Frequently Asked Questions
1) Can I find out if a licensee has had any complaints filed against them?
If you have a question about a licensee, a real estate transaction, or about strata management, check the information below for brief answers to many common questions. If your question is not covered here, you may find answers in one of our informative consumer guides
Or, contact the Council directly to make your enquiry:
2) Can I rescind a contract of purchase and Sale?
Once accepted by the seller and buyer, a Contract of Purchase and Sale becomes a binding agreement that creates certain responsibilities that each party has agreed to accept and/or perform. A seller or buyer should always obtain legal advice prior to taking any action that may place them in breach of a contract.
3) How do I get my deposit back?
The Real Estate Services Act states that a real estate brokerage holds deposits with respect to a trade in real estate as a stakeholder. The money is held for the transaction and not on behalf of one of the parties. If a party does not remove a subject clause, or the trade is for some other reason not going to complete, the brokerage requires the signature of both the buyer and seller in order to release the deposit. If either party will not agree to the release of the deposit, then the parties may have to apply to court for a determination of the deposit issue. You may also want to refer to the “Information about the contract” section of the Contract of Purchase and Sale under #2 – Deposits.
Occasionally, a brokerage may be unable to trace individuals whose money they hold in trust. Section 32 of the Real Estate Services Act permits a brokerage to transfer such money to the administrator appointed under the Unclaimed Property Act if the brokerage has made reasonable efforts to locate and notify the person entitled to claim the money and, despite these efforts, the money has remained unclaimed for more than one year. For further information about money held under the Unclaimed Property Act, visit the BC Unclaimed Property Society website.
4) Where are the best Elementary and Secondary High schools?
See my community page
5) Currently how active is the local market?
See Attached PDF
6) What happens next to home prices?
See Attached PDF
7) Which area's and strategy provide the best return when buying an investment property?
Call Stan van Woerkens (604-306-2550) for your personalized real estate advice.
8) When is the best time to sell and buy?
The best time to sell and buy is when you are ready. A number of factors will influence your decision, such as: market conditions, season, and exchange rate. Call your realtor, Stan van Woerkens at 604-306-2550 to discuss your best options. Ask Stan for your personalized Buyer's or Seller's Guide
9) How should I finance my purchase?
As you shop for your dream home, key questions to ask yourself very early in your search include:
• Are my credit reports accurate, up-to-date and correct?
• What information will I need to gather to apply to finance my new home?
• What can I afford in the way of a mortgage?
• What are my loan options?
• Where do I learn more about, and ultimately shop for a mortgage?
In many respects, financing a new home is much like getting a mortgage to purchase a resale home — but there's an important difference. When buying resale, you shop around for rates and terms from banks, mortgage companies, brokers and online lenders. You can do the same when buying a new home, but there's often an additional resource. Your builder may offer attractive financing packages, either directly through its own mortgage subsidiary or via an affiliate.
Involve a financial planner from the early start to understand our buying position.
What's next when you have selected a lender?
See attached PDF
10) What are the financing rules for first time buyers?
When it comes to buying a home, most Canadians don’t pay for the full cost of their home all at once. Generally, the money to finance the purchase of a new home comes from two sources:
1. Your mortgage
This is the money you will borrow from a lender, such as a bank.
2. Your down payment
This is a lump sum of your own money you will put against the cost of your home. The more money you put down, the less you need to borrow, and the lower your overall interest costs will be.
Depending on your employment history and immigration status, here’s how much down payment you’ll need to buy your first home in Canada.
Down payment with two years’ employment history
Generally speaking, if you can show that you have been working for two years and if you can afford to put down at least 20% of the purchase price, you may qualify for a “conventional” mortgage. The benefit of a conventional mortgage is that you don’t need to purchase default insurance. If you don’t have 20% to put down, you may qualify for a mortgage but it will need to be insured against default.
