OCEAN VIEW, 2 side-by-side lots totaling 4.69 Acres! Escape the city to this tranquil oasis! If you enjoy gardening, any outdoor activity like kayaking, fishing, hiking, biking or swimming, Cortes Island might be your place. This property is truly a gem! Lots of potential on this gorgeous property. The rustic house could be revived to its former glory or build new. The back of the property includes densely forested area. Conveniently located close to the ferry terminal. Showings by appointment only.
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Radon (Rn) 101 – Understanding it within the Canadian Housing Context

 

Recently as part of Professional Development Course I took an interesting course and I would like to share with the readers of the Discovery Islander what I learned.

The course was put together by “Evict Radon” which is a volunteer-led Canadian non-profit organization dedicated to solving Canada’s large and allegedly worsening radon-gas exposure problem.

Why should you care about this?

Exposure to Radon may cause serious health issues including lung cancer.

The reason why it’s relevant to Real Estate is that Radon is a health concern and could be seen as a “latent defects” in a real estate transaction. Latent defects are hidden, unknown defects that are not generally discoverable by a prospective purchaser or a reasonable inspection.

In all of my years in the industry I have never seen a deal fall apart due to Radon reading. In fact, I have never even seen a Radon reading disclosed in the Property Disclosure Statement but I suspect that this trend of “healthy homes” will continue to push new ways of red tape. In my opinion, if it’s actually based on science and not on special interest groups and it will make us healthier than I think it’s worth looking into.

What is Radon?

“Radon is a tasteless, odourless and invisible radioactive gas that results from decaying uranium, and is a leading cause of lung cancer.

Radon filters up from the ground and into the air. It can enter buildings through openings where the buildings contact the ground. In the outdoors, radon is diluted to low levels. Inside buildings, however, radon can build up too harmful, concentrated levels. Breathing increased levels of radon increases a person’s chance of developing lung cancer. In fact, Radon is linked to 16% of lung cancer deaths. It is the leading cause of lung cancer in non-smokers, and the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.”

Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk for radon inhalation, and any building that has contact with the ground has the potential to have high radon levels, including houses, apartments, schools, daycares, warehouses and commercial spaces.”

“Evict radon” is asking for participation with their research by testing your home and sending it back to them.

Participation in this research based study can help in better understanding what type of property produces a high or low radon environment and why. It will help in identifying who in society are the most at risk and also help in determining meaningful changes to policy and building codes in the future.

I am naturally sceptical when someone says “this is for your own health” because it usually means it will cost me something. However, I am open minded and passionate about learning so I purchased the test to see what it says about my home. The test cost me $53.99 plus shipping and taxes, total of $78.71.

The way to conduct the test is to place the little plastic device (the radon test) in the lowest level in your home that you spend about 4 or more hours a day. This could be your basement or the main floor. Do not place the radon test in well ventilated spaces such as kitchen, bathroom or areas with open windows or excessive airflow. Do not place them on the floor. The purpose of these tests is to give the research group a more accurate measurement of air quality. Typically, a location on the bedside table is a great place for the test. The test needs to stay in the same location for minimum of 90 days or longer.

If you would like to participate in this study go to the websites provided below. Both of the websites provide abundance of information about Radon, about the test and also mitigation process.


I think it’s a great resource for those of you that are curious or just health conscious. 

The website https://c-nrpp.ca/testing-for-radon/

 

The website to purchase the home test is here: https://evictradon.org/about/

 

Are you thinking of selling your home? Call me for a free home evaluation.

Roman Krzaczek REALTOR ®

Home number: 250-285-2141

Quadrarealty.ca

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September in Real Estate

 


The monthly statistics report just came out for the month of September and it’s been my ritual for a full year now to read all the reports and share a summary with the Discovery Islander readers. When I write these summaries I don’t use my opinions or my own spin on things, I directly quote snippets from the reports, so please don’t shoot the messenger.


I’m re-evaluating if my column is seen as valuable information for readers and am curious if people are actually finding it helpful at all.

I would greatly appreciate to receive some feedback. Please text me at 604-787-4594 or call me at home 250-285-2141. All feedback is greatly appreciated and confidential.

 

 

Campbell River
Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reported for the month of September:

“The housing market in the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) area finished summer the way it began, with historically low inventory and rising prices. Active listings of single-family homes were 47 per cent lower last month than in September 2020, while VIREB’s inventory of condo apartments and row/townhouses dropped by 57 per cent and 48 per cent, respectively, from one year ago.

