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: A Weekend of Eating and Enjoying Ribfest and Our Local Craft Breweries!

Friday, July 20, 2018

This will be a lively weekend locally as one of our largest community events gets underway – yes – Ribfest! Three days of delicious barbecue, live music, craft breweries & family entertainment hosted by Port Moody Rotary Club and the City of Port Moody in Rocky Point Park between July 20th and 22nd. New this year is the VIP Zone sponsored by Lexus – this for those who want personal service, no line-ups along with an expanded craft beer and wine menu.

For this luxury you can you can purchase tickets and book reservations online. Bonus is, that this spot gives a great view of the live bands. You are encouraged to take public transit and there is the free summertime shuttle bus service for residents and visitors Friday thru Sunday which links Inlet Centre with Rocky Point Park & Moody Centre. This is a 1 way loop leaving the Park approximately every 30 minutes during operating hours. For those with cars, there is parking available along the Evergreen Line at Moody station, Coquitlam Central station, Lincoln & Lafarge Lake – Douglas Station. There is also car parking “by donation” at Port Moody soccer fields east of Rocky Point Park. For those who are going by bike, there is complimentary bike valet service in the park. This is an event driven and manned/womaned by volunteers, so when you are hot & tired, still be grateful!

Just time to recover before heading downtown next week for the start of ‘Celebration of Light’ fireworks displays from all over the world. Here are the top cost effective (FREE) places to watch the fireworks:- English Bay, Sunset Beach, Vanier Park, Kits Beach, Jericho Beach, Locarno Beach & Stanley Park’s Second Beach (where the festival’s main daytime entertainment takes place). Other options are Granville Island, Burrard St.Bridge and of course from a boat on the water (not such a free choice unless it’s your boat!).

So….no reason not to have summer fun over the next week or so! See you in the ‘hood.

REAL ESTATE Note:- The new more stringent mortgage rules are taking our clients by surprise – the focus on employment income rather than equity or even rental income is making obtaining a mortgage more difficult than ever. If you are considering buying for the first time, or selling your home to buy another, you need a preapproval already in place, so there are no surprises after you have set your heart on a home. With quietly increasing interest rates, a preapproval also gives you a cap on your interest rate good for the next 3 months. The government rules that you will also have to qualify at a rate 2% higher than your actual agreed rate. There will be paperwork for you to supply – so much easier ahead of time with no panic. Remember that experienced mortgage brokers work realtor hours and can meet with you at your convenience – these are the specialists who can walk you through the process and find the best fit for you. This is the time for experts. If you have questions about this, please ask. We are still here ready to keep you covered – even with summer fun!

Continuing in that tradition of trust and caring, we are your Generations Real Estate Partners –
Michelle Hawthorne, Scott Johnson, Sheila Francis, Ray Harris & Shane Goutsis

Happy Canada Day!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Despite the not so summery weather, we’ll be hard pressed not to get into the patriotic spirit this weekend no matter where we live in our region. We are joining our fellow Canadians coast to coast to celebrate this beautiful, great, free country where we are privileged to live.

Downtown Maple Ridge will be rocking all day – kicking off with a decorated bike parade, followed by the traditional Canada Day parade. A welcome touch at the lunchtime ceremonies is the recognition of those who have recently become Canadian citizens followed by cutting the Canada Day cake. The Act Arts Centre has live entertainment – everything from a multicultural dance & fashion show to interactive world drumming. The fly over with the national anthem ends the full day.

In contrast, the largest of our local municipalities, Coquitlam, hosts a huge Canada Day festival, named one of the top 20 festivals in Metro Vancouver – beginning at 8AM with the Village in Town Centre Park featuring a wide range of live entertainment, ethnic and regional food along with multicultural activities. The noontime procession heralds free birthday cupcakes and fireworks, as well as the dusk firework display. ‘Delhi 2 Dublin’ are the headline musical entertainment on the amphitheater stage.

8AM pancake breakfast & a fishing derby in Lions Park begins the Port Coquitlam celebrations moving on to Castle Park at noon for a myriad of activities including a kids zone, live entertainment, the firefighters salmon barbecue & ending the day with fireworks.

The free Port Moody shoreline shuttle bus service will be a wonderful addition to this year’s big Canada Day celebrations – connecting Inlet Centre, Rocky Point Park and Moody Centre as diverse festivities stretch round the Inlet. The patriotic ceremony will be at the performance stage in Rocky Point Park at 1pm followed by cupcakes and juice. The evening will be magical in the park as Barney Bentall and the Legendary Hearts perform. Both Saturday and Canada Day, our local firefighters are volunteering their time to make breakfast in supprt of Eagleridge Hospital Foundation and Crossroads Hospice.

So…wherever you are on Sunday, take time to enjoy and celebrate thanks to our proactive cities. Hope to see you around! There is more info available on the city websites.

Holiday or not, we still have you covered in the real estate world and are happy to hear from you any time. Have a great long weekend!

Canada Day good wishes from the Generations Real Estate Partners:
Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane

TGIF – Connecting and Updating

Friday, June 22, 2018

If you are new in town or looking for a place to volunteer your services, here is the perfect opportunity – Port Moody’s Inaugural Community Fair tomorrow (Saturday, June 23) from 11AM to 3PM at Civic Centre & Fire Hall.

This is an occasion to celebrate the community and get connected to your neighbours, the community services and organisations which contribute to Port Moody’s vibrant lifestyle. Find out about volunteer opportunities, clubs, community associations etc. and enjoy all the free fun activities. Lots available for the kids with the usual face painting, outdoor activities and almost constant shows running in Inlet Theatre – check it out here.

REAL ESTATE is almost constantly in the news these days and you may be wondering about all the chatter with regard to new rules and paperwork from the new BC Real Estate Council. Rest assured – these rules have been put in place to protect you, the consumers – to ensure that your privacy and confidentiality is respected, that you receive full fiduciary duty with all relevant information disclosed and that there is no conflict of interest. This will all be very familiar to our clients – just business as usual for the Generations Team. The rules have always been crystal clear – the interests of our clients come first with no compromise – changing the paperwork does not change that golden rule. Updating rules and paperwork provides the clarity which may have been missing in some cases before.

One very necessary explanation to our purchasing public is that of what it means to be an unrepresented party, which is the position of every buyer entering a presentation centre and writing an offer with the staff put in place by the developer. The people you are dealing with there are often not licensed realtors and are representing a developer with competing interests to yours – they owe loyalty to their employer, not to you. They do not have a duty to give all relevant information to you and must share any information you tell them with their employer. Beyond all of this, you do not have your own real estate professional to both negotiate and navigate the way through the paperwork and to be at your side through the entire lengthy process, including the final deficiency walk through (euphemistically called “orientation” by the developer). There is no advantage, either financial or any other way, to be unrepresented in this scenario. We are grateful to the Council for their clarity in this regard.

Confused or just want to know more? That’s why we’re here to keep you covered! We are up for coffee and a chat any time & bring on those questions. In the meantime, enjoy summer in our beautiful neighborhoods.

We are the Generations Real Estate Partners – Michelle, Scott, Sheila, Ray and Shane.
Continuing in that long tradition of trust and caring.

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