Whether you plan to flip a house, hold the property as a rental or go for something entirely different: Everything begins with a great deal. Here are four simple tips you with the help of your real estate agent can use to find better deals on your real estate search, whether you're looking for an investment, a property for your business or simply a home for your family.

1. Be the first . . . or the last.

Oftentimes, it’s not the highest offer for a property that gets accepted, it’s simply the first. Therefore, if you are looking for a great deal, be quick about it! Get a pre-approval from a bank so you can jump at any property right away, and have your real estate agent set you up with automatic email alerts notifying you of any new property that hits the market.

Then, don’t delay -- check it out quickly, and ask your agent to make an offer the same day if possible.

Conversely, another way to find great deals is to look for properties that have been on the market for a long time. Those owners are often far more willing to sell for a discount, because they are tired of holding on to that property. Many times, they will have been making two mortgage payments for months (or years) and will entertain almost any offer.

2. Consider buying a bank-foreclosed property.

When someone fails to pay a mortgage payment for an extended period of time, the lender will ultimately repossess the home and remove the occupants. Once the home is empty, the lender generally lists the house for sale on the market, using a local real estate to list it. These properties can be some of the best deals you’ll find in real estate. Banks want to be in the business of lending money, not managing property, so they are often quick to offer large discounts just to get the deal off their books. Talk to your real estate agent about the foreclosures in your area, and start checking some out with them. You might be surprised at the deals you can with the help of your agent, as most Real Estate agents are skillfull at settling foreclosed properties. 


3. Approach absentee owners on a personal level.

In a hot real estate market, like the one most of the United States is experiencing today, great deals can be hard to find because of the large number of people looking for a home. In some areas, a single house for sale might get a dozen or more offers in the first several days. Therefore, one of the best tactics you can use today is to get in contact with owners, asking them to consider selling to you. With the help of your real estate agent create a presentable email or personal letter for the owner of the property, with an aim to convince them to prioritize your offer. 


4. Look at a lot of deals.

Finally, understand that finding good deals is largely a “numbers game.” Look at deals in terms of a funnel. At its top, numerous leads come in, but at the bottom, only a few come out. Therefore, if you want more deals at the bottom, you need to improve each aspect of my funnel, including the quality and number of leads at the top. For example, your funnel might look like the following:

  • Raw leads from your real estate agent -- 200
  • The location is somewhere you would buy -- 100
  • A quick analysis shows promise -- 20
  • A deeper estimation still shows promise - 10
  • Deals your agent had made an offer on -- 8
  • Offers you've made that have been accepted - 1

Notice that, at the end you and your agent might end up making offers on only eight and only one offer was accepted. If you wanted to buy two properties, I know you'd need to look back on your funnel and find a way to increase your numbers. Because, again, it’s just a numbers game.






You're a new homeowner — congrats! The hardest part is over.  But the all  the expenses may not visible to you just yet.  There are several often overlooked fees and expenses that new home owners might miss. We would like to list some of the expenses on the list of hidden housing costs to help you get prepared. It may be time to start financial planning for the costs that may have to be taken cared of down the road.



1. Moving Expenses


Your belongings have to get from A to B somehow, but have you considered the method?


If you plan to enlist the help of your friends, you'll save a huge chunk of change, but if you have more than a few truckloads, it's probably best to hire movers. Depending on how much stuff you have, how many flights of stairs the movers are going up and down, and the distance they need to travel to deliver it, the cost may vary.


2. Furnishing All the Rooms


Your eyes opened wide to the four-bed, three-bath colonial when you first saw it — all that space! But those rooms aren't going to furnish themselves. This is important to keep in mind if you're coming from a much smaller dwelling. You likely don't have enough furniture to outfit the entire new home, which means you'll have to buy new items to make it livable. Beds, dining tables, couches, sofas — any or all of these may be required. 


3. Window Treatments


New homeowners are always shocked at the price of window treatments. The average cost of a very basic blind or shade for a medium-sized window is normally around $500. Most homeowners should budget around $1,000 per window as a good rule of thumb. However, the cost can increase significantly for very large or tall windows or windows with non-standard shapes like arches. If you are interested in using custom fabrics or other features such as motorized shades, expect much higher costs per window.


4. Utilities and Other Day-to-Day Usage Expenses


If you previously lived in an apartment where your utilities were included in the rent, it may come as a shock, your first few months of energy usage. Gas and electricity isn't cheap, and if you've been taking advantage of the built-in amenities that your rent covered, you better brace yourself. To make the transition smoother, ask the seller if you can see a copy of a recent utility bill so you can somewhat prepare. Tread lightly initially, too. Stay conscious of lights, heat and A/C running only when necessary to help slow down the speed at which you're accruing new bills.


5. HVAC Inspections and Upkeep


Heaters and air conditioners are crucial to climate-controlled living. Of course, it's wise to ward off major catastrophes with annual inspections — which will still cost you — but not nearly as much as early replacement of a furnace or A/C unit that's been neglected.


