Now that it’s January, many people are starting to think about purchasing a home. Whether you buy this month, next month, or a few months down the road, there’s a few things you may want to consider before you start your home search. We sat down recently with John Hudey, an RBC mortgage specialist, to get the inside story on mortgage preapprovals.
Being pre-approved is commonly heard in real estate, but what’s the big deal? And what does it mean? Being pre-approved for a mortgage means that the bank or lender that you’re working with has checked out your credit history, along with looking at your income and the size of your down payment. Because of these things, your lender has said that you may be a good fit for a mortgage. While this may sound the same as pre-qualification, make sure not to get the two mixed up. Pre-approval takes it a step farther, since your lender has checked out actual documentation regarding your finances, rather than a brief screening. Though being pre-approved is not providing a guaranteed mortgage, it does help you in a number of ways.
The pre-approval process usually comes with an approximate amount for how much of a mortgage is affordable, given your current circumstances. This gives you a great starting point for what homes you should be looking at, as it narrows down your purchase point. It’s one of the most important reasons to get pre-approved before you start shopping, since it saves you time while preventing you from falling in love with a property out of your price range. Being pre-approved also helps you plan your finances, as it will give you an estimate of what your mortgage payments may look like.
Sometimes pre-approval can also give you better chances when submitting an offer to a seller. It helps to show them that you are serious about buying, as well as having the means to follow through on the offer you put in. In the event of multiple offers, pre-approved buyers have the advantage compared to buyers with no pre-approval. Given the choice between a buyer with no obvious way to follow through on an offer and a buyer who’s had a lender look into their finances, most sellers will choose the latter.
So what do you need to do to get pre-approved? After you’ve made an appointment with a mortgage specialist, you’ll need to bring your tax returns for the two most recent years, as well as income verification. Bring your most recent paystubs, and documentation verifying the amount of your down payment too. If you’re self employed, you may need to bring your full 2-year tax history and you may be asked to provide your corporate tax returns as well.
Going through the pre-approval process can help you speed up your home buying journey. You can show buyers you’re ready to make the purchase and it helps you narrow down what houses you can afford. Are you ready to make a purchase? Just finished your pre-approval process? We’d love to help you find your perfect home. Call us today!
Fireplaces seem to be an iconic part of the winter season. They’re one of the coziest ways to warm up in the winter time, and they’re a sentimental part of many holiday memories too. This makes them particularly attractive in real estate. Whether you’re looking at a home with a wood stove or a natural gas fireplace, here are a few things to consider for insurance and safety purposes.
While fireplaces are generally sought after, they carry extra risk for home safety. If you are successful in purchasing a property with a fireplace, you will need to inform your insurance provider that the home has a fireplace installed. You may have to pay extra to insure a home with a fireplace, so it’s something you’ll want to ask about when you’re shopping for home insurance.
Most insurance companies will require a WETT inspection, which stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer. WETT inspections are designed to promote safe use of fireplaces. There are different levels of inspection, so check with your insurance provider to make sure you’re getting the right level of inspection for their coverage.
The inspection itself will check for dents, obstructions, and anything else that will prevent your fireplace from operating safely. Home inspectors are not required to look for defects in the chimney, so you will need to hire a qualified chimney inspector separately unless your home inspector has their WETT certification. If you already own a home and are thinking about having a fireplace installed, you should also notify your insurance provider and get your fireplace properly inspected. Failing to do so can void your coverage, should anything happen to your property as a result of the fireplace.
Another thing to think about when you’re looking at a property with a fireplace is yearly maintenance. Depending on your insurance provider, you may need a yearly inspection to continue insuring your property, but even if your provider doesn’t, it’s still a good idea. Fireplaces, especially wood burning ones, can easily build up creosote, which is a main cause of chimney fires. A yearly inspection can catch build up before it becomes a hazard.
Some insurance companies may also require carbon monoxide or smoke detectors to be installed in your home as well. Plan to install these in your home and check the batteries regularly, whether your insurance company requires it or not. Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell, or colour, and it’s deadly, so having detectors in your home can save your life if your fireplace malfunctions.
Having a fireplace can make a wonderful, charming addition to a property, provided you take the right steps to protect your investment. Making sure that your fireplace is properly inspected and insured will allow you to enjoy it safely when you need to cozy up. Following yearly maintenance will help keep your property safe for years to come. Interested to know what your home is worth? Looking to buy in the Comox Valley? We’d love to help you find your dream home. Contact us today!
