Sutton Group West Coast Realty

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Buying your first home is such an exciting experience, but it can also be very stressful and confusing. There is a ton of legal paperwork, mortgage documents, and requirements from your lender that you will need to provide prior to having your mortgage funded. 

We understand how complicated this process can be and want to help, so we've put together a list of questions that first-time homebuyers should be asking before they submit an offer to purchase a home. 


How to does a mortgage work?

A mortgage is a secured loan that uses your new home as collateral. If you do not pay your mortgage, your lender can seize your home. After owning your home for a few years or increasing its value, you can also use your mortgage to borrow funds against the value of your property. 

How long does it take to get a mortgage?

From pre-approval to funding, it usually takes about 3-6 weeks. Keep in mind, this is dependant upon how quickly you can submit the required documents for the lenders' approval. 

Fixed-rate vs. adjustable rate

A fixed-rate loan is just that, fixed at the amount that you lock in for for the duration of the loan. An adjustable-rate will fluctuate with the market rates, meaning your mortgage payments can increase or decrease depending on the current rate. 

What do you need to get a mortgage:

  • Social Insurance Number
  • Tax returns from the previous 2 years
  • Payslips from your employer for the past 1-2 years
  • Evidence of any assets, stocks, bonds, etc. 
  • Credit card statements from the previous years
  • Bank statements for the previous 1-2 years
  • Any other documents required by your lender. 

What credit score do you need to get a mortgage?

This will depend on your bank, however, a score over 600 should make it fairly easy to obtain a mortgage. The higher the credit score, the easier it will be and the lower the interest rate you'll be offered. To calculate your debt-to

What is debt-to-income ratio?

Your debt to income ratio calculates how much of your gross income is spent on paying your monthly debts. Lenders use this amount to judge your ability to repay the loan and the amount you'll be able to pay, essentially deciding your approved mortgage amount. 

To calculate your debt-to-income ratio, divide your monthly debt payments by your gross income amount, example:

Debt amount (mortgage, car & credit card payments) - $1,800

Gross income amount - $5,000

1,800/5,000 = 36%

Each lender will have different amounts, however, 43% is typically the highest debt-to-income ration on which they will lend. 

How to choose a mortgage lender?

Shop around! We highly recommend chatting with a mortgage broker who will shop around for you and find you the best rates. Ask your broker to bring you 3-4 pre-approved lenders, review carefully, and choose the best one for you. The best part is that a mortgage broker is free to you, the lenders pay their fees, so it's no extra cost to you! 

What are closing costs and how expensive are they?

See our blog post "The costs of buying and selling a home" regarding closing costs to calculate how much you may need to purchase your first home. 

Should you get pre-approved for a mortgage?

Yes, by all means, get pre-approved. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend buying a new home. You don't want to be shopping for $600,000 homes when you've only been approved for $400,000. This will also show the sellers that you are motivated and serious about purchasing. 

Can a seller refuse to make repairs?

Yes, a seller can refuse to make repairs but don't let this scare you away. If a problem has been found during the home inspection and the seller refuses to make repairs, you can negotiate a discount upon closing with the seller to receive a credit for the amount that it will cost you to make the repairs. 

What happens at closing?

This is always an exciting day! This is the day the title to the property has been transferred into your name, funds have been transferred to the seller's lawyer, and you become legally responsible for the property. 

When can you move in?

It may sound as though 'closing day' is your move-in date, however, that is not always the case. When you first submitted the offer to purchase, you will have agreed to a closing date and a possession date. The possession date is when you will have access to the home and can begin to move in. 

What should you do before move-in?

Prior to move-in, you'll want to ensure all the utilities have been transferred to your name and are hooked up. You may also want to spend a day doing a thorough clean of the home before you start bringing your stuff over. If you plan to do any painting or repairs, doing this prior to moving in will make things much easier, however, it's not necessary. 

What should you do after move-in?

First and foremost, you'll want to secure your home, this means changing the locks and updating the security system code passwords. You'll also want to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are correctly functioning and replace the batteries. Additionally, you should locate your circuit box and any emergency shut-offs in case of an emergency. 

Start unpacking, order a pizza, crack a well deserved cold one, and enjoy your new home! 

If you're thinking about taking the leap and purchasing your first home, we would be thrilled to chat with you and provide you with some insight on what you can expect through the process and tell you a little more about how we can help! 

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Prices are high, inventory is moving quickly, and buyers are offering over asking price without conditions, seems like the worst time to be buying right? Actually, it's the perfect time to buy your first home! 

When we look back over the last decade there's been one consistent trend in real estate and that has been the steady increase in the value of homes. Everyone wants a piece of the real estate market, it's a safe and reliable investment that will almost always provide a profit in the long run. 

If you're looking to purchase your first home, here are a few things we can do help you:

Access to all pertinent information online

We understand the next generation is virtual and we're completely on board with this. We can provide you with 3D virtual tours of homes you're interested in viewing, drone videos of the home and neighbouring area, and access to all documents online. Imagine buying your first home from your iPad! 

Assistance throughout the entire process

From the first discussion we have regarding what you're looking for in your new home right up to moving day when we hand you the keys, we will be there to guide and assist you. 

Is your bank not giving you a great mortgage rate? No problem, I have a mortgage broker who can help you! Need to have an inspection or appraisal done? Great, I can put you in touch with the most affordable and professional inspectors and appraisers right now! 

There's a lot of paperwork and tons of 'fine print' that goes along with buying a home and we will be here to explain it all to you easily and clearly so that you can make this decision with confidence. 

We are available to answer all your questions 24/7 via Text, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Messenger, Email, Phone, and of course by fax or pager ;) JK! 

