Category: Real Estate

Vancouver Real Estate Roller Coaster

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Just so you know, like Ecclesiastes and the Byrds said, for everything there is a season and a time.  There is a time to live and a time to die.  A time to sow and a time to reap.  A time to buy an investment and a time to sell it.

And, based on a tear-down 60 year old house in Vancouver selling today for somewhere around 1.2 million dollars, my spidey senses tell me that it may very well be a good time to sell!

Buyers, although I’m sure your realtor will love to grab a buyer’s commission from you it might make sense to wait a month or so.

Another analogy I heard which is great is that this is like a game of musical chairs.  If you were planning on selling soon anyway, heck.  Sell now.

For older people, you may never see a peak like this again.

Until then, everyone strap in and enjoy the roller coaster ride.  Remember, like the famous bumper sticker says ‘cycles happen’.

 

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How to Watermark Document with Ubuntu

confidential

This post includes a quick how-to tutorial and an entire kit in a .zip file to get you started right.  To simply watermark your documents, all you need is my .pdf files in the kit and a couple of free apps from the Ubuntu Software Center.  If you want to change the way I’ve laid it out, I’ve also included the GIMP source file so you can just open it, swap out the stamp you want with what I’ve done and export it to .pdf, followed with Bob being your Uncle.

  • Install PDF Chain from Ubuntu software centre
  • (not sure if this is mandatory or not) Install pdftk from software center.  I am pretty sure that PDF Chain is just a nice cover for this so it might automatically install it when you install PDF Chain.  If something doesn’t wor correctly after doing #1 above, then install this.
  • Save my kit to your computer somewhere where you’ll remember it
  • Follow instructions pdf chain documentation for ‘background/stamp’ . Note the other cool features it has as well!

*Note: the source file *must* be a PDF to overlay it in the new PDF

*Note: be careful about your output file name.  It’s very easy to accidentally over-write your source PDF with the stamped one which you might not want to do.  I recommend saving to a totally different folder called ‘watermarked’ or ‘stamped’ or something.

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HERE IS THE KIT

confidential-watermark-graphics

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Hope that helps and keep on spreading Ubuntu!

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Free Customized Realtor Accounting Software Suite and Setup

If you are a realtor (real estate agent) in North America, this package that I put together for you might save you a bunch of time and money because it’s *totally free*.

First, credit where credit is due:

1.  The developers of the free and open GnuCash (www.gnucash.org).  These folks have poured their time and money into making a great and very robust accounting software.  Make sure, when finances able, to put some $$ back their way if you like it like I do.

2. Ubuntu: Gnucash was just one free click away from the Ubuntu software center which is where I found it initially.  Thanks to the Ubuntu community for making so many pieces of software available so easily.

3. I took the chart of accounts example from realtor chart of accounts.

How I set this up

Just so you know, all I did was take the chart of accounts above and manually enter it up and save the resulting file.  Regrettably I did not have time to customize it further and I can see that there are definitely other accounts that need to be added but this will definitely get you started, and some need to be deleted as well because they were residual from the default install of GnuCash.  So, once you open it up,  make sure you go through the whole chart of accounts and add in things and delete things that might be irrelevant or doubled.  It’s easy to identify the ones that I added because they are under the parent categories that look like this:

64000-64999 Name of Main Category

I will also admit that I am not a master of Gnucash but I remember it being pretty simple and very robust so that you could just export the file to your accountant at the end of the year.

I hope this helps you and if you could be so kind as to take this gnucash file (.gnucash) and tweak it even further for the rest of real estate community that would be much appreciate it. I will then blog it out again with update and give you credit.
Thanks!

How to get started:

  1. Download Gnucash free accounting software (easy if you are on Ubuntu) for your system from www.gnucash.org.  At the time of this post the site has problems so you may have to search alternative download site if this is the case…
  2. Download this file–> gnucash-realtor-template-v1.gnucash <–to your computer
  3. Open up this file with gnucash
  4. Enjoy!

 

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Need Another Reason to Vote No on Transit Referendum?

