Saturday, December 7, 2013

OK clients, friends, relations one and all, this is the time of the year when I (don't) send you baskets of fruit, my amazing 12 month calendar for 2014, and your special Purdy's chocolate selection.  Yes it a special time of year for all of us to give and to receive.  In this country of Canada we are able to look around at our wonderful scenery, our cities and our towns and feel proud of who we are and where we live.  However, it is a fact of life, in our modern and inclusive society, that right beside us are people so much less fortunate than ourselves.

Let us please reach out to these people.

For my part I am proud to be a part of community activities that help those less fortunate.  One area I have specialized over the years, because of working close to the health care field, is to give blood.  A simple act every 6 weeks, producing 6 donations every year.  Cost me nothing, I get no tax receipt for my donation, but I am in the business of saving and improving lives on a year round basis.

I am also very proud that at Pemberton Holmes Ltd we now have a very active group of my colleagues, together with their friends, partners and children who have joined our Pemberton Holmes blood group.  Almost 40 people are actively donating.  Last year we gave 49 units of blood, this year we are rapidly approaching 70 as we come to the end of the year. 

If you can give in the community where you live, feel proud that you can improve peoples lives in this way.  As the say: It's in You to Give.

To learn more, make an appointment, or join our group please go to

Friday, March 1, 2013

So we have got to March, and the stats are now on my website to the end of February, but what follows is an article of interest from the CBC, as credited, and published about 10 days ago:

Home prices in Canada declined for the fifth straight month in January, according to the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index. Prices were down 0.3 per cent over the 11-city composite index.

Home prices declined in seven of 11 major Canadian markets from December, according to the widely followed index. Victoria, Halifax, Quebec City and Ottawa saw prices rise.

Prices rose 2.7 per cent from a year earlier, but that was the lowest annual growth rate since late 2009 as the housing market continues to cool.

January was the 14th straight month where the annual price increase was smaller than the month before, according to the Teranet-National Bank analysis.

Only Vancouver has seen an annual decline in home prices, falling 2.5 per cent from January 2012.

In Toronto, where many analysts are calling for a slowdown, prices were up 5.3 per cent annually.

Starting to cool
Many analysts are calling on Canadian home sales to continue to cool, especially in the red-hot Toronto and Vancouver markets.

"We anticipate a further softening in both sales and pricing in 2013," Scotiabank economist Adrienne Warren said in a note to investors. But she expects the correction to be mild, with low interest rates and job growth preventing a sharper correction.

Home prices in Canada fall for 5th straight month

The federal government has taken steps over the past couple years to avoid a bubble and cool the housing market by tightening mortgage rules.
The Canadian Real Estate Association found that sales activity dropped by 5.2 per cent in January compared to a year ago, which they attributed to the tighter rules.

Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney welcomed the cooling market, saying it's all part of the Canadian economy's transition from one dependent on borrowing to one more reliant on strong exports.

©CBC, 2013

So people of this area, there is some movement in the averages: the big properties with huge costs have dropped the most, the averages tell the more positive picture for sellers.

Buyers too, beware things are starting to tighten a little.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What a fascinating time to providing real estate services in the Victoria area. 

For buyers there has never been a better time - lots of product to look at and amazing rates to get from your lenders

For sellers it is gooooood too, but you HAVE to be realistic.  The market is flat generally.  A downward movement is only really that the average house price has as I say, gone flat.  It seems like this is a decline.  Realtors - damn them - see a flat market as a declining market.  Don't be despondent because as soon as you become get your place on the market and offers coming in, you will become a buyer.

I will talk very briefly about those who bought in the run up to the crash, and here we are 4+ years later and IF you have to move, well we will do our best, we really will, to get you the best price we can but the reality is that you bought without knowing it, at a peak, and you have to sell in a moment of down and flattened prices. 

History shows these things do happen, and the further on in time we will look back at this one as we do the early 1980's.  IF you can stay where you are then do.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Dear Oh dear, it has been a LONG while since I was writing on here.  It is fascinating that since January I sold our former home and we bought a new, smaller, one floor (for now - have plans!), and with half the yard.  Not much of an excuse for not writing, and you could have enjoyed our activities as the whole thing went through.  I also got two of my clients in to new homes, well one moved in in March, and the others, from the USA, will take occupancy next April.  Lots of other activity even in a not very active market, so that is encouraging.  I have now had my Licence for two years, to add to all of those years of doing so many similar activities.