6. Termite and Pest Treatments


Before you move into your new home, you should get the all clear that it's termite-free. Your inspection will reveal the pests, and it should fall on the owner to address the problem. If not, you have the right to walk away. That's not always the case, however. The owner is not required to rid the house of pests, but only to disclose the existence of the pests. If you choose to move forward with the sale knowing there's an active pest problem, the problem is on you if it's not negotiated that it will be exterminated by the time you move in. You also want to check for roaches, ants, mice, rats and bedbugs. None of these critters are signs of good fortune.


7. Landscaping and Other Outdoor Maintenance


You can cut costs on having to pay for someone else to do it, if you do some of the work yourseld, but draw the line between mowing the lawn and other yard maintenance. It may be wise to bring in the big guns to do the dirty work, and it may cost about $800 a year. Other hidden costs to new homeowners can include, but aren't limited to: snow removal, roof maintenance (which can be a huge expenses if there's a serious problem),


Also, if you prefer to let someone else take care of your lawn, be sure to include that cost in your monthly housing budget. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind a well-landscaped lawn can easily boost the value of your home by 10% and a lousy looking lawn can cause you to lose money when you're ready to sell.



8. An Eventual Increase in Property Taxes


While you should be aware of your expected property taxes before you purchase the home, you may not expect the rate at which they will increase over the years. When you buy a home, most sales are reported to the taxing authority, which means your property taxes will be raised to the value — or the price you paid — for the house. For many buyers this can be a 20% to 30% increase in their property taxes.


9. Homeowner's Association Dues


If you're moving to a fancy neighborhood, you most probably will see that there's a homeowner's association that may require you to pay up to be part of the club. 


There's no real way to prepare for things like this,  but it's certainly something to consider before buying a house.


Buying a new home is an exciting time. However, within the process of decorating your new space or picking a new paint colour, there are few maintenance measures you should be doing too. 


1) Seal Up Your Windows:


This simple project can save you lots of money on you energy bill. If you've noticed chilly spots near windows in your home, you might have an air leak. Before you start caulking, clean the area around your windows thoroughly, and remove all the old caulking with a putty knife Apply you caulking to all the points of window frame with one continue stream, avoiding starts and stops. Work deep into the cracks, and if you caulking oozes out, use a putty knife push to push it back in and smooth it out.



2) Check Your Gutters:


If this project is ignores, clogged gutters can cause serious damage to your home, including to your foundation and being torn away from your home completely. Experts suggest to clean our your gutters on a quarterly basis if you have lots of trees on your property. If you don't  have many trees, you would only need to clean your gutters twice a year.



3) Have a Toolbox Handy:


Every home should be equipped with a toolbox. When issues arise or when you take on a home project, you'll need your toolbox. Fill it with the essentials, including a tape measure, level, hammer, nails and any power tools you might need. 



4) Watch For Pests:


Pests can cause serious damage to your home, which is why it's important to know the signs of an infestation before it becomes an expensive problem. Take preventative measures, such as sealing up entry points, eliminating water sources and keeping food stored properly in  sealed containers, to deter pests from coming inside. However, sometimes, preventative isn't enough; if you suspect a pest infestation in your home, contact a local pest control professional.


Sources: Lauren Topor's weblog. 


I have listed a new property at 3502 689 ABBOTT ST in Vancouver.
This rare find of a Subpenthouse has the location & panoramic view to match! 2 bdrm, 2 bath, den & solarium, S/S appliances & granite counter tops in kitchen & bathrooms, large balcony facing water, mountain & city. Enjoy recreation facilities w/an indoor pool, sauna, fitness centre, games room. party room, library, courtyard in addition comes with 2 parking spaces & storage locker . . . Steps away from Rogers Arena, entertainment, T&T Market, Costco and Stadium Skytrain Station. Truly convenience at your fingertips.

As you’re probably aware, the list price you set for your property has an impact on how quickly it sells — and how much you earn on the sale.


What you may not realize is just how significant an impact it has. Consider the following examples.


Example 1:

You price your property well above its current market value. As a result, many buyers don’t bother to see it because it’s outside of their price range. Those who do see it are confused by the high price tag, (and may even be suspicious.) They may wonder, “What’s going on?”


In this scenario, the home will likely languish on the market for weeks or even months. You might even have to lower the price dramatically to re-ignite interest.


Example 2:

You price your property just a couple of percentage points lower than what is necessary to gain the interest of qualified buyers. That might not seem like much of a problem. How much can a couple of percentage points matter?


Those points matter a lot.


On a $400,000 property, pricing your home just 2% lower than necessary could cost you $8,000 on the sale. That’s a serious amount of money!


So, as you can see, pricing your home right is serious business. Fortunately, a good REALTOR® knows how to set the right price.



I have listed a new property at 3634 GLENVIEW CRES in North Vancouver.
A brand new & customized home w/a very high level attention to detail of craftsmanship w/modern & trendy designs throughout the house. Located steps away from Edgemont Village & as well close to shopping & schools, and quiet neighborhood provides a cozy & private lifestyle. The home feat 3 kitchens with one of them being an enclosed wok kitchen, as well as S/S appl & granite countertops throughout, and custom milled cabinetry & a nice spacious island to entertain guests around. This home has 5 bdrms & 8 baths, most have ensuite access. As well the bsmt rec room provides an expansive & spacious space to entertain guests in. Legal 2 bed suite downstairs. With over 5500 SF of space this is def a house to call your home.

