Blog

How to keep tenants long term and reduce tenant turnover

Tired of turning over tenants in your rental property every year? If so, you’re not alone, especially in markets with higher vacancy rates like Alberta is currently experiencing. Of course this isn’t an issue across most of BC as vacancy …

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Just write the damn offer and don’t get caught in real estate analysis paralysis!

I’ve seen it time and time again. A buyer wants to purchase a property, whether it be for themselves to live in, or as an investment property to generate rental income. They view the property, really like it, but they …

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For Sale; 3 bedroom plus den, 2 bath in South Surrey! #410 15428 31 AVENUE, Surrey. Asking only $549,900!

Won’t last! This amazing 3 BR & den penthouse home features 2 baths, hardwood flooring, in-suite laundry, and a modern kitchen with S/S appliances, granite counters, and bamboo cabinets. Fantastic South Surrey location walking distance to the shops at Morgan …

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For Sale; 1 bedroom condo near Coquitlam Center! #402 2957 Glen Drive, Coquitlam. Asking only $339,900!

The price is right! Awesome 1 bedroom top floor unit in a fantastic location near Coquitlam Center! Highlights include an open floor plan with 10’ ceilings, stainless steel Bosch appliances, granite counter tops, and in-suite laundry. Features of this building …

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For Sale; 2 bedroom + den Yaletown downtown Vancouver condo! #1002 233 Robson St. (TV Tower 2). Asking only $849,900

Awesome 2 bedroom and den (could be a 3rd bedroom) unit in a fantastic downtown Vancouver Yale Town location! Sit out on your balcony and enjoy your 10th floor view overlooking the North Shore mountains. Features an open floor plan, …

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Are downtown Vancouver condo real estate prices out of whack at around $1000/ square foot?

Downtown Vancouver condo prices have finally reached an average of around $1000/ square foot. Of course you can buy much, much higher than that for newer properties and view properties, but you won’t find properties for too much lower than …

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Who cares about your mortgage??? Not your tenant!

I hear this comment all the time from fellow rental property investors and clients. It goes something like this; “But I can’t reduce my rent, it won’t cover my mortgage!” Or comments like this; “We need to get $2000 per …

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Real Estate investors beware running out of cap space!

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, it used to be quite easy to purchase and finance residential rental properties. Well, as you are probably quite aware, those days are pretty much over with, now! Sure, you …

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For Sale- 1 bedroom Beach District Condo! Asking only $599,900- #1209 1500 Howe St, Vancouver, BC

Welcome to the Discovery! This superb, concrete waterfront building located in Vancouver’s Beach District overlooking False Creek can’t be beat! If you’re looking for a downtown Vancouver condo, then look no further! Easy access to Granville Island via the water …

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Top 5 Cash Flow boosters for rental property managers- how to decrease costs

Whether you are self-managing your residential rental property, or you are hiring a property management company to do the hands-on work, your focus should be on increasing your cash flow. There are really only two ways to improve your investment …

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Top 5 Cash Flow boosters for rental property managers- how to increase rents

Whether you are self-managing your rental property, or you have a property management company doing the dirty work for you, you should be constantly thinking about how to improve your cash flow. There are really only two ways to improve …

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Top 5 things to look for in a home inspection for a rental property

Whether you are an investor looking to purchase a rental property, or a home-owner buying real estate for yourself, it’s always a good idea to get yourself a home inspection! Here are the top 5 things to look for in …

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Vancouver East Collingwood 6 bedroom, 4 bath house with a suite for rent near Joyce Skytrain Station- available July 1, 2017

                  Fantastic 2 storey Vancouver Collingwood house with an amazing mountain view! This 6 bedroom home features 4 bedrooms on the upper level and a 2 bedroom suite on the main floor …

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I can’t get ahold of my property manager! Why won’t he return my calls?

Non-responsive property manager blues? This is a common complaint that I have heard over the years. Never from our own clients of course 🙂 , but it seems to come up again and again, regardless of the geographic market or …

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Looking to buy in a hot market? Buy a tenanted property!