Your Needs Come First

Buying your first home is a HUGE decision and one that should not be taken lightly. You have a list of things you want and need in your new home and you should also have a list of things you do not want. We can assure you that we will be listening to your needs. We aren't going to show you a condo when you've told us 5x that you want a townhome, we also aren't going to waste your time by showing you homes that are over your budget or in an area that you don't want. We understand how precious your time is and we aren't here to waste it, we are here to help you find the RIGHT home you! 

We, at JP Real Estate, are dedicated to helping first-time homebuyers get their foot in the door, literally and figuratively! 

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Many homeowners have chosen to defer mortgage payments through the Covid-19 pandemic. We had written an article about the pros and cons of deferring your payments a few months ago, however, we did not touch on how this may affect your credit.

In a perfect world, deferring your mortgage payments should not affect your credit score at all, however, there are a few people who have notices their credit scores dropping and it's due to deferred payment errors. 

Mortage deferrals need to be reported in a certain way and it needs to be done within 30 days, if not done correctly, it can negatively affect your credit score. A false late or missing payment can affect your credit score by up to 150 points! Correcting this can take months and it may never be fully repaired correctly until your deferrals have ceased and you're able to build your credit score back up again. 

If you have chosen to defer your mortgage payments, I suggest you speak with your bank as soon as possible and ask them how they are reporting your deferred payments and how often. I also suggest obtaining a copy of your most recent credit report to review your score and recent history to ensure this has not affected your score negatively. 

As we all know, our credit scores are extremely important and can impact many things in our lives, not just our mortgages. Credit scores are used to obtain a cell phone plan, buy a new vehicle, rent an apartment, and so much more.

If you find that your credit score has been impacted negatively due to deferrals, we suggest speaking with your bank immediately and asking them to provide the credit bureau with the correct information. But keep in mind, this update will not happen overnight and may take months to fix so getting on top of this now is imperative!

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Secrets to get your home off the market quickly! 

Once you’ve made the decision to sell your home, you want the sale process to happen as soon as possible! Homes that sit on the market for long periods of time tend to have price reductions and receive lower offers from potential buyers. Also, the thought of paying for 2 homes, if you’ve already purchased a new one, is not ideal for anyone. 

We have previously discussed how to sell your home quickly, but we wanted to share a few extra tips and a couple of reminders to give you the best opportunity to sell your home fast! 

Price it right

Pricing your home right from the start. Agents typically look each and every morning to see new listings that have just opened on the market and if your home is priced right, they will be bringing their potential buyers right away. A home that is priced correctly will likely receive multiple offers in the first few days and can choose the offer that suits them best. However, a home that is not priced correctly will be bypassed by agents and buyers, and will likely be subject to a price change in the near future. A price change can often insinuate an urgent need to sell, giving potential buyers the idea that you will be willing to entertain much lower offers. 

Pre-sale home inspection

Having a home inspection completed prior to selling is an excellent way to take care of any issues in advance and therefore increase the value of your home. It is also a great benefit to share with your buyers, as they can quickly cross one thing off their list and appease their lenders immediately. 

Sell when the market inventory is low

Selling your home when there are not many other options available on the market will ensure that your home stands out. Also, keep an eye on the types of homes that are listed. For example: If the market is saturated with 2 bedroom ranchers with a small backyard, but your home is a 2 story, 4 bedroom home with a large yard, it’s definitely going to catch the eye of buyers and is likely to sell faster. 

Curb appeal

First impressions last a lifetime! This is the first thing your buyer is going to see when they drive up to your home and you want to ensure it shows it’s best. Mow the lawn, weed the garden, add some lighting, and plant some flowers or add some potted plans. Curb appeal is what will immediately attract or turn off buyers from your home, do yourself the favour and spruce this up before selling your home. 

Paint the interior walls

A fresh coat of paint will make your home look clean, fresh, and updated. We suggest hiring a professional painter and choosing neutral colours. 

Front door

The front door is often overlooked, but again, this is one of the first things your potential buyers see. Ensure it’s clean or freshly painted, has ample lighting, and a friendly welcoming touch such as a plant or flowers. 

Open houses

Host at least 2 open houses per week, ideally over the weekend, on Saturday and Sunday. We understand this may be inconvenient for a week or two but its the best opportunity to showcase your home to as many potential buyers as possible. 

If people are not interested in your home, ask them why

While it may seem like an awkward conversation to have, this will give you the best opportunity to change, update, or fix something that you may be overseeing that potential buyers are noticing. Remember, do not take their feedback personally, their comments are to help you, not hurt you! 

Sell your home furnished

Many buyers look at a home and love the furnishings, they can’t imagine living there without your dining room table and sofa. Being open to selling some of your furnishings can be the perfect way to seal the deal! 

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4 Things that change when you make the move from renting to homeownership

The benefits and responsibilities

We've all been raised to think that life happens in a certain order. First, we complete our education, then we find a great job, we get married, and we buy a home to raise our family in. What we are not taught are all the responsibilities and benefits that come along with homeownership. While a few of them may not seem like a benefit at the time, in the long run, homeownership is definitely the best investment for your money. 

1. Repairs

As a homeowner, you don't have the ease of calling your landlord to tell him that your fridge has broken or you need a new stove, these costs fall on you and you'll need to save for them. With any home, there is constant wear and tear, things that will break down, or require repairs, and as a homeowner these are your responsibility. Always try to have a backup plan for these repairs if and when they are needed. 

2. Separate bills

As a renter, you may have had the benefit of paying just one bill to your landlord and having all your utilities included. However, as a homeowner, this is no more. Along with the pride of owning your own home, you also have the responsibility of paying all the associated bills. you will receive separate bills for everything, including internet, cable, phone, electric, and don't forget there will be a few that are likely new to you such as garbage collection and water bills. 


