Anshu Arora LLM, MSc, PMP

Cell 604-828-7331 | info@anshuarora.com

Curling up in front of the fireplace with a book can be the quintessence of coziness on a cold winter’s day, but it can also be dangerous if you don’t maintain your fireplace and use it correctly.

Here are a few safety tips when using your fireplace this winter.

1. Go with a pro
The National Fire Protection Association suggests you hire a certified chimney cleaner to inspect your fireplace and chimney at least once a year. They probably won’t sing catchy songs in a Cockney accent like in “Mary Poppins,” but they will remove dangerous clogs and buildup.

2. Put a lid on it
Ever chase a squirrel around your house with a broom? Exciting, but not fun. Prevent critters, birds and debris from coming down your chimney by installing a wire mesh cap on top of your chimney.

3. Play defense
Spark guards, the mesh screens that can be placed in front of your fire, prevent flying embers from launching into your living room and starting trouble. When you leave the room (or fall asleep) it’s especially important to use one.

4. Be wood wise
Burn seasoned hardwood that has been dried for at least six months. Green, unseasoned or soft woods such as pine emit more creosote — that’s the flammable stuff that can build up in your chimney.

5. Check your equipment
Test your smoke detectors every month, change your batteries every year and replace devices every 10 years.

6. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand
Have one. And be sure you know how to use it.

7. Seal it up
When not using your fireplace, close the damper to prevent warm air, and the money you spend to heat your house, from being lost straight up your chimney.

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Condominium unit inspection

 

The details of each building inspection depend on the municipality and on the individual building inspector. If you are purchasing a condominium, make sure your inspector specializes in condominium inspections. The building inspector should look at the unit’s plumbing and electrical systems, appliances, and all exposed areas such as balconies, patios, and decks. Depending on your budget, you can also ask the inspector to report on the electrical room, boiler room, roof, parking space or garage, and storage space. Inspectors will also inspect common areas such as hallways, lobby areas, and stairways, if asked to do so. Some building inspectors will also read strata corporation minutes, property disclosure statements, building envelope reports, and engineer reports.


 

Before you hire a building inspector, ask what services are provided and at what cost. Some inspectors prepare a written inspection report filled with comments and suggestions as well as photos.


 

What areas of a condominium may need repair?

 

Two areas of condominium property that may need repair are the interior common areas and the building envelope. The interior common areas are stairwells, hallways, lobby areas, and garages. A building envelope includes all the building components that separate the indoor conditioned space from the outdoor unconditioned space. Samples of building envelope include the exterior walls, foundations, roof, and outside windows and doors. A building envelope failure means that any or all of these areas have water ingress caused by wind, rain, and air pressure.


 

A problem building envelope may exist if there are visual signs of wood rot, peeling paint, cracked or missing sealants, water flowing down the sides of the building, pools of water on the decks with no drainage system, windows that are wet on the inside. Further, when reading through the minutes, if there is no regular inspection and preventative maintenance program in place, this may be a sign of potential problems.


 

Protect yourself from a “leaky condo”

 

“Leaky condo syndrome” has put a serious dent in the home buyer market in some cities, notably Vancouver and Victoria. Your realtor should provide you with a disclosure statement from the seller, minutes, title search, an engineer’s report, and a building envelope report. Have your realtor ask the seller’s agent for a verification of the disclosure statement.


 

Home buyers must, however, perform their own due diligence with regard to reading the reports and documents provided to them. As the buyer, you must assess whether the property you are interested in may have problems. If English is not your first language, retain a professional translator to help you understand the intricacies of the real estate transaction.


 

When reading strata corporation minutes, check whether owners or tenants have complained of water coming through windows, balconies, roof, or any exposed part of the building. If you are buying a recently constructed building, you might want to check the developer’s and builder’s credentials and other developments in the community, find out about associations to which they belong, years of experience, certification, track record, and so on.


 

Further, ask whether the condominium building’s strata council is active in maintaining the building and the property. Is it responding to problems immediately? Is there enough money in the council’s contingency fund to do repairs? What about the management company — is it professional and reliable? Is the building self managed? Are all the issues regarding repairs being dealt with? Find out also how many other units are in the building. The more units in the building, the less you have to pay, if a special assessment were to be made.


