November 27, 2015
#Burnaby Village Museum - Heritage Christmas
Not much to do this weekend? Check this out. The Heritage Christmas at the Burnaby Village Museum and Carousel. It's FREE!
Date: Sunday, November 29, 2015
Time: 1pm - 9 pm
Location: 6501 Deer Lake Avenue, Burnaby
Burnaby Village Museum and Carousel
April 23, 2015
The Most Cost-Effective Renovations
Whether you are planning to put your home on the Burnaby real estate market or are simply looking to spruce up the home, renovations can be highly effective. Simple jobs can have a huge impact on the aesthetic appeal and value of your home.
But some renovations can also be expensive, either up front or in the long run. These kinds of jobs are often great to do eventually, but can easily destroy a budget and even keep you out of your own house for a long time. Here are some cost effective, relatively quick renovations for your home to get it spruced up for the spring.
The Front Door
As you have probably heard before, cleaning up the gateway to your home can have a huge impact on its value. It’s also one of the quickest jobs you can do. There are few returns on investment that come close to front doors. Whether you buy a brand new door or just repaint the current one, a few hours’ work at a couple hundred dollars will grab the attention of passersby and potential buyers equally.
While you are outside working on the front door, work on the lawn a bit. Simply cutting back the grass from the walkway and pulling up weeds can improve the look of your home. In addition, strategically planting flowers near the house or placing potted plants near the doorway can create a welcoming atmosphere for visitors.
If you have a beautiful kitchen with new countertops and flooring, nothing negates its appeal more than old, dirty appliances. Spending a few hundred to a few thousand dollars on a top-of-the-line stainless steel refrigerator or range can increase the value of your home drastically. And if your kitchen is in need of renovations, new appliances can draw attention away from those dingy floors.
Retouching the Bathroom
Few things set off visitors like a grimy bathroom. By re-caulking the bath or installing a new toilet seat, you set a perception of cleanliness. For something more drastic, spending a couple hundred dollars on a new vanity can go a long way toward a first impression.
Of course, even after you have made all these small renovations in your house, you want it to look good when you flip on the lights. If you are willing to shell out a couple hundred dollars and an afternoon of labour, you can install beautiful fixtures that highlight the best aspects of your home. Recessed lighting and daylight bulbs can make any house feel more like a home.
For only a few hundred bucks and a free weekend, you can drastically increase the value and aesthetic appeal of your home. For more information about increasing your home value, including staging and marketing ideas, be sure to visit our sellers page.
Meta: If you have some spare cash and a free weekend, why not spend it increasing the value of your home? Here are some cost-effective renovations you can do quickly.
April 15, 2015
Spruce Up Your Home This Spring
It has been a miserable winter, with record low temperatures and horrible precipitation across the continent. The weather has finally taken a turn, however, and spring is upon us. Along with the birds, bunnies and blue skies, this means it is time to dress up your home for the season of renewal. Here are some great ways to welcome the new season, whether you are looking to host guests or put your Burnaby real estate on the market for sale.
Flowers are the most obvious way to dress up your home. Get your lawn garden going and pick up some potted or in-the-vase bouquets to bring some bright color, beauty and wonderful aromas to your home. Not only do flowers look wonderful, but they are natural air fresheners, giving off oxygen while consuming carbon dioxide. This can help to improve your overall health.
A Coat of Paint
A fresh coat of paint is one of the best ways to give your home a great new look. Call in the painters to touch up those rooms that are looking a bit rough, or to lend a whole new color palate to your house. Make it look vibrant and bright to go along with the youth of spring.
Spring is the perfect time to get organized and give a new life to your schedule and coming tasks. Go through your home and clear the clutter. Organize those drawers and file cabinets. Get rid of trash and downsize your life by removing those things that have been sitting around unused for far too long.
Change the Linens
Put away those heavy, dark comforters and replace them with lightweight spring sheets. Move from blues and grays to lighter hues of yellow, green and brighter earth tones. Get the color scheme and energy of your whole home lighter and brighter.
Host a Tea Party or Barbecue
Having a party may not seem a way to spruce up your home, but it is! Bringing guests in and having an afternoon tea will bring life and positive energy to your home. You and your nearest and dearest can celebrate the season of renewal and life, and make plans for the coming months.
If high tea isn’t really your thing, try opening the grill and having the first cookout of the season! What better way to celebrate spring than by cooking and eating outdoors? Open the picnic tables and lay out the steaks, burgers and hot dogs.
Springtime is also a great time to buy or sell real estate. If you are looking to buy a new home or sell your existing home, we are ready to help. Give us a call today!
March 27, 2015
Techniques Realtors Use to Create Impressive Listing Videos
Our last post talked about how real estate listing videos can be a powerful marketing tool. Like any tool, the effectiveness depends on how you use it.
People who want to use a video when selling their Burnaby real estate home should be aware of the common tactics employed by video creators. This knowledge will help them work with the realtor or filmer to shoot their footage in the most impactful way possible.
Prepare the Home with Staging
The first step is to help give the camera person something worthy of shooting. You will want your home to be in its most flattering state possible. Every room should be cleaned, organized and staged in a way to look magazine-worthy.