OK, back to looking after five of my current clients - two and maybe three are looking with a good interest in buying - you know who you are!!  There IS a LOT of product in all sectors and prices are taking a breather so we can do deals in any type of property and any price range.

Don't forget you will receive a minimum of $250 Canadian for each referral to me that goes the distance.

Back shortly.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Buying vs Renting

For those in the situation where they have no interest in paying a landlord anymore, and want to put roughly the same monthly amount into a mortgage, here are some numbers for you.

BUT, part way down the page you will see the item for DOWN PAYMENT - you need to have some way of putting money down based on the value of the property you are looking.

My website has more information courtesy of CMHC on ways of mitigating this amount, or go straight to

The formatting would not allow me to put lines around the boxes, sorry.  You can try right clicking on the Y or Year One, then dragging the mouse to the bottom right corner - helps a bit.

           1,350                        13,489            1,650                        13,489            2,450  Paid Off 
         16,200  STRATA FEES           19,800  STRATA FEES           29,400  STRATA FEES 
                          2,400                           2,926                           4,050
                          1,930                           2,480                           8,480
         16,200                        17,819          19,800                        18,895          29,400                        12,530
                     250,000                      250,000                      250,000
5% 5% 5%
                       12,500                        12,500                        12,500
2% 2% 2%
                          5,000                        54,749                      211,897
                          4,235                        50,842                      237,500
                          9,235                      105,590                      449,397

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Underground Oil Storage Tanks

The Real Estate Council of British Columbia's Professional Standards Manual says:

Underground or Above Ground Storage Tanks

All underground storage tanks (or above ground storage tanks over 2500 L) that supply oil burning equipment are regulated by the BC Fire Code. Unused or abandoned underground or above ground storage tanks should be properly decommissioned because they are a potential source of contamination of the soil and groundwater, may pose a fire and explosion hazard and may impact human health. The provision in the BC Fire Code for the decommissioning of an underground or above ground storage tank used for supplying oil burning equipment requires that the owner use good engineering practice when removing, abandoning in place, or temporarily taking out of service the underground or above ground storage tank.
Licensees who are involved with the sale of a property that contains, or is thought to contain, an underground or above ground storage tank should be aware that the presence of an underground or above ground storage tank is a significant concern and should also be aware of their duties with respect to disclosure in this regard. Licensees should familiarize themselves with the BC Ministry of the Environment Fact Sheet on Residential Heating Oil Storage Tanks.
Listing agents have a duty to familiarize themselves with the property that they have listed and, where they suspect an unused or abandoned underground or above ground storage tank may be present, to take necessary steps to determine if one exists. If a seller is aware of an unused or abandoned underground or above ground storage tank, that seller has an obligation to disclose this fact. An unused or abandoned underground storage tank is considered to be a material latent defect and, therefore, its presence must be disclosed in writing as required by section 5-13 of the Council Rules.
Similarly, if a buyer’s agent is aware that an unused or abandoned underground or above ground storage tank is present, he or she has a duty to disclose this fact to buyers and further advise that its presence is an environmental concern. A buyer’s agent should also recommend that buyers familiarize themselves with the requirements of the BC Fire Code and any restrictions that the local municipality may have concerning unused or abandoned underground or above ground storage tanks. This is particularly important in municipalities where underground or above ground storage tank removal enforcement is a priority. As each municipality has different requirements and provisions for enforcing the removal or abandonment of underground or above ground storage tanks, a prudent licensee should be aware of the local requirements (usually administered by the fire department).
Lending institutions and insurers may also have corporate policy regarding underground or above ground storage tanks.
When drafting contracts with respect to properties containing underground or above ground storage tanks, licensees should familiarize themselves with the information found in Safety, Health and Environmental Disclosure Clauses below.
Finally, a buyer’s agent should advise buyers to have the property inspected and to seek expert opinion on the matter, especially if the underground or above ground storage tank is thought to be leaking.

The referenced links are worth a close read.


In another forum, namely the BC Real Estate Council's Mandatory course, Real Estate E&O Insurance Legal Update 2011, the first topic is Oil Storage Tanks.

Some good stuff here, but some specific Contract Clauses are offered, also a process called Site Profiling which is not usual in Residential property situations, but offers a way for any Seller or Buyer to have a site professionally checked as required.