During our Christmas Cash Contest, we asked you what you would like to see in future episodes of Real Estate TV. Our participants had some wonderful suggestions! Thank you to all our entrants, and congratulations to our winners! We hope that you had enjoyed spending your extra Christmas Cash! The winning entries requested information on home inspections, regulatory changes in the BC Real Estate market, and rights-of-way and easements on titles.
It has been our pleasure to show you some of what we do as real estate agents, as well as some of our favourite places in the Comox Valley. This year we have covered a wide variety of topics in our Real Estate TV episodes. The real estate industry is host to many legislative requirements and it’s also subject to regulations and bylaws that may vary depending on the location of the property. Buying a house, or selling one, involves plenty of ins-and-outs that we’ve enjoyed discussing on our episodes.
One of the topics we’ve discussed was insurance for various situations, including while you’re away for extended vacations and the different types of insurance needed for condos. We’ve also looked at regulations for properties adjacent to sensitive fish habitat, what to check for when building a shop, and even the details on stigmatized properties. Another thing we enjoyed doing with this year’s episodes was showing you our favourite places in the Valley and touring some of our properties with you. It’s been a fun year sharing these episodes with you and we’re excited to continue with Real Estate TV in 2019.
The real estate market itself has been an interesting one in 2018. The housing market has been hot in recent years, and 2018 started off this way. It was expected to moderate itself this year, and we’ve started to see that happen. Some of this is due a result of the extreme expansion we’ve seen. That level of growth is unsustainable long-term, so the market will balance itself to a certain point. Some of the cooling is also because of government intervention. We’ve seen several policies put in place to help slow it down a bit, including new taxes for foreign buyers, and new mortgage regulations. However, on the whole, prices compared to last year are still up across Vancouver Island.
In 2019, the real estate market is expected to continue correcting itself. According to real estate predictions, prices are not expected to drop, but overall sales are expected to slow down, compared to previous years. This may present an opportunity for buyers, as there will be less competition for properties.
If you’re planning to sell your house in 2019, one of the best things you can do is make sure your home is for sale at the right price. Pricing is an important part of any property for sale, but with lower demand expected, it will be even more important. Want to see what your home is worth? Thinking of buying in the Comox Valley? Give us a call!
The Family Film Series, hosted by the Sid Williams Theatre Society, is a great way to chase away the winter blues! We are pleased to sponsor this fun family event for another year! Truly family friendly, the two remaining films include an intermission. This means that you don’t have to worry about your kids getting the wiggles half way through the movie. The afternoon is guaranteed fun for everyone. In fact, there may even be some characters from the film at the theatre! Admission is pay what you can by donation, so it’s affordable too. Both of the remaining screenings for the season are during the afternoon, so there’s also plenty of time to get home for dinner when you’re done! If you missed the first film in the series, The Polar Express, don’t worry! There are two more great films headed your way!
The next film in the series is The Lorax. If this will be your first time seeing it, you’re in for a treat! This wonderfully adapted Dr. Seuss classic tells a tale about a creature called the Lorax, who speaks for the trees. Filled with wonderful songs, vivid and playful visual effects, charming characters, and even a little romance, it’s sure to be a pleaser. Come join us on Sunday, January 20 at 2:00pm for this quirky and delightful movie. The movie is long enough to include an intermission, so the full event will run for about 2 hours, still leaving you plenty of time to get home for dinner. If you need a sneak peek, the trailer’s pretty cute too.
The last film in the Family Film Series is Horton Hears A Who. This much-loved story follows an elephant named Horton. Having discovered a tiny city called Who-Ville on a little speck of dust, he sets out to save the town. The classic Dr. Seuss tale sends a clear message about the importance of being a person, regardless of size, and is loved by young and old alike. This movie also has an intermission and should run approximately 2 hours. Before you join us, check out the trailer! This movie will be shown on Sunday, February 3, at 2:00pm. Bring your kids, bring your friends, and get ready for a great afternoon!
Whether your kids are almost grown up or still little, come join us for these two great movies! For more specifics, check out the Sid Williams Theatre Society’s website, or follow our Facebook or Instagram page for a timely reminder! This event is just one of the many great opportunities the Comox Valley has to offer. If you are thinking of moving to the Comox Valley, give us a call! We would love to help you find the right place to call home in our beautiful community. If you are already a part of the Comox Valley, but want to know what your home is worth in this busy market, give us a shout. Contact us today!
