How to Do a Reno When You’re Maxed Out on Your Down Payment

Keeping thinking about that fixer upper home but know it’s not in your budget? Think again!

Are you a first time home buyer? It’s very common for homes the younger buyers can afford are the ones that are in need of renovations. First time home buyers face the dual challenge of not having a big down payment and higher home prices.

But just how do you budget for renovations when you’ve maxed out on your down payment?

Did you know you can add the estimated costs for your renovation to your mortgage loan?

Through the Purchase Plus Improvements program, borrowers can access to up $40,000 for the purpose of renovations.  Borrowers can then pay off this extra amount along with their regular mortgage payments, spreading out the renovations costs and making them easier to manage.

This means that if you find a home for $300,000 and you want to do a renovation totalling another $30,000, you can include the extra $30,000 into your mortgage.  You could put as little as 5% down which is $16,500.

Taking the first time in home ownership? Give us a call at 604-588-4466 or email us at

FVREB September Statistics

Strength of the Fraser Valley housing market from the summer season continues as we entered fall this past month. The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board (FVREB) has released their September Statistics, reporting this is the busiest September for the market since September 2009.

Key Stats: 

  • Total Sales: 1,419 – an increase of 25% compared to September 2013
  • New Listings: 2,758 – an increase of 16% compared to September 2013
  • Total Number of Active Listings: 9,156 – a decrease of 7% compared to September 2013

Ray Werger, President of the FVREB says, “Similar to this past summer, this is the busiest September we’ve had since 2009 with sales of all property types combined out‐performing the 10‐year average by 13 per cent.  Residentially, the single family detached home remains the preferred property type. From North Delta to Mission, sales increased in every Fraser Valley community compared to last year with the price range of $400,000 to $699,999 garnering almost sixty per cent of our total detached market.”

Benchmark Prices:

  • Detached Home: $569,800 – an increase of 3.1% compared to September 2013
  • Townhouses: $299,600 – an increase of 1.1% compared to September 2013
  • Apartments: $203,100 – a decrease of 4.7% compared to September 2013

Werger adds, ” An important factor underlying the housing market is consumer confidence and in our region that confidence has been bolstered by the stability of home prices. Since March, the benchmark price of our three main residential property types combined has remained flat, increasing by only 0.6 per cent. Long‐term, the value of single family detached homes has increased at a faster pace than it has for attached properties, particularly in areas such as Surrey, White Rock, Langley and Abbotsford where we’ve seen many new townhome and condo developments. The supply of new inventory has affected the price of resale product.”

For more information and data on the FVREB September Statistics Report, please click here.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please give us a call at 604-588-4466 or email us at

REBGV September Statistics

Home activity increases this past month as we entered into the Fall season, accordingly to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). REBGV have released the September Statistics and the details on the pace increase are outlined below:

Key Stats:

  • Residential Property Sales: 2,922 – an 17.7% increase compared to September 2013
  • New Listings: 5,259 – an 35.5% compared to August 2014
  • Total Property Listings: 14,832 – an 8% decline compared to September 2013

Benchmark Prices: 

  • Detached Properties: $990,300 – an increase of 7.3% compared to September 2013
  • Apartment Properties: $378,700 – an increase of 3.3% compared to September 2013
  • Attached Properties: $477,700 – an increase of 4.2% compared to September 2013

The President of the REBGV, Ray Harris says,”September was an active period for our housing market when we compare it against typical activity for the month. Gains in home values are being led by the detached home market. Condominium and townhome properties are not experiencing the same pressure on prices at the moment. Individual trends can vary depending on different factors in different areas, so it’s important to do your homework and work with your REALTOR® when you’re looking to determine the market value of a home.”

To view the full REBGV September Statistics report, please click here.

If you have any questions regarding the above, please give us a call at 604-588-4466 or email us at



Property Tax vs. Property Transfer Tax

It’s important to understand the difference between Property Tax and Property Transfer Tax.

Property Tax is the tax paid on an annual basis to the local city/municipality for the upkeep of electrical lines, roads, sidewalks, etc.

Property Transfer Tax is a one-time tax paid to the provincial government by buyers of real estate.

Property Tax

At the time of a sale, the solicitor for the buyer must confirm that local taxes have been paid up to date. The full year’s payment is expected to have been paid by July 1st. If payments are up to date, a Tax Certificate is issued, from which any adjustments can be made. These adjustments usually require the buyer to compensate the seller for any prepaid taxes.

Example: If your possession date is December 1st, and the seller has paid the taxes on the property for that entire calendar year, you will be expected to pay back to the seller one month (1/12th) of the taxes. If the taxes on the property were $2400 per year, you would pay $200 back to the seller. Many buyers run into difficulty if their possession date falls anywhere from May to July. At this point, the seller may not have paid that year’s property tax yet since it isn’t due until July 1st. The seller would then be responsible for their portion of that year’s taxes for the time period they had possession of the property. The buyer will be responsible for the remainder of the year – this can be an unexpected expenditure!

Property Transfer Tax

The Property Transfer Tax is payable to the BC provincial government by buyers of real estate. The tax applies to all types of real estate, whether residential, commercial or industrial. The amount of the Property Transfer Tax is 1% on the first $200,000 of the property’s fair market value and 2% on the remaining fair market value. 

Example: If the fair market value of the property is $150,000 the tax payable would be $1,500.00 (1% of $150,000). If the fair market value of the property is $250,000 the tax payable would be $3,000 (1% on the first $200,000 = $2,000 and 2% on the remaining $50,000 = $1,000).

“Fair Market Value” is best described as the price that would be paid for a property on the open market (which is usually the actual purchase price paid for the property). If the transfer of property is taking place without the exchange of money, the fair market value must be the fair value of the property if it was sold on the open market. In some situations, the fair market value is set by the latest assessment received from the BC Tax Assessment Office.