Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Sheila's Letter from New York

Yes - it's not even Friday, but this blog is coming from New York. Here's our TGIF news update, so we'll just pretend it's Friday!

Good news theatre lovers, talented Canadians are taking over 42nd Street on Broadway! The oldest operating theatre on Broadway and the first to offer family shows is the Victory, where "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" opened last weekend. And our personal connection is the coauthor & creator, Craig Francis who grew up in Port Moody and now resides in Montreal. This is a Canadian production commissioned for the Panam Games last year and reworked for Broadway by Craig and coauthor, Rick Miller. It is a multimedia, current, clever, relevant and entertaining production - from the youngest to the oldest in the audience, the magic of exciting story telling and special effects took over. The online component is a smart addition.
And...right next door is the Lyric Theatre showing "Paramour", another Montreal production! Way to go Canucks!

In the interests of full disclosure, I have to say that I am the proud mother of Craig Francis and delivered personally the warm congratulations from our team as Craig has been an integral part of our marketing over many years. Now looking forward to the reviews as the New York Times critic in evidence!

Best wishes from the New York Airport!

Know that Michelle and Shane will keep you covered - see you soon. Sheila

Friday, September 23, 2016

Attention Students!

RE/MAX of Western Canada annually awards $16,000 in bursaries of $1,000 each to graduating students through the RE/MAX Quest for Excellence Bursary Program! One recipient (in addition to his or her bursary) will also win a hot air balloon ride for two!

The Quest for Excellence Program recognizes the pursuits in leadership and community contributions of Western Canadian students. High school students graduating in 2017 from British Columbia, Alberta,Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and Northwest Territories are encouraged to write an essay to convey the contributions they have made to enrich the lives ofothers and their communities through leadership, motivation, volunteering and participation in charitable events or fundraising.

The RE/MAX Quest for Excellence is now open and accepting applications! Application deadline is March 13th, 2017.

Click link for more info and to apply:

Friday, September 16, 2016

The New Industry Buzzword - What You Need to Know

"Deleverage" - it's the new buzz word in banking and financial circles. It seems to mean, what happens after interest rates rise and house prices drop when we can no longer afford to pay our bills. This has come on the heels of study which showed that average Canadians owe 11/2 times approx. what they earn. So... our banks are moving from the not so distant mode of offering borrowers more than they wanted or needed, to denying solid, loyal customers who don't fit in the new frame.

What this means in terms of today's real estate purchasers is that when you talk to lenders in financial institutions, be sure to get their commitments in writing. Do not accept a verbal preapproval - especially for bridge financing - when you are buying before selling. We have recently experienced some very stressful situations where the preapprovals were not what they seemed, and the bank didn't care. If a bank is not prepared to give you written preapproval spelling out the terms, move on to the one which will. The real problem is that the bank employee will receive their pay cheque whether or not you get your mortgage or bridge financing. The mortgage broker is the person who is rewarded financially for making it happen, and therefore has the incentive to work with you for what you need.

No one has the crystal ball and the market forecasts are all over the map. But this does not give the big banks license to ride roughshod over their customers and move the goalposts part way through the game. Be careful out there . If you have any doubts, call us. We are here to answer questions and keep you as risk-free as possible. Feel free to call us - we always want to keep you covered. At 2.34% with 5 year term, interest rates still look rosy. Take advantage while you can.

Your partners in real estate - Sheila and Michelle.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Not Playing Ball

Changing the goalposts part way through the game seems to be par for the course these days. Just enough to keep us off kilter, but somehow we are always still surprised.

As our Federal Government talks of legalising marijuana and local dispensaries sell it, who would have thought that an admission of having once smoked marijuana to the US border officials would place you on the no go -no entry - no fly list for ever?

The fall out from the provincial government's implementation of an additional 15% property purchase tax for non resident buyers continues. The goalposts changed for those buyers who purchased weeks, months, years ago before the introduction of the tax. Suddenly, their purchase price increased considerably and in some cases the tax amount was impossible for the buyers to raise. Then...the goalposts changed for our local sellers who were left owning two properties!

As children prepared to return to school, many had to ask "which school" as their neighborhood schools closed arbitrarily to help out a stressed school district budget. Big goalpost move!

Was life always this unpredictable where cavalier attitudes and arrogance prevail, so that we can never be sure that our best interests are top priorities? Or is it that we just know more about what is going on these days? If this were the case, the movers of goalposts should be embarrassed - but no evidence of that. Never mind - election time coming up.

When did we start to accept that the goalposts would not stay in place? Doesn't take long to form a habit!
Let's be on the lookout - tough to score goals when the posts are moved!

Enjoy the beautiful start to Fall. This unexpected welcome weather is keeping our spirits up.
And, as always, we have you covered.
Sheila and Michelle

Friday, September 2, 2016

TGIF: Happy Labour Day Long Weekend!