There are a couple ways to buy property in a hot market. The first way, which is how almost everyone else does it, looks something like this. Show up at an open house on the weekend along with about 100 …

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What to look for in a strata management company

So you’re a small, self managed strata building, and Council is tired of doing all the work themselves! Who could blame them, volunteering for Strata Council is pretty much the most thankless task in the entire world! Where to start …

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The key to finding a good property management company

What is the key to good property management? There are many things that go into separating a good property management company from a bad property management company, but the one key that seems to be more important than everything else …

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Is it better to invest in a large or small strata building?

This is an interesting question that we get asked on a semi-regular basis. As an investor, it really depends on what your goals are, and it really boils down to how much control you want to have, and how anonymous …

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Should I buy a condo/ strata in Vancouver or a detached home?

Strata property or single family home; which is better? Well, the answer to this real estate investing question is, not surprisingly, it depends! It depends on what your goals are, where you live, how much time you have, to manage …

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Which is the better real estate investment, multi family, or single family homes?

This is an age-old question that I get asked on an ongoing basis from real estate investors. Are you better off investing in a single-family detached home, or a multi-family apartment building? As with all thing in life, it depends, …

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Why I stay away from small town real estate investing

There are a number of reasons that I prefer to stick with major urban centers when real estate investing as opposed to small towns. Overall, it’s just a safer bet, but let me explain the reasons why; Economic diversification Larger …

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The Importance of Diversification in Real Estate Investing

              Many investment advisors will tell you the same thing; that it’s important to diversify your portfolio. Of course I have also heard Warren Buffet say the opposite, telling investors to “put all of …

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The 3 most important property management background checks

What are the 3 most important things to check when approving a potential tenant? Property management is a difficult business. In most States and Provinces, tenants have substantially more rights than the landlords, and once they have keys to your …

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Beware the alligators when real estate investing!

How to make money real estate investing I know what you’re wondering. What exactly do alligators have to do with real estate investing and property management? Well, the simple answer is that they have everything to do with real estate …

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The 3 R’s in Rental Property Management

Good Property Management basically boils down to 3 key components, and they all happen to start with the letter R. If you’re looking to hire a Property Management Company, these are what you will most certainly want to look for …

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Keys to Managing your Property Management Company

  Managing your property manager Many owners choose to self- manage their rental property themselves, at least when starting out and their portfolio is small. We actually encourage this, as it will give you a keen understanding as to how …

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To Air BnB or Not to Air BnB, that is the question

Air BnB short term rental or long term rental? I am being asked this question on a regular basis these days, it would seem. With Air BnB being such a hot topic at the moment, I guess that it only …

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White Rock Ocean view 2 + 1 house for rent, just blocks from the beach! Asking $2495. 15542 Columbia Ave, White Rock, BC

Make this White Rock hillside home, just steps from the beach, your own today! With such and amazing, panoramic, and unobstructed Ocean view, this house won’t last long. Imagine sipping your morning coffee, or having guests over for a barbecue …

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Downtown Vancouver 1 bedroom top floor apartment in the West End! Available Sept 1, 2017- Asking $1995. Located at 921 Thurlow St.

If you’re looking to live in the best location in the heart of downtown Vancouver, then you’ve come to the right spot! This top floor, 1 bedroom West End apartment is only two blocks from all the shopping, nightlife, and …

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Should I self manage, or should I use a property management company?

    Property Management Company or self management for my rental property? Deciding whether to employ a property management company, or to self manage your own rental property is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. There …

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How does it feel to own a Million Dollar home in Vancouver?

Owning a Million Dollar property in Vancouver Yes, it’s that time of year again when we eagerly open up our BC property assessment notices in the mail like a kid at Christmas to find out exactly what the city has …

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For Sale- Spacious, Fully renovated 2 bedroom Surrey Central Condo! Asking only $210,000- 13525 96 Ave, Surrey, BC

Large, modern, and fully renovated 1001 sqft, 2 bedroom unit on the top floor of a well maintained strata building. Amazing Central Surrey location right next to Central City Mall, King George Skytrain Station, Surrey Memorial Hospital, parks, etc. This …

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Modern 2 bedroom and den for rent in a prime downtown Vancouver location! Unit 1002 233 Robson St, Vancouver!- RENTED

You can’t beat this downtown Vancouver location! TV Towers is right on the corner of Cambie and Robson, just steps from BC Place, Rogers Arena, the Vancouver library, and only short walk to the Stadium skytrain station. This 873 square …

