While we are writing our Christmas greetings, arranging our family gatherings, booking our social calendar and Christmas shopping, there are many folk close by who are wondering how they are going to weather the cold and wet outside and where their next meal is coming from. We can help – the 24th annual Realtors Care Blanket drive is underway. Since its inception, we have helped more than 34,500 people in our communities stay warm and dry.

We would really appreciate your help in donating:-

Gently used or new blankets or sleeping bags
Warm clothing – coats, jackets,hats, gloves,scarves
New socks & underwear
Plastic ponchos & warm rain gear

All of this can be dropped at our RE/MAX Sabre office at Westwood & Lougheed, (by the popular Signature liquor store!) or if you need help getting it to us, please call our team office – 604-936-7653 and we’ll arrange for it to be picked up. Many thanks in advance!

On the real estate front, remember that listing your home for sale in time for the festive season is not the bad idea you have been led to believe. For the first time this year, we currently have a diminishing inventory as sellers remove their homes from the market over Christmas and others wait until Spring. The buyers who are out there looking between now and New Year are serious; otherwise they too would be home by the fire! There will be less traffic through your home, but we are dealing with purposeful, real buyers. And…it is transfer time! Right priced homes are currently selling. Feel free to test us out on this one – we have the Christmas experience to prove the point!

We always keep you covered, even in the cold, rainy season – let’s together help others to stay covered!

We remain your Generations Real Estate Partners –
Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

At the battlefront on May 3, 1915 during the second battle of Ypres, John McCrae, (a Canadian) wrote the following words as a tribute to the dead:-

“We are the dead: Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders Fields!”

Excerpt from the now well known and repeated poem “In Flanders Fields” written as a heartfelt tribute to John McCrea’s fallen friend and former student. This poem has now become our annual reminder to honour those brave men and women who sacrificed themselves to secure our peace and freedom.

Along with the iconic poppy!  Poppies have been on sale since the last Friday of October and all funds raised go directly to veterans and their families, to the Legion Foundation, to special programs for veterans with physical needs, PTSD care & research and veterans care homes and bursaries.  So.. aside from being the visual tribute, they also contribute to our veterans in a real way.

On Sunday our cities all have services, parades and celebrations honouring our veterans of all ages from all wars.  An unusual event is taking place at the Port Moody Museum at 7pm when School District 43 principal, John Goheen will talk about the Battle of  Passchendaele followed by an 8pm candlelight vigil. Gabriola author and playwright, Charlotte Cameron will read from one of her books during the vigil.

Dozens of red poppies have been sprayed onto the lawn surrounding Coquitlam’s cenotaph on Veterans Way where the traditional 11am Remembrance Day service will take place followed by day long music from Robert Malcolm Memorial Pipe Band, Bruce James Orchestra and Vancouver Naval Veterans Band. Poppies courtesy of ‘Park Spark Team’ with community volunteers. The many yellow ribbons each carry a message of remembrance.

Port Coquitlam too has day long celebrations following the 11am ceremony at the cenotaph at City Hall on Wilson. Included are the Golden Spike Can Can Dancers, Eire Born Irish Dancers & Retro Sonic Band.

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month Port Moody historically has a community crowd 5000 strong on the street and it is growing consistently. This year’s parade, ceremony and reception is at Kyle Centre with the traditional 21 gun cannon salute performed by the Seymour Artillery – the Port Moody branch the only Legion left in Canada to still present the salute. The SFU Pipe and Drum Band are celebrating their 40th anniversary of attendance.

This year as we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and the 65th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, we feel gratitude for our freedom and for those who paid the ultimate price. We also feel tremendous gratitude to those men and women serving today in pursuit of justice and freedom for all.

Finally, thanks to all in our cities who work to keep the memories of war and our veterans alive so that we can appreciate our democracy. Let’s wear our poppies with pride.

“Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields”

With thanks, the Generations Real Estate Partners team.

The Port Moody Poppy Mosaic’ Port Moody’s Poppy Mosaic was created under the direction of Evelia Espinosa, by the students and instructors of Evelia Espinosa Art Studio in Port Moody. This special art piece, currently on display in the gallery at City Hall, was designed as a unique commemorative display for Veterans Week 2018’.

It was an honour to once again be recognized as an A-Listed Real Estate Team!

Thanks to our community, clients, family, friends, RE/MAX, the Tri-City News and fellow local businesses for your ongoing support. It’s our pleasure to keep you covered in all things Real Estate.

With thanks, from the Generations Real Estate Partners team.

Only a few days until we reach that spooky evening when we can’t recognise the neighborhood children as they knock on our doors tricking and treating.  Hallowe’en is observed in similar ways in many countries, though we are winners in the field of pumpkins!