3. Property taxes 

Property taxes are another bill that you will be responsible for. While many banks will include the taxes in your monthly payments, some may not and you will be responsible to come up with this amount each year. Also, be aware that if you choose to build an addition onto your home, you may be charged a higher amount for that extra space. 

4. Build equity

As a renter, you are paying into something that is not gaining you any future value. Whereas a homeowner is building equity in their home that can be used for future home purchases, loans, and of course, a greater profit when selling the home. Making your mortgage and utility payments on time each month will also help to build your credit, which is extremely beneficial for future purchases and loans. 

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Summer is officially here!

Covid-19 has definitely put a damper on things over the last few months, however, we live on the most beautiful island which is full of adventure and life that can be experienced safely while remaining socially distanced. If you're looking to get out of the house and explore some of this island, here are a few tips and ideas of things you can do this summer. 
Head to the beach
The Capital Regional District has countless beaches that can make for a great day trip or picnic spot. Find one locally that you walk to from home, or get adventurous and head out towards Jordan River or Port Renfrew to experience the true West Coast beaches.  
If you're looking for something new, take a drive up island, Parksville, Ucluelet, Tofino, and so many other great locations have miles upon miles of beaches to be explored where you can surely keep your distance from others. 
Get online and book your campsite now! This is a great way to keep your distance from others while enjoying the outdoors. Many campsites are still accepting reservations and there's even a few right in 'our backyard' such as Goldstream Provincial Campground if you'd prefer to stay close to home. 
Go for a hike
One of the best parts of Vancouver Island is having the great outdoors right at your fingertips. You'll find beautiful hikes nearby such as Mount Douglas or get a bit more adventurous and head out to Goldstream Park and hike up to the trestle or the top of Mount Finlayson. 
Float on the lake
Grab an inner tube or air mattress and head to one of the local lakes to soak it all in. A great way to spend a day relaxing in the sun and having the lake to cool off in. There are countless lakes in the area where you can easily set up a small spot and spend the day floating and swimming. 
Whale Watching
While being stuck on a boat with strangers may not seem like the ideal place to be during a pandemic, the local whale watching companies in Victoria have taken great measures to ensure their customer's safety and social distancing. A day on the ocean taking in the sights and seeing some whales is a day well spent! 
Goats on the roof
Take a drive up to Coombs for the day, grab some lunch, and see the famous goats on a roof! This area has plenty of outdoor space for you to explore and the stores, shops, and restaurants have all take appropriate measures to ensure your safety. 
We hope these suggestions help you and your family get outside and explore the wondrous sights this place we call home has to offer!
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Buying and selling your home isn't just a simple "sales" transaction, there are a lot of costs associated with the process. These costs can add up quickly and be a surprise to many buyers, particularly first time home buyers. Below we've put together a sample of these costs based on the price of an average home in Victoria, B.C. for both sales and purchases. Please note that these prices can vary depending on the value of your home and it's condition.   

Buying a new home:

Price $850,000

Property Transfer Tax

This paid to the government on the purchase of every home. This tax is calculated at 1% on the first $200,000 and 2% on the remainder. Therefore, for this home, the transfer tax would be as follows:

$200,000 x 1% = $2,000

$650,000 (the remaining balance above $200,000) x 2% = $13,000

TOTAL = $15,000


You will require a lawyer or notary to prepare and file the mortgage (if required) and transfer documents. Expect to pay about $1,500. 


Fortunately, as a buyer, you will not need to pay realtor fees, this fee is taken care of by the seller 


If you are borrowing funds from the bank, you may need to have an appraisal completed prior to securing the mortgage. An appraisal is always recommended, however, it is not mandatory when purchasing a home, unless your lender has required this. An appraisal will cost approximately $500

Building/Property Inspection

We would always recommend having an inspection done prior to buying a new home. An inspection will catch anything that may be wrong with the home, roof, foundation, etc. that can't be seen with the naked eye and could save you thousands of dollars later! If you've applied for a mortgage, you will be required to have an inspection completed. The cost of an inspection is approximately $500 and worth every penny! 

Moving costs

Moving is never cheap, it's just one of those things that always has a way of finding extra costs. If you plan to hire movers, rent boxes, etc. you can expect to pay about $3,000. This may be cheaper if you have access to large trucks and a small army of friends who are able to help you, however, the costs of pizza, beers, and possibly broken furniture will quickly add up! 

Hookup fees

Now that you're in your new home, wouldn't it be great to sit back and watch a movie...oh wait, you forgot to tell the cable company you were moving. Well, unfortunately, there's a cost associated with that too, and all your other utilities such as internet, phone, etc. Hookup fees can be as high as $2,500 depending on each companies costs and the various utilities you require. 


Now not all homes will require a septic system, although if yours does, you can expect to pay about $800 to have this job completed. 

GST on a new home

If you've purchased a new home, you are also subject to GST. The GST payable on a new home is 5%, therefore in this scenario, the buyer would be required to pay $42,500. 

Your new $850,000 home will now cost you $916,300 ($873,800 if the home is not new). The buyer needs to have these funds available, on top of the deposit, in order to purchase their home. Fortunately, many lenders will include the GST amount in the mortgage to ease the financial burden for buyers, but you will need to speak with your lender about these terms in advance. 

Now, if we are the seller of this home, our costs are a bit different, let's take a look:

Selling a home:

Price $850,000

Property Transfer Tax

This is only paid by the purchaser, zero cost to the buyer (you've already paid this when you purchased the home).