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For Sale- Unit 108 5775 Irmin St Burnaby – Asking only $332,000

Dont wait to view this fantastic 1 bedroom unit in a beautiful complex. Features include an open floor plan, granite countertops, S/S appliances, breakfast bar, and in-suite laundry. Picture yourself overlooking green space while barbequing from your patio using the …

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Stubborn owner is increasing costs for repairs

Dear Tony: Our strata corporation has tried three times this year to pass a special levy for the replacement of our roofing. We are an older building and do not have significant reserves in the bank to pay for the …

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Small strata of older owners can’t get enough volunteers

Dear Tony: Our strata corporation is only 36 units and our problems seem small compared to big strata corporations. We have run into a huge problem in getting people to sit on strata council. We are not self-managed and have …

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How does strata go about collecting for unpaid strata fees?

Collecting for unpaid strata fees is a very common problem for Strata Corporations. While it can be a very difficult choice to decide to file a lien against an owner, sometimes it is necessary to protect the Strata Corporation’s interests. …

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6368 Main St Vancouver 2 bedroom main floor suite for rent! Asking $1195 (utilities included)-RENTED

Great Location near skytrain at Cambie and 49th! 2 bedroom main floor suite of a 3 level, 3 suite house on 49th avenue and Main Street in Vancouver. Close to Langara College and Oakridge Center. Your new home includes laminate …

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Relying on unsecured debts poses risk to stratas

Dear Tony: At the end of the last fiscal year Oct. 31, our financial report showed that we had an accumulated surplus of $17,537. Our strata corporation is 101 units, so this is a reasonable expectation, as we have benefited …

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Vancouver’s West End could see major changes

VANCOUVER — Over the next 30 years about 10,000 people are expected to move  into the West End, the city’s oldest and densest neighbourhood. But in order to do that without making wholesale changes to the character of  the neighbourhood, …

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B.C. case that could see condo owner evicted could become more common: experts

VANCOUVER – When Toronto resident Robert Jerome celebrated his 30th birthday by purchasing a unit in a low-rise condo development about 15 years ago, he was welcomed into a quiet, close-knit community of red-brick townhouses a few blocks east of …

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What is a majority vote?

Dear Tony: Our strata manager says that for a majority vote to pass, we require 50 per cent of the voters plus one. At our AGM 27 owners voted on the budget. Fourteen were in favour and 13 were opposed. …

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Price of procrastination

Dear Condo Smarts: We sold our townhouse in August. Our sale price was for $459,000, but after the transaction we had $10,000 less than we had anticipated. The day before our transaction, our lawyer contacted the strata corporation for a …

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First priority is to deal with the rats

We have rats in our building. Several owners have been complaining about noises in the walls at night and several rats have been spotted around the complex and in the parking garage. We have one owner whose patio area is …

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Who’s in charge of this strata anyway?

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation is an 80-unit townhouse complex in the Fraser Valley that was built in groups of eight over 10 phases. While they have generally the same appearance, the construction varies significantly, and obviously some were …

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Bully on the council

Dear Condo Smarts: I am writing this email in confidence so have been vague about our strata to avoid recriminations from our strata council president. I am a single, retired woman and live in a mid-sized strata in Greater Vancouver. …

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Chilliwack house with a 2 bedroom basement suite for rent on Fairfield Island.10172 Oval Drive. Asking $1495. AVL Oct 1, 2013- RENTED

I am a spacious 1260 plus 800 square foot 5 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a basement suite for rent as of Oct 1st. I’m located on a lovely street with great mountain views in the desirable Fairfield Island neighborhood. …

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Super affordable self contained suite in uptown New Westminster. Asking only $650. AVL Sept 1, 2013- RENTED

Ultra-affordable self-contained Jr-1 bedroom suite located in desirable uptown New Westminster. Your new home is one of 8 suites in this unique heritage house, which has been completely renovated, but still retains its original character and charm. This suite is …

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Fireplace flames

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation in Nanaimo is 23 years old. The homes are townhouses, all of which have a wood- burning fireplace. We have recently been advised by the chimney cleaners that the fireboxes and chimneys have seriously …

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Ontario moves to license condo managers

Ontario’s 1.3 million condominium owners are “out on a limb” and have not been getting the protection and support they need, says Realtor Linda Pinizzotto, founder and president of the province’s Condo Owners Association (COA). Things appear to be starting …

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The hidden costs of avoiding depreciation report

Dear Condo Smarts: What happens if a strata corporation exempts itself from the requirement for a depreciation report, but a buyer cannot get a mortgage as a result? I have been trying to sell my unit for the past seven …

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Who foots the bill for underinsured damages?