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If you needed one last reason to vote ‘no’ and slow the pace that Translink turns hard earned money into a fart in the wind, read this shocking article sent to me by my friend today.  Although the article is filled with other horrendous displays of the youthful, carefree spending of a crack addict, I just wanted to focus on the example of the one building since commercial real estate is interesting to me.

I’m not a mathlete, but something in the following numbers show me that someone doesn’t value the good years of my life that I spent slaving to fund their lavish spending:

  1. 17,200,000 | 2004 purchase of Bombardier’s building for something skytrain related
  2. 8,200,000 | 2004 (same year??) sale of building to flipper who pocketed 5 million a couple of months later
  3. $1,782,676 | unnecessary rent spent on a building they could have owned @ $63,667/month between August 2012 and Dec 2014 (it was an empty building!)
  4. $13,900,000 | 2014, December: Buys back SAME building for $13.9 million

To further dumb it down, these are the numbers I get:

$17,200,000 + $1,782,676 + $13,900,000 = $32,882,676 (total money spent)

$32,882,676 – $8,200,000 = $24,682,676 (amount spent minus sale)

-$24,682,676

All I can say is that I hope Translink calls me to be their commercial real estate agent next time they think they want to go property shopping!

Just for fun, at $3.75/ticket (maybe average like that?) that would be 6,582,046 free tickets they could have given away for goodwill marketing!  Or, an entire round trip day of tickets for 3,291,023 people.  Or, for 12,658 people, they could have ridden for FREE for an entire business year.  But since we’re putting into perspective that would be an entire LIFETIME of free transit passes for 421 people.  Translink could have gotten 421 cars off the road for their ENTIRE WORKING LIFE for the money that was flushed down the toilet.

Vote no?

Maybe?

 

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Stuff to Keep in Mind for Realtors, Tenants, and Landlords in BC

Here are some snippets of information that should help both tenants and agents.  When a property is for sale, there are some rules that need to be followed and some in particular are more relevant to common real estate transactions involving tenants.

First here is a link to the BC government tenancy guide page

Next, here is the actual PDF guide for saving in case it changes location above for whatever reason:

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Now, here are the snippets that I thought are pretty important to have a firm grasp of.

From Residential Tenancy Act Guide

10.6.3 Selling and Showing a Rental Unit
When a rental unit is for sale or rent, the landlord must have the tenant’s permission or give the tenant proper written notice before showing the rental unit.
The tenant and landlord can agree to a schedule of viewing times included in a single notice. If there is no agreement, the landlord must give proper notice each time before showing the rental unit. The landlord must keep in mind that the tenant is entitled to reasonable
privacy and freedom from unreasonable disturbance. When a rental unit is sold, the tenant does not automatically have to move. If the new landlord or a close family member intends to move in, the original landlord must serve a Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy for Landlord’s Use of Property. For more information, see “Landlord Gives Notice to End the Tenancy” under Section 12.9
12.9 Landlord’s Use of Property
This applies when the landlord moves in or has a close family member live in the rental unit
sells the property and the new owner, or a close family member of the new owner, intends to live in the rental unit. Close family member means the owner’s or spouse’s father, mother or child
12.8 Two-Month Notice
The landlord must serve the tenant with two month’s notice where the landlord plans to use the property, do major construction or when the tenant no longer qualifies for subsidized housing. A Two-Month Notice must cover a full two-month period. For example, a notice given on March 15 would not take effect until the last day of May. When the tenant is for a fixed term, the move-out date cannot be before the final day of the fixed term.  A tenant that receives a two-month notice can move out earlier than the date specified on the notice, unless the tenancy is for a fixed term. The tenant must give the landlord at least 10 days written notice and pay the rent up to the move-out date. Where the tenant has already paid a full
month’s rent, the landlord must refund the rent. When a landlord ends a tenancy for landlord’s use of property, the landlord must give the tenant the equivalent of one month’s rent on or
before the move-out date. If that is not done, the tenant may withhold the last month’s rent. If
the rental unit is not used for the reasons given in the notice within a reasonable period, the tenant may apply for dispute resolution, asking for compensation equivalent to two months’ rent. At the hearing, the landlord should be prepared to demonstrate there was an honest intent to occupy, renovate, convert or demolish at the time the notice was issued.
Ending the Tenancy
A tenancy ends when:
  • The tenancy agreement is a fixed term that specifies the tenant will move out at the end of the term
  • The tenant or landlord gives notice to end the tenancy in accordance with the law
  • The tenancy agreement is frustrated by circumstances beyond the landlord or tenant’s control
  • The tenant move outs or abandons the rental unit
  • The landlord is granted an order by the RTB
  • The tenant and landlord mutually agree in writing to end the tenancy
A landlord and tenant can agree in writing at any time that the tenancy agreement will end on a specified date. The landlord or the tenant can draw up their own agreement or use the form Mutual Agreement to End a Tenancy. The written agreement can be part of a fixed-term tenancy agreement, specifying the tenant will move out of the rental unit at the end of the
fixed term.
11.1 Move-out Timeline
The tenant must move out by 1:00 p.m. on the last day of the tenancy. This means the
unit must be cleaned and all keys given to the landlord by 1:00 p.m. on the last day. A tenant who has not moved by 1:00 p.m. on the last day of the tenancy could be responsible for any costs incurred by the landlord. These costs could include fees the landlord paid to accommodate the incoming tenant and store their belongings until they were able to move in