As a seller, you will require a lawyer or notary to complete the sales transaction, mortgage payout, and any liens or interests on the property, this should cost you approximately $1,500

Building/Property Inspection

We would always recommend having a pre-inspection done prior to selling your home. This will identify any issues, obvious and hidden that could affect your selling price. This gives you the opportunity to address these issues prior to marketing your home to guarantee you get the highest amount possible. A pre-inspection will cost approximately $500.


Selling commissions are split 50/50 between the seller's realtor and the purchaser's realtor, however, the entire cost is the responsibility of the seller. The majority of realtors charged the same commission of 6% on the first $100,000 and 3% on the remainder, therefore the realtor fees for this home would be as follows:

$100,000 x 6% = $6,000

$750,000 (the remaining balance above $100,000) x 3% = $22,500

TOTAL = $28,500

GST on Realtor Commission

The seller is also responsible to pay GST (5%) on the full commission payable to the realtor, in this case, that amount would be $28,500 x 5% = $1,425 GST payable.

Mortgage Payout Penalty

If you are selling your home before it's paid in full, you likely have a payout penalty clause in the mortgage. Be sure to read through your mortgage and be prepared to pay the bank. This cost will vary depending on the rate you've agreed to and the amount remaining on your mortgage. To be safe, let's say $5,000.


Seller does not need to provide an appraisal for the property. 

Moving costs

Moving costs for the seller as the same as for a buyer, this will run you approximately $3,000.

The total cost of selling your home is approximately $39,925. The lawyer will pay out the remaining balance of your mortgage, realtor fees, any liens or interests that have been filed against your home, taxes, their own invoice, and any other applicable charges prior to releasing the sale proceeds to the seller. 

As you can see, buying and selling your home is not as simple as one may think and it's definitely not cheap! If you have any questions about the buying, selling, or the real estate market, please feel free to contact me at your convenience, I'd be more than happy to discuss this with you. 

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Buying a home is often one of the biggest and most expensive decisions we will ever make. Everyone has their own particular wants and needs for their new home and we want to help you make your decisions as easy as possible. The list below covers a few things we should all consider when purchasing a new home. 

Size - Is the home big enough for your family to grow into? Will you need to add on additional space? And if so, is the yard space big enough for a home addition? If you're looking forward to retirement or the children moving out soon, then you want to think about the opposite, will the home be too big for you to manage on your own? Do you need all the extra space? Always consider the future and how your life may change in the coming years when buying a home. 

Decor - While it may be hard to see passed the floral drapes and colourful wallpaper, keep in mind that these are simple and quite affordable fixes. Try to envision your family and belongings in the space rather than the current decor. Do not get distracted by the seller's personal style and instead imagine each room styled to your taste. 

Location & neighbourhood - Is the area safe? Is it walkable? Are there schools, shopping, amenities, etc. nearby? If there's a large highway or airport nearby there will be a lot of noise. Be sure to drive around the neighbourhood and ensure that this location works for you and your family's lifestyle.

Yard - Are you outdoorsy? If you want to have a garden, bbq area, or even a swimming pool, you want to ensure that the yard has the space for this. On the other hand, if you're not outdoorsy, maybe a small, easily manageable yard is better for you. 

Community Plan - Review the community plan with your local government for this area. What are the plans for this area? You want to make sure the Community Plan is in line with your plan for your new home and lifestyle.  

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5 Tips for Getting back to Business

The challenges of reopening your business

With many companies recently reopening their doors and many about to in the near future, we want to share a few ideas that help you reopen your business and how to get through the challenges of running your business in the midst of a global pandemic. 

1. Cutting costs

Review your costs carefully and be sure to cut your costs wisely. Any costs you choose to cut will, in turn, cut your ability to generate revenue and keep your business going. Do not cut costs on your customer service, marketing, and most importantly, on the quality of your product or service. 

2. Bring your employees back

Having your employees return to work, even part-time, will bring the business back to life. They can find a job anywhere, but they've chosen to work with you, and you've chosen to work with them, you have an investment in each other and your company. Remember that they want to be there and you want them there!

Also, not bringing your employees back can cost you extra, you may still be paying extended healthcare costs or other benefits for them.   

3. Reinvest in your business model 

It's probably the last thing you want to do right now but it's also the thing that's most likely to keep you in business! Ask yourself the following questions to rework and reinvest in your business:

  • What should your business model be when you come out of this?
  • Is your current business model viable during a global pandemic? If not, how can you adjust it to run your business until things are normal again?
  • Are there ways to put all your expertise into a stronger revenue stream?
  • What do you sell? Is there still a need for this?
  • How do you sell it? Reevaluate your marketing and customer service 
  • How do you deliver your product to your buyers? Is there a way to provide your product while maintaining social distancing or no-contact?

4. Consider new vendors

Just because your business has opened does not mean that all your vendors have. You may need to look at new vendors who offer safer options to provide your products and service. You also have plenty of reason to shop around for the best-priced vendors at this time. 

5. Take advantage of local programs

There are plenty of Federal, Provincial, and Local programs available to assist businesses in reopening. Speak to your Landlord and discuss a rental discount, ask your Electrical provider if there's a discount offered to businesses. Do your research and see what's available to you, there is no shame in taking a helping during a crisis! 

JP Real Estate is rooting for you and your business to return and be better than ever! 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the reopening of your business, the current economy, real estate market, or anything else, please reach out to us at your convenience. 

We look forward to connecting you with greatness! 

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The Importance of Home Staging

When selling your home, you want it to appeal to as many buyers as possible. While your home may be decorated perfectly for you and your family, potential buyers are trying to imagine themselves and their belongings in the space, this is where Home Staging comes in. 