Having clear, uncluttered and aesthetically pleasing spaces can transform your home into a veritable movie set. Every room should have a presence.
Light can be just as key of a component, so homeowners should pull back curtains or install natural-looking light throughout the house. The filmer may even need to choose the perfect time of day to let the light flow in as beautifully as possible.
Recreate a Tour Experience
One of the major advantages of video is that, unlike photos, video gives you a context when moving from room to room. Whereas a photo can make a living room look small when viewed from a kitchen, the video will reveal that as you move through the area, it actually feels spacious.
Camera work must be certain to incorporate these context clues by moving naturally from one part of the house to the other. Most videos start from the exterior to give the viewer a glimpse of the street and neighborhood as well as the home’s curb appeal. As the camera person moves into the entrance, the video shifts through various rooms to lead viewers and create a sense of narrative when moving throughout the house.
Savvy camera work can incorporate subtle touches like “guiding” the eye along a key feature like a stone fireplace, just as someone’s eye would when viewing the home in person.
An Eye for Editing
While filming the home tour all in one go may be tempting, the most effective videos use editing transitions to create a seamless video with a film-like quality. Editing is timed to dramatic music that elicits emotion when the viewer watches. Editing can also cut out things no one wants to see, like a toilet seat left up or a camera person’s reflection in the mirror.
Made to Be Found
In addition to the quality of the video, search engine optimization (SEO) will help home buyers find your home listing when searching online. Strategic use of keywords and an eye-catching thumbnail allow buyers browsing online to find the video and take notice immediately.
For help listing your home with a dramatic and effective real estate video, you can use our expert agent’s services. Visit our selling page to learn more.
March 27, 2015
Four Reasons a Real Estate Listing Video Can Help Sell Your Home
Home tour videos have become a powerful tool for Burnaby real estate owners to sell their property. Videos have an impact on your market and are a way of reaching potential buyers that other methods cannot match. Here is why:
Only 12 percent of real estate agencies have a YouTube account, and around only 5 percent update theirs regularly. With so many home listings on the market at any given time, a listing that includes video will certainly stand out above the competition.
Since Google owns YouTube, the number one search engine often ranks videos highly among search queries. Add to that the fact that YouTube is the number two search engine, and you have more opportunities to reach a potential buyer than most listings could only dream of.
Make an Impact
Videos typically leave a more lasting and full impression on viewers than text listings can alone. The experience of watching the video commits more details of the home to memory.
Additionally, videos can use thematic music matched with timely editing cues to create a dramatic effect on viewers. Homes can be lent a sense of gravitas or friendliness based on the artistic decisions exercised.
Video is becoming one of the fastest growing types of web content in the world. For example, the number of videos viewed month-over-month increased 60 percent between November and December of 2014.
The rise in video consumption correlates with the increase in traffic coming from smartphones and other mobile devices. Mobile platforms and online video fit hand in hand because of the attractiveness of mobile screen displays and the bite-size nature of most videos.
Embedding allows videos to look beautiful when home sellers advertise through other venues online. Facebook, Twitter and blog posts can all be enhanced by the presence of a video. Users are more likely to click on a video than read text, and they are more likely to remember the content and recommend the listing to interested parties later.
A More Intimate Look
More and more home buyers look to the web for researching their desired real estate market. A well-written listing with beautiful photos will help enhance their impression of the home.
However, photos can never tell the full story. Camera lenses by nature flatten images, distort them or leave out contextual clues. A video can complement listing photos with a fuller understanding of space and dimension as the camera walks through the home and guides the eye along important features. Potential buyers will have a more three dimensional perspective on the home, and they will likely have felt more of a personal connection with the space and the surrounding neighborhood after watching.
Make sure to not pass by on these incredible advantages that real estate listing videos can provide. Visit our selling page to find out more about tools we use that make your listing more competitive.
March 26, 2015
Eight Ways to Get Your Home Ready for an Amazing Spring Listing Part II
Our last post mentioned many helpful ways to have your home in near-perfect form before you list it in the spring. We covered projects that improved your curb appeal and the perception of your home’s value. Here are even more ways that you can be on top of your game by the time the busy Burnaby real estate selling season rolls around:
Start Researching Your Market
Before you can know what price to ask for your home or what features to accentuate, you must perform some research. Look up comparable homes that have sold in your region and how they chose to price and position their listing.
Your neighborhood will be the most important place to look, but finding a home with a similar square footage or floor plan can give you an idea of how much your home could be worth. You can find helpful data on sales price trends using online tools available from sites such as Trulia or Zillow.
Get the Buzz Out Early
Networking through friends and colleagues is one of the best ways to get interest in your home.
Mention to as many people as possible that you intend to list your home in the near future. They may be able to recommend your home to someone who will be in the market for a new house. You may be surprised at how many people can come out of the woodwork just from the mere mention that your home will be listed soon.
