Nelson Real Estate

Your Guide to Buying and Selling Homes in Nelson, BC

Nelson Real Estate

Realtor Speak

February 20th, 2014 · No Comments · Marketing Your Home

For the most part, I try to make this a serious blog.  However, every once in a while something strikes me as both humorous and valuable enough to want to share.  This link will present some examples of Realtor Speak.  I certainly hope this hasn’t been completely true in your experience, but, I would be interested to hear of other examples that you may know of.

Come to think of it, is there any difference between real estate jargon and political jargon?  Oh-Oh, I may have really put my foot into that one!

Only 28 more days until spring.  Are you planning to buy or sell this year?

Lorne

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Real Estate – Comparisons to Previous Years

January 16th, 2014 · No Comments · Real Estate statistics

At the end of each year we have the opportunity to do comparisons, and really see how the market is doing.  In my business I am often asked if I am busy, and the answer is that I am always busy.  I can be busy doing market evaluations, busy with new listings or preparing ads and busy with administrative work.  But if I’m not busy writing sales contracts then I am not being productive, and all the busy-ness in the world won’t pay the bills.  There are times when one can be busy showing homes, but if the prospects don’t buy then, again, there is no production (and no paycheque).

So, here is a graph that shows the actual sales statistics for Kootenay Real Estate Board sales for the past 5 years.  The graph will be difficult to read, so I recommend that you “click” on the image, and that will enlarge it to a useful size.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have just taken highlights from Nelson and Nelson Rural to include in this graph, but, if you would like more detailed information (e.g. sales in Kaslo or Salmo or New Denver), please let me know and I will provide that data.

It is this information that the B.C. Assessment Authority uses to determine the assessment on your property that you would have received at the beginning of this month.  I have blogged on that topic in the past, but if you have any questions about your assessment, I would be pleased to answer them.

By the way, just to blow our own horn a little bit, RE/MAX RHC Realty was the #1 sales office in the West Kootenay region for 2013.

Happy New Year.  Your feedback on this information is welcomed.

Lorne

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Radon Gas

December 17th, 2013 · No Comments · Housing Issues

Every once in a while there is a news article about Radon Gas, which is particularly prevalent in the West Kootenays, and especially in the Castlegar area.  So, in this post, I’m going to try to explain the issue.

Radon is a radioactive gas, which is naturally occurring and caused by uranium producing this gas under pressure and being forced through cracks in the Earth’s bedrock and then entering the atmosphere and sometimes into homes (especially basements) through porous foundations.  It can also enter wells, and thus enter a home through the plumbing system.  It is colourless, odourless and tasteless.

Radon is the leading cause of lung cancer among non-smokers and increases the risk of lung cancer for smokers.  It is typically present in the outdoors, but in very small concentrations.  The problems can occur when it accumulates in a closed space, such as a building.  The effects of exposure to higher levels of radon gas occur over time.

According to Dana Schmidt, an engineer with Golder and Associates in Castlegar, and also with the Donna Schmidt Memorial Lung Cancer Prevention Society, as many of 44% of the homes located in Castlegar have concentrations of radon gas that are above the acceptable level guidelines of 200 Bq/cubic metre.

Dana lost his wife to cancer in 2009, and believes that the underlying cause was radon gas.  He has become an advocate for this cause since then and the Regional District of  Central Kootenay will provide a radon gas test kit for you to sample the air in your home for a minimum $15.00 donation to the Donna Schmidt Memorial Lung Cancer Prevention Society.  The test kits take a minimum of 3 months to provide a good sample, and are then sent away for testing and the results are sent back to the home owner after about 3 weeks.

The Government of British Columbia recently declined to make radon remediation a part of the Building Code in British Columbia.  It is estimated that this measure would add approximately $200 to the price of a new home.

As radon levels tend to be highest in the fall and winter, now would be the best time of the year to begin to test your home.  I had my home checked a couple of years ago, and was pleased that the radon levels were well below the maximum levels established by Health Canada.  Radon levels are measured in the living area(s) of a home, and are not generally checked in unfinished basement areas, where concentrations could be higher, but where people do not spend a large amount of time.