What is Home Staging?
Home staging is preparing your home for sale. The main goal of home staging is to ensure your home appeals to the highest number of potential buyers, therefore ensuring a quick sale at the highest value possible. 
What needs to be done?
1. Declutter
Clutter does two things for your home - it gives the idea that there is not enough storage space and it distracts buyers from the home's features. By decluttering, you will help to keep potential buyers focused on the important features of your home and give the idea of extra space throughout the home. 
2. Depersonalize
This one may be a bit hard for some sellers. This has been your home for a long time and your family has created many memories here. However, the potential buyers are trying to envision their family in the home and making new memories. You don't need to take down every single photo of your family, but you definitely don't need a fridge or a wall full of photos that will distract the buyers. 
3. Remove odors
You may not even realize it, but your home has an odor, every home does. Whether it be pets, kids, or even what you cooled for dinner last night, there will be an odor that is noticeable to anyone who doesn't live there.  Open windows to air the home out prior to a potential buyer coming to view and place some lightly scented air fresheners throughout. 
4. Wallpaper and paint
Chances are, any potential buyer is going to want to take down that wallpaper right away, do yourself a favour and take it down before selling and have it painted a nice neutral colour.  The same goes for brightly coloured rooms. Maybe your son or daughter has a neon green or bright purple bedroom; this will definitely put most buyers off. We know your child may not be happy about repainting, but rest assured, they can paint their new room at the house a fun new colour, this is only temporary! 
5. Lighting
Before a potential buyer arrives to your home, open all curtains, turn on lights, and create a warm welcoming feel. No one, especially a potential, in an unfamiliar home, wants to be walking around dimly light hallways and dark rooms. Another great tip is to change your light switch covers, this is a cheap and extremely easy update that will be noticed and appreciated. 
6. Exterior
Be sure that your lawn is freshly mowed, the hedges are trimmed, and gardens are weeded. This is a buyer's first impression of your home so you want it to look it's best.  A fresh coat of paint on the door, a shiny new door handle, or even some new exterior lighting can go a long way! 
7. Final touches
Add some fresh flowers throughout the home or a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen countertop. This will add a homey feeling while keeping it personalized. 
Home Staging helps potential buyers envision themselves living in your home. It will have them thinking about where they'd like to put their future and which picture they'd like on the walls. It's all about creating a vision for the buyer! 
If you have any questions about Home Staging or would like to discuss the current real estate market, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.
JP Real Estate more than a Real Estate company, we are community and we are here to help you. We look forward to connecting you with greatness!   
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The easiest way to increase the value of your home is to complete some home improvements, however, not all improvements will increase the value. If you’re thinking of selling your home, be aware that there are a few improvements that may actually decrease the value of your home. You want to be very careful when choosing which updates to make and which to avoid.

Below, I have put together a few home improvements that should be avoided:

1. Chef Quality/Gourmet Kitchen

High-quality kitchen upgrades may be great for you...however, they aren’t for everyone. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on marble countertops, custom cabinetry, and top quality appliances may not make its way back in your pocket. Simple upgrades are best for resale value, fresh paint or a new backsplash in neutral colours will increase the value much more than expected. Upgraded appliances are a great idea but they don’t need to be the most expensive appliances on the market, Granite countertops look just as nice without the added cost and cabinets can often be upgraded with a coat of paint and some new hardware.

2. DIY Painting

Yes, a fresh coat of paint will clean up any room, however, a job done poorly will decrease the value of the room quickly. Chipped and streaky paint jobs or bright colours will often trigger buyers to think of repainting and with that thought comes the thought of extra dollars spent. Always hire a professional to take of painting for you and be sure to choose neutral colours which will appeal to the majority of potential buyers.

3. The Extravagant Master Suite

Of course, we all want an extravagant master suite, although the costs associated with this luxury will hardly pay off. Fancy seating areas, the additional square footage that’s been ‘stolen’ from another bedroom or closet, and added plumbing costs in the bathroom can all add up quickly. A home that’s gone from 5 bedrooms to 4 bedrooms or a bedroom without a closet will immediately decrease the value of the home, regardless of how fancy that new bedroom is.

4. Wall to Wall Carpeting

Carpeting a room or a home wall-to-wall is a thing of the past. People want to see rooms that are easy to clean and can be quickly cared for. Adding a flooring that can be easily swept and mopped, in a neutral colour is what people are looking for. There are plenty of options for flooring that will give the look of real hardwood flooring and will increase the value of your home immediately. 

5. Swimming Pool or Hot Tub

Who doesn't want a swimming pool or hot tub? Most buyers do not want either of these! With these amenities comes a lot of additional costs, responsibility and upkeep. Keep in mind that if your property has space for these amenities, it can be easily marketed as such, which gives buyers the option of adding a pool or hot tub at a later date. 

These suggestions are not for every home and do not apply to every potential buyer, they are simply suggestions for you to keep in mind when planning to sell your home. If you'd like to discuss these improvements or any others that may increase or decrease the value of your home, please contact me directly as I would be happy to assist you. 

As always, JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we are in this together. We look forward to speaking with you and connecting greatness!

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The Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected Canada’s economy across the country, including the housing market. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has forecast a 9%-18% decrease in housing prices in the next year. Due to this prediction, CMHC has reviewed and updated its underwriting policies for insured mortgages in an attempt to reduce risk and protect future home buyers, as well as taxpayers.

CMHC has announced that effective July 1, 2020, the following changes will be made to their underwriting policies, these will affect all new applicants with regards to transactional and portfolio mortgage insurance:

  • Limiting the Gross/Total Debt Servicing (GDS/TDS) ratios to the standard requirements of 35/42;
  • Establish a minimum credit score of 680 for at least one borrower; and
  • Non-traditional sources of down payment that increase indebtedness will no longer be treated as equity for insurance purposes.

