Tips for creating an Eco-friendly Lifestyle Around the Home

Living and Eco-Friendly Lifestyle at HomeLiving an eco-friendly lifestyle is easy when you green up your home for spring

Creating a more eco-friendly lifestyle is a great goal for the change of season, especially when warmer weather encourages us to spend more time outdoors. Here are some tips in and around your home to help get you started:

In your everyday spaces

Look for simple changes you can make to reduce your impact on the environment. Shop for eco-friendly products

  • up cycle old furniture in a DIY project
  • donate old clothing or use it for crafts
  • recycle as much as you can
  • use energy during off-peak times as much as possible

In the garden

Consider compost gardening, which involves composting leftover foods and scraps and then using it to fertilize your own crops and herbs. It’s easier than you think and makes a great project and learning experience to do with the kids. There is tons of advice for an ecofriendly lifestyle online, including how to make your own compost garden even if you live in a condo or have limited backyard space.

In the garage

One of the easiest ways to make an impact on your personal carbon footprint is by looking at your vehicle and driving habits.   If you have access to public transportation, consider using it to commute to work and save the stress that comes with sitting in traffic.  Or, consider an electric or hybrid vehicle for increased fuel efficiency and lower greenhouse gas emissions. By driving green, you could save hundreds of dollars at the pump each year and stay on trend.  When driving the following tips will help create an eco-friendly lifestyle as well:

  • accelerate gently
  • maintain a steady speed
  • anticipate traffic
  • avoid high speeds and coast to decelerate.

Find more information on creating an eco-friendly lifestyle with your vehicle at


US Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rates

Do Non-Residents have to Pay Canadian Tax on their Canadian Property?

If you are a non-resident of Canada you may be wondering if you are entitled to pay Canadian tax for the sale of your Canadian real estate. Let’s find out.

Gilmour Knotts Intercorporated Chartered Accountants explains the options for non-residents of Canada.

If the Canadian property is sold in Canada and owned by a non-resident, there is tax due. However, the risk is on the purchaser, not the seller. If for some reason the tax is not correctly handled at the time of sale, Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) will try to collect tax from the purchaser.

What is the tax amount?

The tax is calculated on the total gross sales price and is not calculated on the profit. The required tax from the CRA is 25% withholding. This is a default rate of tax on the gross sales price of the property.

How do you reduce this tax?

There is an option to apply to reduce this tax. The seller can have the withholding tax reduced to be only calculated on the net profit, rather than the gross sales. For this to occur, the seller must apply to CRA, with full details, prior to the sale or within 10 days after the date of sale/deposition. If the deadline is missed, penalties will be assigned at a daily rate. This makes for a short period of time to apply the option of reducing the tax as it can take a few weeks for the CRA to process, creating a possibility the seller may miss their deadline.

What are the 2 remedies if the seller misses their deadline?

1. “They can file a Canadian tax return with full details and ask for a refund. There are also deadlines for this and there are issues with whether CRA will permit this filing as the first disclosure was required at the time of sale. You cannot wait until tax return preparation time to file the application with CRA. You must start the process at the date of sale and then apply for the refund at normal tax return filing time.”
2. “They can apply to have the tax used as a foreign tax credit in their home country. The challenge with this is that the tax may be much higher than the home country tax and although they get a credit they do not get a refund.”

What forms are involved? 

T2062, T2062A and non-resident tax returns


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

FVREB October Statistics

This past month the demand for townhouses and single family homes have increased. What does this mean for the Fraser Valley housing market? The key stats from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board FVREB October Statistics Report are outlined below.

Key Stats: 

  • Total Sales: 1,448 – an increase of 16% compared to October 2013
  • New Listings: 2,395 – an increase of 3% compared to October 2013
  • Active Listings: 8, 807 – a decrease of 3% compared to October 2013

President of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, Ray Werger, says, “Sales overall continue to outperform last year and as we’ve seen for a number of months now are the best they’ve been in five years. Demand remains steady in our region for single family detached homes and townhomes. Last month, the market share of sales of single family homes increased by almost five per cent compared to last year; while the share of condo sales decreased by the same amount and we’re seeing that preference reflected in prices.”

Benchmark Prices: 

  • Detached Homes: $573,500 – an increase of 4% compared to October 2013
  • Townhouses: $298,500 – an increase of 1% compared to October 2013
  • Apartments: $192,600 – a decrease of 3.5% compared to October 2013

Werger adds, “With the influx of new developments and a steady supply of resale units, we’ve never had a better selection of condos than we do right now at prices the lowest they’ve been in years. For those that say housing isn’t affordable in Metro Vancouver, you need to check out the opportunities currently for condo buyers in the Valley.”

