Thursday, June 28, 2007

Snap Up Real Estate Sold A Home In Just 2 Days

A customer of Snap Up Real Estate posted their home on the site and two days later it was sold. He did not advertise on any other websites or in any classifieds. This is the power of the Snap Up Real Estate marketing system.

If you have a home for sale you can sell for free on our website. All listings are free. Our most basic listing lasts 180 days and allows 1 picture. Our basic listing lasts 14 days and allows 6 pictures. The price to extend a basic listing listing is only $30 for 30 days. Our premium listings last 14 days and allow unlimited pictures and up to 5 movies. The price to extend a premium listing is only $60 for 30 days.

All extended listings are currently getting a bonus of placement in the featured properties section. Featured properties are displayed on the home page and most secondary pages, giving your property extra exposure.

If you need help selling your home give us a call 250-434-4372 and ask for Bart.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Kamloops Real Estate Agent Receives Sentence

A realtor who bilked fellow agents out of hard earned money has been sentence to a conditional sentence, to be served in the US.

Realtor to serve sentence in U.S.
by Robert Koopmans of the Kamloops Daily News

A former city Realtor who took $76,000 from her firm’s trust account will be allowed to serve her conditional sentence in the U.S., a judge ruled Tuesday.

Cheryl Moseley, known better to Kamloops as Cheryl King, pleaded guilty Tuesday to one charge of illegally accessing trust funds.

The Crown told the judge the 62-year-old woman took the money from her real estate firm’s trust account as financial affairs collapsed around her in late 2001.

The money she took before she fled Kamloops was partially used to repay a loan from her mother, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Richard Blair heard.

Blair went along with a joint submission for sentence proposed by the Crown and defence lawyers and imposed a two-year less a day conditional sentence, even though the woman now lives in Iowa.

Crown counsel Lorne Fisher said this type of case does not usually see the imposition of conditional sentences. Typically, people who violate the trust of employers or clients in such fashion face jail.

In this case, however, Moseley’s circumstances make a conditional sentence the best option, he told the judge.

Moseley suffers several serious health conditions, including heart disease serious enough that she is expected to soon need arterial bypass surgery.

Fisher said the woman is covered by health insurance in the U.S., but her coverage would be terminated if she leaves Canada for more than 60 days.

Jailing Moseley would see her health-care costs transferred to the Canadian penal system, Fisher said, adding she would be “one expensive prisoner.”

Justice Blair said he could not ignore such an obvious issue, noting the courts must consider all aspects of the public interest in deciding sentences.

“To imprison (her) in Canada would . . . leave the cost of her medical costs with the Canadian taxpayer,” said Blair.

Regardless, Blair had concerns about the idea of imposing a conditional sentence to be served in the U.S., especially with regard to the issue of monitoring.

In Canada, a person who violates terms of a conditional sentence can be brought back to court and made to serve all or some of the sentence in jail.

How could that work if an offender lives in the U.S., asked Blair?

The prosecutor said the Crown will ask American authorities to oversee Moseley’s sentence and report back to Canadian officials. If Moseley fails to abide by her terms, she can be brought back to Canada.

“We do have extradition treaties with the United States,” he said. “Has it been done before? I can’t tell you that it has, no.”

In the end, Justice Blair said while offences involving breach of trust typically demand jail, this case is different, he said.

“I recognize the problem is unique and requires flexibility,” said the judge.

Terms of the conditional sentence will require Moseley to live in Charles City, Iowa, and not change her address without permission. She was prohibited from consuming alcohol for 12 months, and ordered to perform 120 hours of community service work.

However, Justice Blair did not impose a period of house arrest or a curfew, terms often considered usual in conditional sentences. The judge gave no reason for the lack of such restrictions.

Lastly, Moseley was ordered to repay the $76,000 she took from her former firm’s trust account. The money is owed to Re/Max Canada, which covered the losses when they were discovered in 2001.

Before sentence was imposed, the court was told Moseley’s criminal behaviour was an act of desperation as her business and personal life fell apart.

Moseley came to Canada in 1993, after she married Kamloops rancher Bob King on a Cattle Drive.

Her marriage collapsed, however, and by 2001, Moseley was trying to keep afloat both her ranch and her real estate business.

An attempt to secure bank financing failed and shortly after, Moseley raided the trust account. She fled Kamloops and has lived in the U.S. since.

After her disappearance, it was suggested Moseley’s debts tallied in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Kamloops Realtor Mike Applegath was one of those burned the most by Moseley, the court was told. She fled owing him more than $56,000, as well as the messy aftermath of the failed realty firm.