I have listed a new property at 63 2212 FOLKESTONE WAY in West Vancouver.
This beautiful large one Bedroom has fantastic and unobstructed panoramic views of Downtown Vancouver, Stanley Park, UBC & the Georgia Strait. The renovations done throughout the years are new hardwood flooring, updated kitchen counter top with newer & barely used appliances. Street level entrance provide easy wheel chair accessibility to get in and out of the unit.

I have listed a new property at 104 3022 SUNNYHURST in North Vancouver.
Welcome to the ROSS RESIDENCE! Located in the vibrant & highly desirable neighborhood of Lynn Valley. This collection of 7 executive style, custom townhomes is just steps from Lynn Valley Center which offers you all of the day-to-day needs. This West Coast inspired townhome collection includes four 3 bedroom units & three 2 bedroom units all with your very own 2 car garage, vaulted ceiling in the master bedroom, sleek S/S appliances, stunning bathrooms & designer finishes. Fantastic floor plans which offer 3 levels of living & plenty of outdoor living space. Truly an amazing opportunity in Lynn Valley.

I have listed a new property at 101 3022 SUNNYHURST RD in North Vancouver.
Welcome to the ROSS RESIDENCE! Located in the vibrant & highly desirable neighborhood of Lynn Valley. This collection of 7 executive style custom townhomes is just steps from Lynn Valley Center which offers you all of the day-to-day needs. This Westcoast inspired townhome collection includes four 3 bedroom units and three 2 bedroom units all with your very own 2 car garage, vaulted ceilings in the master bedrooms, sleek S/S appliances, stunning bathrooms & designer finishes. Fantastic floor plans which offer 3 levels of living & plenty of outdoor living space. Truly an amazing opportunity in Lynn Valley.



When you’re out-of-town, there are plenty of kennels and other facilities that will mind your dog or cat. In fact, the pet-care business is booming! However, the same options aren’t available for your houseplants. So what do you do?


First, keep in mind that plants can go for several days or even a couple of weeks without water. This frequently happens in their natural habitats. So if you’re gone for just a few days, your flora will probably be fine.


Flowering plants tend to need the most water. Give them an extra dose just before you leave. Also, make sure they are in indirect, rather than direct sunlight. That will help them conserve water.


If you’re going to be away for a week or more, consider one of the several products on the market that water plants automatically. Many of these allow you to adjust how much water each plant gets — and when.


You’ll find plenty of do-it-yourself instructions for making your own automatic waterer on the internet, from plastic cups with tiny holes in the bottom to upside-down bottles with wicks. These might work, but you’ll want to test them first.


Of course, your best option might be to have a friend or trusted neighbour take care of the plants for you. Just be sure to give them clear instructions.


Your houseplants will thank you.



When you make an offer on a home, it’s a smart idea to have a professional home inspector check it out from top to bottom. This inspection will ensure that the property doesn’t have any unexpected “issues”. After all, you don’t want to buy a home only to discover that the roof needs to be replaced, immediately, for thousands of dollars.


That being said, you might question whether you really need to invest the few hundred dollars it costs for a professional home inspection. “The home we want to buy looks like it’s in very good shape,” you might be thinking. “I can’t see anything wrong with it.”


However, a professional home inspector can see things you can’t. When you view a property that’s on the market, you might be able to notice obvious issues, like a crack in the foundation or a dripping faucet. If you’re experienced with home maintenance, you might even notice roofing tiles that look like they’re overdue for replacement.


But you won’t pick up all the issues a home inspector can.


A home inspector will, for example, use a special device to check for moisture build-up in the washrooms – which can be an indication of mould. He or she will also inspect wiring to make sure everything is safe and compliant with the building code.


That’s not all.


Like a determined detective, a home inspector will investigate the property’s structure, electrical and plumbing systems, insulation, and other components — and then report the findings to you.


In the end, a professional home inspection gives you peace-of-mind and protects your investment. So getting one is highly recommended — even for recently built homes.





Many homeowners think there’s not much they can do about telephone, heating, water and other utility expenses. Sure, you may grumble about a high heating bill one month, but what can you do about it?


Turns out, you can do plenty. There are several ways to reduce monthly utility costs that can save you tens or even hundreds of dollars. For example:

  • Shop around for a better phone plan. Then contact your phone company. They might match the rates.
  • Turn down the thermostat on your water heater. You likely don’t need tap water to be that hot.
  • Clean the screen on your outside air conditioning unit regularly. (Gently with the water hose.) Dirt and leaves can build up on it, reducing the unit’s efficiency.
  • Leverage the sun. Open curtains in the winter to gain heat. Block direct sunlight in summer to keep the cool air inside.
  • Scrutinize your bill. There may be extras you’re paying for that you don’t need.
  • Play with the thermostat. Experiment with setting the temperature a couple of degrees lower. You might not notice any difference.

It’s worth paying attention to your utility costs. Just a few smart moves can save you some serious money.

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