The Real Estate E&O Insurance Legal Update 2011, offers the following.  That even if the law does not require a site profile in the circumstances, the Council suggest that a seller complete and deliver a site profile to the buyer as a form of disclosure.  Where the parties negotiate the need for a site profile the Real Estate Council of BC suggest the following clauses:

Seller's Site Profile Clause
The Seller, at his or her expense, will provide to the Buyer a completed site profile (Schedule 1 of the B.C. Contaminated Sites Regulation) for the subject property by ________________date_______.
The Seller warrants that the information contained therein is true and correct to the best of the Seller's knowledge.

Buyer's Site Profile Clause
Subject to the Buyer reviewing and approving the site profile by ________________date______.
This condition is for the sole benefit of the Buyer.


From an INSURANCE perspective:

I am advised that they will unquestioningly accept the FD Inspection Certificate and insure a property.  BUT, the BIG caveat, IF contamination is subsequently found NO insurance company offers coverage.  YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN.

Thanks, eh?


A buried and decommissioned oil storage can be grouped as a Disclosed Material Latent Defect, but most people figure that since it is decommissioned it is no longer a Latent Defect.  The Standard Clauses in Webforms has a clause for Disclosed Material Latent Defects.


A question I have on my mind:

IF a tank was decommissioned under a local Fire Department permit, and therefore inspected by the FD personnel, AND subsequently the tank is removed and there is evidence of oil leakage and soil contamination upon removal, WHO is responsible for the costs of remediation?

Three parties appear in my sights: the land owner at the time of the decommissioning, and/or previous owners, the tank decommissioning contractor, the Municipality and its Fire Department.

The Fact Sheet linked above says consult a lawyer familiar with all of this.  $$$$$$$$$$$$$$.



Something tells me the site profile is a way to go, and, after all, this is the most recent and focused advice from our Council in BC.

Selling and Buying the Lease in a BC Leasehold Condo Building

Some History:
In the days before the Condominium Act became law (1972???, later the Strata Property Act), if you wished to own a registered interest in a Condo it is most likely you owned a whole building, or you were able to purchase a sub-lease involving one of many specific condo units in the building.

The entity who owns the whole building has control over all sorts of aspects of the building.  This includes all matters to do with the owners of the sub-leases.  The terms of a sub-lease are specific to each building.

Operationally, rules are written, in most cases new owners are vetted, and all aspects from rentals to parking are under the  control of the building owner.

Of particular interest to a sub-lease owner, the lessee, are the capital and operating costs that occur annually and at times when the building components, roof, heating systems, common area facilities are maintained, upgraded or replaced.  There is no lessee involvement in the financial aspects, levels of operating maintenance, or planning for capital projects.  Charges are divided up in relation to the relative size of your condo, so akin to the Unit Entitlement processes under the Strata Property Act.

However, if operating or project costs go over budget there is no input by the lessees and and invoice is presented for you to pay.

Unit Sales:
The other aspect of these buildings and their sub-leases is the value in the real estate market when a registered owner is moving on.  They are typically a cheaper alternative to buying a Strata condo.  They are often well sized as they are older properties, but the financial issues mentioned are something for all sellers to make their agents aware of.  Similarly a buyer's agent must get all the financial information.  In the Strata world a Form B would be requested - it is this same information that needs to be provided for these leasehold buildings.  The only way to limit your clients exposure to financial surprises.

Strata Property Act:
An EXCELLENT way to think of the issues and impact of any of this on the registered owner of a sub-lease, is to refer to all the sections of the Strata Property Act.

Some specific areas - but by no means limited to these, would be found under:
There are no By Laws, and therefore you and the other owners have no input into the way the building is operated and the rules under which it is managed.
You are not an owner in fee simple of your unit plus a portion of common property
There is no Strata Council acting on your behalf, and which you can join.  Therefore there is no Strata Corporation, or AGM or Special Meetings at which you input can be provided.
There are no monthly Strata Council Meetings that you can attend.
If there is a caretaker, this person is an employee of  the building owner
Annual budgets are only provided if deemed desirable by the building owners and you do not have direct input on levels of service or related costs.
Similarly, capital project budgets are only provided if deemed desirable by the building owners and you do not have direct input on he extent and timing of the work.

Caveat Emptor, and the agents for the seller and buyer need to be able to give you good service and set you up with good knowledge.