In Campbell River, the benchmark price of a single-family home hit $653,700 in September, up by 29 per cent from the previous year. In the Comox Valley, the year-over-year benchmark price rose by 31 per cent to $771,300. The Cowichan Valley reported a benchmark price of $755,000, an increase of 34 per cent from September 2020. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose by 28 per cent, hitting $745,400, while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 33 per cent to $869,000. The cost of a benchmark single-family home in Port Alberni reached $494,500, a 40 per cent year-over-year increase. The benchmark price for the North Island rose by 49 per cent, hitting $404,100 in September.”


Quadra Island
Quadra Island saw 4 listings sold (pending completion) and 2 new listings.

If you would like more details including “sold prices” go to my website and sign up for free to the members only area that will provide that information www.quadrarealty.ca


Cortes Island

Cortes Island also saw 4 listings sold (pending completion) and 2 listings expired.

If you would like more details including “sold prices” go to my website and sign up for free to the members only area that will provide that information www.quadrarealty.ca


Calgary

 “While sales activity in the fall tends to be slower than in the spring months, the continued strong sales are likely being driven by consumers who were unable to transact earlier in the year when supply levels had not yet adjusted to demand,” said Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB®) chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie. “The market continues to favour the seller, but conditions are not as tight as they were earlier this year.”

Benchmark price of a detached home in the city of Calgary: $537,500 up 10% Year over Year.

Benchmark price of a semi-detached home in the city of Calgary: $424,900 up 8.4% Year over Year.

Benchmark price of a row-home in the city of Calgary: $299,600 up 7.2% Year over Year.

Benchmark price of an apartment in the city of Calgary: $253,200 up 1.2% Year over Year.”


Vancouver


“Home sale activity remains elevated across Metro Vancouver’s housing market while the pace of homes being listed for sale continues to follow long-term averages.

The summer trend of above-average home sales and historically typical new listings activity continued in Metro Vancouver last month. Although this is keeping the overall supply of homes for sale low, we’re not seeing the same upward intensity on home prices today as we did in the spring,” Keith Stewart, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) economist said.


The benchmark price for a detached home is $1,828,200. This represents a 20.4 per cent increase from September 2020.

The benchmark price of an apartment home is $738,600. This represents an 8.4 per cent increase from September 2020.

The benchmark price of an attached home is $963,800. This represents a 17.5 per cent increase from September 2020.


Toronto


“September marked the transition from the slower summer market to the busier fall market in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). Every year, we generally see an uptick in sales, average selling price and listings after Labour Day, and September 2021 was no different. Sales increased relative to August and were also at the third-highest mark on record for the month of September. The average selling price was up both month-over-month and year-over-year.


The average price for a detached home in area (416) is $1,778,928. This represents a 19.5 per cent increase from September 2020.

The average price of a semi-detached home (416) is $1,304,504. This represents a 13.9 per cent increase from September 2020.

The average price of a townhouse is $930,056. This represents a 7.2 per cent increase from September 2020.

The average price of a condo is $744,730. This represents a 8.5 per cent increase from September 2020”, as reported by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TREBB)


 

Are you thinking of selling your home? Call me for a free home evaluation.

Roman Krzaczek REALTOR ®

Home number: 250-285-2141

Quadrarealty.ca

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Are solar panels going to increase the value of my home?

Thank you My Friend for asking me this question the other day, because it inspired me to write about it in the Discovery Islander where I will share my findings with all the readers.

The usual answer I came up with right away is the usual in real estate: “it depends”. I have done some reading and even asked my fellow real estate agents if they had any experience with this.

The answer is not black and white, as expected.


I think it’s a wonderful technology and I am a big fan of trying new ideas. The three most obvious benefits of using this technology is reducing our carbon footprint, less reliance on the grid, and most importantly cheaper utility bills.


I can see an argument in favour of a solar panel system to supplement your power usage. Cost of energy is going up as we have all been noticing over the years. The way that BC Hydro calculates your power bill is a 2 step system, where you pay one rate up to certain level and then anything above that costs significantly more. In winter for example my hydro bill triples, and I think solar panels integrated into my home could potentially reduce that electric bill shock.


The main things to keep in mind:

Cost - Although cost of panels and all the components have come down in price lately, the cost will vary depending on performance, durability and warranty. Other factors such as installation, permits, inspections, and any modifications related to hook up to your existing grid may add up to the cost.