“The whole situation with regard to Kamloops Re/Max Realty Assist . . . was a financial nightmare,” the prosecutor told the court. “Her conduct caused a great deal of consternation for many people who trusted her.”

Fisher said later the Crown could not consider a jail term of less than 60 days in jail for such a serious offence, for fear it would set a precedent in similar cases. A conditional sentence is considered by the Canadian justice system to be the same as jail.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

For Sale By Owner - Real Estate

A new study from the US shows that using a real estate agent to sell your home does not mean that it will sell for more money. The study, done at Northwestern University, studied the real estate market of Maddison Wisconsin. The study showed that those who did not use a real estate agent to sell their home came out with more money after the transaction than did those who used a real estate agent. Read the Full Article.

From TheChronicleHerald of Halifax, Nova Scotia.

You may need a real estate agent, but maybe not

By JEFF BAILEY The New York Times
It sounds like the setup for a dull economist’s joke. Who gets the better deal: the cautious economist who sells his house through a real estate agent, or his risk-taking colleague who finds a buyer on his own?

But the question — debated by two Northwestern University economists who chose different methods to sell their homes — and the research it helped prompt are serious. And the answer will be of interest to anyone who has paused to consider whether paying a real estate agent’s commission, typically five per cent to six per cent of the sale price, is worth it.

The conclusion, in a study based on home-sales data from 1998 to 2004 in Madison, Wis., is that people in that city who sold their homes through real estate agents typically did not get a higher sale price than people who sold their homes themselves. When the agent’s commission is factored in, the for-sale-by-owner people came out ahead financially.

Madison is home to one of the biggest for-sale-by-owner websites in the country. The economists pitted that site against the local multiple listing service operated by real estate agents.

There are asterisks. The authors cautioned that they did not know whether the results from Madison applied to the country as a whole; certainly, selling a house without a real estate agent would be harder in a city without a heavily trafficked for-sale-by-owner website. The authors are also analyzing Madison data from 2005 and 2006, when the housing market cooled after a long run-up, to see how their findings might have changed.

Some aspects tilted in agents’ favour. The researchers found that homes on the multiple listing service sold somewhat faster than houses on the for-sale-by-owner site. The study also did not place a value on other services provided by agents in selling a home.

The authors have presented their paper at forums at many leading universities, but it has not yet been submitted to a journal for peer review.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Canadian Real Estate Is Still Rising

Real Estate in Canada is still rising, along with the interest rates on mortgages. One would think that with a rising interest rate that new and resale home sales would drop off. This is not the case in Canada where real estate continues to surprise industry insiders with double digit percentage gains. The following article presents the case across Canada. Full Article.

Red-hot real-estate market breaks records in May

Eric Beauchesne
CanWest News Service
Friday, June 15, 2007

OTTAWA - Home sales and prices hit all-time highs last month, flying in the face of repeated predictions of a cooling of Canada's housing boom.

The numbers also add to expectations of stronger overall economic growth and rising interest rates.

The record-shattering surge in activity was not limited to Western Canada: growth was also reported in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA)released its report as mortgage rates were climbing to their highest level in five years - and as the Bank of Canada was considering raising other borrowing costs to cool what it calls an economy that's operating beyond its non-inflationary capacity.

"Residential sales activity, new listings, average prices and dollar volume in Canada's major markets broke all previous monthly records in May," the industry association said.

Sales reached 42,039, 11.6 per cent higher than a year earlier, and the first time in history they have surpassed the 40,000 mark in a single month, it said.

The increase was led by gains in Montreal and Toronto.

Seasonally adjusted sales were also up 1.3 per cent from April, led by one-month gains in Vancouver, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, and London and St. Thomas, Ont.

"In a nutshell, the housing market just keeps powering ahead," said BMO Capital Markets economist Douglas Porter.

Only a day earlier, Porter noted, Bank of Canada Governor David Dodge had admitted home prices had stayed stronger for longer than it expected, keeping the open flame on inflation pressures, especially in Western Canada.

Last month's results will not ease the central bank's concerns, he added.

The average selling price of a home was up 10.2 per cent from a year earlier to a new monthly record of $333,524, which was also a marginal acceleration from the 10-per-cent average of the first five months of the year.

"And it is far from just a Prairie brush fire any longer, as fully 11 of the 24 reporting cities posted double-digit increases," Porter said.

Prices hit all-time highs in many of the cities, led by $591,722 in Vancouver, and including Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon, Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax.

The steepest price increase was in Edmonton, up 47.3 per cent, followed by Saskatoon, up 44.1 per cent, but with double-digit gains in a string of other cities in Quebec, Ontario, and Manitoba.