Refinancing for multi-unit mortgages have also been suspended, aside from those where the funds are used for repairs or reinvesting purposes, in an attempt to further mitigate risk. CMHC has already begun the process of repositioning its multi-unit mortgage insurance products.

How will this affect you, as a first-time buyer?

You will need to ensure your credit is in good standing and over maintain a credit score over 680.

Evidence by one of Canada’s largest financial institutions suggests that a large portion of first time home buyers, up to 30%, currently rely on borrowed funds for their down payments. These funds will now be hard to replace and significantly harder in our current economic environment. 

The Upside

The upside is that the impact of these latest changes to the debt service ratios on mortgage requirements will be partially mitigated by lower interest rates on various credit products.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns about CMHC’s upcoming amendments, the real estate market, the economy, or anything else, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.

JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we are in this together. We look forward to speaking with you and connecting greatness!

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Mortgage deferral — is this the right option for you? It’s a big decision to make, however, in times of crisis, economic downturn, loss of income, and many other factors, it just might be worth looking into.

We recently spoke with one of our clients who had just deferred his mortgage, this is his story:

I just deferred my mortgage for six months. This felt a bit weird, like a failure, psychologically. It seemed 'bad', akin to bankruptcy or paying one's taxes late. In my mind, it just had that financial 'loser' stigma. However, when thinking more practically, it's actually a huge win, for me.

With the travel restrictions lasting continuing through the summer, I had just lost an overseas contract that paid me $22,500 per year. I realized that living without this income would be very challenging, I had depended on this income and now it was gone. I also realized that skipping thirteen massive bi-weekly mortgage payments comes to within $400 of replacing this figure, phew, good save!

I later realized these figures aren't actually equal, not even close. Of course $22,100 is very similar to $22,500. I'm not quibbling over $400. What dawned on me is that the $22,100 is savings, and is therefore untaxed.

However, I shouldn't be comparing the topline revenue I lost, but the bottom line. Net revenue from the lost self-employed income would have been about $10,000, max, after taxes. Keeping things in that ratio I can see that in order to net $22,100 cash I would actually have to earn approximately $45,000-50,000.

Then the guilt kicks in again. Am I stealing from someone? Am I taking advantage of millions in government benefits that could otherwise go to support small businesses? No, I'm making my own mortgage more expensive, in fact. The bank still makes all their money and the online deferral application explains this all very clearly. Personally, I am going to be paying $33,000 more over the next 28 years. On the one hand, you might try to hold $22,000 (benefit) up against $33,000 (cost), and decide just to get back to hustling, to work harder, or try to find more work. That could very well be the right answer for so many people, but it wasn’t for me. 

Life happens, family members get sick, people need our help, our time, and often access to our finances. At this time, it doesn't matter to me if I am mortgage-free in March of 2048 or 6 months after that. Maybe I'll feel differently at that time, but right now the benefit outweighs the cost. Retirement planning is a much bigger picture than calculating 6 months of mortgage payments. It is also very likely that I will downsize as an empty nester in the next five or ten years, reducing my mortgage obligation correspondingly. 

Whether you look at it like trading $22,000 for $33,000 in over 10,000 days from now, or whether it seems more like hitting pause on your financial life, it helps me get through 2020 with a peace of mind that I otherwise wouldn’t have. If at some point later in the year I find myself with an adequate emergency buffer in my chequing account, I plan to reinvest this into my house. I'll insulate my basement and my attic, and be more ready to weather the storms that might come after this one finally passes while increasing the value of my home.

While we can’t advise you what the right decision is for you and your family, but we are happy to provide you the information and guide you along the way. Maybe deferring your mortgage isn’t the best option for you right now, however, maybe it is and maybe it’s something you need to look into. Either way, we are happy to discuss this with you and provide some insight into this topic.

As always, we at JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we are in this together. We look forward to speaking with you and connecting greatness!

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Selling your home is a difficult process in the best of times, add on a global pandemic, an increasing unemployment rate, social distancing rules, an unstable economy, and it may seem nearly impossible. Thankfully it is not impossible and JP Real Estate can help you during these trying times to market and sell your home at the best price possible.

With the latest technology, social media, virtual tours, and countless marketing options, selling your home during this time can still be done and may not be as difficult as you think. Below are a few tips we’ve put together to help you through this process and put your mind at ease.

1. Hire a Real Estate Professional

We know, we know, you’ve heard this a million times, but it’s truly the best thing you can do. Hiring a professional who can offer experience, stage your home, market your home on countless sites that you wouldn’t have access to as a private seller, and handle all the legal paperwork that goes along with the sale will save you hours of grief and aggravation.

2. Virtual Tours & Drone Video’s

As many buyers and sellers are not comfortable touring homes in the midst of a pandemic, virtual tours have become the new norm for home buyers.  JP Real Estate is fully equipped to provide you with the most professional, detailed virtual tours of your home, as well as drone videos of the house, yard, and surrounding area. These two options are priceless as buyers can see your entire home and neighbourhood without leaving the comforts of theirs, ensuring everyone’s safety.

3. Do It Yourself

If there are some projects that you can do yourself such as painting, touchups, updating hardware or electrical covers, now is the time to do it! We don’t suggest taking on large projects that would be better left to a professional, however, this extra time we have at home is the perfect opportunity to take on those small jobs that you can do yourself. You may be surprised by how much you can increase the value of your home by taking care of a few small jobs in your spare time and buyers are often much more attracted to a home that requires the least amount of work possible.