The source for much of this information has been gathered from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control.

How Radon can enter a Home

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Statistics for First Half of 2013 – Nelson & Area Real Estate

July 23rd, 2013 · No Comments · Real Estate statistics

I want to provide an update and comparison for this area’s real estate activity.  I have, however, run into a couple of obstacles that have made this a more difficult task.

The first issue is that our board, Kootenay Real Estate Board (KREB), which covers all of south-eastern British Columbia, as far west as Rock Creek, switched computer systems in April.  Now it has been a steep learning curve for all of us in this industry, but the new system is better and allows us to do more.  If you have been receiving e-mail notifications of new listings, you will have noticed how this has changed.

Another example is the number of categories that are now available for listing properties.  They have increased, and, in some cases, there is a cross-over of information.  This has made it difficult to measure the year over year changes, as we are not always looking at the same categories of property types.

So, I have attached a graph to this post with sales statistics and average prices in Nelson and the rural area around us, for the first half of 2013 with comparable numbers for the first half of 2012 and 2011.

I realize that the graph shown is not legible, but if you click on the image, it will open up as a larger file on your computer screen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In general, this looks like a pretty flat market.  Average home prices are still trending down over the past couple of years (this trend has been happening since 2008), and the number of sales is pretty stable.  The large change in manufactured home pricing in the rural area is the number of sales in 2012 that were on their own property, which is always more expensive than if you are buying a manufactured home on a rental pad.  Back in 2011 there were more vacant land sales in Nelson because of the development of a new subdivision.  Since then the number of sales has dropped, and the average price is also lower.

I was, quite frankly, surprised at these numbers when I first viewed them.  My personal experience has been quite a bit busier this year than the previous 2 years (or even the previous 5 years), but that is not borne out by the total sales figures.

What we have not had this year is an excess number of listings.  This helps to keep the sell/list ratio in line, and helps to stabilize prices.

All in all I suggest that we are still in a “Buyer’s Market”, but one that is reasonably balanced.

I’m always happy to hear from you and to try to answer additional questions you may have.

Thanks to the diligent staff members at the Kootenay Real Estate Board for providing this information to me.

Lorne

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Your House As Seen By . . .

June 27th, 2013 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Please check out this link for a humourous look at what others may think of your home:  http://www.therealestatebloggers.com/real-estate-humor/your-house-as-seen-by/

I hope you find this funny, but there is truth in this — we do see things from different perspectives.

Thanks to Tom Royce and the Real Estate Bloggers for this.

Lorne

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Condos

June 5th, 2013 · No Comments · Housing Issues

I am attaching a couple of links for you to view.  The first is on the most expensive condominium to have sold in Vancouver, to date.  It went for $25 Million!  See the article and have a look at the photos here.
OK, there’s nothing to compare with that in Nelson.  This year to date there have been 11 condominium and townhouse sales in Nelson.  The most expensive of these sold for $325,000.

I did find another article online that talked about condominium fees, and I thought I would share that today. This is an article by a Toronto writer, but the concepts carry through for all strata developments.  I think you would find that Nelson strata fees are somewhat lower than what is quoted in this article.  The other thing I would point out is that strata fees do not always include the utility costs (heat and light),  but sometimes these are billed separately.  This is vital information to have when you are comparing one development’s costs to another.  Here is the link.

As always, I welcome your questions and comments.

Lorne

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B.C. Real Estate Association Forecast

May 11th, 2013 · No Comments · Economic Information

Here is a link to the BCREA Economics Department forecast for the 2nd quarter and beyond.  It is broken down by board areas around the province and is fairly optimistic, as I am at this point in our selling season.

If you have any questions about what is happening with our local market, or real estate in general, please give me a call.  I’m always happy to discuss this subject.

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Ready, set go!

April 1st, 2013 · No Comments · Economic Information, Financing, Mortgages

Here’s a link to an article in the Financial Post regarding home buying.  There are good links within the article on Finding a Great Mortgage, and their forecast on where mortgage rates are going.  Please check it out here.