Maintenance- what are the maintenance costs over time. The efficiency of solar panels degrades over time so the older panels will be perceived as less valuable and less efficient, and also will need more maintenance costs.


Efficiency- How efficient is your system, is it really worth installing it if you live in an area like Quadra Island where sunshine is a rare commodity for six months out of the year? I wish we had “rain panels” on the west coast; Or winter grey sky panels!


Location- Do you have the south facing roof top for best exposure of the sun, does your property have enough sunshine? A lot of the houses in our area of Cortes Island, Campbell River and Quadra Island have a lot of trees around the houses. A lot of efficiency of solar panels depend on unobstructed view of the sun. The panels are supposed to be facing the sun at all times for maxium efficiency; not always possible.


Permits- What are the local guidelines and requirements? It’s always best to hire a local contractor that has experience and knows how to plan a successful installation.   


All things considered, is your property going to go up in value if you install a system?


Large installations on valuable homes tend to add more money to the value of the home than smaller and less valuable homes. Some studies indicate that some properties can benefit up to $6000 for every 1kW installed and working systems. Other sources suggest 2-4% increase in property value, but these numbers are based on hypothetical scenarios.


Most of the time however solar panels do not add significant value to most properties. Even off-grid properties may not increase the value because you’re trading the benefits for all the maintenance costs and unreliable service. For example, when temperatures drop down in the winter the panels don’t produce as much electricity.


The way I look at it is, if you can justify paying $30,000 for a system that will save you $100 in monthly electricity bill then go ahead, but don’t count on the value of the house to go up significantly. I think it’s a great idea of “free” electricity but just how free is it. The panels will provide most amount of electricity when your monthly bills are typically the lowest. In the winter when the panels are not quite as efficient unfortunately due to weather, is when you need to have a good source of supplemental power source.


From a numbers point of view if someone had $30,000 to increase the value of a property I would suggest redoing the kitchen first, then bathrooms, windows, insulation, but if all these options have already been covered then consider adding an additional dwelling on your property. Is there a way to build a rental suite?

The return on investment on the $30,000 invested in a rental suite that can be rented for $800 vs $100 saving on your electric bill is a no brainer in my opinion.

  

In conclusion, based on all factors the installation of solar panels is a fantastic way of reducing your cost of power and it’s an extra added feature for a property. Theoretically the more features a property includes the more attractive it could be to certain potential buyers. I remember when hot tubs were a great feature for buyers until that trend went away and now selling a house with a hot tub can be a bit tricky these days. As more information about solar panels become available more people will be able to make more educated decisions.


I personally, would definitely consider buying a brand new house with a renewable energy solution built in from the beginning because I can safely assume that all other systems in the house like insulation and windows have a high efficiency rating. As a buyer of an older home with only certain components that meet the efficiency level, I personally would not feel too thrilled.



The Canadian government is offering home owner grants that aim at helping home owners in saving energy costs. This could be a good first step in doing some research.


https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/energy-efficiency/homes/canada-greener-homes-grant/23441


As you read through that government website you will realize that the promised "up to $5000" grant given to home owners doesn't mean what we think. There are a lot of limitations and conditions that one has to meet in order to take advantage of any of these programs. 



 


Are you thinking of selling your home? Call me for a free home evaluation.

Roman Krzaczek REALTOR ®

Home number: 250-285-2141

Quadrarealty.ca

http://www.islandphonebooks.ca/


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Renovictions

As a Realtor sometimes I get to participate in some very complex problems and issues arising from tenancies. I have some experience from being a landlord myself and have helped my clients in guiding them to get proper resources in dealing with tenancies. I am not a licenced property manager so I’m not an expert in this field that’s why I strongly recommend and warn you to do your own research before you commit to being a landlord. Whether you are a tenant or landlord it’s very important to know the rules of the game. My assumption is that majority of landlords are honest, decent and responsible people. I also assume the same great qualities apply to the tenants. Of course there are small groups of people that play outside of the norm and don’t play by the rules and that’s why it’s important to familiarize yourself with the rules of the game if you intend to participate.
 

I understand that the tenancy act appears at first to be very complex but when you look deeper it’s actually very easy to understand and there are simple rules to follow based on the principle of “just do the right thing”


Here’s a brief summary of new rules that came into effect on July 1, 2021.


How can a landlord increase rent? Currently due to factors such as current health crisis the government has put a freeze on rent increases until December 31, 2021. So legally you can’t increase rent this year. The maximum allowable rent increase for next year will be publicly announced at the end of the summer.