Dear Condo Smarts: I live in a two-bedroom condo in a 14-year-old building in Burnaby. I was the original owner and have upgraded my unit over the years to include hardwood floors and a new kitchen. Back in June, the …

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Can strata council insist on seeing private policies?

Dear Condo Smarts: We have been reading your column for years but have never seen the following issue addressed. At the recommendation of legal counsel, our strata corporation adopted a bylaw in 2007 that requires owners to purchase homeowner insurance …

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Get legal advice before signing management contract

Dear Condo Smarts: We have just completed our second AGM and had our first council meeting. The strata manager brought a new contract to us and advised that we had to sign the contract after the AGM as the newly …

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No provision for ‘ballots-only’ strata meeting

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation recently held a ballots-only special general meeting to vote on a new bylaw that changes our age restriction from 55 and older to 19 and older. Many of the owners objected to the meeting …

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Voting in mixed-use stratas

Dear Condo Smarts: I own one of four commercial units in a small mixed use development in Kelowna. There are 20 residential units, and the four commercial units. The strata corporation at the AGM recently passed a new bylaw regarding …

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Owner’s insurance

Dear Condo Smarts: My wife and l live on the eighth floor of a 28-floor highrise building in Vancouver. Every year we faithfully attend the annual meeting of the strata and have been vigilant in securing insurance for our condo. …

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Tale of two tax men and strata corporations

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation has been advised by our new strata manager that we have an obligation to file a tax return every year. We have never filed a tax return and, considering that strata corporations are non-profit …

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Who’s responsible for limited common property?

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation has designated all of our parking spaces as limited common property so that the owners are clear on how the parking is designated. The resolution passed without any question and the plan was filed …

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No provisions for absentee ballots

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata council at Whistler recently had a meeting where the property manager had received all of the proxies, which were described to the owners at the meeting as voting ballots. Each of the ballots was counted …

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Renting your home can be lucrative, but are you ready for tenants from hell?

TORONTO – Even years after her first tenants moved out, Donna Grimshaw still remembers the damage the they did to her townhouse. She rhymes it off like a shopping list, starting with bedroom carpets that were destroyed, water damage from …

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Maintaining strata records a tough task

Dear Condo Smarts: What type of information are buyers entitled to? We are looking at an older unit in a strata corporation that had a partial building envelope repair done in 2006. The south wall and exposed stairwells were essentially …

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User-fee fight

Q: I live in a bare-land strata and would like to know if our council has the authority to charge extra user fees for what it considers to be excess garden refuse removal from our strata lot. From the inception …

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New Westminster bachelor suite wants you! Cool heritage home in a great neighborhood. 328 4th St, asking $599, AVL June 1st- RENTED

Ultra-affordable self-contained bachelor suite located in desirable uptown New Westminster. Your new home is one of 8 suites in this unique heritage house, which has been completely renovated, but still retains its original character and charm. This suite is perfect …

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15% of downtown Vancouver condos sit empty, turning areas into ghost towns: Study

Barkerville. Deadwood. Downtown Vancouver? An analysis of Vancouver’s empty condo rate or those occupied by foreign  residents, by UBC planning professor Andy Yan, reveals much of the downtown core  is starting to look like B.C.’s ghost towns — with apartments …

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Surrey condo owner forced to sell after complaints

The B.C. Supreme Court has upheld a rare ruling ordering a condo owner to sell her property following years of complaints from neighbours. Rose Jordison and her son Jordy have 30 days to sell their Surrey condo, after a judge …

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Vancouver 2 bedroom main floor suite- 6368 Main St (49th and Main)- AVL Sept 1, 2013, asking $1195 INCLUDING UTILITIES