For the past month the Ayers family have been busy preparing the best haunted house in the TriCities – for the 19th time!  Their scary place at 443 Draycott will be bigger and better than ever this year and as always, the Ayers are raising funds for ‘Variety – the children’s charity’.  This year’s goal of $10,000 might seem frightening until you realise that over the past 18 years they have raised $96,420 from scaring kids!!  Their Hallowe’en haunted house opened October 20 and is running from 6.30 – 9 pm nightly until Hallowe’en is over.  Always better to be scared out of your wits for a good cause!!

Now for what spooks us out – suddenly having our emails to a familiar client go undelivered. So please include us in your notice of change of email address – otherwise you will miss out on invitations, regular statistical market reports etc.

Another spooky aspect of the real estate market right now is the waiting game many buyers and sellers are playing.  Buyers believe that real estate prices will continue to slide and sellers believe that they will bounce back up!  Clearly they can’t both be right, so we have to focus on what we know at present – it is dangerous predicting the future.  For the move up buyers, this is your market – while the percentage of price decline might be the same, the actual cash involved makes the differential so much less than in a rising market.  So…if your family has outgrown your home, this is the time to consider a move up.

Hoping for a dry, safe  Hallowe’en for all our young tricksters and of course our walking parents!  As always, we have you covered for another season, rain or shine.

We remain your real ghost busters – Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

As we move into this uncharted territory of legal cannabis, a number of issues crop up concerning real estate.  Our property disclosure statements ask whether the premises have been used as a marijuana operation or to manufacture illegal drugs.  If a property has been used as a grow op, the stigma remains with the home through current and future owners.

Should you be planning to grow your allowed 4 plants at home, you should be aware of how the banks will view this.  They are concerned with the creation of mould, of the results inside the home of growing marijuana there – consequently, we are hearing that the banks who currently will not finance homes where there has been a grow op, will continue the same policy despite the legality, even including the allowable 4 plants.  So… if you plan on selling your home sometime in future, bear in mind that marijuana plants at home could significantly affect both your value and ability to sell.

The real estate associations and Council are currently reviewing our disclosure statements in light of the new legislation – watch this space!  Just remember, these are not the same people who make the bank financing rules!

The other issue that this legislation affects is that of smoking bylaws in strata properties.  Those which already have smoking bylaws in place will be looking to revise them to encompass not smoking or vaping anything. Those more tolerant stratas will be looking to institute smoking bylaws because of the odour from marijuana – lots of chatter already.  As this is all new, there is uncertainty as to how this will all play out.  We’ll keep you posted as well as covered.

For many clients and realtors, the current market is also uncharted territory!  Younger clients and realtors who have been licensed within the past 8 years have experienced only a balanced or rising market.  We now move into solution based selling, where we have to be constantly creative to combat the stringent financing rules, to maximize sellers’ opportunity to sell in a market where inventory far outstrips sales and buyers have lost confidence in the market.  Our team will be pulling out those tried & true problem solvers from similar past markets, while creating new ones for 2018 & 2019 (coming up faster than we think!!).  First & second time buyers need to beat the interest rate hikes which will, many times, make a greater impact on their monthly payments than sliding prices, and affects their very purchasing power.

We have to consider beating the odds and getting creative (legal!) financing in place.  We are happy to meet with you and brainstorm our ideas with you. Downsizers – most of you cannot get out in the market place and buy the condo of your dreams before selling your present home if you are relying on borrowed funds to do it. Banks now will only lend based on income, not equity, and will commit funds for your new condo only when you have a firm sale on your home.  Our job is to try and minimize the risk of rendering you homeless with good creative negotiation on your sale – tailored to your situation. In this case the banks are helping you financially in the current market because buying in today’s market and selling in tomorrow’s could prove costly and unwise.

Our definition of keeping you covered is ensuring that you are fully informed all the way, keeping you safe, as stress free as possible and ensuring your goals are met.  We are passionate about the real estate business, but even more passionate about the wellbeing of our clients. Enjoy this unexpected extension of summer.

We are the Generations Real Estate Partners at your service –  Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

Come ye thankful people come.
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
— Henry Alford

Yes – that is the origin and still today we celebrate the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Specially here – land of plentiful fruit & vegetables, fresh fish, dairy products and home grown fresh meat & poultry, not to mention the local wine, beer and cider! An accident of birth or a lucky migration brought us here to peace and plenty – this is the weekend we can truly appreciate that as we gather with family and friends to share a celebratory meal and memories of past Thanksgiving days.

