While you may have been raised with strict instructions to never open the door to strangers, the message has probably never hit home as closely as in today's social and physical distancing environment. To add further muddle to the matter, both home buyers and homeowners are wondering what the rules now are for viewing properties in person.
New conditions surrounding COVID-19 protocols continue to be developed, but the overall understanding at this time is that buyers, sellers and even third-party service providers such as inspectors, appraisers and home stagers should expect to have to sign a form for any kind of in-home visit arranged through the listing brokerage.
In a nutshell, the forms cover the following points:
Real estate is just one of the industries that has had to adapt to the world COVID-19 has introduced us to. And because people will always have their own good reasons to move, the industry will continue to modify its processes to accommodate both safety and efficiency.
Digital workarounds are now gaining traction as buyers and sellers are introduced to new "hands-off" protocols, including the following:
- Open houses have been replaced with virtual tours and live-stream walkthroughs.
- Any necessary in-person home showings are arranged on a case-by-case basis, and all are preceded with strict instructions as to safety protocol.
- Face-to-face negotiations are now conducted through web-based conferencing.
- Physical dealings have transitioned to digital transactions.
Real estate involves intricate logistics at the best of times, and today's changes are impacting every person, every step along the way. Indeed, it's important, now more than ever, to partner with professionals who can ensure all contingencies are carefully considered. For example, additional clauses such as provisions for the digital signing of documents and the electronic transfer of funds must now be included in transaction documents.
One thing that will never change is the personal care and respect you'll receive throughout your real estate journey. Let's connect for an update on how best to navigate through today's changing times!
If you're one of the many who continue to find yourself sequestered in your home, attempting to manage your work obligations amidst a busy household, you may be open to hearing some suggestions about how to increase your productivity.
- Define your space. If you haven't already done so, establish a designated workspace that doesn't serve double duty as a common area with the rest of the family. Keep it neat and organized; you'll find that a well-organized workspace reduces stress and promotes efficiency.
- Keep up appearances. Working from home doesn't mean you should neglect basic personal maintenance, or stay in your pyjamas all day long! You will find that dressing for work promotes a more productive mindset, while sending a subtle message to your family or housemates that you're "at work" and therefore not to be needlessly interrupted.
- Create a formal schedule. Include regular mental health breaks as well as stretching and exercise sessions in your day.
- Recreate social time with coworkers. Use a social networking app to catch up on regular water cooler conversations, as well as to exchange tips and strategies that are helping you get through your days.
Let's make some time to connect too, whether through a virtual connection or a good old-fashioned phone call. In the meantime, please stay safe, and stay productive!
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Sewer back-up. Storm run-off. These are just two of the many reasons that can cause your basement to flood. Learn more about how you can help keep your home and contents dry.
Basement Flooding: How to avoid standing in knee deep in water
Basement flooding and home water damage is something that no homeowner wants to experience. It can ruin your belongings, create a mess, require you to file an insurance claim, and it takes a long time to clean up.
Basements can flood for a variety of reasons such as sewer issues, surface flooding, and excess water due to severe storm weather. A yearly home inspection may help you find issues that could lead to a flood such as:
- Cracks in the foundation walls
- Poor drainage
- Overflowing or clogged eaves troughs and downspouts
Depending on where you live, your home may be more prone to flooding. When buying a home, make sure that you are aware of any flooding issues in the area. Here are few tips to consider that may help prevent basement flooding:
- Get a plumber to inspect your home for potential issues that could lead to flooding.
- Clean your eaves troughs on a regular basis.
- Refrain from pouring oils and fats that can block drains.
- Keep storm sewer drains clear of debris.
- If you have a sump-pump consider having it equipped with battery back up in case of power outage and make sure to inspect it regularly to ensure it is working correctly.
Understanding the signs and being proactive about taking care of your home can help you reduce the risk of flooding.
How to Live in a Perfectly Cooled World: A Guide to Air Conditioning
Presented by Enercare
Did you know there’s a temperature that’s best for comfort and productivity? According to a study by Cornell University, the ideal temperature for office work is around 77°F (25°C) and according to chief of sleep medicine Ralph Downey III, the optimal temperature for getting a good night’s sleep is between 65–72°F (18–22°C). The best temperature for hanging ‘round the house, eating, playing games or watching television, according to Energy Star, is about 78°F (26°C). So, unless you want to manually adjust the temperature every three to four hours and set a whole bunch of reminders on your phone, the first step to comfortable living is installing a programmable thermostat. This gamechanger will match the temperature in your home to your routine and schedule.
A few quick tips on testing your AC:
- Avoid having to deal with maintenance issues under sweltering heat and check your unit before summer hits.