Find an Expert Burnaby Real Estate Agent
Only an agent who is intimately familiar with your area will be able to sell your home to the best buyer at the best price. Agents experienced with the luxury Burnaby home market will have the knowledge and expertise to make your sale as wonderful of an experience as possible. The earlier you get in touch with them, the more you can prepare to list with as few changes as possible.
Start Thinking About Staging
In today’s online-focused culture, flattering home photos are critical to a successful sale. Well-staged photos can attract the right sort of buyer who is highly interested in your property and willing to pay the right price to get it. Similarly, home staging can enhance the experience for anyone viewing your home during an appointment or an open house.
Since staging requires a lot of time and effort, thinking about the process in advance can make the experience less taxing. You can prevent mistakes like packing up an attractive sofa or switching your color scheme to something that looks unappealing in photos if you keep staging at the forefront of your mind.
For advice finding the best professional stagers or the best price to list your home based on the current market, you can consult our expert Burnaby luxury real estate agents. Take a look at our selling page to learn more.
March 19, 2015
Eight Ways to Get Your Home Ready for an Amazing Spring Listing, Part I
Spring is just around the corner. Since it typically marks the busiest buying season, homeowners who want to list soon should start working now to prepare their home. Here are some of the best ways to have your Burnaby real estate property in perfect condition for a speedy and effective spring sale.
Get a Head Start on Curb Appeal Projects
Curb appeal is one of the most important factors for attracting the right buyers to your property. Luckily, with most plants being dead by the end of winter, cleaning up for spring should be a breeze. You or a landscaper can easily cut back all the dead vegetation and prepare for a fresh growing season.
The more light you allow to penetrate through your yard and property, the more gorgeous everything will start to look in the coming weeks. As the days warm up and sunlight reaches your yard, plants will grow back more robustly and beautifully than ever before.
On the other hand, putting off clearing out dead leaves or undergrowth could lead to weeds and messy-looking lawn areas that will be harder to fix once new plant growth begins to harden. Getting a head start now ensures that your lawn and entrance will look beautiful the instant people arrive.
Start Packing Now
While it may seem strange to begin packing before you list, the process makes spring cleaning that much easier. As you clear out your closets and main areas, you will be able to organize and clean your house to prepare it for beautiful staging.
On top of that, you can start getting rid of things you will not need to take with you when you move. Getting rid of clutter is an important step to presenting your home in the best way possible.
Make a Checklist of Repairs
As you go through your property cleaning and landscaping, you may notice small problems here and there. These issues may seem minor, but they add up to a lot in a buyer’s mind. Every small problem a buyer sees gives them an excuse to haggle down your price or, worse, walk away from a sale altogether. Knocking out small projects early will make getting your home ready for viewing that much easier in the long run.
Make a Deadline for Improvement Projects
Homebuyers will not be keen to see their potential new property under construction. Major projects like kitchen remodeling, porch additions or flooring replacement will likely take a few days to several weeks to complete. Try to have all of these projects wrapped up so that your home will be ready in time for an advantageous spring listing.
Part II of this post will cover even more great ways to have your home put its best foot forward come listing time. For general advice on preparing your home for a sale, take a look at our selling page.
March 11, 2015
Proper Pool Maintenance, Part 2
A home with a pool can provide countless hours of entertainment. From pool parties to entertaining guests, your pool can be your backyard centerpiece. Proper maintenance will keep your pool looking like new and allow you, your family and your guests to enjoy that pool all summer long.
Last time, we offered tips on keeping your pool clean. These tips included skimming and vacuuming your pool, proper pool filter care and understanding your pool’s heating system. Now we would like to offer you tips on proper water care for your pool.
Testing the Water
The most important part for your pool’s water is that it is at a proper pH level. A proper pH level will ensure that the water in your pool is clean and healthy to swim in. A pH scale measures the water’s alkaline and acidity levels and range from 0-14. A reading of anywhere between 7.2 and 7.8 is ideal and will ensure that your pool’s sanitizers are working to their optimal levels.
You can monitor your pool’s water with a pH kit. These kits include strips of paper that will tell you what your pool’s pH level is by comparing the colour of your paper to a chart. This reading will determine what type of chemicals your pool needs.
Sanitizing the Pool
Once you have determined what your pool’s pH level is, the next step is to apply the proper chemicals to get your pool water within that ideal pH range. Chlorine is the main chemical that is used to sanitize your pool water and bring that water into proper pH range. When first sanitizing the water, it is recommended that you use chlorine shock, which is an initial large amount of the chemical.
After this initial shock, chlorine tablets are all that are required to keep your pool water sanitized. Always remember to read all owner’s manuals and pay close attention to any warnings on the labels. Keep in mind not to add two chemicals simultaneously. Rather, add each chemical separately and keep all chemicals out of reach of children and pets.
With proper maintenance you should be able to enjoy a clean and healthy pool all summer long. Owning a pool can be an exciting and very rewarding experience. If you are interested in seeing real estate listings in Burnaby that offer this amenity, be sure to contact us today!
March 5, 2015
Proper Pool Maintenance, Part 1
Spring has sprung. The blooming of Vancouver’s famous cherry blossoms is a true sign that spring has come early to the lower mainland. Unfortunately, it is not warm enough to get out and enjoy a quick dip in the pool.