The only cities to see prices drop were auto-dependent areas of Windsor and St. Catharines, Ont.

"While the big cities in Central Canada are not piping hot, each of Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa saw hefty gains in sales in the month and are still posting moderate price increases," noted Porter. "That's a lot more than you can say about the vast majority of U.S. cities."

"The pressing issue is whether this long-lasting run of strength can continue, particularly with five-year mortgage rates climbing to their highest level since 2002 in recent days," he said.

"We suspect that, finally, the housing market will begin to lose a touch of steam nationally in the months ahead amid the steady erosion in affordability," he said. "However, with consumer confidence still very strong and income growth solid, we doubt that a major correction lies ahead."

CREA chief economist Gregory Klump agreed, saying it's expected that price increases will slip below 10 per cent this year to an average of 9.7 per cent, and then ease further to 5.5 per cent in 2008.

In the meantime, National Bank of Canada economists said the red-hot home resale market will also bolster the overall economy.

"Strong resale activity is also providing a significant wealth effect to consumers and supports spending," they noted.

The report comes only a day after the industry published a study saying that each home sale boosts consumer spending on average by $32,000, on moving costs, legal fees, commissions, renovations and so on.

Friday, June 01, 2007

What You Need To Know About The 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Real estate developers are cashing in the the games. When Vancouver was announced as the location for the 2010 Games real estate prices went through the roof. On top of that a new road, or rail line, was needed from Vancouver to Whistler. All the land along the road would be worth mega bucks. The Olympic bid set in motion the wheels of business and politics, which are linked and the head in British Columbia. British Columiba real estate prices are now the highest in Canada, thanks 2010 Games. Read on Below.

Full Article

Developers are the Games’ real winners

A former developer himself, Premier Gordon Campbell holds the purse strings to an Olympic-size sweepstakes payout.

The 2010 Olympics were still a gleam in Jack Poole's eye when he addressed a roomful of real-estate developers in the spring of 2002. Vancouver had been shortlisted for the Games, but it would be more than a year until the winning city was chosen.

The outcome of the race to win the Games didn't seem to matter to Poole, who headed the 2010 Vancouver Bid Corporation. Western Investor editor Frank O'Brien sat in on the talk and later editorialized that, according to Poole, "the real purpose of the 2010 Olympic bid is to seduce the provincial and federal governments and long-suffering taxpayers into footing a billion-dollar bill to pave the path for future real estate sales."

Indeed this was Poole's opinion. "If the Olympic bid wasn't happening," he told the developers, "we would have to invent something." Long-time developer Poole had it right. The Olympics are about real estate.

To make his case, Poole could point to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah. A Sports Illustrated exposé of these Games described how a blizzard of federal money–$1.5 billion–enriched already wealthy developers and ski-resort owners.

B.C. premier Gordon Campbell knows well how taxpayers subsidize developers. As executive assistant to Vancouver mayor Art Phillips in the 1970s, he was involved in the lengthy negotiations between the city and real-estate giant Marathon Realty regarding the fate of the company's massive land holdings on the north side of False Creek.

The Phillips-led council rezoned the land from industrial to comprehensive development, boosting its value enormously.

Campbell left City Hall to become a development officer for Marathon Realty. Campbell and Marathon decided not to proceed with the development because the economy was tanking. The Bill Bennett government conveniently came forward with plans for a stadium. Campbell was all smiles when he announced that Marathon would be glad to sell the land to the province at a good price. It was still worth three times as much as its value before the city rezoning.

Campbell moved on once again. This time he started his own development company and bought several properties across the street from the stadium location. He boasted that he got the property at a rock-bottom price before others became aware of what the stadium would do to land values. He built a hotel that was completed at about the same time as the stadium.
Twenty years later, Campbell holds the Olympic purse strings, and as Poole pointed out, it's payday for developers.

Some developers benefited handsomely from taxpayer investment in the $2-billion Canada Line and the $800-million Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Centre expansion. But the main vehicle for creating developer wealth is the $2-billion (including future debt-servicing costs) investment for traffic improvements between Vancouver and Whistler. True, some of this money would be spent on the Sea-to-Sky Highway even if there were no Olympics. But this work was fast-tracked, meaning that projects in other B.C. regions were shelved.

In urban land economics, they say that the purpose of transportation is to connect land uses and make them more accessible and valuable. Think of the boom in real-estate values in Vancouver's Main-Cambie corridor after the taxpayer-financed Cambie Street Bridge went in.

