No Comments

5 Good Reasons to work with a REALTOR

Are you considering a real estate transaction? One of the first decisions you’ll need to make is whether you should work with a licensed Real Estate Professional, who will represent you. Here’s 5 good reasons why you should.

Remember, not every real estate agent can call themselves a REALTOR®. REALTOR® is a trademarked term belonging to the Canadian Real Estate Association. It represents a high standard of professionalism and commitment to value for clients.

1. Standards

Professionally, a REALTOR® adheres to a strict set of standards called the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. Any violations to the Code, Standards, Rules, or legislation are brought forward for investigation and disciplinary action at both the Board level and at the provincial level, through the Real Estate Council of BC.

Before you disclose confidential information to a Real Estate Professional regarding a real estate transaction, you should understand what type of business relationship you have with that individual. You can work with a real estate professional in one of the following ways:

  • AS A CLIENT, your Real Estate Professional works on your behalf, and has special legal duties to you.
  • AS A NON-CLIENT, a Real Estate Professional who is not representing you as a client does not owe you any special legal duties

2. Loyalty

If you are a Non-Client, the Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction may be representing a client with competing interests to yours in a transaction. They must be loyal to THEIR client, not you. When you’re the client of a Real Estate Professional, they will act only in your interests.

3. Full Disclosure

If you’re a Non-Client, the other Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction do not have a duty to give you all relevant information regarding the transaction. When you’re the client of a Real Estate Professional, they must tell you everything they know that might influence your decision.

4. No Conflict of Interest

When you’re the Client of a Real Estate Professional, they must avoid any situation that would affect their duty to act in your best interests. When you’re a Non-Client, no Real Estate Professional acting in your interests.

5. Confidentiality

When you’re a Client, the Real Estate Professional must not reveal your private information without your permission, even after your relationship ends. When you’re a Non-Client, the Real Estate Professional(s) involved in the transaction must share any information you tell them, with THEIR client.

When you become a Client, you may be asked to sign a written agreement setting out yours and the Real Estate Professional’s responsibilities. As a Non-Client, a Real Estate Professional may give you only limited services.

Whenever a Real Estate Professional works with you in a real estate transaction, whether you are their client or not, they have a responsibility to act honestly and with reasonable care and skill.

The Real Estate Council of BC

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia is the legislated regulatory agency that works to ensure Real Estate Professional have the skills and knowledge to provide you with a high standard of service. All Real Estate Professionals must follow rules that help protect consumers, like you.

The Real Estate Council of BC helps you understand your rights as a real estate consumer. Visit their website at or call them at 1 – 877 – 683 – 9664.

1 Comment

Do Solar Panels Increase the Resale Value of Your Home?

On Vancouver Island, we’re all fairly well aware that an ocean view adds value to your home. If there were two houses that were identical in all respects, except that one had an ocean view, we would reasonably expect the resale price of that ocean view home to sell for a higher price than the one without. Of course, it’s difficult to ADD an ocean view to your home. In most cases, it’s either there, or it isn’t. But what if you could add something to your home that provided that market premium? What about solar panels?

In addition to the frequently cited benefits that solar panels provide – reducing your energy bills, extending the life of your roof, and of course, combatting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing our collective dependence on fossil fuels – can solar panels actually increase the resale value of your home? Let’s find out.

Landmark American Study

In 2015, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, published the most comprehensive study to date regarding the value that solar photovoltaic (PV) Systems can add to home sales transactions. They analyzed nearly 23,000 homes (of which 3,951 had PV systems) in eight States over 11 years, and concluded that home buyers were consistently willing to pay “PV home premiums” across different states, markets, and home types. This premium seemed to remain constant even as the cost of solar panels decreased over the time span of the study.

The researchers uncovered what they called the “green cachet” – that is, that some buyers would be willing to pay a certain amount for any PV system on a home they were considering purchasing. The average premium (that is, the increase in sale price) was reported to be approximately (USD) $15,000 for home with an average-sized residential PV system. It’s important to note that the market seems willing to pay a premium for a system that is within its first 10 years, but that premium declines rapidly thereafter, in light of the rapid depreciation of the panels.

To add credence to the data from the Berkeley Lab, the American National Renewable Energy Laboratory also published a study that concluded that homes in the U.S. with solar panels “sell 20% faster and for 17% more than those without”.

Here on the Island

No similar comprehensive study has been conducted in Canada regarding market valuation and solar arrays, but here in BC a solar PV system on your roof can at the very least be a competitive differentiator over other homes in your area. While BC residents may feel that they’re more environmentally conscious than the average Canadian, residential solar power hasn’t really taken off on the west coast – although we do consume less than the national average of electricity consumption per household. So those shiny new solar panels on your roof will certainly set your home apart from other homes in your area!

There are, of course, fluctuations and idiosyncrasies in every real estate market – that’s the advantage of using a Realtor who knows your specific area! As a general rule, however, installing solar panels on your roof can help you stand out from the crowd, may speed up the sales cycle, and could potentially command a premium on your sale price.  It might be worth a second look as an investment.

No Comments

Get your home ready to sell!

First impressions are crucial, and improving the look of your property can help you sell your home faster and for more money. Whether you’re a first-time home seller or you need a refresher, here’s a quick list of simple things that can help you get your house in tip-top shape and ready to sell. 

Outside: Optimize your Curb Appeal!

The attractiveness of your property, as viewed from the street, is one of the most important marketing tools in selling your home. The whole idea behind curb appeal is to accomplish one goal: entice prospective buyers to look inside the house. Here’s a few things you can do to maximize your home’s “wow factor” and get them in the door:

  • Clean and tidy exterior surfaces, doorways, eavestroughs and downspouts
  • Make sure all fences and gates are in good condition 
  • Sidewalks and driveway clean and in good repair
  • Mow and edge the lawn, rake leaves, and clean up any pet “surprises”
  • Prune unruly tees pruned, trim hedges 
  • Weed and tidy the flower beds
  • Put away bicycles, toys, sports equipment, etc.
  • Stack firewood neatly

Inside: Clean it and Stage it!

Once your awesome curb appeal has set the stage for prospective buyers, “clean” is the first word for the inside of your house. “Tidy” comes in a close second, though. Wherever possible, simplify the surroundings – as a general rule, the more things there are to look at, the smaller the room feels. Here’s a few other things you’ll want to think about:

  • Clean floors, walls, ceilings, doors, windows and mirrors  – remove smudges and stains
  • If you have kids like I do, make sure you clean around your light switches… 
  • Replace any broken or burned-out light bulbs
  • Make sure pet areas are clean, organized, and odour-free
  • Organize all closets – remove as much as you can
  • Make the kitchen and bathrooms shine!
  • Put up clean towels in the bathrooms
  • Remove any personal items from the medicine cabinet
  • Consider re-painting rooms with a neutral shade to appeal to as many buyers as possible
  • Consider removing family portraits and replacing them with small mirrors – this will help potential buyers “see themselves” in the home!

At the end of the day, when you put your home on the market, you’re in the business of selling – and you want your product to look its best. If you spend a little time putting your home’s best face forward, you’ll reap the rewards of a potentially quicker sale and a higher selling price.