Nevertheless, it is never too early to get started on pool maintenance. This way when those hot summer days are upon us, your pool will be ready and oh-so-inviting for a quick cool down. In the first part of this blog, we will discuss some tips for keeping your pool clean in the winter.
Skimming the Pool
Skimming your pool is probably the quickest and fastest way to keep your pool clean. Skimming helps to increase the pool’s circulation system and can drastically reduce the amount of chlorine you need to add to your pool. A simple long-handled skimmer with a fine mesh net on the end will help to keep unwanted debris out of the pool and keep your pool water crystal clear.
In addition to skimming your pool, it is highly recommended to vacuum and scrub down your walls. Vacuuming your pool will reduce the amount of chemicals you need to keep your pool water clean. When vacuuming, remember to check your filter to make sure it remains unclogged and clean while you are potentially kicking up debris.
Scrubbing your walls will greatly reduce any algae growth or calcium buildup in your pool. The material of your pool will dictate what type of scrub brush you need to use. A stiffer brush is good for any type of tile or concrete type pool, and a softer bristle is recommended for a vinyl or softer pool material.
Check your Systems
The final piece of proper pool maintenance is a good check of your pool’s filtration system and heating system. There are three types of pool filters: cartridge, sand and dichotomous earth. Although each type requires different maintenance techniques, all of them require cleaning from time to time. The regularity of maintenance will depend upon how often your pool is used and the type of filter your pool has.
Your pool’s heating system will require the least amount of maintenance of all of your pool’s equipment. Refer to your owner’s manual for proper care and maintenance.
A pool can add a whole new dimension to your house, and with a little early maintenance, you can more readily enjoy that pool all summer long. If you are in the market for a home with a pool, there are many real estate listings in Burnaby that meet these criteria. We would love to help you find your dream home. Contact us today to get started!
February 4, 2015
The Case for Using Bamboo Flooring in Your Home Renovation
Recent advancements in the bamboo manufacturing industry have made it a worthy competitor to traditional hardwood flooring. Research shows that home owners prefer hard surface flooring to carpet. In fact, 90 percent of these homes sell faster than carpeted homes. Buyers are also willing to pay more for hard flooring, with 54 percent of respondents indicating this fact in a recent US National Association of Realtors study.
However, most people tend to associate these preferences with hardwood alone. Bamboo does not have the established reputation that materials like oak, maple and birch do. But it should. Materials suppliers have developed technology to make bamboo highly comparable to other flooring materials, beating out many of them in their own game.
Bamboo can exude the character of wood, but it is not wood in the traditional sense. It is technically a large grass considering the way it grows.
Yet, depending on the species bamboo is just as hard as most trees you will find. Using the Janka Hardness Scale — a scientific way of measuring density and scratch-resistance — most bamboo lies between 1,200 to 1,400 psi. This number equals 12 percent higher than North American maple and 25 percent higher than red oak.
Bamboo becomes even harder when it is peeled into strands and recompressed with resin, creating an engineered floor material that is 3,000 psi on the Janka Scale. This flooring is one of the hardest possible surfaces without importing costly woods like ibe.
This strength means that the material will not only stand up to wear and pressure, but it will also not deform. When it comes to flooring that will not expand, buckle or warp, bamboo has the clear advantage.
Hardwood has always been regarded as beautiful, but bamboo can achieve stunning looks because of its unique appearance. There are also many new techniques of staining the bamboo or adding a veneer.
These processes mean that you can find bamboo in any color, texture or effect you could imagine. Scraped bamboo can even mimic the appearance of traditional woods.
Bamboo’s best feature is that it is environmentally friendly. A single bamboo chute can grow as much as three feet in a day. While many trees take 60 to 70 years to reach harvesting age, bamboo can reach maturity in as little as four years.
As we move into the future and gain new standards in green building, materials like bamboo will be preferred over hardwoods. More and more home buyers are finding appeal in bamboo as a result.
Because of all these advantages, one can see why bamboo has begun to earn its place alongside hardwoods as a flooring choice. There are still many reasons to choose hardwoods, but bamboo flooring is at least worth considering.
For more advice on the latest renovation trends that can help sell your Burnaby real estate home, take a look at our selling page.
January 14, 2015
Typical Home Prices in Burnaby Surpass the Million-Dollar Mark
Burnaby home sales have reached a new high watermark this past year. 2014 home sales were the strongest they have ever been in the Vancouver-adjacent city. Home sellers are excited to fetch a premium price on their properties, and homebuyers are more eager than ever to snatch up Burnaby real estate because of its premium status.
Numbers That Tell a Story
The entire Metro Vancouver area has experienced a tremendous amount of growth in the past several years. Real estate sales have been posting monthly records, with the numbers in October of 2014 being 17 percent higher than the year before.
In Burnaby, the median sales price of detached homes was above a million for the first nine consecutive months of 2014. That price reflects a 10 percent increase compared to 2013. Even smaller, more modest homes have been selling at remarkable prices. A 1,114 sq. ft. bungalow sold in summer of 2014 for $1,055,000.
