A nice little list of Summer Home “To-Do’s” -courtesy of Wayne at Pillar to Post Home Inspection:
- Inspect siding for cracks and make any needed repairs.
- If paint is peeling, cracking, or chipped, repair and repaint now to limit damage to the underlying materials.
- Repair any damaged caulking around windows and doors.
- Remove window screens and clean with a soft brush and soapy water. Repair any holes or tears before reinstalling.
- Have air conditioning units serviced to ensure good operation. Promote good air circulation around the unit by keeping shrubs and plants trimmed.
- Clear debris from gutters and eaves to allow rainwater to drain properly
- Seal cracks in the driveway and keep walkways clear of debris and overgrown plants
- Test irrigation/sprinkler systems and replace any broken sprinkler heads or emitters. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.
- Power wash decks and patios and seal surfaces as appropriate.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils to help maintain energy efficiency.
- Empty dehumidifier pans and clean hoses according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- If possible, take area rugs outside and hang them over a deck or porch rail to air out.
- Adjust ceiling fans for proper balance.
- Change filters in window-mounted air conditioning units.
- Switch heavy bedding out for lightweight summer fabrics. Have the winter bedding cleaned before storing.
- Close the chimney flue to prevent insects from entering and to help keep cool air in.
- Re-pot houseplants to give their roots a fresh start for the summer.
- Check door and cabinet hinges and lubricate any that stick or squeak.
- Open windows on cooler days to keep fresh air flowing throughout the home.
First, buyers should understand the 1% rule. This rule postulates that normal maintenance on a home is about 1% of the value of the home per year. For example, a $250,000 home would require $2,500 per year to maintain. This would be enough to replace the roof covering...and then, a few years later, to replace a failed hot water tank...and then a few years more until a new central air system is required.
Then there is the 3% rule. Some experts say that home buyers should plan on spending 3% of the value of the home in the first year of ownership. This is because new homeowners will most likely have to buy drapes, blinds, a washer and dryer, a stove, maybe even a new roof covering. Also, new homeowners often customize the environment to their taste, so they need to budget for repairs, replacements and maintenance.
In addition, most home components have fairly predictable life cycles. For example, the typical life cycle of a high-efficiency furnace is 15 to 20 years. What this means is that most high-efficiency furnaces last between 15 and 20 years.
One way to know the extent of the maintenance needed and the costs to repair and/or replace items is to have a home inspection conducted. Home inspectors are required to let the buyer know if a component is significantly deficient or if it is near the end of its life cycle (service life), and a reputable home inspection company may offer up-to-date repair-cost guides to help clients with their planning.
Home inspectors work with Realtors and buyers to help them understand the issues that are found in the home, regardless of age, offering the right perspective and objective information. Home buyers need to understand that it's normal for items in a home to wear out. This should be regarded as normal "wear and tear" and not necessarily a defect.
A good home inspection determines the current condition of the house, offering a report of all the systems and components in need of maintenance, service, repair or replacement.
For example, consider a home inspection that uncovers that the heating system is old and requires replacement. A home buyer may see this as a huge problem. However, this problem may be the only item in the home that requires attention. If a buyer were to look at this situation in perspective, this home could be well above average-a home merely requiring a new furnace.
A good home inspection provides objective information to help the buyer make an informed decision. Knowing what items need to be budgeted for repair or replacement will help home buyers plan or negotiate better and not be stuck with unexpected costs of hundreds, or even thousands of dollars in the long run. Also, fixing these items will make a marked improvement on the performance of a home and minimize issues that could affect its future integrity...and value.
Source: Pillar to Post Home Inspectors.
Housing Market Recovers from Summer Doldrums
The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province climbed 20 per cent in November from October 2010, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Compared to November of last year, MLS® residential unit sales were down 21 per cent to 5,647 units. The average MLS® residential price rose 9 per cent to $523,394 in November compared to the same month last year.
“Improved economic conditions and low mortgage interest rates have contributed to a 46 per cent increase in home sales since July,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. Employment in BC eclipsed the July 2008 record by 2,600 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dipped to 6.9 per cent, the lowest recorded since January 2009.
“The inventory of homes for sale has trended lower since last spring, improving market conditions in many areas of the province,” added Muir. Vancouver and Victoria climbed back into balanced market conditions in last month.
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume declined 4 per cent $35.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales declined 11 per cent to 70,382 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 9 per cent to $504,042 over the same period.
Bank of Canada maintains overnight rate target at 1 per cent
OTTAWA, Dec. 7 /CNW/ - The Bank of Canada today announced that it is maintaining its target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1 1/4 per cent and the deposit rate is 3/4 per cent.