In turn, our team is is truly grateful for the loyalty and friendship of our clients and colleagues – the real estate business has been good to us thanks to you, your families & friends. We wish you all good health, a great long weekend, a happy Thanksgiving and an appreciative nod to our farmers and those who grow our food.
We think that the concept of paying it forward is a relatively new one – not! Below we are including thoughts from an American sociologist, historian and civil rights activist born in 1868

“Give us grateful hearts…in this the season of Thanksgiving. May we be thankful for health and strength, for sun and rain and peace. Let us seize the day and the opportunity and strive for that greatness of spirit that measures life not by its disappointments but by its possibilities, and let us ever remember that true gratitude and appreciation shows itself neither in independence nor satisfaction but passes the gift joyfully on in larger and better form.”
W.W.B. Dubois – 1868 – 1963

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves today!
Generations Real Estate Partners,
Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

Image By: Olivia Ann Photography

TGIF: Unintended consequences!

I, Sheila, have just returned from holidays travelling through the UK in places big and very small, then a bucket list stop in Malta. Nowhere did I mention being a realtor, yet the chief topic of conversation everywhere was real estate – no affordable housing, cost of land & building and unwanted densification.

Sound familiar? In most instances the efforts of Government to turn the tide, curb foreign ownership, create “affordable housing” not only to a large extent failed, but also had those unintended consequences we are experiencing here. London’s vacant homes tax is now laughingly referred to as the “table and chairs tax” as placing furniture in the homes ducked the tax! While travelling we realize the world is getting smaller – investors don’t have to buy in London, Paris or Vancouver – they can go wherever it is most advantageous.

Tourist cities like Vancouver and Valletta in Malta are victims of their own success and need the accommodation for increasing numbers of visitors as well as those who want to stay permanently – therefore growth on the waterfronts etc. When the largest percentage of our economy is tied into real estate and tourism, we had better have a back up plan if we kill the goose laying the golden egg. The by-product and unintended consequences of Government intervention in our free market place has not only accomplished what was intended, a market slow down, it has also affected every aspect of the spin off work created by real estate sales – construction, furniture sales, engineers, architects, building material sales on and on.

Affordable housing can be created only by building purpose built rental units and subsidized housing. And guess what? The latest round of new rules from the Government to reduce the amount landlords can increase the rent, regardless of the price paid for the real estate, has caused two new rental projects to be cancelled. Unintended consequences again. Yes, it is complicated, but we need more than knee jerk reactions to public outcries – we need the obvious, and the creative, approaches to solutions. A person running for election in West Vancouver was honest enough to say that West Vancouver had never been an “affordable” place to buy a home. This is true of Vancouver itself and the reason we all raised our families in the suburbs. We are all wearing rose coloured spectacles when discussing the “good old days” when it comes to real estate. Let’s ask some serious questions of our municipal candidates this local election and hold our provincial representatives to account. We all need a robust economy.

From the trenches, the news is hopeful as our market stabilizes after 3 months of the slowest sales in a decade. Sellers are gradually coming to the realization that 100 days on the market means their price is too high. It takes time for a market to settle as no one loves the idea that their home is worth less than last year or the year before at the peak – we embrace rising prices much more readily! As reality sets in, reasonable asking prices are appearing along with sold stickers. Buyers are willing to jump in to avoid the next mortgage interest increase provided that the price is right. As first time buyers successfully navigate the financing rules, we’ll see the ripple effect upwards. There are always those who are transferred or who have other good reasons to move who will set the bar and price for their homes, so discerning buyers can make an excellent purchase.

Luckily we have been around these changing markets before and are here to keep you covered and see you safely through the process one step at a time. Happy to talk real estate with you any time with no unintended consequences, except good ones!

We are the Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray & Shane.

Continuing a tradition of trust and care.

TGIF: Talking Metro Vancouver Property Taxes and Land Assembly

Friday, August 24, 2018

If you are asking yourself why so many foreign investors park their money in Vancouver real estate when it is so expensive, the answer could lie in our low, low property taxes!

The real estate website ‘Zoocasa’ recently investigated property taxes in 25 major Canadian markets – the owner of a $1-million home in Vancouver will pay approx. $2,468 while in Toronto, the property tax would be $6,355 and in Ottawa – $10,000. Of course the comparatively light property tax burden has undoubtedly been a factor in attracting long term investors – purchase price may be high, but carrying costs comparatively low. While we may lament other aspects of our market, let’s be thankful for the property taxes. Never thought I’d hear myself say that!One of our other first world problems is land assembly – happening all over our cities on the corridor adjacent to SkyTrain. We have pockets all over the TriCities, Burnaby, Port Moody, Coquitlam, and New Westminster where small land assemblies are being put together (or not) and our people in those locations are nervous. They should be because 2 + 2 does not always make more than four! We are conditioned to believe that buyers will do anything to put together an assembly, but the times they are achanging! Developers and builders are spooked by land costs and building costs. If you are in a quagmire of negotiation, which is beginning to make no sense, it probably doesn’t.