Down payment without two years’ employment history
If you have a substantial down payment (35% or more), and you are not able to provide the usual confirmation of employment / income to qualify for a mortgage, you may be able to be qualified to obtain a mortgage.
If you don’t have the 35% down payment, then you may still qualify to get a mortgage, but it will need to be insured against default. The following are some guidelines for this situation:
• You must have immigrated to Canada within 5 years.
• You must have permanent residence status.
• You must have a minimum of three months’ full time employment in Canada.
• You may be required to obtain a letter of reference from your bank in your home country.
BC government to offer down payment loans for first-time buyers
Premier Christy Clark unveiled a new loan program today to help first-time home buyers come up with their down payment.
The BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity (HOME) Partnership program will offer qualifying home buyers loans of up to $37,500, interest and payment free, for five years.
The province will begin accepting applications on January 16, 2017.
To qualify, buyers must:
• be buying their first home;
• obtain a high-ratio, insured first mortgage for at least 80 per cent of the purchase price;
• have a combined gross household income not exceeding $150,000;
• have saved a down payment amount at least equal to the loan amount;
• be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident for at least five years; and
• have lived in BC for at least the full year preceding their application.
The loans will be due in full if the buyer defaults on a payment, ceases to use the home as a principle residence or resells the home.
• The loans will match a home buyer’s contribution to a down payment up to five per cent of the home’s purchase price.
• The maximum purchase price to qualify for a loan is $750,000 (excluding taxes and fees).
• After five years, buyers can either repay their loan or enter into monthly payments at current interest rates.
• Loans through the program are due after 25 years.
“This program will boost sales to first-time home buyers. Without question, they’ll take advantage of it wherever they can,” said Helmut Pastrick, Central 1 Credit Union chief economist.
The province estimates this initiative will help at least 42,000 buyers or households province-wide over the next three years. About half of these buyers will be in the Lower Mainland, according to Pastrick.
Saving for a down payment isn’t always easy, and everyone’s mortgage needs are different. Fortunately there is a wide range of mortgage options to suit your budget, circumstances and goals. There are also some effective ways to accelerate your savings – such as automatic transfers to a savings or investment account – that can help you buy your first home faster.
11) What are the tax implications when buying and or selling?
Selling your home can be a major event, and you may wish to know the tax implications. In Canada, if the home you're selling is your primary residence, your tax situation is simple and won't affect your taxable income.
Homes that you use for vacations or rental income present different circumstances, though.
Please consult your financial adviser and/or accountant for further details.
12) How much is the property transfer tax? And are there any other taxes?
You are charged property transfer tax when you make changes to a property's title, including:
• acquiring a registered interest in the property
• gaining an additional registered interest in the property
• becoming the registered holder of a lease, life estate, or right to purchase for the property
The amount of tax you pay is based on the fair market value of the land and improvements (e.g. buildings) on the date of registration unless you purchase a pre-sold strata unit. The tax is charged at a rate of:
• 1% on the first $200,000
• 2% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000
• 3% on the portion of the fair market value greater than $2,000,000
• 15% on the full amount for foreign buyers who are not a citizen of Canada
You’ll be exempt from paying the 15% tax if you:
• Are a Canadian citizen, even if you live abroad; or
• Are legally classified as a “permanent resident” - someone who’s been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents will have a valid permanent resident card issued by the Canadian government.
13) Once I have decided to sell, what are the next steps?
Call Stan van Woerkens (604-306-2550). He will help guide you through the process, from preparing your property to accepting an offer.
Ask Stan van Woerkens for your personalized Seller's guide.
14) How long will it take to sell my property?
Market conditions and your motivation will strongly effect the time, along with the strategy used to market and sell your property.
15) What are the costs associated with selling my property?
Costs to include and consider are:
16) What happens when an offer is made on my property?
Your real-estate agent should notify you immediately and present the offer, explaining all the details, including, pros and cons, and then assist you with accepting, submitting a counter-offer or rejecting the offer.