Strata Insurance in BC

As you will be aware, there has been lots in the news lately regarding the Strata Insurance and the issues some complexes are facing. These are very real concerns – for home owners; landlords; and future Buyers. If you are not in the process of buying but are currently in a strata, please contact your insurance broker to discuss your deductibles.

If you are looking at purchasing soon, it’s crucial that you review the Insurance document that is in place, and check when the expiry of the insurance coverage is.


In October 2018, the Finance Minister Carole James introduced the BC Speculation Tax despite the protests of mayors and development communities.

The tax ranges from 0.5% on secondary homes which are left vacant by BC residents, up to 2% on foreign-owned properties. 

The Government have recently advised that ALL homeowners are going to be required to file for an exemption and if you miss the March 31 deadline, you will be required to pay the tax.

You should be receiving a letter from the BC Government in the next week or so regarding the new Speculation Tax.  Ensure you respond to this letter in order not to be charged.

The Government has supplied maps for areas in BC which are taxable and exempt:

If you have any questions about investment properties, speculation tax or real estate, please don’t hesitate to contact me and I’d be happy to help!

Assessed Value vs. Market Value. What’s the Difference?

By now, you will have received your BC Assessment in the mail.  You’ll notice that there is likely a modest increase as compared to last year which was typically a lot higher for most homes.

BC Assessment is the determination of a property’s market value, classification and applicable exemptions and is the basis used for determining the share of municipal and provincial property tax owners will pay each year.

When establishing market value, BC Assessment appraisers consider each property’s unique characteristics, lot size, layout, shape, age, garages/carports and more.  Comparisons of recent sales are also used.

So why is the assessed value often so different from market value?  BC Assessments reflect the value as of July 1 of the previous year, while a market value is done in real-time.  We all know that market values can change drastically from month to month with things like interest rates, economies, mortgage and government rules changing things.  An increase in inventory will often lower prices, whereas a shortage of homes will increase value. 

If you feel like your BC Assessment is not correct, there is an option to appeal it.  I have personally done this in the past and been successful.  I’d be happy to discuss it with you if you require some additional information to support your dispute.  The deadline for appeals is January 31.  For more information, here is a link for appealing your Assessment:

*Some information is taken from

Equity in your Home

If you’ve lived in your home for more than even just a couple of years, it’s likely that you’ve created some home equity or possibly substantial equity. You might even be mortgage free.
Because of the surge in housing prices over the past few years, if you purchased a property prior to 2016, you will most likely have had an increase in value and now be in a better financial position.

So, what do you do if you have home equity?

Well – you could do nothing other than just sit on it and enjoy the safety net you’ve created!
You could take out a home equity loan and put the money towards a new kitchen or bathroom.
Or, you could consider an investment property. Taking money from your equity to use as a down payment on a second property is a great way to utilize the cash that could be available to you. It’s likely you’ll need to come up with 20% of the purchase price as your down payment and you’ll need to ensure that you either have positive cash flow or that you are able to top up the short fall. You will create some tax breaks and future retirement income if it gets paid off before you retire or hold it until it goes up in value and sell it (there may be capital gains involved).

I’ve got personal experience with taking money from my home equity to purchase a rental/investment property, as well as lots of professional experience with clients. If you’d like to find out if this is a viable option for you, call me at 604-866-5697 and I’d be happy to chat with you!

Know Before You Grow

It’s now legal for those who are 19+ to grow up to 4 non-medical marijuana plants in your home in BC. This may sound like great news to some people, but currently, growing marijuana in your home, even legally, will categorize your home as a Grow Operation.

In real estate this can raise a lot of issues.

Anybody planning to sell their home must disclose if your home has ever been a grow op. This can have an effect on your selling price, the ability for Buyers to get financing approved, and issues when obtaining home insurance.

Homes that have been disclosed as grow ops often sell for up to 20% less than market value.

If you are a Tenant, be aware that your Landlord can restrict the growth or use of marijuana in their property.

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board has launched an online resource called “Safe Grow Homes for Homeowners and Buyers” and want the government to provide more support and guidelines for homeowners and buyers. For more information on the Safe Grow Homes click here:

For more information from the government regarding Cannabis Clarity, click here:

If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me at 604-866-5697.
Know before you grow!

Raising a Family in Walnut Grove

Thinking about purchasing a home and raising a family in Walnut Grove? With a population of approximately 24,000 people, Walnut Grove is a great place to raise a family. Located in the Township of Langley, Walnut Grove is within close proximity to many major attractions, shopping centers and recreational facilities. Walnut Grove has the development and resources of a big city without the feeling of being overcrowded and densely populated. Continue reading