Thursday, October 31, 2013





Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Improper functioning gutters and leader system can contribute to water and ice backing up against fascia and under roof shingles and damaged soffits, resulting in possible discolouration or deterioration of siding materials. This can also lead to soil erosion adjacent to buildings and serious water and foundation displacement problems in basements and crawl spaces.

Flooding problems start when downspouts do not empty into a storm sewer or other drainage system that designed to carry the water away from the house. Accumulated rainwater can form pools around shrubbery or even cause leaks into the basement. If a downspout does not drain into the drainage tile, it should drain at least 6 feet from a house's foundation; however this is sometimes not possible because of a trip hazard or just a lack of space. Another cure is a concrete splash block, or a fibreglass trough.


Leaders that run into the ground normally run into underground drainage pipes that carry the water into a storm sewer or drainage ditch. However, if the underground piping doesn't hook up to a storm sewer system, you could be increasing your chances of basement problems because the water will remain on the property causing flooding.

In the lower mainland, having a lot of trees, it is a best practice to keep your gutters clear to avoid any problems.  While a lot of people clean their gutters at least once a year, many times twice a year may be more recommended to ensure a proper functioning drainage system.
When looking around your property, ask yourself:
  • Do I have a lot of trees surrounding my property?  Should I clean my gutters more often?
  • Does my drainage tile access have covers to prevent debris falling in?
  • Do I have leaders that do not tie into the drainage tile? Do I need splash blocks?
Such items will help you determine what expected gutter maintenance you may have to do on your property.

Aaron Borsch
Certified Master Home Inspector (CMHI)
A Buyer's Choice Home Inspections - Tricities, BC
Inspected Once.  Inspected Right!
License #: 53540
Phone: 604-880-0818


Friday, October 25, 2013


The afternoon sunshine this week made up for the fog unless you were catching an am flight!  Or...doing a long morning commute.  We are spending a couple of days at our Remax national conference in sunny Victoria.  This is where we learn, share ideas and reconnect with our fellow Remaxers from across Canada.  Our network is established and extensive - so if you are moving within the lower mainland, within B.C. or across the country, we can connect you with a professional local realtor who will help remove the stress of the long distance move. Working with a realtor who is really tuned into your new community makes every decision that much more informed.
Home maintenance - good and bad - becomes very apparent when the home is on the market. This is the time of year to focus on clearing the gutters, checking your drains, servicing your fireplaces and furnace, cleaning your chimney (if your fireplace is woodburning)  ,giving the garden its Fall clean-up and, when freezing is close, draining your hosepipes and turning off the outside water taps.  This is where we can also help - we have personally recommended tradespeople who can undertake any of these tasks when you are unable to.  Feel free to call / email for names or any other advice we are pleased to pass along should you be thinking of marketing your home in the near, or not so near, future.

Watch out for ghosts, goblins & Trekkies on Wednesday evening - let's keep Hallowe'en safe and happy.  Have fun - but beware of that sugar high!

Remember, whatever the season, when it comes to real estate we have you covered.  


Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Solid Aluminum Wiring conductors were commonly used for Residential wiring between 1969 and 1976.  Stranded Aluminum Wiring is still used today although generally only for Major appliances or Sub panel feed and entrance conductors for homes. Aluminum wiring has a few differences when compared to copper. First - the coefficient of thermal expansion i.e. when current runs through it and it heats up it expands more than copper therefore it wants to move more at connections. Second - when an oxide is formed such as when you strip it to make a connection, thealuminum oxide is a resistor to current flow whereas copper oxide is a conductor. Third - Aluminum wire is brittle in comparison to copper. It is difficult to bend and is susceptible to nicks or cuts such as when using a stripping tool. If you are buying a home in this age group be aware your insurance provider will likely have some requirements. Check with them on their specific requirements as they do vary across the industry. A review of the entire system may be required by them to obtain insurance.   

Only a qualified electrician or electrical contractor should work on aluminum electrical wiring. If you need to find an electrician just go to the BC safety authority or visit their website and click the link find a contractor -
There is a right and wrong way to work on aluminum wiring. To extend a circuit there are special connectors typically called marrettes that are specific for this application. Also switches and receptacles approved for aluminum will specifically state such. Finally an anti oxidant is typically applied to aluminum conductors. Switches and receptacles are more expensive but are designed for aluminum and tested to be safe.
As a homeowner there are a few things to watch for as you live in the home.

