Buying property in Vancouver is still proving to be a challenge, according to Ariane Benjamin, a ReMax realtor who specializes in townhouses and half-duplexes. No matter how derelict, undesirable, or outright shoddy, it seems no property stays on the market for very long.
Friends and family members of house hunters are now used to tales of woe—the missed opportunities, tight turnarounds, odd demands, and bidding wars. In its quarterly market assessment released on Wednesday, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said that months of soaring demand in the housing market have pushed national home prices up 14% compared to a year earlier.
In Vancouver, the group that seems to be hardest hit has been young families looking for entry-level homes. People have to be patient and conduct careful research.
“When the right home appears, be prepared to pounce,” Ariane advises. There are several ways to make your offer stand out:
1) Get preapproved for a mortgage
Get a preapproval letter to show the seller you are serious. There’s a big difference between being preapproved and prequalified. Preapproval is primarily based on verbal information while prequalification means the lender has done their due diligence, run credit checks, verified your income, and authorized a loan.
2) Be agreeable with the seller
Do they need to leave behind a backyard trampoline, a few sticks of old furniture, or a garage full of junk? Is there a specific date they want to close? It’s not ideal, but being amicable and reducing hassles for the seller can work to your advantage.
3) Put down a large deposit
Not the easiest thing in a market where houses routinely go for one million plus. However, money talks and putting down a large deposit can help your offer stand out.
No one wants a lemon. However, when demand is high and competition is fierce, a lot of clauses can disqualify your offer. That’s why some buyers are arranging pre-inspections at their own expense and then making clause-free offers. Home inspections can be pricey, and this approach should be used sparingly. Remember, for townhouses and strata properties, your real estate agent may be able to secure minutes or reports that highlight potential trouble.
There’s no real secret for landing a home in a hot market. The best you can do is to make your offer as appealing as possible and stick to your guns. The low-interest rate means there’s a lot of opportunities, but there’s also a lot of competition. Remember to choose a realtor who is knowledgeable about the area you’re targeting, so you can benefit from the best guidance and advice.
Vancouver townhouse realtor Ariane Benjamin is a seasoned professional who guides clients seamlessly through Vancouver’s complex townhouse and duplex market.