With the advent of Depreciation Reports, along came a requirement for Strata Corporations to provide confirmation details regarding identification of correct storage locker and parking stall designations: their numbers/location, and whether they are Common Property (CP), Limited Common Property (LCP), or on some sort of sub-lease (increasingly common with newer buildings).  Issues relating to storage and parking are probably the most common problems we deal with as realtors, and this added transparency and ease-of-diligence enables us to much better protect our clients' interests in these matters.  We at RRG are very well-informed regarding these new regulations as well as the impact of Depreciation Reports, so don't hesitate to contact us if you have more questions.

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I have listed a new property at 304 2680 ARBUTUS ST in Vancouver.

CUTE & METICULOUSLY KEPT 2 BDRM & 1 BTH IN POPULAR ARBUTUS WALK! SUITE: Spacious & beautifully updated open concept with granite counter tops, African Oak hardwood floors, fresh paint & new blinds. Large master bedroom & small 2nd bedroom perfect for a guest room, child's room or roommate. Building: "Arbutus Outlook", well maintained concrete building built by Bastion. Location: steps from every convenience you could want with a great community feel! In suite storage & 1 parking included. Come check it out! Open Houses Sat Nov 16 from 2-4pm and Sun Nov 17 from 2-4pm.

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This is a broad question but in short, you need expert opinions and it really depends on what you're considering doing, the current state of what you're considering changing and market conditions.  What's happening with market activity for homes similar to your home now? What's happening with homes similar to what your home will be like when the renovations are completed? Paint will almost always generate a return particularly when using contemporary conservative colours and making sure the trim looks sharp.  Flooring can also be an easy generator of good return particularly if the current flooring is mis-matched, tired or damaged.  Buyers have a hard time seeing past this relatively easy thing to change so if your current flooring and paint is not appealing, it can be a relatively inexpensive no-brainer.  With larger projects like kitchens and bathrooms or moving walls, etc., you need to do your homework.  An experienced, very active local realtor will usually be able to give you very relevant input regarding whether a $20,000 kitchen or adding that basement suite makes sense in a home like yours or whether you should spend money on replacing the flooring or should simply discount the asking price and let a potential buyer do this.  Opinions from busy local contractors may be a bit biased but are also quite relevant.  

Bottom line, any money that your putting into a reno before listing is far from guaranteed to come back in the sales price but the reno will help your property stand out among the competition, i.e other similar listings. You're hoping to earn at least a few thousand dollars, and definitely NOT hoping to lose the same so put significant time into building your frame of reference before making any decisions.  Get the opinions of at least two local realtors and at least two contractors.  After that, you should have an idea of what to do (or not to do) next.  All of us at RRG have significant experience exploring and guiding clients through such adventures.

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I have listed a new property at 207 1055 HARWOOD ST in Vancouver.

Harcrest Apartments. This renovated N facing 1 bedroom has plenty to offer. Upgrades include new stainless appliances, updated kitchen cabinets, walnut engineered hardwood, new bathroom and plenty of built in storage. All wrapped up in a great layout. Storage locker, bike room & workshop are all found in this intimate walk-up, adult oriented, co-op building with great neighbours! Well managed with roof, plumbing '95, exterior paint 03, Pella windows 05 & boiler 06. Wonderful location on a tree lined street, just steps to transit, shops, restaurants & a short stroll to English Bay. Waiting list for private garage parking. Rentals not allowed. 1 cat welcome. 35% down payment required. Open Houses Sat/Sun Nov 9/10 from 2-4pm.

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We support buyers’ agents’ contracts- however, our industry is only slowly adopting this practice,  and many buyers still work under a verbal ‘handshake’, or a set of presumed expectations.  As they do for sellers, contracts greatly protect the buyer’s best interests, and clarify exactly what a buyer should expect from their representative.  They also clarify and control the fees, ensuring the agent’s compensation is set out clearly. This provides transparency between the buyer and the professionals being paid via the sale proceeds that are ultimately paid by them.  The buyer can control and/or negotiate how, and how much, their agent is getting paid, instead of letting the seller and selling agent influence or control this. There is a commitment and engagement benefit that is mutual between client and agent as well.  We recommend working under contract, but being very careful choosing your agent.  Interview a few, and choose based on both professional qualifications and personal ‘fit’.  Read on for further explanation…


Buying a home is a major undertaking, and some of your money will go into a realtor’s pocket.  In just about any other professional services industry, you would directly pay the professional providing you with services, particularly if any sort of ‘representation’ is involved.  You would expect to understand, be comfortable with, and perhaps even negotiate, the fees and how they are paid to the professional providing you with services and/or representation.  The compensation model in our industry is NOT like this, at least for buyers. Some context is needed here: as in any professional services market, there's a pretty clear 'typical' range for fees. Currently, the seller's agent and the seller negotiate a fee in a listing contract, with a portion of that fee (approximately 47%) being designated, within the listing contract, to be offered to an agent that represents the buyer.  This portion is then posted on the 'realtor only' side of MLS for all agents representing buyers to see when selecting properties for their clients to view.  So, when a selling agent offers a reduced buyer's agent commission or a bonus on a buyer's agent commission, there is an opportunity for bias based on compensation that is not in a buyer’s best interest.  The commission being paid to the buyer's agent is disclosed to the buyer at some point in the process... but it can easily be glossed over as just another initial in a myriad of contract-related documents.  It is not uncommon for a buyer to be unaware of how, or how much, their representation got paid.
Why and how the industry developed this process of agents who are representing buyers having their fees defined or greatly influenced by the seller and agent of the seller is beside the point here. In any mediation or negotiation of any legal or financial importance, why on earth would one want the other side controlling or influencing how their own representation was compensated?

Buyers should directly negotiate and control how, and how much, their agent gets paid, and this should be discussed at the beginning of the relationship.  Agents should be completely comfortable demonstrating their value. The home buying process should ideally begin with a fair and contractual expectation of fees for services and services for fees... just as with any other professional service... just as the seller of the eventual home purchased will have done!

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