I Can Help You With The Purchase of Your Dream Home, and Answer Any Questions You May Have!

 

 

 

 

Condominium unit inspection

The details of each building inspection depend on the municipality and on the individual building inspector. If you are purchasing a condominium, make sure your inspector specializes in condominium inspections. The building inspector should look at the unit’s plumbing and electrical systems, appliances, and all exposed areas such as balconies, patios, and decks. Depending on your budget, you can also ask the inspector to report on the electrical room, boiler room, roof, parking space or garage, and storage space. Inspectors will also inspect common areas such as hallways, lobby areas, and stairways, if asked to do so. Some building inspectors will also read strata corporation minutes, property disclosure statements, building envelope reports, and engineer reports.

Before you hire a building inspector, ask what services are provided and at what cost. Some inspectors prepare a written inspection report filled with comments and suggestions as well as photos.

What areas of a condominium may need repair?

Two areas of condominium property that may need repair are the interior common areas and the building envelope. The interior common areas are stairwells, hallways, lobby areas, and garages. A building envelope includes all the building components that separate the indoor conditioned space from the outdoor unconditioned space. Samples of building envelope include the exterior walls, foundations, roof, and outside windows and doors. A building envelope failure means that any or all of these areas have water ingress caused by wind, rain, and air pressure.

A problem building envelope may exist if there are visual signs of wood rot, peeling paint, cracked or missing sealants, water flowing down the sides of the building, pools of water on the decks with no drainage system, windows that are wet on the inside. Further, when reading through the minutes, if there is no regular inspection and preventative maintenance program in place, this may be a sign of potential problems.

Protect yourself from a “leaky condo”

“Leaky condo syndrome” has put a serious dent in the home buyer market in some cities, notably Vancouver and Victoria. Your realtor should provide you with a disclosure statement from the seller, minutes, title search, an engineer’s report, and a building envelope report. Have your realtor ask the seller’s agent for a verification of the disclosure statement.

Home buyers must, however, perform their own due diligence with regard to reading the reports and documents provided to them. As the buyer, you must assess whether the property you are interested in may have problems. If English is not your first language, retain a professional translator to help you understand the intricacies of the real estate transaction.

When reading strata corporation minutes, check whether owners or tenants have complained of water coming through windows, balconies, roof, or any exposed part of the building. If you are buying a recently constructed building, you might want to check the developer’s and builder’s credentials and other developments in the community, find out about associations to which they belong, years of experience, certification, track record, and so on.

Further, ask whether the condominium building’s strata council is active in maintaining the building and the property. Is it responding to problems immediately? Is there enough money in the council’s contingency fund to do repairs? What about the management company — is it professional and reliable? Is the building self managed? Are all the issues regarding repairs being dealt with? Find out also how many other units are in the building. The more units in the building, the less you have to pay, if a special assessment were to be made

- See more at: http://www.rew.ca/news/how-to-avoid-key-risks-when-buying-a-condo-1.2155331#sthash.x6DNrujd.dpuf

 

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Fraser Valley real estate experienced its strongest year in a decade in 2015. This was the second highest year for property sales in Fraser Valley’s history, just shy of the region’s previous sales high in 2005.


The Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) processed 21,095 sales in 2015, 33 per cent more than the 15,840 sales in 2014, and 0.9 per cent fewer than the 21,282 sales in 2005. The total dollar volume of MLS® sales was a record setting $12.1 billion, four billion more than was sold in 2014.


In contrast, the Board received a typical volume of new listings in 2015 – 30,998 – comparable to the average over the last ten years, set at 31,296 new listings.

 

Sales during December were the highest for that month in Fraser Valley’s history. The Board processed 1,543 sales, an increase of 44 per cent compared to December of 2014. December’s total inventory in the Fraser Valley was 4,280 active listings; 33 per cent fewer than were available in December 2014.