Christmas Cash Contest
It’s been almost a year since we started our Real Estate TV episodes, and in celebration, we’re hosting a Christmas Cash Contest! Christmas is one of those times where everyone could use a little extra cash, so we’re giving away FOUR $100 Visa® Gift cards. That’s right, four! Even better, we’ve got more than one way to win those gift cards! We’ll get to the details, but before we do, make sure you’re following our Facebook page. A complete set of rules, terms, and conditions is available on our Facebook page in the info section. The contest ends at 11:59pm on Thursday, November 29, 2018!
We’ve got two ways for you to win that Christmas Cash!
Christmas Cash Contest: Chance #1!
Our first chance for you to win is by liking and sharing our contest video. You’ll then be entered to win a $100 Visa® Gift card. At the end of the contest, the winner will be selected randomly from our participants. Spread the word!
Christmas Cash Contest: Chance #2
Our second chance for you to win is by telling us what you want to see featured on a Real Estate TV episode in 2019! You can send us your idea for an episode via Facebook Messenger on the Courtney & Anglin Facebook page, or by email to email@example.com. If you have more than one idea, submit them separately to increase your chances of winning! We’ll pick our favourites, and the top three ideas will each win a $100 Visa® Gift card! If more than one of your ideas wins, you’ll receive one gift card for each winning entry.
We have had a great time making and sharing our videos with you. Our episodes have featured a wide variety of topics! Some episodes have focused on the amazing place we call home and the wonderful things we can do here, like riding the chair lift on Mount Washington!
Other episodes have featured the legal aspects of owning a home, like how to comply with regulations when you have sensitive fish habitat on your land or how to legally build that dream shop. We’ve answered a couple of real estate questions too, like why many houses don’t have basements, or why you might want to build on an urban lot.
We’ve even thrown in some Comox Valley history in our episode on the E&N Railway and we’ve also dealt with a haunted house in our episode on stigmatized properties.
It’s been wonderful to share the amazing Comox Valley with you and give you a little insight into what we do! We’re looking forward to creating more episodes in 2019, and we’re particularly excited for your ideas! We can’t wait to hear about what you’d like to see in a future episode. The Comox Valley has something for just about everyone. Whether you’re thinking of buying a property here, or you’re selling one, we’d love to hear from you. We love our jobs, and we can’t wait to help you find your dream home. Give us a call today.
Recently, we featured one of our newest show homes from the Ridge on an episode of Real Estate TV. The Ridge is in a great location and is a great representation of the beauty of the Comox Valley. It’s a new development, and there are many benefits to purchasing a newly constructed home. As part of the process, show homes are a great way to find out if new construction is what you’re really after in a home. They can also tell you if the neighbourhood is right for you.
What is The Ridge?
The Ridge is a fabulous neighbourhood in the Comox Valley. It’s a quiet area with walking trails, great views, and it’s close to everything the Comox Valley has to offer. The Ridge is a new residential area and is currently in Phase 2, with Phase 3 on the way soon! Our featured show home is built with the Denman floor plan. This show home features Whirlpool® appliances, quartz countertops, and a beautiful natural gas fireplace. The master bedroom boasts a 4pc ensuite bathroom with a fantastic fully tiled, glass enclosed shower and a pair of his and hers sinks with quartz countertops as well. Upstairs, the home has 2 large bedrooms and a huge family room with beautiful views.
What are the benefits of looking at a show home?
Show homes are a great tool for you, as a potential buyer. They give you the opportunity to view the floor plan in detail, instead of as a blueprint. This is particularly useful if you’ve been looking at the floor plan utilized in the show home, since you can get a feel for how the space might work for you. Show homes are also a great way for you to familiarize yourself with the builders. If you haven’t decided on a floor plan or a builder, this is a great opportunity to see what’s available. When visiting a show home, you can also get a feel for the neighbourhood and the area nearby, such as how long it takes to get there, what coffee shops or stores might be nearby, and what parks or walking trails are near the neighbourhood.
Why should I buy in a new residential area?
Purchasing in a new residential area has many advantages. The houses are custom built and brand new. New houses are built to the latest specifications and codes, so renovations and updates aren’t required. They’re also significantly more energy efficient up front, with no retrofits needed. With new developments, there’s plenty of choice. This means you’ll likely get a say in floor plans, lot locations, finishes, and exteriors. Some developments have a few guildelines, such as varied or uniform exteriors, which may direct your choices. Be sure to read up on the development’s guidelines, to make sure it’s the right fit for you and your family.
It’s a good idea to visit at least one show home when you’re looking at buying a house. They offer lots of possibilities that aren’t available in an older home and they might just be the perfect fit! If you’d like to visit the show home featured on our episode, we’re on location Saturdays from 12pm – 2pm. If you’re thinking about purchasing new construction, give us a call!