These sales statistics come from the home price index (HPI), which means that the really expensive home sales are considered outliers and removed from the data. In effect, the housing market in Burnaby is even stronger than the million-dollar mark indicates.
Fueled by Scarcity
One of the main reasons that the housing market is doing so well in Burnaby is simple economics. New employees with white-collar jobs are constantly moving to Vancouver, and they are on the hunt for comfortable homes that lie within a quick commute of the downtown area.
Burnaby’s prime location just east of the city makes it an ideal location for people who want to be close to the action of Metro Vancouver without being in the thick of it. Burnaby also boasts some of the most beautiful homes this close to the city.
This high demand is countered by a relatively scarce supply. Owners of detached homes in Burnaby are prone to stay, and developers are keener to construct multifamily complexes, such as condominiums or townhomes.
As a result, detached luxury homes in Burnaby are becoming harder and harder to find. This makes the market hungry for property at any price, especially high quality homes with luxury amenities.
A Bright Future
Burnaby’s real estate success seems like it will only grow in 2015. Many of the more affordable suburbs of Vancouver are investing heavily in public transit systems, leaving the more close by real estate of Burnaby free to remain a city filled with predominantly luxury properties.
Job growth also is anticipated to continue in the city, which already hosts such notable companies as Electronic Arts, Chevron, Nokia and Mercedes Benz.
If you were thinking of selling your detached luxury home, now would be one of the best times. While prices are only predicted to go higher, the current insatiable demand makes home selling relatively effortless. To get your home sold at an unprecedented price, take a look at our seller’s page.
January 8, 2015
Why You Should Be Thinking About Title Insurance
Insurance is usually the last thing on a buyer’s mind, but this should not be the case. Even though title insurance does not cost much, it could be one of the wisest purchases a homeowner could make. A simple document can help prevent a lot of headache and heartache down the road.
Why Protecting Your Title Matters
Buying a home essentially means that you are “taking title” of the property, establishing legally binding ownership. Before you can do this, you must perform a title search to ensure that there are no contesting registrations for the title. This process is a standard part of the closing procedure.
A clean title search now does not mean that there will not be disputes in the future. Legal paperwork can take a long time to process; some of it gets buried for years at a time. At any point a third party can come forward to contest full or partial ownership of the title. Reasons they can legally dispute your claim include:
- Arguments over inheritance arising from an unclear will — heirs to a property could surface and argue a case for ownership
- Home liens — either from unpaid property taxes or unpaid contracting labor
- Clerical errors — a single typo or incorrectly phrased statement can send the legal status of a property claim into limbo
- Illicit claims — some people are capable of fraud or forgery, contesting the validity of a property transfer based on falsified documents
While all of these problems seem like they would not take much to resolve, any one of them might tie your title up in the legal system. You could be forced to defend your claim in an expensive and drawn out civil dispute process. Title insurance will pay for most or all of the legal costs needed to set the record straight and keep you in your home.
The Difference between Lender and Owner Title Insurance
Buying a home through a lender usually means that title insurance will be a requirement for buying the property. This stipulation may seem like enough to protect you, but in reality the insurance you buy will only protect the lender. Should the lender run out of money or decide to give up the fight, the onus is now on you to mount a defense.
Owner title insurance serves as buffer should this instance occur. It can also be enhanced to cover aspects like mineral rights claims or boundary disputes. Always look closely at the title insurance document to see exactly what it covers.
For more advice on home buying, take a look at our dedicated buying page.
December 23, 2014
Why Pricing Your Home Too High Could End Up Costing You
The surest way to increase the odds of a smooth, painless sale is to set an appropriate price for your home. Despite this fact, many home owners become a little too ambitious with their listing price.
Always perform some market research and work with an agent to set a reasonable listing price. Doing so will help you avoid these common problems:
Home buyers will tend to steer towards listings they see as a good value. If your home is priced higher than other comparable properties, they may pass on viewing or buying it for cheaper listings. The more often this reaction happens, the more likely your home is to sit on the market.
Even if a quick sale is not your chief concern, a prolonged listing period can harm your ability to sell at all. Buyers and the representing real estate agents may question if there is something wrong with your house. They may judge any defects they do find more harshly as a result.
Others may play the waiting game to see if you become desperate enough to chip away at your asking price. In either scenario, any interested parties will expect more and want to pay less.
There is also the danger that you are pricing your home out of many buyers’ search criteria. People looking online will often place a cap on their home listing price. Your home may be just out of their budget. This can consequently get your home screened out of their search results.
Having a clean home is absolutely vital when showing the property. You must keep the lawn and interior maintained. You will also have to put away a majority of your personal belongings to keep the property from looking cluttered or disorganized.
Putting on appearances for a couple of days a month can be fine for a while. Constantly having to tidy up for months on end can get old fast. Eventually, your stress levels will elevate after having to repeat the same tasks over and over again.
If your buyer is going to secure financing in order to purchase your home, they must first get an appraisal. Should their appraisal fall well short of your asking price, they will be unable to pay for the property in full and must find a way to close the gap.