4. First Impressions

Mow the lawn, vacuum and mop the floors, wash the windows and mirrors...these little things will make a great first impression for anyone who is attempting to envision your home as their new home. With the great weather we’ve been having, it’s also the perfect time to do a few things outside to improve the curb appeal and get the backyard ready for BBQ season.

5. Social Media

It’s not just for cat video’s and funny meme’s! Once your Real Estate Professional has posted your listing online, be sure to share it on your social media, ask your friends and family to do the same. Social Media has become a daily part of our lives and sharing your home listing will definitely be beneficial to the sale of your home. You never know who may be perusing Facebook or Instagram and realize that their dream home just came available!

JP Real Estate has access to countless contractors, mortgage brokers, lenders, lawyers, notaries, investors, and so many more, to ensure everything from staging to marketing to moving day will be a smooth transition. We want to help you sell your home quickly, seamlessly, and, most importantly, at a price you are happy with.

As always, we at JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we are in this together. We look forward to speaking with you and connecting greatness!

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As we move towards Phase II of reopening the country, we want to remind you to stay safe, healthy, calm, and kind.

There are many businesses opening their doors with new protocols in place and while we understand this may be frustrating and confusing, for both business owners and customers, we must trust in the process and learn to adapt to these new rules. These new protocols have been put in place for the safety of ourselves and our loved ones.

Life as we knew it may not return to our "normal" even as we approach this second phase of the country reopening. Our new norm will include wearing face masks, consistent hand washing, and continued social distancing.  Until a vaccine or cure for Covid-19 is found, tested, and proven, we will live in this new norm, which is not normal at all.

Consistent handwashing is, without a doubt, the best way to stop the spread of this virus. You will find hand sanitizer at the entrances to malls, banks, grocery stores and so many more going forward. Wearing a mask is also a great way to protect ourselves and others. They may not feel stylish or even comfortable at first, but with a little time, you may find yourself more comfortable wearing a mask than not.

We’d like to remind you that even though many businesses are reopening, it’s not a reason to be rushing out shopping or meeting in large groups. We are still at great risk for a second wave of this virus to affect us and we need to now be as diligent as ever.

In British Columbia, particularly on Vancouver Island, our numbers have remained quite low. Our province acted quickly, our citizens followed procedures, and luckily, we were able to keep the virus at bay for the most part. If we can continue following these new protocols, we can keep the number of infected persons down and hopefully get ourselves ‘back to normal’ sooner, rather than later.

If you have any questions or would simply like to discuss Phase II and how it will affect businesses, the real estate market, the local economy, investments, or anything else, please let me know as I would be more than happy to speak with you.

As always, we at JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we will get through this together. We look forward to speaking with you and connecting greatness!

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To say that our lives have changed over the past 2 months would be a great understatement, how we are handling these changes is another thing. We want to encourage you to look at this as a gift, a gift of time, to unwind, to reflect, refresh, and recalibrate. 

It can be extremely hard to remain positive during these uncertain times but if you look for the positivity, it can be easily found! It can be found in the small things, sitting down to dinner with your family every night, finally finishing that book that’s been collecting dust on your bedside table, planting that garden you’ve always wanted, or simply enjoying the downtime. 

We’ve been given the gift of a “pause” from our everyday lives, and this may be the only one we get in our lifetimes. This time we’ve been given is a great opportunity to take an online course, learn a new language, perfect your baking skills, take on a new hobby, or just catch up on all those backlogged emails. We want to encourage you to try to remain positive and take pleasure in the little things that you may not have made time for previously

This is also a great time to reassess your wants versus your needs. Is a bigger, newer home what you need? Or would you better off to downsize to a smaller home and live a more minimalistic lifestyle? Do you need the newest iPhone or will your current phone suffice a little longer? Do you wish you had more quality time with your kids? This is your opportunity to make some changes that you can carry forward into the ‘new norm’. Take this time to reflect on what’s truly important to you and how you can make this part of your everyday life. 

Last but definitely not least, focus on the things you can control. Turn the TV off if the news is too depressing, avoid spending too much time on social media, these are just two small things that you can control and will help with your current mindset. Additionally, be sure to incorporate a little exercise in your daily routine, try to eat a balanced diet, and most importantly, remember to laugh and smile, each and every day! 

As always, we at JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we will get through this together. We look forward to speaking with you and connecting greatness!

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Crystal clean credit during Covid-19

*Caron Price, Mortgage Expert 

In addition to navigating self-isolation the vast majority of us are also facing uncertain financial stress.  There are a few things you can do to keep your credit rating in its’ best shape.

  • Stay in touch with your credit providers.  Even before COVID-19 the best thing you can do, if requiring financial assistance, is to communicate with your credit providers.  Currently lenders are offering payment deferrals on mortgages, lines of credit, auto loans credit cards & personal loans.  Some lenders have also been able to offer short term interest rate reductions or the complete elimination of charging interest.  If you are struggling to maintain your commitments reach out to your lender and let them know.  Their customer service departments are working hard to facilitate your needs but they can’t help you if you don’t let them know you need it. 
  • Get it in writing.  Whatever repayment terms you agree to with your lender, that are outside of your original contracted commitment, ask for this in writing.  Lenders have verbally stated that they will not be negatively reporting deferred payments but the credit reporting in Canada is not foolproof and there is room for error.  Protect yourself by having the agreement in writing.  That way you would have proper documentation to have the incorrect reporting removed from your credit bureau.
  • Make your minimum credit card payments on time.  Many credit card providers are also offering payment deferrals.  Should you choose to defer for 6 months on the 7th month all 6 months of the accrued interest payments will be due.  If you can afford to keep your monthly minimum payments up to date you will not only ensure your credit history on the account remains intact but you will also save yourself from a large payment being due in the 7th month.