- When testing your AC, find a time when the weather is above 13°C (55°F), remove protective covers, turn down your thermostat by 5 degrees and let your AC run for 20 minutes. If it generates cool air without creating any bangs, squeaks or scrapes, you’re good to go. If noises occur, it’s time to call a licensed professional.
Buying an AC unit can make you feel like Goldilocks looking for the right bowl of porridge. Get one that’s oversized, and your air conditioner will constantly turn on and off. Get one that’s undersized and it’ll wear itself out quickly. Not only that, it could lead to temperature inconsistencies, insufficient cooling, low airflow and a higher energy bill. Because every home is different, one of the more important steps is determining how much cooling capacity your house needs. Ask your service provider to do a complete load calculation by factoring in square footage, layout, insulation and load-generating appliances. It’s kind of like most things you buy for your house, always measure beforehand.
As cooling devices go, ceiling fans are underrated. They’re designed to work in tandem with the HVAC system to keep cool air or heat circulating throughout your home so you can save more on your energy bill. Just remember this simple rule, counterclockwise during the summer, clockwise during the winter (yup, they’re useful in the cold seasons too).
Where is your thermostat sitting? Is it right under a big beam of sunshine? Is it covered by a heavy curtain? Is it next to a lamp? Next to a door? Is it in a room where you often open the window? Is it inside a cabinet so that no air can get out? A lot of these things are unintentional. Well, except for the cabinet. But blocking AC vents or confusing its readings with other forms of heat can make the thermostat signal for more cooling unnecessarily. Find an interior wall without any pipes or ducts running through, ideally in a space you use frequently at a height of 52-60 inches. Note: avoid the kitchen and bathroom as too much heat fluctuation occurs in those areas.
Lastly (but not leastly?). Maintenance, maintenance, maintenance. Have your system serviced annually to keep your system running efficiently to get the most out of your equipment. You might be thinking, “Oh, I’ll check it out myself.” But then again, are you really going to read that textbook of a manual? Leave it to the professionals to get your equipment running according to the specifications.
To avoid excessive maintenance, you can easily clean or change your filters once every three months yourself. First, take your thermostat off heating or cooling mode and set the fan to auto. Then, remove the furnace filter, note the size and buy a replacement filter that matches, or clean and dry it if you have a plastic reusable one. Finally, find the direction of airflow printed on the frame and follow the markings when placing it back inside the furnace.
Actually, one more thing. Don’t be tempted to make your house feel like a fridge. Setting your thermostat higher is ideal for multiple reasons. One, your body is capable of adapting to seasonal temperatures within a week or two. Two, you’ll cut up to 3% off your energy bill for every degree you raise the temperature. Three, think of the planet! It’s a win, win, win.
Ask the experts. has everything you need to know to keep you cool. .
Photo by Crayola
One of the world’s most beloved suppliers of children’s art supplies has just unveiled a new initiative for promoting an “inclusive world for children of all ages, races, cultures and ethnicities.”
Earlier this week, Crayola launched a new pack of specially formulated “Colors of the World” crayons designed to mirror and represent over 40 global skin tones across the world.
Crayola released the crayon pack on May 21st—the United Nation’s World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development—in hopes that the project would allow children to “creatively and accurately color themselves into the world they see around them.”
“With the world growing more diverse than ever before, Crayola hopes our new Colors of the World crayons will increase representation and foster a greater sense of belonging and acceptance,” said Crayola CEO Rich Wuerthele in a press release. “We want the new Colors of the World crayons to advance inclusion within creativity and impact how kids express themselves.”
In addition to conducting rigorous consumer testing on developing the crayon colors to reflect an accurate and inclusive skin tone palette, Crayola also partnered with Victor Casale for the project.
Casale, formerly Chief Chemist and Managing Director, R&D of MAC cosmetics and co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Cover FX and currently CEO of MOB Beauty, possesses over 30 years of experience in creating foundation colors for global skin tones.
Photo by Crayola
“I have spent my life trying to create truly global shade palettes because I know what it’s like to be with a person who has finally found their exact match. They feel included and recognized, and I am hoping every child who uses these crayons and finds their shade will have that feeling,” says Casale. “Growing up, I remember mixing the pink and dark brown crayons to try and make my shade, so I was thrilled when Crayola asked for my help to create the Colors of the World crayons.”
For more than eight months, Crayola’s research, development and marketing teams collaborated with Casale to bring the Colors of the World crayons to life, modeling his scientific process for developing inclusive foundation shades.
Together, Casale and Crayola systematically created crayon colors that step down from light to deep shades across rose, almond and golden undertones, resulting in a 24 global shade palette that authentically reflects the full spectrum of human complexions.