To view the full FVREB October 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 October Statistics

The Greater Vancouver market continues to be on the rise as we end the month of October. The housing market will enter November with statistics above the long-term averages. Below outlines the key stats from the REBGV October Statistics Report from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver.

Key Stats: 

  • Residential Property Sales: 3,057 – an increase of 14.9% compared to October 2013. Sales were 16.6% above the 10 year sales average for the month of October.
  • New Listings: 4,487 – an increase of 4% compared to October 2013
  • Total Properties Listed: 13,851 – a decrease of 9.2% compared to October 2013 and a 6.6% decrease of September 2014

Benchmark Prices: 

  • All Properties: $637,00 – an increase of 6% compared to October 2013
  • Detached Properties: $995,100 – an increase of 7.9% compared to October 2013
  • Apartment Properties: $380,200 – an increase of 4% compared to October 2013
  • Attached Properties: $479,500 – an increase of 4.7% compared to October 2013

The President of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Ray Harris, says, “We’ve seen strong and consistent demand from home buyers in Metro Vancouver throughout this year. This has led to steady increases in home prices of between four and eight per cent depending on the property. “Detached homes continue to increase in price more than condominium and townhome properties. This is largely a function of supply and demand as the supply of condominium and townhome properties are more abundant than detached homes in our region.”

To view the full REBGV October 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


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.

How Can I Avoid Being a Victim of Identity Theft?

What is identity theft? 

Identity theft occurs when an individual steals another person’s identity and impersonates that individual. By using basic personal information like name, address, and social insurance number, identity thieves open credit card accounts, lease or buy cars, rent apartments, or even engage in criminal activity using the stolen name.

How can I avoid being a victim of identity theft? 

When using your credit cards:

  • Carry only the identification and credit cards you need when traveling, whether locally or abroad.
  • Do not carry your cards in your cheque book.
  • If your cheque book is lost or stolen, call your bank and inform them of the missing cheque numbers.
  • Sign your credit cards in permanent ink as soon as you receive them.
  • When making a purchase, keep your cards in view at all times. Ensure that you take your card back as soon as a transaction swipe has been completed with your card.
  • Do not sign a blank charge slip.
  • Always save your receipts, never leave them behind.
  • Avoid saying your account number aloud when others might hear.
  • Only provide your ID and credit card information over the phone to reputable companies and only when you have initiated the call.
  • If you receive a call from someone claiming to represent your credit card issuer and the caller asks for your account number, do not provide it. If the caller is employed by the issuer, they will already know your account information.
  • If your Social Insurance Card is lost or stolen, contact your employer or your local Human Resources Development (HRDC) office immediately.
  • If your Driver’s License is lost or stolen, contact your local driver and vehicle licensing office and report it to your local police station.
  • Safeguard personal information until you know who you are dealing with, how it will be used, and if it will be shared with anyone.
  • Protect the integrity of your mail. Check your mail daily. If you fail to receive bills or other mail, follow-up with your creditors.
  • Destroy any financial or personal information including unsolicited credit card applications. Don’t just throw them away.

How to manage your credit and debit card statements:

  • Check your statements as soon as they arrive to ensure all charges are correct.
  • Keep statements in a safe place – they contain sensitive, personal information. By accessing your Equifax credit report on a regular basis, you can check to see if there have been changes to your report you are unaware of.
  • Keep a list of the names, account numbers, and expiration dates of all your cards in safe place (separate from your cards) to be used when alerting credit grantors about a lost or stolen card.

When your credit or bank cards are lost or stolen:

  • Call all your credit grantors immediately upon discovering your cards are missing. Most have 24-hour service numbers for this purpose. If you re-open the account, ensure they have your correct personal information.
  • Additionally, you need to call Equifax (see the Verico Coastal Mortgages’website for contact information). Equifax will add a statement to your file to alert credit grantors that you may be a victim of fraudulent activity. This may mean that the next time you apply for credit you will be questioned more thoroughly as a precautionary measure to ensure you are who you say you are.

What can I do if I suspect I’m a victim of identity theft? 

  • Check your Equifax credit report on a regular basis to determine if there are any changes.
  • If you discover proof of identity theft, notify the police and alert your creditors immediately.