1. Do you notice there is intermittent continuity in a light or receptacle? Sometimes the light/receptacle works and sometimes it appears dead. This might be an indication of a loose connection.
2. Does the faceplate seem hotter to touch than normal? This might be an indication of a poor connection. 
3. Do you notice the distinctive smell of burning or melting insulation? 
4. Do you hearthe distinctive sound of electrical arcing? 
If any of these are apparent. Call an electrician!
Finally periodic review of your electrical system say every 5 years may be wise to avoid unpleasant surprises. Check with your electrician on this.

Roland Klann
RHI BC Licence 47331
HomePro Systems2000 Inc.

Friday, October 18, 2013


Another fabulous sunny, warm Friday!  And...our phones have been ringing off the hook with sellers wanting to consult on how best to prepare their homes for the Spring 2014 market.  It is quite amazing the impact TV real estate shows have on the market - now most people are aware that they need to declutter, paint & update to create a positive first impression.  And, we are only too happy to advise which improvements are worthwhile.
The ironic aspect of all this is that, right now, our market is active with an increased  number of sales and a decreased inventory, making it the ideal time to be a seller. As interest rates have risen and a further rate hike anticipated for the New Year, buyers are jumping off the fence and buying homes.  So...if you are contemplating selling, now is your moment - especially if you own a detached home or a townhome. The Spring market will bring greater competition along with less opportunity to achieve the upper end of your price range.  We are  always happy to discuss the market with you and analyze the endless statistics.

On a political note - if you are a Coquitlam resident remember to get out and vote Saturday, October 26 for the by-election.  11 candidates  are vying for two vacant Council seats and can be heard at 2 All Candidates meetings this week:- Wed. 7pm Douglas College - David Lam Campus and Thurs. 7pm, Banting Middle School. Make it a great turnout!

When it comes to real estate we've got you covered!  


Wednesday, October 16, 2013


It pays to use a mortgage broker.  Not exactly sure what we do? Once you read this, you will probably ask “why doesn’t EVERYONE use a mortgage broker?”
Today’s mortgage consumers are faced with more lenders, mortgages, features and rates than ever before. On top of that, current mortgages are often highly complicated and specialized. The only way to be confident you’re getting the mortgage that’s right for you is to rely on the services of a mortgage broker.
1. Specialist vs. GeneralistMortgages aren’t a sideline for brokers.   As specialists, we fully understand mortgages, study rate markets, talk to lenders on a daily basis and keep abreast of the latest product developments. Plus, we are seasoned negotiators so we can help make sure you get the best available rate from lenders.

2. More ChoicesMortgage brokers aren’t dedicated to a single lender, so we can offer the full spectrum of mortgages from virtually any lender on the market. No matter what you need, we  can access it, explain it and make sure it’s priced right for you.

3. Brokers Make Lenders Compete. We shop your application to a wide range of lenders and get them to compete for your business. When lenders know there are several others in the running, they offer their best rate and features right up front.

4. Unbiased Advice. As independent business people, we do not have allegiance to a particular lender. So our expert advice is in YOUR best interest instead of the lenders’.  How comforting is that?

5. Save Time and Energy. Shopping for mortgages can be time consuming and frustrating if you do it yourself.  We can shop dozens of lenders in the time it takes you to book a single appointment at your bank. And all that choice helps ensure you’ll save money too!

Whether it’s your first purchase, an investment property, time to renew your mortgage or you require a refinance, a mortgage broker makes sense.  My services are free, so call me any time for a consultation at 604.889.6750 so we can explore all your options.

Friday, October 11, 2013


Today, October 11 is designated the Day of the Girl.  Wanting our girls to be smart, have fun, make wise choices, be confident, fulfil their potential and on...natural goals for parents and grandparents in this new complicated world of social media where privacy is a rare commodity.  'Watz Up Girlz' is a great enjoyable place to start for young girls (Mums too) - htpp:// "Girls run the world.  Be what you want to be."
And what an ideal week to wind up with this special day!  The week that Alice Munro won the Nobel prize for being the 'master of the short story' - there's a role model for us.  She is the first Canadian to win this prize and one of only 13 women ever to win. 
And...the week which celebrated one year since the Taliban shot Malala Yousafzai, a 16 year old Pakistan schoolgirl & education activist.  Far from silencing her, this terrorist act brought world wide attention to the plight of Pakistani girls and made Malala the articulate poster girl for human rights and education. 

   Thanksgiving weekend is the appropriate time for us to be grateful we live in Canada where we can freely be inspired to be the best we can be. Celebrate the harvest season and enjoy the conversation along with the turkey round your dinner table. 
Best wishes and safe travels for the holiday weekend. And remember, when it comes to real estate, we have you covered!

