding your deposit, both you and the seller must sign a deposit release form prior to the deposit being released to you.

A seller may wish to accept your offer containing subject clauses, yet still be free to consider other offers until you have removed the conditions. To allow him or herself this freedom, the seller may ask for a clause in the agreement which permits the seller to require you to remove all subject conditions within a short, specified time period (usually between 24 and 72 hours) if the seller receives another attractive offer. If you cannot do so, your conditional contract comes to an end. Sellers are most likely to request this time clause where you have made an offer which is subject to the sale of your current home.


More About Deposits

Usually, you will make a deposit with your offer to purchase or after your offer is accepted. That deposit is usually held in your brokerage’s trust account. The brokerage holds the deposit for the benefit of the transaction, not just for your benefit. Note: If your contract contains subject clauses in your favour and you do not remove those clauses, you will not automatically get your deposit back. Both you and the seller will have to sign a separate release form. If the seller will not sign the release, you will have to obtain legal advice, as your brokerage cannot release the deposit unless you and the seller have agreed to do so.

Unless the contract specifically states that any interest earned on a deposit will be payable to either the seller or the buyer, interest is payable to the Real Estate Foundation of BC.

If a deposit is to be held by someone other than a real estate brokerage, you should obtain independent legal advice to ensure there is no concern about either how the deposit is to be held or the terms upon which it may be released.


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Property owner Sobey’s is staying rather mum on its plans to develop the former Belmont secondary property on Jacklin Road in Langford.

But a Victoria real estate company is already putting out the feelers for tenants that could accompany anchor Thrifty Foods in the major commercial project, a 200,000-square-foot development  tabbed the Belmont Market Shopping Centre.

Site plans on an online marketing brochure on the website of CBRE Victoria illustrate a “Town Centre” style layout with a roadway running through the centre of three main commercial sections. The Thrifty Foods store is shown on the east side of the property, roughly where the skate park used to sit.

The brochure lists Belmont Market spaces as offering “high ceilings and attractive storefronts” and sizes from 1,200 square foot units up to a 38,000 sq. ft. anchor tenant space.

It estimates the expected occupancy date for the first phase of the development to be July 1, 2017.

Asked to comment on the project given the presence of the detailed online marketing materials, Kari Scobie, Sobey’s communications manager for Western Canada, shed little extra light on the project.

“We are excited about the new Belmont Thrifty Foods location and look forward to sharing more information on the development with the community and our customers further into the planning process,” she wrote in an email.

The brochure also shows a series of residential buildings rimming the commercial development on the eastern edge of the land Sobey’s purchased in spring 2014 from the Sooke School District. It states that 330 residences are proposed to be built adjacent to the shopping centre.

Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell, informed of the online marketing campaign for the property by the Gazette, admitted it’s been some time since she has looked at the comprehensive development zoning that council approved around the time the sale was announced. But she was not aware that the company had made the City aware of any concrete plans at this point.

Nonetheless, she said, hearing that Sobey’s plans for the land might be getting closer to becoming reality is a good sign.

“It is definitely an exciting prospect for the city, so the sooner we see it getting going, the better as far as we’re concerned,” she said.

The plans and renderings of the proposed shopping centre can be found at cbrevictoria.com.


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Completing Your Purchase

The Contract of Purchase and Sale, which you signed, will state the completion day for the transaction. On that day, legal ownership will transfer from the old owner to you in exchange for the purchase price of the home. You will be able to move in on the possession date stated on your contract. The completion and possession dates are not necessarily on the same date.


Do You Need Legal Assistance to Complete the Purchase?

It is normal practice for the buyer to engage a lawyer or notary public to prepare the documents necessary to transfer the legal ownership. Among other things, he or she will protect your interests by:

  • searching the title in the Land Title and Survey Authority Office registration system to find if anyone other than the seller has any legal rights to the home and to see if there are any registered easements or restrictive covenants
  • preparing the documents to transfer ownership from the seller to you, including the Property Transfer Tax return
  • ensuring that the seller’s old mortgage has been properly discharged, if this is required
  • confirming that all payments for which the seller is responsible have been made
  • arranging for you to sign the transfer documents
  • preparing a Statement of Adjustments outlining all monies owed by you and the funds you will need to complete the transaction
  • delivering the final amount due to the seller and ensuring you are registered as the owner in the Land Title and Survey Authority Office
  • obtaining documents for strata titled properties, such as the Information Certificate (Form B as prescribed in the Strata Property Act), Certificate of Payment (Form F as prescribed under the Strata Property Act) and the strata corporation’s Certificate of Insurance

The day has arrived! You have signed the documents, turned over your cheque, and received the keys. The home is yours!


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NOTE: MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification. This website may only be used by consumers for the purpose of locating and purchasing real estate.