Need to know insurance tips for
moving in a hot BC housing market
Based on what we’ve witnessed in 2021 thus far, it’s expected that the spring housing market will be hotter than ever this year. This means that more British Columbians will be on the move in the months to come. The surge in market activity has been driven by the desire of many for more space, coupled by low interest rates, limited supply and pent up demand. Plus, with the new reality of living and working from home, both buyers and renters alike are looking for ways to get more square footage for their money, indoors and out.
For you, the reason for a move could be:
- You’re ready to buy your first home and realize it could happen fast; you’re elated (and a touch overwhelmed).
- You’ve upgraded to a larger space that’s within your budget – yep, that also means some renovations are needed.
- You’re ready to make the dream of owning a vacation property a reality, especially now that you can work remotely.
These are all exciting scenarios, but knowing the BC market, finding a new home to buy or rent, or a property to build a house can be understandably challenging . During the search process, it can be tempting to get caught up in bidding wars, and in competitive housing markets, buyers often feel the pressure to move quickly and make seller-friendly offers, potentially with no subjects such as financing or inspections. However, there are risks involved with making a subject-free offer which you can learn more about here. And even after you’ve found your home, it’s only the beginning; there’s everything that comes next, including the move.
The reality of a hot housing market is that things can happen fast, and being prepared is key to ensuring the transition to your new home is smooth. We can help.
Here are some essential insurance considerations to make sure you’re covered for the unexpected, whether you’re buying, looking to relocate or thinking about investing in a vacation property.
5 Fundamental Tips for Buying an Accessible Home
By, PATRICK YOUNG – MARCH 25, 2020
ESTIMATED READ TIME: 4 MINUTES
If you’re about to begin searching for an accessible home, you might be curious about what you can do to make your search easier. The key to finding your ideal property? Working with a supportive real estate agent like Sherryl Jacobs and being willing to invest in modifications for your new home! Following these tips will help you understand the ins and outs of the process.
Outline Your Budget
Outlining your budget should be the first item on your to-do list. Plan Easy suggests budgeting for no more than 35 percent of your income to be spent on housing. You will also need to carefully evaluate your savings to decide how much money you can realistically put towards your down payment. This may be a good time to meet with a financial advisor if you need guidance.
Consider Buying “As Is”
After going over your budget, you may be wondering how you could potentially save on this major purchase. Take some time to research grants designed for homebuyers with disabilities to see if you are eligible for any helpful programs. If you were originally planning to buy in an up-and-coming neighborhood, you can look at nearby towns where prices may be cheaper.
If you are fairly certain that you will have to invest in modifications for your future home, you might be interested in buying a home “as is.” Should you decide to go down this route, you will want to talk to a lawyer first, thoroughly inspect the property so you’ll be prepared for necessary repairs, and examine the land to spot any potential red flags before putting down an offer.
Almost ready to start viewing properties? First, contact local real estate agents and connect with an expert who can help you sort through listings and schedule tours. They will likely recommend looking at modern, one-story properties. Modifying these homes will be much simpler than remodeling an older home.
Decide on Modifications
Every person looking for an accessible home will have their own specific list of modifications to move forward with after closing day. You may need to widen doorways for wheelchair access, especially doors opening into your bedroom. In your bathroom, grab bars will most likely be necessary, as well as a sink with plenty of room underneath to accommodate a mobility aid. And when it comes to modifying your kitchen, you may need to install lower cooktops, a motorized sink that could be raised or lowered, and roll-out shelves.
Find the Right Contractors
Before you can begin packing up and hiring movers, you will need to hire contractors to complete your modification projects. There is no denying that finding trustworthy contractors can be a stressful ordeal, but with the right approach, you can find reliable professionals who will give you great results. Yellow Pages recommends asking friends and loved ones to point you towards contractors they’ve hired, requesting a minimum of three bids in writing, and confirming that any contractors you’re considering have the appropriate licensing and insurance.