Sheila Francis

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


With the onset of fall weather and the rain and storms, maintenance on the exterior areas of the home becomes more important. After a major event a quick look at the roofing surfaces with a pair of binoculars from the ground can often reveal problem areas or damage. Also look on the ground if wind damage is suspected; look for roofing materials from your roof indicating there is damage. If you suspect a roof leak, look in your attic if it is accessible and safe to do so. Ensure any valley areas are free of debris. A check of the gutter for cleaning is also recommended. Check the downspouts to ensure they are attached properly. For downspouts that are discharging onto lower roof areas we recommend extending and directing them into the lower gutter to avoid premature wear on the roofing materials. Climbing a ladder can difficult or even dangerous. Another product that is available is a downspout debris catcher. They are installed in the downspouts at ground level. Two advantages are that they are readily accessible for the homeowner to check even in adverse conditions and they help prevent debris entering the perimeter drains.

One area that is often overlooked is the perimeter drains. The perimeter drain functions by lowering the water table in below grade basements and crawlspaces. They keep your basement and crawlspace dry which is important for your health, safety and the general condition of your home. In order to do this they need to flow properly. As they are buried and hidden they are often overlooked. Depending on the age of your home, the soil conditions present, the materials and installation practices used, and other factors a visual inspection by video camera may prove beneficial. The video camera operator can identify and assess the condition and make recommendations for maintenance or repairs that will ensure the proper function of the system and prolong its lifespan as much as possible. Typical problems encountered are blockages due to silt build up or obstructions such as roots or partial collapse of the pipe or Clay or concrete tiles or shifting of the pipe.

Roland Klann, RHI BC Licence 47331 HomePro Systems2000 Inc. 604 240 3314 

Monday, October 7, 2013


Get ready for it, stricter debt ratio standards are on the way!  When CMHC tightened mortgage rules last year, among the changes were stricter debt ratios and income confirmations. For typical borrowers, these are key factors in determining whether or not you’ll get a mortgage. If you’re close to the line on debt and income, last year’s changes have made it more difficult for you to qualify. And unfortunately, things are about to get even more difficult!
On June 27, 2013, CMHC issued new guidelines for calculating debt ratios and confirming income documents. While most lenders have already been following these rules, CMHC is now closing the “loopholes” that allowed some lenders to offer easier approval for borrowers with tight debt ratios.

Here are some of the rules that have been clarified:
§  If you have variable income from things like bonuses, tips and investment income, lenders must use an amount not exceeding the average income of the past two years.
§  If you own other non-owner-occupied rental properties, the principal, interest, property taxes and heat on those properties must be deducted from gross rent revenue or included in “other debt obligations” when Total Debt Service ratio is calculated.
§  For unsecured credit lines and credit cards, no less than 3% of the outstanding balance must be included in monthly debt payments.
§  For secured lines of credit, lenders must factor in “the equivalent” of a payment that's based on “the outstanding balance amortized over 25 years.”
§  For heating costs, lenders must obtain the actual heating cost records of a property or use a set heating cost formula. This can double or triple the cost factored into debt ratios on larger properties, and reduce it on smaller ones.
These are just some of the guidelines and they can change depending on the Lender.  Since the new rules take effect on December 31, 2013, it’s important to talk to me if you are currently shopping, refinancing or if your current mortgage is up for renewal soon.  Until that deadline, I still have access to a select group of lenders who may be able to provide the mortgage approval you need. For more information, please call  me today at 604.889.6750.

Friday, October 4, 2013


While much of the rest of the world gears down for a recreational weekend, we in the real estate business ramp up for a full on weekend of showings!  And, compared to this time last year, it's busy!
     On reviewing the September stats, our Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board president, Sandra Wyant pointed out:- "While sales were up considerably from last year, it's important to note that September 2012 sales were among the lowest we've seen in nearly three decades.  Home sale and listing activity this September were in line with the 10 year average for the month."  For current sellers, the important statistic was that new listings for the month were down by 3.5 per cent compared to the same 10 year average, so...less competition than we would anticipate for Fall.  Cautious optimism is our mantra.  The rise in interest rates has attacked affordability for first time  buyers, which in turn has created a slow down in sales of entry level housing.  Pricing still remains key - buyers are savvy and spot the well priced property immediately - having recently resulted in some multiple offer situations. We are happy to interpret the stats for you and give you the local experience. We have you covered!
     Ours is a generous, caring community - witness last Saturday's fund raising gala when $168,000 was raised to purchase much needed ultrasound equipment for our own Eagleridge Hospital. Congrats all round!
     Work or play - have a great weekend!!  See you around the Cities. 
- Sheila