Here it is - the last long weekend of the summer and everyone says the same thing - it flew by! This means we were all busy enjoying what summer had to offer. All the new beginnings start next week - another year of school, sports activities, clubs & organizations, choirs and theatre programs.

But first.... Labour Day on Monday, signaling the end of summer. Do you know that the very first Labour Day was on September 5, 1882 in New York with picnics organized by the city's central labour union? The first Canadian federal Labour Day holiday was in 1894 with its origins in the labour unions' push for the '8 hour day movement' - advocating 8 hours for work, 8 hours for recreation and 8 for rest. Still sounds like a great balance not many of us achieve!! So we should follow the tradition and celebrate our workers on Labour Day.

Traditionally too, September is a time for homes to go on the market with their owners looking for a move before Christmas. It's a time for maintenance while the weather still cooperates - clearing out the gutters, rebuilding fences, Fall garden clean up, servicing gas fireplaces & furnaces, cleaning chimneys etc.
If you're wondering about your Fall options, trying to navigate the teal estate market statistics or thinking about preparing to sell or buy, give us a call.

We're here for the long haul and always have you covered. Have a wonderful, lingering, last long weekend of summer.
Sheila and Michelle

Friday, August 26, 2016

Heat Waves and Brain Waves

We bet the sales of fans & air conditioners have risen sharply over the past week - wouldn't be surprised to find stores sold out! So...why don't our towers with fabulous west facing views have built in air conditioning? Somewhere we have to get it across to developers that our climate truly has changed and air should be an automatic inclusion in strata buildings, as it is in other Canadian provinces. Talk to our City councillors - they are giving out the permits.

Just to put our mortgage payments in perspective: British Columbians pay more in total taxes than they do on food and housing combined! Time to make our mortgage payments tax deductible?

And....the definitive study is out! Focused monotasking is more productive - multitasking has its moments, but as a permanent state of working, distracts, then starting and stopping tasks requires the brain to refocus and the person to reread in order to carry on. Not to mention the anxious state of mind of the ultimate multitaskers. Staying on task til complete is not only more productive but easier on the psyche!

But is it productive? "Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health at The University of Texas at Dallas, isn’t convinced. She says multitasking is detrimental when you’re trying to do two cognitively demanding tasks at the same time. [The media multitasking study] shows that certain senses may be heightened as a result of multitasking. However, I would caution that though visual scanning responses may be heightened, it may come at a cost of deeper-level thinking and the effects will not be lasting," she says. [via Fast Company]

As our real estate market moves toward the unknown nature of Fall, remember that we have you covered no matter what Autumn brings. Call us with your questions and concerns at 604-936-7653 or email us.

Friday, August 19, 2016

This Week in BC Real Estate - We've Got You Covered!

Fallout from the Provincial decision to make the 15% additional foreign buyer tax retroactive to include all the sales already contracted before August 2nd continues. And...will continue as local Lower Mainland sellers struggle through the legal mess they are in through no fault of their own. As Vancouver real estate lawyer, Richard Bell (Bell Alliance) said during a CBC interview, it is "shocking" that the Government did not grandfather these sales. We think it is even more shocking that there has been not a word from the Province since, with regard to rectifying this situation for ordinary Canadians caught in the middle. The one thing we did hear was that on a recent visit to China, provincial ministers did not mention the tax! Like all real estate storms, this too will blow over, but will take longer because of the legal impact on so many people.
Our economy is driven by real estate as Alberta's is by oil, so the provincial government must watch the economic results carefully moving forward.
Right now is a great market for buyers who have been frustrated with low inventory, little choice and competing in multiple offer situations. We are seeing sellers agreeing to contracts with subjects, not relying on multiple offers to sell their home over list price AND interest rates are still at an all time low. Balance is always good in the real estate market - the frenetic pace is over for now - choose a home because you love it not just because it's available.
Enjoy the heatwave - no need to go to Hawaii or Mexico - just step outside! And, remember, whatever the temperature, we have you covered. Have a wonderful weekend.
Sheila & Michelle

Friday, August 12, 2016

Miracle Treat Day! Sweet treats in support of the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals

We hope there were record sales for 'Blizzards' at all the Dairy Queens yesterday! The proceeds from these treats went to Children's Miracle Network, which in turn goes directly to our Vancouver Children's Hospital. Our team enjoyed our Blizzards (melting fast!) in the new Lions Park in Port Coquitlam - a quickly discovered spot being enjoyed by many local families.

CMN is a cause very close to our heart and a donation goes there from every home Francis & Hawthorne Team sells. We are proud of being able to contribute in a small way to the amazing work being accomplished at the hospital by their wonderful, dedicated staff. For many years, Re/max as an organization, has been & remains a major donor to CMN across the country.