JP Real Estate is more than a real estate company, we are a community and we will get through this together. We look forward to speaking with you and Connecting you to Greatness!

*Caron Price is a trusted Mortgage Expert with DLC Modern Mortgages in Victoria, B.C.

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We hope you had a wonderful and safe Easter weekend! We are extremely sympathetic to how this year’s Easter celebrations have differed from previous years, however, we hope you are well-fed, warm and were able to connect with the ones you love.

The last 2 weeks have been extremely trying and challenging times for everyone and we want to remind you that JP Real Estate is here to help you get through this. We are just a call, text, or email away!

Over the last 2 weeks, we have been in contact with over 50 of our dedicated clients simply to check-in, share news, and offer information or assistance. We are committed to ensuring that we, as a community, will get through this together.

We’d also like to remind you that we have an amazing, trustworthy team of lenders, brokers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, inspectors, architects, lawyers, and general contractors at our disposal. If you are wondering how to deal with any of the following subjects during this time: Leasing, Mortgages, Land deals, business restructuring, tenant issues, buying and/or selling your home and/or business; please do not hesitate to let us know. 

With regards to personal finances, please remember that it’s not too late! Speak to your accountant if you think you might qualify for relief, or contact us, we would happy to talk through the process with you.

Also, you are still able to submit your documents in regards to speculation tax if you haven’t done so yet. Let us know if you have any questions about this.

JP Real Estate is more than a real estate company, we are a community and we will get through this together. We look forward to speaking with you and Connecting you to Greatness!

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JP Real Estate is here to help

Our lives have changed drastically in the last few weeks and we have found ourselves in some extremely uncertain and unnerving times. While it may seem that life has been put on pause, for the time being, we understand that things must continue to move forward and we want to help.

In the last 35 years we have built a network of trustworthy teams, including lenders, brokers, plumbers, carpenters, electricians, inspectors, architects, lawyers, and general contractors, just to name a few. We would like to put our amazing team to work by helping you. If you have questions on the following subjects: Leasing, Mortgages, Land deals, business restructuring, tenant issues, buying and/or selling your home and/or business; we are happy to put our team at your disposal.

JP Real Estate is here to help you maneuver through these trying times and will offer suggestions on how you can continue with your real estate projects and transactions. This is a time for the “Village” - our great community, to come together and help each other.

We are happy to speak with you about the current real estate market, potential economic changes we may see in the future, or how we can maintain some normalcy in our lives while remaining healthy and not putting ourselves at risk. We strive to keep ourselves informed with the most up-to-date information and would be honoured to discuss and offer you whatever help is most relevant or simply bounce some ideas off each other. Whatever it is you want to talk about, in absolute confidence, we are here for you, so please reach out with any questions or concerns you may have.

JP Real Estate would like to remind you that we are more than a real estate company, we are a community and we will get through this together. We look forward to speaking with you and Connecting you to Greatness!

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Virtual property tours offered by JP Real Estate

Are you looking for a new home but not wanting to leave the house? Are you practicing social isolation? Or is it just too cold and you don’t want to go outside? JP Real Estate has you covered! We are now offering free virtual tours of property listings that you can watch from the comforts of your living room! 

We understand that photos can often be deceiving and we’d like to eliminate that from your purchasing experience. We know your time is limited and there’s no reason for you to physically tour countless properties when you can do this from the comforts of your home. With a virtual tour, you will see the entire property, step-by-step, from the moment we arrive until we leave. 

What is a virtual property tour?

A virtual property tour is just that, a virtual tour of the property. We have the most up-to-date technology to provide you with a tour of a house or property that you can watch from the comforts of your home or office. 

We will provide you with a virtual property tour of current listings that are you are interested in while highlighting the small features that most would only notice in person. We will focus on the intricate details that each home offers while showcasing the entire property and each room. Throughout the tour, you can expect to see full views of each room, the hallways and/or staircases to each room, as well as the property exterior. We will also take extra care to focus on the little details, we know these are often the most important! 

What can I see with a virtual property tour?

These virtual tours will commence at the beginning of the property, offering you the full view of the home’s curb appeal and walk you through the entire home, as though you were there in person. We can provide accurate measurements of each room while doing this, as well as showcase smaller features such as lighting fixtures, bathroom faucets, closet space, and so much more. 

Is there something specific that you’re interested in at a property? Let us know and we will be sure to take some extra time to display this carefully and describe its features in great detail. If you’d like to see a close up of the kitchen countertops, the hot water tank, or the shop in the backyard, we can easily provide this for you. 

We will also tour the entire property along the property lines to showcase the size and manageability of each home. This will give you a full view of the yard and the home from many different angles.

Why do I need a virtual property tour?

Having the opportunity to view these properties virtually will give you an insight into the property that photos simply can not offer. After viewing the virtual tours, your list of potential properties will likely decrease considerably, meaning you may only need to physically tour 1 or 2 properties before making an offer to purchase your new home! 

How do I arrange a virtual property tour?

To arrange a virtual property tour, simply contact us at your earliest convenience to let us know the desired property and specific requirements you may have, we will take care of the rest!  

Please keep in mind that we will offer virtual tours only while it is safe to do so and with the seller’s permission. We will not take unnecessary risks during these uncertain times. 

How much does it cost?

We, at JP Real Estate, are excited to offer this service, free of charge, to our community. We look forward to helping you find your new home and connecting greatness!

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NOTE: MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification. This website may only be used by consumers for the purpose of locating and purchasing real estate.