Time for the cavalry – that’s us! In a world without crystal balls, the only way you can protect yourself is to buy and sell in the same market. So… the top of mind thought when negotiating in a land assembly scene is to know what it is going to cost you to relocate. Either it is worth it to you, or it isn’t. This is the point at which, even if it goes against the grain, you have to consider your own circumstances, needs and the goal – where you want / are prepared to go to make this happen. Some circumstances would just not warrant risk taking or reaching agreement with certain parties.Sometimes an offer to buy you, home owner, out in favour of a land assembly can be a very large blessing – other times, a curse. This is our cue – we consult with you in such a dilemma, check out the possibilities and alternatives and formulate the best strategy designed to get you what you want. This is what we signed on for – so take us up on it if you are in the midst of strangers making offers direct to you for your property.We are here to keep you covered whatever the circumstances, so give us the challenge. In a changing market, we realtors who have been there before are your resource – SkyTrain might be a new reason, but land assemblies have been with us at different times and our chief concern as ever is looking after our own clients.

A major “thank you” goes out to all of the front-line workers and emergency responders involved in fighting this season’s BC wildfires – we are deeply indebted to your dedication to our safety and for your service. Please stay safe out there.

Wishing you a safe and happy close to your summer.
Have any questions? We’ve always got you covered.

From the Generations Real Estate Partners,
Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: Port Moody is Going GREEN!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Yes, this Sunday, August 19th join Port Moody in its second ‘Car Free Day’ when the section of St. Johns St. from Douglas to Moody Street will be pedestrians only between noon and 7PM. Last year more than 20,000 people took the opportunity to stroll down the middle of St.Johns for this community celebration. There will be great live music like last year and about 100 booths to visit – local businesses, artisans, non profit groups, the popular Brewers Row beer garden, great food & family friendly activities. We all love to live, shop and play in our neighbourhood – let’s support this novel intiative, which is also so much fun. Go Green!

Car-Free Day will feature:
live music on the Main Stage
great food, available from local restaurants
Brewers Row Beer Garden at Queens Street Plaza
family-friendly activities, like rock climbing, street hockey, face painting, and a bicycle skills and safety zone
roving entertainers and mascots
booths presented by local businesses and artisans; and
electric vehicle demonstrations.

It was great to see so many of you at our summer family picnic event – thank you – you make our world go round.

Happy summer!

Cheers from the Generations Real Estate Partners,
Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

TGIF: New Rules – Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services

Friday, August 10, 2018

We as realtors are subject to a number of new rules imposed by the Real Estate Council (our regulatory body) over the past 2 months. They are designed to protect you, the consumers. What we have discovered during this time is that while we have been taking courses to fully understand and play by these rules, a couple of them take the consumers by complete surprise. When we meet with sellers or buyers for the first time, we may give full information, explain the process and how we work but are not permitted to dispense any advice including an interpretation of data to give an opinion of value with regard to a potential list price or an appropriate offer to present on the buying side. UNTIL the seller or buyer has been presented with the new ‘Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services’ and agreed in writing to designate our team (or another realtor) as the consumer’s exclusive realtor. This can cause confusion when sellers are interviewing realtors in order to get opinions of value. This particular new rule is designed so that realtors who will not be representing you either buying or selling are not privvy to your reasons for buying or selling or to any other pertinent private information which could be used during a negotiation where that realtor was representing the other party. We cannot engage in conversations with buyers at open houses which could lead them to believe we are working for them when we are permitted to be working only as designated agent for the seller. Similarly, without the designation as your agent at seller interviews, we must not allow any conversations with regard to your motivation or any other personal information.

This requires rethinking the process in order to stay within the rules for us and for you, rethinking the reasons you would select a listing realtor. It is all about a “good fit” with your real estate team:- Do you trust their expertise and competence and that they will do as they say? Do you feel that they will be empathetic and helpful to your special needs? Are they demonstrating that their negotiating skills will make a difference to your outcome? Are they supplying all the information with regard to sales activity in your neighbourhood? Would you feel confident that they are representing you? It is all about relieving the stress which every seller experiences. The price will come naturally as a result of satisfying the above. And the last little comfort zone is that you will still be agreeing to and signing a listing contract which you will do only when you are in agreement with the terms.

We are including a video with this so that may clear up any confusion remaining after you have read this. Any further questions, please contact us.
Change is nothing new to us – I remember when a sales contract was 1 page in the Wild West real estate times!

We all wish you summer fun – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.

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