This sudden realization will delay a sale significantly. Many times, they are simply unable to purchase the home in this situation, and you must start back from square one with another buyer.
All of these factors are why it is important to set a reasonable price from the beginning. Work closely with an experienced real estate agent to determine a fair price for your home given the current market and comparable listings. To find out more about reliable home selling techniques, take a look at our selling page.
December 18, 2014
Three Trending Features for Ultra Luxury Homes
As society and technology progresses, so do our homes. Gone are features like overhead fluorescent lighting and wood paneling. In their place are energy efficiency, neutral colors and open floor plans.
The most luxurious homes usually boast the cutting edge of these trends. Some design choices will find their way down to more moderate homes. Other features will be truly reserved for only the most opulent Burnaby real estate properties.
With this in mind, here are some of the most notable amenities that luxury home buyers have begun seeking.
Automated Subterranean Parking
The wealthy tend to curate a collection of beautiful and exotic cars. These vehicles make a profound statement both for onlookers and upon the person lucky enough to be in the driver’s seat.
Unfortunately, large garages that hold four or more cars tend to swallow up a great deal of a property’s square footage. A huge garage can also blemish an otherwise elegant front elevation view of the home.
To solve this problem, some luxury home owners are turning to sophisticated underground parking garages. These systems allow you to park your vehicle in a dock where it is automatically arranged and stored. You can retrieve the car you want later with the simple push of a button. This type of system is not only convenient, but it also feels slick and futuristic.
Entertaining Wine Cellars
A wine cellar that looks and feels like a cave is no longer acceptable. Home owners want to know that they can get some extra utility out of their investment.
Instead of letting their wine cellars remain a gloomy and uncomfortable lair, they have begun to add furniture and fixtures. Dining rooms arrangements are especially popular since they offer an excellent thematic venue to entertain guests. Decorative accents make this already dramatic setting even more striking. All of these amenities can be bolstered by adjustable temperatures, humidity and ambient lighting.
Highly Advanced Purification Systems
Not every luxury home addition has to be merely aesthetic. Luxury home owners are becoming more interested in protecting themselves from health problems that can come from impure air and water entering the home.
For example, central HVAC systems are being paired with sophisticated multi-zone air purification systems. UV lights and HEPA filters all filter out allergens, carcinogens and other impurities that lead to poor indoor air quality.
Installation of large, industrial-strength water filters and purifiers are on the rise. These systems filter water coming into the house, and they are often coupled with charcoal or cartridge filters at drinking water dispensers.
These three luxury amenities are just a taste of what modern luxury homes can offer. To find out more about homes with lavish amenities in the Burnaby area, take a look at our listings.
December 11, 2014
Three Central Systems You Can Integrate Into Your Luxury Home
Some of the most advanced modern amenities are designed to hide behind your walls or within your floors. These systems add true value and functionality to your home, simplifying some tasks while enhancing your ability to do others. They can increase your comfort levels while living in the home, and they offer a unique selling point when you decide to move out.
Radiant Floor Heating
This incredibly useful heating technique installs directly underneath your floorboards. Coils of conductive metal or water are woven throughout the floor to give the surface an even coverage. These elements are attached to a heating system that runs radiant heat through the lines.
When the lines heat up, their warmth seeps through the floor into objects and people. The end result is a toasty warmness that comes from within the house rather than the ambient air.
Best of all, this type of system can actually reduce your heating bills by using less energy to heat your home. Traditional furnaces are great at making a room “feel” warm while your teeth are still chattering.
This phenomenon occurs because objects in the room are still at a lower temperature; your body will transfer heat when it comes into contact with them. The biggest culprit for heat loss is the floor.
Central Vacuum Systems
Rather than having to carry around a cumbersome vacuum unit, central vacuum systems have a large, powerful central unit located in an out-of-the-way place like a garage or utility room.
Tubes connecting to this unit are threaded throughout the house. All the home owner has to do is hook up a light, flexible hose to one of these tubes and they can suck up dirt and debris directly into the walls and out of sight.
Central vacuum systems are recommended in houses that have people with allergies. Because the central unit does not kick up dust like a bag model vacuum will, disposing of the debris keeps dust mites and allergens from drifting back into the air.
Structured wiring is the concept behind ethernet cables, phone lines and security systems. Wires are hidden within the walls to allow outlet receptacles located in convenient spots rather than meter after meter of visible cording.
This technique can be used to accomplish far more sophisticated tasks than people realize. For instance, structured wiring can be used to hook a television up to a cable box several rooms away. You can also integrate speakers directly into your ceiling or wall.
These systems can also have advanced control panels that perform functions through your Wi-Fi network or even your smartphone. Imagine being able to cue up music or your favorite TV show while still on the commute home from work.
All of these systems add utility and resale value to your home, not to mention comfort. For more ideas that add value to your luxury Burnaby real estate property, take a look at our selling services.
December 1, 2014
Best Features to Have in an In-Law Apartment
Our last post discussed a widely-growing trend of home owners adding in-law suites, apartments or guest houses to their properties. These additions add value and appeal to listed homes, especially for foreign buyers.