The global economic recovery is proceeding largely as expected, although risks have increased. As anticipated, private domestic demand in the United States is picking up slowly, while growth in emerging-market economies has begun to ease to a more sustainable, but still robust, pace. In Europe, recent data have been consistent with a modest recovery. At the same time, there is an increased risk that sovereign debt concerns in several countries could trigger renewed strains in global financial markets.
The recovery in Canada is proceeding at a moderate pace, although economic activity in the second half of 2010 appears slightly weaker than the Bank projected in its October Monetary Policy Report. In the third quarter, household spending was stronger than the Bank had anticipated and growth in business investment was robust. However, net exports were weaker than projected and continued to exert a significant drag on growth. This underlines a previously-identified risk that a combination of disappointing productivity performance and persistent strength in the Canadian dollar could dampen the expected recovery of net exports.
Inflation dynamics in Canada have been broadly in line with the Bank's expectations and the underlying pressures affecting prices remain largely unchanged.
Reflecting all of these factors, the Bank has decided to maintain the target for the overnight rate at 1 per cent. This leaves considerable monetary stimulus in place, consistent with achieving the 2 per cent inflation target in an environment of significant excess supply in Canada. Any further reduction in monetary policy stimulus would need to be carefully considered.
The next scheduled date for announcing the overnight rate target is 18 January 2011. A full update of the Bank's outlook for the economy and inflation, including risks to the projection, will be published in the Monetary Policy Report on 19 January 2011.
BC Home Sales Trend Higher
Vancouver, BC – The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province declined 36 percent to 5,507 units in October compared to the same month last year. On a seasonally adjusted basis, MLS® residential unit sales in the province increased 2 per cent in October from September 2010. The average MLS® residential price climbed 6 per cent to $521,859 in October compared to the same month last year.
“BC home sales have posted moderate gains since the summer months,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Consumer demand was bolstered by double-dip in mortgage interest rates and the associated increase in purchasing power.”
“Total active residential listings in the province have declined 18 per cent since June,” added Muir. “However, the housing market remains tilted in favour of homebuyers.”
Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume declined 2 per cent $32.5 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales declined 10 per cent to 64,735 year-to-date, while the average MLS® residential price climbed 9 per cent to $502,353 over the same period.
MLS® stats show more sales, fewer property listings in November
Greater Vancouver residential home sales improved in November compared to the previous four months, with the number of sales posted on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) coming in slightly higher than the 10-year average for that month.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the number of residential property sales in Greater Vancouver totalled 2,509 in November 2010. This represents a 7.4 per cent increase compared to October 2010 and an 18.6 per cent decline from the 3,083 sales in November 2009.
Looking back further, last month’s residential sales represent a 187.1 per cent increase over the 874 residential sales in November 2008, a 13 per cent decline compared to November 2007’s 2,883 sales, and a 6.4 per cent increase compared to the 2,358 sales in November 2006.
“Housing sales numbers were fairly typical for a November and indicate a fairly balanced market. Activity on the buyer side has been stable, with slight increases, over the last few months while the number of homes listed for sale in our region has declined each month since we reached a peak in June,” Jake Moldowan, REBGV president said.
Total active residential property listings in Greater Vancouver currently sit at 12,384, a 12.1 per cent decline from last month and a 12 per cent increase from November 2009. New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties declined 17.1 per cent to 3,030 in November 2010 compared to November 2009 when 3,653 new units were listed.
“Home values have been relatively stable over the last five months compared to the summer period when we were seeing some downward pressure on prices,” Moldowan said. “It’s the homes priced accurately for today’s market that are receiving a lot of attention and selling right now.”
The MLSLink® Housing Price Index (HPI) benchmark price for all residential properties in Greater Vancouver over the last 12 months has increased 4.1 per cent to $580,080 in November 2010 from $557,384 in November 2009. This price has remained virtually unchanged since June of this year.
Sales of detached properties on the MLS® in November 2010 reached 1,050, a decrease of 9.8 per cent from the 1,164 detached sales recorded in November 2009, and a 226.1 per cent increase from the 322 units sold in November 2008. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 5.6 per cent from November 2009 to $799,312.
Sales of apartment properties reached 1,052 in November 2010, a decline of 24.6 per cent compared to the 1,396 sales in November 2009, and an increase of 156.6 per cent compared to the 410 sales in November 2008.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 1.9 per cent from November 2009 to $389,168.
Attached property sales in November 2010 totalled 407, a decline of 22.2 per cent compared to the 523 sales in November 2009, and a 186.6 per cent increase from the 142 attached properties sold in November 2008. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 4.1 per cent between November 2009 and 2010 to $488,733.