Now, I’m not one to say “I told you so”, but it seems to me that what they are saying, has been said before, and in this blog space.  So, . . .  – no I’m not going to say it!

One final point on last week’s post about the conversion of the H.S.T. back to P.S.T. & G.S.T.  There is one other area that has a significant effect on many people.  Rents and leases on commercial spaces (not residential spaces) are subject to G.S.T., but no P.S.T. under the new rules.  So, commercial tenants should see a decrease in their monthly rent expense.  Today is the day that those changes take effect.

If you have questions about mortgages or home buying, please give me a call.

Lorne

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How Does the Demise of the HST Benefit Home Sellers?

March 26th, 2013 · No Comments · Economic Information, Marketing Your Home

All right, as of Monday, April 1, 2013 the H.S.T. (Harmonized Sales Tax) will pass into history in the Province of British Columbia.  This has been a very unpopular tax since it was introduced in 2009 and came into effect on July 1, 2010.  It was so unpopular that a grass roots revolt took place, with enough people signing petitions that the Provincial Government had to hold a special referendum to decide whether or not it could continue.  With the results of the vote in favour of scrapping this tax, the wheels were put in motion to revert this province to the old system (prior to July, 2010) where there were two separate taxes -  The Federal G.S.T. (Goods and Services Tax) and the Provincial P.S.T. (Provincial Sales Tax).  That is what we will again have as of April 1, 2013.

What’s the difference?  On most items the consumer (tax-payer) will not see any change.  Instead of paying one tax, there will be 2 taxes shown on your bill, but they will add up to the same amount.  However, there are a few exceptions.

Such items as hair cuts, personal services (such as manicures and massages)  children’s clothing and restaurant meals did not pay the Provincial Sales Tax.  So, there is only a 5% tax levy on these items, instead of the full 12%.

One other notable exemption is real estate sales commissions.  Since 2010 sellers of homes listed with a licenced Realtor (R) have paid a 12% tax on the amount of their selling commission.

The average price of a home in the Nelson area is $325,000.  Commissions are not a fixed amount, but on a home at that price you can expect to pay about $13,750 in commission on that selling price. **

Under the H.S.T. program, the amount of tax (12%) on $13,750 is $1,650, making a total fee of $15,400.

Next week that tax will be reduced to 5%, or $687.50 on the $13,750 commission for a total fee of $14,437.50.

That’s almost a $1,000 saving!  On a more expensive home, the amount of saving with the new tax structure is even greater.

** In case you are concerned that this is a large amount to be collecting on the sale of a home, let me explain further that in most cases the amount is divided evenly between the selling agent and the listing agent, and each agent has a further split (either a percentage or a flat monthly fee) with their brokerage.  Also, please note that not all homes sell, so there is no fee payable before a sale completes.

If you are interested in buying or selling a home, please give me a call.

Lorne

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Fun Facts About Real Estate

March 12th, 2013 · No Comments · Economic Information

I’ve attached a link below that was compiled by my friends at RE/MAX Sea to Sky Realty in Whistler, B.C.  These are based on a Canadian Home Buying Trends survey taken last December.  I found it to be most interesting (and readable!)  Link here.

In case you are interested, the City of Nelson is proposing a 2% property tax increase for 2013.  There was a public presentation at the Nelson Municipal Library yesterday on the budget process.  Of interest to me was the fact that property tax assessments for residential properties in Nelson are down an average of 2% for this year, while commercial assessments have risen by nearly 7%.

The increase in the commercial rates is caused by a method of calculating a business’ value called the income method (it is one of 3 methods, the other 2 being market  and replacement cost).  With the low interest rates we have been experiencing, the effect is that it costs less to finance the purchase of a business.  However, if the income of the business is steady, then it is still bringing in as much revenue as previously, and since the cost of financing it is reduced, the price (value) of the business will increase.

It’s facts like this that make me glad I’m not an accountant.

Lorne

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