Not just any in-law suite will do, however. A certain set of criteria must be met for them to be functional and desirable to buyers. Here are some aspects that may help.
A large part of the reason that home owners are inviting their parents to stay with them is because they are concerned about advancing health issues. An in-law suite should be able to anticipate onset mobility problems and prepare for them now, rather than having to make modifications later.
For one, avoid steps or path obstructions that could lead to dangerous falls. Any areas with stairs should have ramp accessibility in case mobility problems require wheel chairs or other assistance means down the road. Hallways should also be spacious enough to allow the passage of medical equipment, including hospital beds.
Showers should have a sturdy grip rail to allow older adults easy entry and exit. A built-in shower chair can also improve the functionality for an independent senior who has difficulty standing for long periods of time.
Part of the appeal of in-law suites is that they function as a separate component of the main house. They should be able to offer comparable facilities so that live-in parents will not have to come into the main part of the house several times a day to perform relatively simple tasks.
Including a kitchenette is one of the most beneficial ways to avoid this problem. A small refrigerator and oven range can allow parents to cook or prepare meals for themselves without having to feel as if they are intruding. Enough counter and cabinet space should be provided so that dry goods, plates and utensils can be stored and used without causing clutter.
Other amenities should include a sitting area for keeping occupied during the day. Bookshelves and a TV space can create entertainment when children and grandkids are not present.
While an in-law apartment does not have a lot of square footage, it should be spacious enough to move around in without feeling cramped. There should also be enough room for a rather large and comfortable bed, along with a closet for replacement linens.
These apartments can also be made to feel cozy in order for in-laws to feel welcome and well cared-for. Be sure that the architecture feels homey rather than like a commercial property or care facility.
Always consult a contractor before starting your project to get advice, including how to file for the proper permits to have a separate dwelling as part of your Burnaby real estate property.
For more guidelines on improvements that add value and appeal to your home, consult one of our expert real estate agents. Take a look at our selling page to get started.
November 24, 2014
In-Law Apartments Top Trends in Home Additions Add Value
Adding a small, permanently-livable addition or guest house to your property for in-laws is rapidly becoming a more common occurrence for home renovations. Luxury homes in particular are seeing a spike in this trend, especially in western parts of the United States and Canada.
These dwellings offer in-laws a permanent place to stay on your property. Home owners who opt for this renovation intend to lessen their parents’ chance of dependence on medical care and get some much-needed bonding with family members during their twilight years. As an added bonus, these additions are also increasing property values and appeal in a big way.
Why In-Law Suites Are Becoming Popular
An enormous segment of the population has begun to reach retirement age at about the same time. Known in the US as “baby boomers,” this generation was born during the rapid medical and industrial advances following World War II.
This aging generation’s children have come into their own in recent years. Largely free from dependent minors or financial instability, they now have the opportunity to provide for their parents as a way to pay them back for the effort spent raising them. Furthermore, the lodging in-laws get to spend more time with the grandkids who still live at home or are returning from college.
Most people offering shelter to their parents cite the importance of being close to family members, especially if they are experiencing the onset of health problems. Living closer than “next door” means less dependence on medical assistance as they age, an important factor in maintaining an elderly family member’s health care and quality of life.
These values are particularly present in foreign buyers. Some may not even consider a property unless it has an extra house or dedicated area just for in-laws. When they take up residence in Canada, they want to be able to know that their parents can eventually join them.
A Real Estate Boon
In-law suites have quickly become an important criteria for homes. Realtors on the US west coast claim that properties with multiple dwelling units can fetch a price as much as 60 percent higher than other properties.
High-end properties are more likely to be scrutinized for their ability to house several generations. If the owner has not yet added a functional suite or guest house, the buyer may make inquiries on how much such an addition to the property will cost them. They may even pass on the property in favor of another with more potential to house their parents.
For all of these reasons, more and more home owners are experiencing a multitude of benefits from in-law suites. Our next post will offer advice on the best ways to add suites that contribute value and functionality to the home.
To learn more about ways to add value to your Burnaby Real Estate home in general, you can start by looking at our selling page.
November 20, 2014
Four Documents to Review Before You Buy a Condo
People in the market for condominiums have the advantage of easy access to the property’s documents. These records are a treasure trove of information about the building and how its management is generally handled. Here are some of the most important documents to review when considering buying a condo.
You can think of the condo declaration as a constitution of sorts. Within its pages are all of the rules, by-laws and stipulations for owning the condo, as well as the consequences should you lapse in your duties.
Review this document carefully to identify where your responsibilities lay and what you are permitted to do on your property. An attorney can provide you with a more in-depth interpretation should you have any confusion or pressing questions.
The condo association is required by law to have an insurance policy for their building. This policy may happen to cover certain aspects of individual units, or it may avoid coverage for any owner’s private property.
Review the master policy in order to determine what kind of insurance you will need to cover your property. You can sometimes avoid paying for redundant policies by being cautious in this way. It is important to know if you do not need fire damage insurance because the master policy already has that covered.