During 2002, as Poole and the bid corporation prepared their final proposal, the provincial government was studying various options for improving the link between Vancouver and Squamish. As well as looking at major upgrades to the existing highway, the provincial Ministry of Transportation and Highways reviewed possible routes through the Capilano, Seymour, and Indian river valleys. These alternatives would cost more–from 50 percent to 100 percent more–but the result would be a safer, faster ride.

But these alternative routes went largely over Crown land. How could they help future real-estate sales?

The ministry evaluated all aspects of the routes. One factor leapt off the page: "developable land accessed". Upgrading 99 North was ranked five out of five for this factor, with five being the best, or the most. The other options received a score of one out of five.

One area with great "developable land" potential was Britannia Beach, but its ownership was in limbo. West Vancouver investors purchased the Britannia Mine site and 4,000 surrounding hectares in 1989. They struggled from one failed attempt to another to find a way to clean up the site and turn a profit.

Then along came the Olympics, and Britannia Beach's fortunes changed overnight. Vancouver developer Rob Macdonald came out the big winner. He's a strong Gordon Campbell supporter, having donated nearly $100,000 to the Liberals since they won the 2001 election. Macdonald purchased the offshore company that held a mortgage on the property and pushed for a speedy resolution of the ownership situation. A month after Vancouver was awarded the Games and the Campbell government chose the Sea-to-Sky Highway route, the B.C. Supreme Court turned the property over to Macdonald for an undisclosed amount.

If the Vancouver-Squamish connection had gone inland, Macdonald's newly acquired property would be worthless. Instead, the highway would go right by his front door.

Macdonald donated more than 90 percent of the land to the province. This was steep slopes that were useless for development and contained "some of the most contaminated land in North America", according to then–Sierra Legal Defence researcher Mitch Anderson.

Let the taxpayers assume responsibility for the cleanup. Macdonald also agreed to contribute a levy of $1.75 million toward remedial work.

Macdonald kept 202 hectares of high-value land for residential and commercial development. He would get further assistance from taxpayers in the form of $27 million for a plant to treat polluted water from the mine, another $99 million for the province to clean up contamination of the lands it got from Macdonald, and millions more from Natural Resources Canada for a visitor centre and mining museum, boosting the value of Macdonald's commercial property.

The Squamish First Nation was another big winner in the Jack Poole sweepstakes. In a complicated land swap in 2000, the First Nation ended up with an option to buy land from BC Rail at Porteau Cove in order to create a new reserve and build houses for band members. This had nothing to do with Olympics or highway improvements.

Porteau Cove is one of the very few developable sites between Vancouver and Squamish, a 500-hectare strip on the shores of Howe Sound running south from Porteau Cove Provincial Park to Deek's Creek.

Developers eyed this land for decades, but it was owned by BC Rail and not for sale. Then along came the Olympics with their highway upgrade, and the land skyrocketed in value. It was now too valuable for band housing. In 2004, the band exercised its option to purchase the land for a reported $12 million. It then signed a deal with Concord Pacific Developments to develop 1,400 homes. Interestingly, two former chairs of Concord Pacific were among the developers on the board of the 2010 bid corporation, along with Poole.

The lots are marketed as being just 25 minutes from downtown Vancouver via the new Sea-to-Sky Highway. If the venture earns just $50,000 for each lot, after putting in roads, sewers, water lines, and public amenities, that's still a profit of about $58 million to be split between the band and the developer. For its part, the band says it plans to invest the profits in housing and job creation for band members–elsewhere, of course. In Concord Pacific's case, some of the profits will likely flow back to its Hong Kong owners.

Meanwhile, up in Squamish, former UBC president David Strangway's dream for Canada's first privately owned secular university would likely still be languishing on the drawing board without the Olympics and the Sea-to-Sky Highway improvements.

When the decision to award the Games to Vancouver was announced, university project leader Peter Ufford said it "will help us in marketing the location of the university", adding that "it will help us with our real-estate sales." Because the university's business plan depends on selling 960 units of market housing, this was good news indeed. To some extent, Ufford could thank his own efforts. He was yet one more marketer on the board of the 2010 bid corporation. He was also a governor of the Canadian Olympic Committee.

In less than a year, Ufford sold the first 19-hectare parcel to a local developer to build and sell 200 housing units. With building lots listing for $290,000 and houses ranging in price from $430,000 to $1.2 million in the immediate vicinity, that's a big boost to the university's fortunes.

Strangway says the university is being built without public money. If he means no public money has been invested directly in the construction of the university, he's probably right. But, like that of Macdonald at Britannia Beach and the Squamish First Nation and Concord Pacific at Porteau Cove, his land would be worth a lot less without the support of B.C.'s long-suffering taxpayers.