12.2 Ways for a Landlord to Give Notice to End Tenancy
A landlord must serve notice using the appropriate Notice to End Tenancy form. Each form lists all the valid reasons and the amount of time the landlord must give. Generally, a landlord must give one or two months’ notice to a tenant, depending on the reason. However, a tenant that has not paid the rent on time can be given a 10-day notice. The landlord should keep a copy of the notice.
12.3 How a Landlord Serves the Notice to End Tenancy
  • By leaving a copy with the tenant or at the tenant’s residence with an adult who appar ently resides with the person. The notice is considered served the same day
  • By leaving a copy in a mail box or mail slot for the address at which the tenant resides. The notice is considered served three full days later
  • By attaching a copy to a door or other conspicuous place at the address at which the tenant resides. The notice is considered served three full days later
  • By transmitting a copy to a fax number provided as an address for service by the tenant. The notice is considered served three full days later
  • By sending a copy by ordinary mail or registered mail to the address at which the tenant resides or to a forwarding address provided by the tenant. The notice is considered served five full days after mailing
  • As ordered by the RTB
Sliding the notice under the door or using e-mail is not valid under the Act.
 

The existing landlord must receive a request in writing from the new owner before the notice can be served. The notice must indicate that the purchaser requires vacant possession in order for the purchaser, or close family member, to move in. When a new owner wants to use the property for any other purpose, the existing landlord cannot serve the Two-Month Notice to End Tenancy.
12.10 Major Construction
Major construction means:
  • Demolishing the rental unit or doing major renovations that require the building or rental unit be empty for the work to be done. When possible, renovations should be done without evicting the tenant. For example, if the renovations require the unit to be vacant for a short period, the tenant could be relocated and later return to the unit
  • Converting the rental unit to a strata property unit, a non-profit co-operative or society, or a not-for-profit housing co-operative under the Cooperative Association Act
  • Converting the rental unit for non-residential use, such as a shop
  • Converting the rental unit into a caretaker’s premises The landlord must have all required government permits and approvals in place before issuing the notice for any of the above reasons.
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Is a House a Great Investment?

This is a SUPER video to demonstrate how you have to be very careful when you buy a home and talk about it as an ‘investment’.  It may be one of the *worst* investments you could make.

Please note that even though this video is excellent, it doesn’t talk about other very important factors like the fact that you have tied up $300,000 which cannot be invested elsewhere.

Buying a home, in certain cases, can be justified.  However, it should not be made soley as a ‘great investment’.  It is rarely great when you factor it all together.  Especially when compared side by side with other investment options.

 

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