Great Location near skytrain at Cambie and 49th! 2 bedroom main floor suite of a 3 level, 3 suite house on 49th avenue and Main Street in Vancouver. Close to Langara College and Oakridge Center. Your new home includes laminate …

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Conflict of interest on the council

Dear Condo Smarts: Our owners have a simple question. Is it legal to pay the strata council? Our strata council members have basically hired each other to act as the resident caretaker, the janitor, the security person, the gardener and …

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Trouble in the parking lot

Dear Condo Smarts: Could you please tell us how we can confirm what parking spaces are permanently allocated to a strata lot before we purchase a unit? We have been viewing a number of condos in Vancouver over the past …

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How to divide up the costs of shared repairs

There are legal specifications regarding how strata fees and special levies should be applied to different sized units Dear Condo Smarts: Our townhouse complex is 14 years old. The first buyers moved in during 1998-99. From the beginning, the owners …

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Know the rules governing strata surplus funds

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation is 144 units in Burnaby. Our annual budget is $750,000 this year, and with close monitoring, we manage a surplus most years. We have historically carried over our surplus to the next year’s budget as …

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New City of Vancouver database lists problem rental buildings

VANCOUVER – The city of Vancouver opened a new front Wednesday in its war against substandard rental housing, releasing a searchable database of 2,500 buildings — from single-room occupancy hotels to private apartments. That database, which allows anyone to browse …

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Reject Beach Towers proposal, say residents

West End residents advocating for affordable housing will ask City Hall to  reject a Beach Towers rezoning application that proposes the development of 133  units available at above-market rental prices. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, city council will hold a public …

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What you should know about strata insurance

Dear Condo Smarts: Our tenant of 10 years moved out in October 2012 and a new tenant moved in on Jan. 1 after we completed a few minor renovations. During the Christmas holiday, while we were having the place repainted, …

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Vancouver real estate buyers waiting for a price collapse in 2013 could be in for a long wait

Sales remains strong despite cool condo market. While prospective home buyers appear to be waiting for an ever-elusive real  estate bubble to burst in Vancouver, people thinking of selling their homes also  appear to be willing to wait. The most …

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Strata council cannot ignore special needs

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata council has received an application from an owner to make alterations to her strata lot to accommodate her husband, who is now limited to a wheelchair. We live in an older building, and while we …

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Highly charged parking issue for strata council

Dear Condo Smarts: We have just purchased an electric vehicle. We live in a mid-sized condo in Victoria that was constructed in the early 1980s. Like many consumers, we were enticed by the flashy gizmos and the lure of energy …

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Century-old Vancouver warehouse reborn with $10-million restoration

VANCOUVER — With a five-level glass addition about to go on top, a Beatty  Street warehouse built in 1909 and vacant for decades is about to rise in a  phoenix-like, $10 million restoration to fresh, mixed-use life. Approved unanimously by …

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Condo Smarts: How to ensure gas lines are kept in good repair

Dear Condo Smarts: A few weeks ago, you wrote an article about who was responsible for the water delivery lines in townhouse units. Since then, our strata council has met and decided it would be a much cheaper and more …

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Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley property sales plummet in November compared to last year

METRO VANCOUVER – The housing market continues to cool off in the Lower  Mainland, as the number of home sales dropped to 10-year lows in the Vancouver  area and average sale prices dipped across the region. Year-over-year sales decreased nearly …

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Condo buyers: Make sure you question the developer’s suite

This is it! This is where I want to live. I’m home suite home. Why? Because this master suite is perfect. It’s sweeter than all the other suites. Just look at the cove ceilings, the quarter sawn oak floors, the …

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Borrowing money for repairs tricky for strata

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation is a 54-unit apartment building in  Surrey. It is 37 years old and due for some major upgrades and construction. We have not had our depreciation report done yet, as we were planning on  …

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Transit corridors fuel sustained demand for condos in Metro Vancouver

The number of sales may be down in multi-family developments, but buyers are  still keen on new homes in highrises near transit lines, Colliers  International’s most recent residential real estate report for Metro Vancouver  found. Three developments in particular — …

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Vancouver Westside 4 bedroom charming character home for rent! 3532 W 22nd Ave. Asking $2195- available now! -RENTED