What if you evicted your tenant so you can do some renovations and then rent it out to a new tenant at a higher market rent? This is referred commonly as a “Renoviction”. This is a very hot topic and I feel that it needs to be analyzed in depth to make sure you understand it clearly.


As of July 1, 2021 under new legislation if a landlord wants to end a tenancy for extensive renovations the landlord will have to apply for “order of possession” from the Residential Tenancy Branch. There will be a process of dispute resolution where an arbitrator will decide if ending the tenancy is the only way to complete this work.

The most important factor is to prove that the renovation you’re trying to do will require the tenant to move out. Simple replacing of kitchen cabinets, installation of flooring, or painting is considered cosmetic repairs and do not constitute as “extensive” repairs.

“Section 49.2 of the Residential Tenancy Act establishes four basic requirements to end a tenancy for renovations or repairs:

  1. the landlord has all the necessary permits and approvals required by law and intends in good faith to renovate or repair the rental unit(s) 
  2. the renovations or repairs require the unit(s) to be vacant
  3. the renovations or repairs are necessary to prolong or sustain the use of the rental unit(s) or the building where the rental unit(s) are located
  4. the only reasonable way to achieve the necessary vacancy is to end the tenancy agreement

If the above requirements are met, a landlord can apply to the RTB (Residential Tenancy Branch) for an order of possession to end a tenancy. There will be a hearing where the landlord and tenant can provide their evidence and the arbitrator will make a decision. 

After July 1, 2021 the only reason a landlord can serve a Four Month Notice to End Tenancy is:

  1. convert the residential property to strata lots under the Strata Property Act;
  2. demolish the rental unit;
  3. convert the residential property into a not for profit housing cooperative under the Cooperative Association Act;
  4. convert the rental unit for use by a caretaker, manager or superintendent of the residential property; or
  5. convert the rental unit to a non-residential use.”

The violation of laws by the tenant under normal circumstances could result in termination of lease and/or losing your damage deposit. In my next article I would like to address this in more detail.
The landlord has more to lose however because if the landlord is found in violation of rules can face a penalty of up to 12 months of rent to be payable to the tenant. That can be a big hit to some people, and sometimes it’s the only way of getting rid of an undesirable tenant.

There is no way around rules and some of the most common scenarios won’t be acceptable, like:

  1. A landlord ends a tenancy to occupy the rental unit and then changes their mind.
  2. A landlord ends a tenancy to renovate the rental unit but did not adequately budget for the renovations and cannot complete them because they run out of funds.

If you need further information I highly recommend going to the government website (link provided below). It contains all the information that you need. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/housing-tenancy/residential-tenancies

We are in a housing crisis and avoiding the subject won’t solve the problem. Shelter is the basic human need as shown in the Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, and I feel it’s very important to treat it as such.
I strongly believe that education and free information is a step in the right direction. The Residential Tenancy Branch offers a lot of help to both tenants and landlords before problems arise, I highly suggest you contact them directly. They are very helpful and professional.

Being a landlord is hard because you bought an investment that cost you a lot of money and in some circumstances the financing for your home was subject to you having a rented unit to supplement your mortgage payments. You are financially, emotionally and physically attached to your property. This may be just an investment but you want to rent it out to someone that will take care of it as much as you would. This is a trap that will get every landlord in trouble. Tenants don’t have these bonds as you do and having the expectation of tenants to care as much about your property as you do, is simply just not realistic. Spare yourself some nerves, tears and disappointments. Just don’t expect your tenant to be like you. Most tenants are very decent people and they will treat your property as what it is, YOUR property.
Not every tenant is a low-life with a low paying job, or a young person that is starting out in life. Today a lot more people are choosing to be tenants. Being a home owner when you look just at the numbers have been wonderful and a guaranteed “win” especially if you base your opinion on the last 40 years or longer. The question remains if this trend will continue and what is the true cost of owning a home today. Don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe that owning is better than renting BUT not always, and not in every market. I believe in analyzing your budget, having long term goals and planning your future carefully. The constant balance between supply and demand of housing is what dictates the prices and also vacancy rates of rental units. We have been very fortunate that the constant influx of new immigrants and high demand for housing has been very favorable to home owners. As long as this continues things will be just peachy.


If you have any questions or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at home at

250-285-2141 I’m here to serve you better.

Roman Krzaczek REALTOR ®
Quadrarealty.ca

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