Have a fabulous weekend in the sunshine. We shan't need our umbrellas - but, as always, we have you covered for all things real estate.

Friday, August 5, 2016

This Week's News on the 15% Property Transfer Tax for Foreign Buyers - We've Got You Covered

What a blessing to live in a safe country! Vancouver's tourism is up substantially this year contributing an estimated $1billion + to our local economy. Aside from our low dollar, safety is part of the 2016 tourist decision - with justification. As if the devastating results of mass refugee migration, terrorist attacks and the Brexit vote were not enough, Europe will now have to contend with much lower tourism income. Staying safe has to be a prime objective at every level.

There has been lots of talk this week about the provincial government's additional 15% property transfer tax for foreign property buyers. The aspect given the least media attention & no government attention is what happens to the innocent local sellers who have a binding sale contract with an offshore buyer who refuses to pay the additional tax and causes the sellers to be unable to complete a purchase they have made in good faith. This hurts the very people this government has pledged to support - the little person & the working middle class. Please take time to write to your MLA and let her / him know that there will be hundreds of local people who will suffer both financially & emotionally as a result of this legislation not grandfathering existing contracts. The government managed to look after the big guys - the developers! Most of us support taxing those buyers simply "parking" their money - the devil lies in the details.

We are watching the market carefully as this unfolds in order to ensure that we always have you covered.

Have a great weekend - Sheila & Michelle

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Family Morning at the Movies

Our first annual movie morning for our younger clients at Silver City Saturday was a big hit! Disney’s ‘Finding Dory’ was a popular choice.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Congratulations Dads and Grads! This is your weekend to celebrate!

Treasure the time with your Dads - whether that's in person or, if they are further away, via all those other means at our disposal these days. Somehow, we only value Dad's wisdom when we have more life experience than this weekend's grads!
For our grads, it's stepping out into the unknown, unfamiliar territory with family and teachers' blessing. Know that your community, small and large, will still be here to support you - don't be lonely! It is good to remember all your new fellow college / university students, apprenticeship beginners & new workplace colleagues are all in the same boat - feeling apprehensive. A confident smile & word of encouragement can change the atmosphere and make new friends.
We wish all the new grads great opportunities and experiences! And Dads - enjoy your day in the spotlight!
Has real estate ever featured so largely in the media of every type? Not in the past 40 years I don't believe! No time has ever been better than now to hire a full time professional, experienced realtor. With the current changes in real estate contracts and with a cooling of the hottest market on record, pricing right is imperative for SELLERS now to maximize their investment. And BUYERS - don't go to new projects without your realtor. The salespeople there can be licensed or unlicensed and, either way, they are representing the builder / developer wanting the best deal possible for their employer. We are happy to go with you even if you're just checking it out. Buyers make assumptions about projects which are not always correct or helpful. ever the Francis & Hawthorne Team has you covered. Enjoy the long days - summer begins on Tuesday.
Your partners in real estate - Sheila and Michelle.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

The Market Springs Ahead

Another week when some of the real estate happenings have occurred predictably and others have proved to be a surprise! We loved the article in the Western Investor, Vancouver Not The Foreign-Buyer Magnet Most Believe by J.Neil Hamilton, which exploded our current most popular myth that our present market conditions are brought about solely as a result of foreign investment.

We might live in a beautiful part of the world, but cannot pride ourselves in being the top choice (or even close to it!) for foreign investment or tops in property values. Vancouver is number 10 on the world real estate stage for residential cost per square foot. This should give us some comfort and pause for the thought that these market conditions will not continue on for ever. And this week we felt those winds of change in certain sectors of the market - even more "affordable" properties did not attract the same frantic rush of frenetic buyers. Why? Good old economics 101 - we have increasing supply. The age old reason for market shifts! Buyers are not all suddenly in for an easy ride, but subtle changes are evident.

Largest exception to that rule is the one affecting every aspect of Canadian life right now from the cost of health care to real estate - the bulge of baby boomers! Many of this group are looking for that perfect downsize - larger than the average 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo. Consequently the competition to buy the larger condo or suitable townhome is fierce and these buyers have the money generated from the sale of their home to outbid their competitors. Amazing that developers are not catering to this group!

SPRING FORWARD - don't forget the change to daylight saving time happens tonight - we lose 1 hour of sleep. Drive safely this week - takes a little while to adjust. And remember - regardless of season or market, we have you covered. Sheila and Michelle.

Friday, February 26, 2016

TGIF: Boomers Making Retirement Lifestyle Choices

Baby Boomers are the first retiring generation considering lifestyle choices - often well before they retire. Remaining healthier with a greater desire to travel, this group is opting for an earlier move away from gardening & home maintenance. Often dividing their asset, they are purchasers of recreational property - Whistler, Okanagan & Arizona have all benefitted.