Awesome 4 bedroom (2 up, 2 down), 2 bath, 1486 square foot character home located in fantastic Dunbar area. Call today as this one won’t last long! Great location in Vancouver’s West side near UBC, Point Grey, Jericho Beach, Spanish Banks, …

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Plumbing the depths of water-pipe problems

Dear Condo Smarts: We are in an 86-unit townhouse development that was built around 1985. Our buildings and clubhouse are almost 30 years old, and we are preparing to do a number of upgrades to our property. We finished a …

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Realtors break out drinks, limo in crawling real estate market

Two Metro Vancouver realtors are taking a group of about 30 potential homebuyers out for a night on the town that includes drinks, appetizers and a limo ride. Along the way, the group will visit The Pint pub, as well …

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Condo life is rife with conflict

VANCOUVER — The biggest flaw in the act that governs the lives of close to a million British Columbians is that it assumes people will always act in the best interest of the group. Little in human history supports that notion. …

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First six-story wood-frame housing comes to market

Developer cites greater affordability as biggest selling point. The first of two six-storey wood-frame buildings to be built in Metro Vancouver is ready for people to move in, and developers around the province will likely be watching closely. Quattro3, part …

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B.C. developer introduces Canada’s smallest condos in Surrey

Apartments will start at 290 square feet and will cost about $650 a month Surrey development company Tien Sher is hoping to build Canada’s smallest condos — starting at just 290 square feet — if its latest project is approved. …

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Condo Smarts column: A strata council spends reserve fund on a non-emergency

What happens when a strata council spends all of the contingency funds on an unauthorized project, and then members of the council defend themselves by calling it an emergency? Our strata council decided that our fences needed to be replaced. …

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Mortgage rules exacerbating slump in B.C. housing sales

The value of home sales in B.C. declined more than 25 per cent last month compared to a year ago, according to a report from the B.C. Real Estate Association. That drop is steeper than in any other province, but …

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First strata council must obtain documentation

Dear Condo Smarts: Our strata corporation is three years old and we are starting the process of having the depreciation report done for our building. One of the challenges we are facing is that we have no plans or records …

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Yaletown condo 1 bedroom with an amazing 21st floor view for rent! Located at 1188 Richards. Asking $1499/ month- RENTED

Wow, don’t miss out on this 21st floor corner suite  Yaletown condo beauty! Amazing views of the North Shore mountains and False creek. Awesome location on the corner of Richards and Davie Street in the heart of Vancouver. Short walk to …

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Metro Vancouver apartment building sales on par with 2011

Metro Vancouver apartment building sales are on par with last year, although values have soared in the central city, according to a recently released report. “They [buyers] are buying tired buildings that haven’t been kept up and then spending a …

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How to tell if you’re exempt from rental bylaw

Dear Condo Smarts: When we bought our condo from the developer in 2007, we were advised by the sales person that the developer had filed a form required by the Strata Property Act that would exempt us from rental bylaws. …

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Vancouver home sales for July fall to lowest level since 2000

VANCOUVER – Metro Vancouver’s real estate market remained in a slump in July, with home sales volumes down 18.4 per cent compared to the same month a year earlier. The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said Thursday that regional …

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New website forces realtors to compete for your listing

Giorgio Lupinacci was surprised when he asked his realtor friends for a deal when he wanted to sell a property: Not one was willing to reduce the commission. So he decided to do something about it. The result is Bidcomhomes.com, …

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Uptown New Westminster affordable bachelor suite in a heritage house- free cable! 328 4th St. Asking $695- RENTED

Ultra-affordable self-contained bachelor suite located in desirable uptown New Westminster. Your new home is one of 8 suites in this unique heritage house, which has been completely renovated, but still retains its original character and charm. This suite is perfect …

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Vancouver-style high rents a drag on national economy: report

Ian Patton recently rented a new place in Vancouver after months of looking for a good deal for himself, his wife and their two kids. Although a four-bedroom house for $1,900 a month is considered a good deal in the …

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Port Moody 3 bedroom townhouse for rent! 2000 Panorama Drive. Asking only $1695.- RENTED

Fantastic 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1350 square foot townhouse located in beautiful Port Moody. Call today as this one won’t last long! Great location near Coquitlam center, West Coast Express, and schools. Features include a lovely patio in the back …

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