“What intrigued Crayola about Victor was not only his extensive experience in creating shades that capture the natural beauty of every skin tone, but his abiding passion and commitment nurturing inclusion and representation,” says Mimi Dixon, Manager Brand Equity and Activation at Crayola. “His expertise, candor and guidance throughout the development process was invaluable and brings an enhanced level of credibility and authenticity to the Colors of the World product.”
Photo by Crayola
The crayon packs feature side panels that serve as color references while each crayon is wrapped in a gradient skin tone label with the color name in English, Spanish, and French. Additionally, each crayon has been assigned a realistic color name—such as Light Golden, Deep Almond and Medium Deep Rose—all to help kids easily find the shade they identify as their own.
Crayola Colors of the World crayons come in a 24- and 32-count pack and will begin to hit shelves in July for the back to school season.
(WATCH the Crayola video below)
Color Your News Feed With Positivity By Sharing The Good News To Social
Welcome to the Belcarra, the premier low-rise building @Newport Village.This rare style condo unit with 2 bedrooms/2 bath+den, is move in ready.This home seems larger with it’s open floor plan & windows.Kitchen has light wood grain cabinets/stone counters & S/S appliances.Gas fireplace in living room.Recent updates such as designer paint colours, flooring & much more.Principal bedroom with walk-in closet.Large 2nd bedroom & the den makes a great home office.Laundry closet with high efficiency W/D.BONUS 2 separate covered decks,2 side by side parking & 1 storage locker.The building includes an exercise room, amenity room, & bike storage.Set in beautiful Newport Village with everything a short stroll away, Evergreen Skytrain/WestcoastExpress/shopping/Brewery Row/Rocky Point Park & much more.
June 2, 2020
Home prices remain steady, buyers and sellers become more comfortable operating in today’s market
Metro Vancouver home prices have remained steady since provincial health officials implemented physical distancing requirements in March.
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) reports that the MLS® Home Price Index1 composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver today is $1,028,400. This is virtually unchanged from April 2020, a 1.4 per cent increase over the last three months, and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to May 2019.
"Home prices have been stable during the COVID-19 period," Colette Gerber, REBGV Chair said. "While we’re seeing a variety of long-term projections for the market, it's critical to understand the facts and trends as they emerge."
Residential home sales in the region totalled 1,485 in May 2020, a 43.7 per cent decrease from the 2,638 sales recorded in May 2019 and a 33.9 per cent increase from the 1,109 homes sold in April 2020.
Last month’s sales were 54.4 per cent below the 10-year May sales average.
"Home sale and listing activity is down compared to typical, long-term levels and up compared to the activity we saw in April 2020," Gerber said. "Home buyers and sellers are adapting today, becoming more comfortable operating with the physical distancing requirements that are in place in the market."
There were 3,684 detached, attached and apartment properties newly listed for sale on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in Metro Vancouver in May 2020. This represents a 37.1 per cent decrease compared to the 5,861 homes listed in May 2019 and a 59.3 per cent increase compared to April 2020 when 2,313 homes were listed.
"Home buyers and sellers are working with their REALTORS® to use new tools to complete different stages of the real estate transaction virtually," Gerber said. “When in-person interactions are necessary, we’re working with our clients to follow the physical distancing requirements set out by WorkSafeBC and the provincial health officer."
The total number of homes currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 9,927, a 32.4 per cent decrease compared to May 2019 (14,685) and a 5.7 per cent increase compared to April 2020 (9,389).
For all housing types, the sales-to-active listings ratio for May 2020 is 15 per cent. By housing type, the ratio is 13.5 per cent for detached homes, 18.9 per cent for townhomes, and 14.8 per cent for apartments.
Generally, analysts say downward pressure on home prices occurs when the ratio dips below 12 per cent for a sustained period, while home prices often experience upward pressure when it surpasses 20 per cent over several months.
Sales and benchmark prices by property type
Sales of detached homes in May 2020 reached 534, a 41.5 per cent decrease from the 913 detached sales recorded in May 2019. The benchmark price for detached properties is $1,456,700. This is a 0.3 per cent increase from April 2020, a 2.2 per cent increase over the past three months, and a 2.9 per cent increase compared to May 2019.
Sales of apartment homes reached 653 in May 2020, a 47.6 per cent decrease compared to the 1,246 sales in May 2019. The benchmark price of an apartment home is $686,500. This is a 0.3 per cent decrease from April 2020, a 0.9 per cent increase over the past three months, and a three per cent increase compared to May 2019.
Attached home sales in May 2020 totalled 298, a 37.8 per cent decrease compared to the 479 sales in May 2019. The benchmark price of an attached home is $792,700. This is a 0.2 per cent increase from April 2020, a 1.2 per cent increase over the past three months, and a 1.8 per cent increase compared to May 2019.