Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

Cell 604-828-7331 |


Remind your sellers to ask their financial advisers about the tax deductions they’re eligible for in a home sale. One of the big ones they may qualify for: selling costs.

As long as the costs are directly tied to the sale of the home, they qualify for tax breaks. Also, sellers who have lived in their home as their principal residence for at least two out of the five years prior to selling it can earn tax advantages. “You can deduct any costs associated with selling the home—including legal fees, advertising costs, and real estate agent commissions,”

But tax experts warn that these costs can’t be deducted like mortgage interest. They are subtracted from the sales price of the home. That turns into a capital gains tax. Other potential deductions for sellers are home improvement and repair costs. Sellers who made renovations to make their home more marketable may be able to deduct those costs from their taxes. Renovation projects could include painting the house or repairing the roof or water heater, for example. “If you needed to make home improvements in order to sell your home, you can deduct those expenses as selling costs"

For these and more deductions, contact your account or I can refer you to a great one!


Which builders should apply

The Homeowner Protection Act defines a residential builder as a person who engages in, arranges for or manages, all, or substantially all, of the construction of a new home or agrees to do any of those things. This definition includes developers and general contractors.

A residential builder must obtain a licence from BC Housing before starting construction on a new project. That licence must be maintained until such time that all new homes enrolled in home warranty insurance have been completed or, in the case of a developer, sold. Even in areas where building permits aren’t required, you must be a licensed residential builder to carry out the work and arrange for home warranty insurance before starting construction.

Part 1 of the Building Envelope Renovation Regulation states that building envelope renovators must not engage in, arrange for or manage all, or substantially all, of a building envelope renovation unless they are licensed as a building envelope renovator. They must also arrange for warranty on the project.

Some building envelope renovation projects are exempt from needing a licensed building envelope renovator. Consult our Building Envelope Renovation Regulations page to learn more. General contractors who are building for a developer under Part 3 of the BC Building Code are exempt from licensing requirements. That’s as long as the developer is licensed and has enrolled the project in home warranty insurance.

Pick your licence type

The first step in the application process is to know your licence type. You have three licence options to choose from: general contractor, developer or building envelope renovator — or a combination of the three. 

Select the licence types(s) that fit your current and future business activities as a residential builder. To learn more about each licence type, consult our regulatory bulletin, Choose Your Licence Type

If you apply for a new residential builder licence as a general contractor, and you don’t have a current residential builder licence in good standing, you must meet the qualification requirements. These requirements are mandated by the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulations. Consult our Qualification Requirements page to learn more. If you apply for a licence as a developer only, you don’t have to meet the qualification requirements. However, you must complete a declaration that states:

  • You will not take part in constructing or developing Part 9 homes during the term of your licence, or
  • You will hire licensed general contractors to construct any Part 9 homes.

If you fail to comply with this declaration, we may suspend or cancel your residential builder licence. Therefore, it’s important you choose the right licence type for the business you are conducting.


Deductibles to cover claims are also rising. In some cases, we’ve heard of deductibles increasing as much as $500,000. Remember that insurance doesn’t cover claims under the deductible amount. So, for example, if a plumbing incident were to cause $75,000 in water damage to a strata owner’s unit, and the strata’s deductible was $100,000, then insurance wouldn’t cover the claim. In such a scenario, the owner could have to pay for the damages out of pocket, depending on the strata’s bylaws.

Why are insurance rates increasing?

Strata building insurance premiums are increasing for a variety of reasons, according to the insurance industry. These include an increase in the number of claims, in the cost of repairs and rebuilding, and in the growing number of strata developments. Many strata buildings date back to the 1970s and ’80s and strata owners may be reluctant to undertake major system upgrades until problems occur.

What you can do about strata insurance

Given these rising rates, strata owners should ask their strata corporation or manager for a copy of the corporation’s certificate of insurance. This document details current deductible amounts. Strata owners should show the certificate of insurance to their insurance provider and understand what their liability would be in the strata, if the insurance doesn’t cover the deductible. Strata property owners should also:

  • have a unit owner’s insurance policy;
  • have a policy that covers the higher deductible (insurance deductible insurance) to cover a loss in their unit; and
  • understand the risk of not having enough coverage.

The Strata Property Act Part 9 requires strata buildings to be insured for full replacement value of all common property, common assets, and fixtures.














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