The Depreciation Report
Often known as a “reserve fund study,” these reports are a requirement of the condo association every three years. When they are performed, an expert consultant will come out to the building and inspect every single component of the common elements, specifically areas of the building used by all residents.
The consultant will calculate how long each component will last before it needs to be repaired or replaced. He or she will also outline a proposed financial plan for anticipating these costs well into the future.
A depreciation report contains a rich amount of information. If you take the time to read it, you will be able to see what state the building is in and any major costs you may be responsible for. You can also compare the condo association’s budget to the proposed financial plan in order to see how adequately-funded all of these future projects will be.
The Minutes from the Last Annual General Meeting
Once a year, the condo association will hold a meeting with all of the owners within the building. Any major problems will be discussed, and any concerns held by owners will be voiced.
Reviewing the minutes from the most recent meeting will tell you a great deal about how diplomacy is handled within that building. You will be able to see how disputes are resolved and what the common issues facing the building are.
With these documents in hand, you can have more confidence knowing that life in your condo building meets your lifestyle and expectations. To find the perfect condo for you, take a look at our Burnaby real estate listings.
November 13, 2014
Four Features of a Luxury Home That Are Always Important
A luxury home should offer more than just tempting frills; they should also be able to supply timeless benefits and hold value, regardless of trends.
When buying a luxury home, try to look past things like infinity Jacuzzi tubs and professional-quality home theaters. These four amenities will never go out of style.
Unimpeded Views and Light Travel
Natural light is vital to the look and feel of your home, as is a clear view of the outdoors. Homes with ample natural light during the daytime have been proven to elevate your mood as well as your resale value.
In cities, you should try to have a view of a skyline rather than a single building wall. If you can see some sort of natural landscape such as hills, woods, a river or a park, this feature will be even better. Ideally, sunlight will be streaming in through your windows for the majority of the day.
Outside the city, look for a home that is not hidden by trees or landscaping. Too many trees can spell a shady, gloomy interior and extra yard maintenance. Try to find a home that has an excellent viewing distance out into mountains, woods or fields. Remember that natural scenery is not something you can add to houses with a renovation.
Along with your surroundings, your windows dictate how much light and landscape you see. Windows are responsible for a large percentage of heating and cooling loss in most older homes.
Seek out a home that has modern insulated windows with double or triple panes. These will save you money on energy costs, especially if the house has an abundance of windows.
A home with high ceilings feels more spacious. It communicates a majestic appearance. Your ceiling height should be no less than 2.7 meters. A house with ceilings higher than four meters would benefit from architectural touches such as exposed beams or an inlaid ceiling design.
Most luxury homes are large; this does not have to mean that they are difficult to navigate. Your home’s floor plan should be practical. Look for spacious main areas and corridors that flow naturally into bedrooms and other more private areas while still keeping them separate.
If you are in the market for a luxury Burnaby real estate property with all of these features and more, we would love to help you in your search. Take a look at our buying page to see what we can do for you.
November 4, 2014
Four Ways to Avoid Financial Risk When Buying a Luxury Home
A luxury home is an investment as much as it a necessity. One should always exercise due diligence before springing into a sale, no matter tempting a property may seem. Here are four things everyone should consider having done before they make a serious bid on a luxury property.
Get a Comprehensive Estate Inspection
Large estates have many complex components. A simple home inspection would be unable to evaluate them all properly. Find an expert who is qualified to inspect elements like:
- Lawn irrigation and sprinkler systems
- Heated floors or driveways
- Complicated security or surveillance systems
- Exterior landscape lighting
A thorough inspection will include the current state of each major component. It should give you a rough estimate for anything that will need to be repaired or replaced in the next ten or so years.
Get a Personal Appraisal
Chances are, any lender you wish to use will request their own appraisal. While these can be handy for determining your mortgage interest and lending amount, they may not have all the information you need as an investor.
Consider hiring your own separate appraiser who can calculate your new home’s value in the long run. They should be able to use historical data of surrounding areas and other similar properties.
With this information, you will have a clearer picture of how your home will appreciate over the years. An appraiser may even be able to advise you of scenarios that will increase the value of the property.
Consult Your Financial Advisor
Buying a home is a serious commitment. Many people think through the decision diligently on their own, but do not bring their financial planner in on the prospect until late in the game.
Ask your financial advisor what type of contribution you are able to set aside for your home’s down payment and mortgage. They will be able to offer their expertise on the best type of housing purchase for your equity and overall net worth. A good financial advisor will help you steer clear of any rash purchases that may benefit your comfort, but not necessarily your bottom line.
Have the Title Looked at Closely
Large or valuable properties have a lot more considerations when it comes to ownership. There are unexpected aspects such as mineral rights, encroachments and possible easements relating to the property. Have a lawyer familiar with real estate law examine the document to spot any potential areas of trouble.
Additionally, if your lender does not already require you to purchase title insurance, do so before closing. Title insurance will protect you from unintended consequences in a title’s wording or from any unknown liens the property may have.
For more advice on buying luxury Burnaby real estate homes, our team of experienced agents will be more than happy to serve you. Take a look at our buying page to find out more about how we can help you.