The MLS® Home Price Index benchmark price of a detached home in December was $672,400, an increase of 17.3 per cent compared to December of last year when it was $573,100. The MLS® HPI benchmark price of townhouses increased 9.6 per cent going from $293,500 in December of last year to $321,800 last month. The benchmark price of apartments was $204,900, an increase of 7.3 per cent compared to $191,100 in December 2014.


If you're looking to Navigate Our Hot Real Estate Market, I can Help!

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Information for First Time Home Buyers

BC Assessment is a provincial Crown corporation that classifies and values all real property in British Columbia. Each year, BC Assessment sends property owners a Property Assessment Notice telling them the fair market value of their property as of July 1 for the year immediately prior to the assessment roll date on the notice.

BC Assessment also produces an assessment roll listing the value of all properties in the province.  Provincial and municipal tax authorities use this information to calculate the amount of property tax each owner will pay.

Understanding market value

Market value is defined as the most probable price which a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions requisite to a fair sale, the buyer and seller each acting prudently and knowledgeably and assuming the price is not affected by undue stimulus.

Understanding "Class 1, Residential"

Classification is typically based on a property's type or use and whether it meets the requirements for the class as specified by government regulation. There are nine property classes in British Columbia and each property's classification is shown on the Property Assessment Notice.

Class 1, Residential includes properties such as single-family residences, duplexes, nursing homes, seasonal dwellings, manufactured homes, apartments, condominiums, recreational property, some vacant land and farm buildings.

Other classes cover properties used for commercial businesses, forestry, farming, light and major industry, hotels and motels, pipelines, electrical systems and railways.

Accurately determining the value of property

BC Assessment has a professional appraisal staff and an extensive database that is periodically updated with information gathered through appraisal inspections. Municipal and provincial agencies inform BC Assessment of land title changes, building permit approvals and zoning adjustments. BC Assessment also considers a property's unique characteristics, including location, size, layout, shape, age, finish, quality, carports, garages, sundecks and condition of buildings. All these variables are considered when valuing each property.

The relationship between the property assessment notice & property taxes

Market value is considered the fairest method of distributing the property tax burden. In any tax area, residential properties of equal value contribute the same tax. Higher-value properties contribute more tax than those with lower values.

BC Assessment determines the market value of properties and sends property owners a Property Assessment Notice. It also prepares the BC Assessment Roll, which is used by tax authorities to set property tax rates in their jurisdiction.

The simplest way to explain the assessment and tax relationship is: Tax rates set by taxing authorities are applied to the actual value of a property (e.g., market value) less any applicable tax exemptions.

BC Assessment deals solely with the assessment of properties and has no jurisdiction or control over taxes or tax rates. 

Correcting information on the property assessment notice

If you disagree with the market value of your property, or if you believe your property is improperly classified, contact your local BC Assessment office before January 31.

If, after talking to your local BC Assessment office, you still disagree with your property's value or classification, you may request an independent review before a Property Assessment Review Panel (PARP). A written notice of complaint must be delivered in writing to your local BC Assessment office no later than January 31. Your Notice of Complaint can be mailed, emailed, submitted online, or faxed.

As a homeowner, it is important to understand that you cannot appeal your taxes. Neither the assessor nor the PARP can consider taxes when establishing the assessment value of your home.

 

For more information and resources, visit BC Assessment

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Spending on home building in BC increased nearly 17 per cent year over year in October, and 4.2 per cent since last month, to $871.7 million, according to a Statistics Canada report published December 22. As has been the trend for many months, apartment-condo construction was by far the biggest driver of growth in BC home building investment, rising 30.2 per cent compared with October 2014 to $390.6 million, a jump of 12.7 per cent month over month. 

 

Detached home construction investment in the province also increased, with the $379.5 million spent across BC an 8.8 per cent rise over October 2014, but this was a drop of 1.9 per cent increase compared with September. Also as in recent months, the province’s total $871.7 million new home construction spend was once again the third highest dollar figure in the country, after Ontario and Alberta.

 

BC’s 16.7 per cent annual increase was fourth highest in October, with the Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia and Ontario all increasing their construction spend at a faster rate.

 

Thinking Of Selling Your House and/or Development Property?! Now is the Time!

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