Lots to think about, especially if you have been living in your family home for some time. We love it when people consult with us early in the game, so we can discuss the options and help them prepare their home for the market ahead of time.

Nothing worse than falling in love with another home, only to find your present home is not market ready!

We are really aware of what buyers expect and have the resources to share - the professionals who can help you get ready - handyman, painter,stager, organiser etc. Every family is different, so we are geared to be on your program at your pace. For the homeowners who enjoy their family home & garden until they are much older, the challenge is greater. Usually, there has been a longer time to gather "stuff" of all kinds, sometimes owners less able to keep up with maintenance and an overwhelming feeling at the prospect of moving.

We work with many of these owners to make the experience more positive by getting the help they need and taking things one step at a time. We even have a couple of companies who will orchestrate all the aspects of preparing and moving. Our job satisfaction lies in seeing these owners happily installed in their new home. We are pleased to offer confidential consultations at your convenience for the downsizers of any age!

And...finally - if part of being a Boomer for you is helping your kids get a foothold in the real estate market, nothing makes us happier than guiding first home buyers to a safe, solid choice where their investment (and yours) is secure.

Enjoy your week and.... Remember - whatever your age and whatever the climate, we have you covered.
- Sheila and Michelle

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#PINKSHIRTDAY FEB 24: Stand Up to Bullying!

On February 24, 2016 we encourage everyone to practice kindness, and wear a CKNW Orphans’ Fund Official Pink Shirt, button, or pin to symbolize that you do not tolerate bullying. While we wish we could take credit for this idea, Pink Shirt Day has its roots in Nova Scotia, started by two incredible high school students.

Team Francis & Hawthorne RE/MAX Realtors are feeling pretty in pink: will you join in by wearing pink on February 24, 2016? Have you made an effort to practice kindness and acceptance towards both yourself and others? Do you have a story about being bullied, how you stopped a bully or about how bullying has affected a loved one?

Find out about it here:
You can donate here

Since 2008, the CKNW Orphans’ Fund and CKNW radio station have been raising funds for anti-bullying programs. 100% net proceeds raised are distributed to various organizations outlined below. The programs we fund support children’s healthy self-esteem, both with their peers and themselves. They teach empathy, compassion and kindness.

In 2015, over $350,000 in grants distributed to the following non-profits:

Friday, February 19, 2016


"Densification" is the current planning buzz word - and we see it all around
us. But the significance comes with the knowledge that Port Moody has made
the huge shift over the past decade from 70% of all homes being single
family residential to the present statistic of 70% of all homes being multi
family. Anticipated Population by 2040 = 58,000.

Coquitlam has experienced the highest growth in the region over the past 5
years - 2.62% with an anticipated population of 1 million over the next 20
years. 2/3 of permits issued are for multi family development. As Mayor
Richard Stewart said at this week's 'Municipal Update' - " the Evergreen
Line is changing everything".

Port Coquitlam, while still proud of its "small town charm" is experiencing
the 6th most density in the region and boasting the lowest property values
this side of the river. 2700 multi family units have been built in Port
Coquitlam since 2005 - 111 townhomes currently under construction.

All 3 municipalities are focused on the transit issues resulting from this
strong growth. For a cool distraction in the meantime, we look forward to
Port Coquitlam's first Grand Prix cycle race in July!

Have a great week - don't forget to be kind and wear a PINK SHIRT on
WEDNESDAY to support the annual anti bullying campaign.
In spite of the crazy real estate market and the rain, remember, we have you

Sheila and Michelle.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Gong Hey Fat Choy! Happy Year of the Fire Monkey!

Happy Chinese New Year! Gong Hey Fat Choy...or Gong xi fa cai if you're speaking Mandarin!

Clean the house well on Sunday, New Year's Eve. You will sweep all the old junk from last year away, to get yourself ready for a fresh start! On Monday, wear clean new clothes. You can especially wear red for good fortune! The Monkey is a witty, intelligent, but stubborn creature.... sometimes too clever for its own good! The year of the Fire Monkey will be quick changing, and if you yourself are a Monkey, you best lay low because a monkey meeting a monkey can create conflict.

You are a monkey if you were born in 2016, 2004, 1992, 1980, or 1968... but if your birthday is in January, better double-check because the Chinese New Year never starts on January 1st!

Chinese New Year is widely celebrated in many countries around the world, with various symbols and traditions. Flowers are used for decoration, writings for good luck are often seen on homes, tangerines and oranges are displayed as a sign of luck and wealth, red envelopes with money are given to children as presents, and red lanterns are released on the last day of the festival.