Nanaimo Real Estate Blog
Recently, I listened to a fascinating Ted Talks segment and the discussion was whether or not our English language is to blame for why North Americans save less money on average than other countries such as China. The English language includes a past, present and future tense in how we speak. The example that the interviewer gave was the concept of rain. We commonly say “it will rain”, “it’s raining” or “it rained” depending on the timeframe of the event. Interestingly, the Chinese language refers to both present and future events in much the same way. In Chinese, one would say (loosely translated) “now it rain” (present), “tomorrow it rain (future) and “yesterday it rain” (past tense).
Assessed value is calculated by a number of factors including age, size, types of construction materials and lot size and sale prices for properties up to July 1, 2017. Sales that take place after this day that same year are not calculated in the assessment. Once this has been determined, property taxes are charged to the owner based upon a set percentage rate. Simply put, the assessed value of your home determines tax value. Market value is the price that your home will likely sell for within a specific time frame that is reasonable. It is calculated by the current average sale and list prices of similar homes in that neighborhood and are established with the methodology of what a typical buyer would pay for your home. The market value means what an average buyer will pay, not a specific buyer who is willing to pay more simply because they have fallen in love with it and want to ensure they are able to purchase it. We do see this occur with unique style homes, or sometimes homes that offer features such as an in-ground pool (which many buyers do not want), detached shop, and other amenities. Without the sage advice of a real estate professional, it can be difficult to determine the market value of a home as it can be challenging to determine a value of a similar home with a view compared to one that backs onto parkland on the same street.
As we settle down with our family this holiday season, I wanted to share with you a cautionary Christmas tale that recently happened which is too funny not to share. My wife, Johanna, and i recently gave ourselves an early Christmas present and traveled to Costa Rica, a county we have visited many time before. As I relaxed beside the pool, basking in the warmth of the sun and listening to Christmas carols on my headphones, I suddenly realized that my flesh was being torn apart. My brain froze and I thought about the end of the world scenario, a possible Zombie outbreak, or even a violent burglar! As my eyes quickly opened, my shock turned to horror as a 4 foot iguana chomped his sharp, dinosaur-like teeth into my arm. Blood was everywhere and I was under attack! I jumped up from my seat and grabbed a weapon, as my primitive caveman brain directed me to fight to the death to protect my pool and my wife. Unfortunately, when I grabbed the pool net, I realized that it was too small to capture this descendant of a T-Rex. This wild beast jumped over the cement wall and I walked briskly back inside the home, waiting for my mortal enemy to return. Within minutes, I caught sight of this inglorious reptile attacking my bright orange frozen beer mug with renewed energy.
the numerous elves that work so hard to build toys for children, stables (for the reindeer, of course), and a gourmet kitchen to ensure that all of those cookies and hot chocolate are made to keep Santa in “Christmas shape” for the holidays? Well, if you look at some of the listings in the North Pole (referred to in MLS as Fairbanks, Alaska), it seems that Santa has been smart to set up his Christmas base in an area of reasonably priced homes and lots.
Have you ever noticed how we tend to greet each other with a smile, donate time or money to organizations or even spend time with family and friends baking during Christmas? Why does this holiday bring out the generous spirit in us? The word “generosity” dates back to its Latin translation “noble birth” and has transformed through the times into its present meaning of “liberality in giving”. Researchers have found that most people are generous during the holidays because it is the time of year that we connect with others socially – whether it is a Christmas party with co-workers, family returning home, or spending time with friends. When we feel connected to others, it increases our sense of empathy towards others – whether or not we know them.
Well, it is Black Friday and already Americans have found themselves involved in brawls and general mayhem as businesses attempt to lure Turkey-stuffed shoppers to their stores today to purchase Christmas gifts (or that 120" TV that you had to have). Of course, many media outlets are reporting that the best sales no longer take place on Black Friday, but on Cyber Monday, so frugal shoppers can snuggle in their PJ's and shop to their heart's content online for last minute steals. What causes the panic and violence that is often witnessed on Black Friday? Simply put, Black Friday was given its nickname by the Philadelphia Police Department to describe the panic and chaos they saw when hordes of pedestrians and cars crowded downtown Philadelphia the day after Thanksgiving in 1966. Retailers decided to use the term to their advantage and advertise deep discounts and incentive offers to the public, recognizing that being "in the black" in accounting terms represented profitability, as opposed to being "in the red" which signified loss.
I think that sometimes we can all feel overwhelmed. There is so much information coming at us from all different directions, that you can feel like a deer standing in the middle of the road looking into the oncoming headlights and not know which way to go. Simplicity can sometimes put the whole picture into a more condensed and easier to implement plan. J. Paul Getty’s “8 Secrets To Wealth” offers some excellent rules to achieve financial success.
It has been 99 years since the official end of the World War I. On November 11, 1918, the world watched as the call for peace echoed throughout Europe where Canadian troops valiantly supported the Allied forces. The poppy symbolizes remembrance and is worn on Nov. 11 in honor of a poem written by John McCare, a Canadian doctor in the military. The poem is titled "In Flanders Fields" and speaks of the poppies that grew in the Flemish graveyards where soldiers were buried. As many of you are aware, Myles and I love real estate. We enjoy helping buyers, sellers and investors with buying their first home, downsizing, selling a rental property, land redevelopment, or simply providing advice to clients about the real estate process in general. If truth be told, I spend most of my time either working in real estate, reading publications about real estate or studying real estate. I truly love how "tangible" real estate is as an investment – especially when you can live in it, touch it, and enjoy it (unlike stocks and bonds). However, on Saturday, November 11th, I would ask that Realtors not hold open houses, and that for the entire hour of 11am on the 11th month of the 11th day of 2017, that we refrain from discussing real estate at all and instead, maintain a 2 minute period of silence to commemorate the lives of those Canadians who have given their lives.
There is actually a term to describe the “condition” that many misinformed home buyers can experience that is deemed a “cognitive bias”. Buyer’s Stockholm Syndrome is also known as post-purchase rationalization according to Wikipedia, and is described as being a cognitive bias “whereby someone who has purchased an expensive product or service overlooks any faults or defects in order to justify their purchase”. This sounds like many people who find and marry their partner after a few match.com emails or a home buyer who is so desperate to own that they fail to ensure that they can afford their purchase or that they perform the necessary inspections on the home to avoid facing thousands of dollars in repairs later on.
The new mortgage regulations have been released that will take effect as of Jan. 1, 2018 and impact new homebuyers and homeowners considering renewing their existing mortgages. All borrowers, including those who have 20% or more and do not require mortgage insurance, will now need to qualify for a mortgage at the posted rate which can be much higher (as high as double the rate they will end up securing). One of the interesting things to emerge is the way in which banking is federally regulated, and yet provincially regulated credit unions may not require home buyers to pass this “stress test”. The Fraser Institute published a report stating that these new rules are in response to the 2008 recession, and may result in higher mortgage rates and lower the ability for a home buyer to access a mortgage. Homeowners who are renewing their mortgage with the same bank as their existing mortgage will not need this qualification to obtain a renewal. However, it is still not clear if a home owner who is wanting to switch lenders when their mortgage comes due for renewal will need to pass this “stress test”.