If you are getting ready to hunt for an accessible home, you may be worried that you won’t find a property that you can easily modify for your needs. By thoroughly researching the process and connecting with a dependable real estate agent, you’ll be able to find a house in your preferred real estate market. Soon enough, you will be unpacking your belongings in your new accessible home!
In need of a real estate agent to help you close on the perfect accessible home? Contact Sherryl Jacobs to start your house hunting journey! Call today at 604-437-1123.
Patrick Young, founder of AbleUSA, is an educator and activist. He believes people with disabilities must live within a unique set of circumstances — the outside world often either underestimates them or ignores their needs altogether. He created AbleUSA to offer helpful resources to people with disabilities and to provide advice on navigating various aspects of life as a person with disabilities. He is an honoured and welcomed guest-writer for Sherryl Jacobs, REALTOR®.
Costly Home Improvement Disasters and How to Safely Avoid Them
By, SHERRYL JACOBS – JUNE 23, 2020
ESTIMATED READ TIME: 4 MINUTES
Avoid expensive mistakes by hiring competent, reliable, licensed professionals for your home improvement projects and repairs.
Earlier this week, a friend called me in a panic outside of his home during an emergency evacuation. There was a minor renovation underway, and no one could have imagined that this job was literally about to explode.
Once each family member was accounted for after leaving the house, he was able to call me from his mobile phone. What could have turned into a complete nightmare was circumvented, thanks to nosy neighbours and their life-saving reaction. Bystanders were moved with concern and suspicion as they smelled the scent of gas while witnessing the contractor’s hurried departure.
Can you imagine having seconds to rush out of your home without notice? Experiencing a member from the local fire department banging frantically at your bathroom door, shouting for you to vacate the premises immediately, probably isn’t the best way to start your day. Ever!
Thanks to brave firemen and competent neighbours, this home owner’s stupidity prepares us for a series of lessons. Lessons to be learned and shared to help prevent fatal accidents and a pricey aftermath.
In need of minor household repairs, the owner hired a friend of a friend to work in the home without verifying his qualifications or experience. Investigators discovered that the home owner didn’t have a surname or company information for the contractor – not even a telephone number. What is also unsettling is that the property was without an active Gas Leak Detector, which should have been installed as an added safety measure.
It’s still unclear how events of the day unfolded, however the unlicensed contractor accidentally ruptured the gas line. Attentive neighbours smelled gas and observing his hurried departure, they confronted him directly. He admitted to cutting the line, was encouraged to call the gas company and did so on the spot prior to fleeing the scene without notifying the household. Thankfully, bystanders were able to contact the local fire department who responded within minutes.
After the entire neighbourhood was asked to evacuate their homes, mayhem ensued as families gathered nearby to witness the arrival of fire trucks, police cars, EMS transport and gas company trucks. (There are costs associated with legitimate and false alarms. Check your city’s Fire By-law for service fees.)
The family on the other side of the house jumped into their car in an effort to leave the neighbourhood. Luckily, members of the fire department stopped them moments before they could turn on the car’s ignition. Please DO NOT start your vehicle if you suspect the presence of natural gas! Know what to do if you smell natural gas.
Who would have thought that a simple
work order could lead to a near fatality!
This story ends well in that there were no deaths, no injuries and no “contractor” (as he wasn’t certified). Fines and charges have been laid after authorities urged the homeowner to locate his contact details. Sadly, it came down to them waiting for the friend to find the friend while the gas company remedied the damaged gas line.
Let me be direct with a strong word of advice – take precautionary measures by calling the experts first before you start your home renovation project. Save money, time and lives!
Now that you have decided to move forward with your renovation, it is up to you to perform your due diligence. Make a few calls as you compile your list of licensed potentials. Consider a skilled professional who can assist with defining a remodelling plan – no matter how great or small the task, it is important even if you are the DIY type.
From minor repairs to large construction jobs,
seek guidance from qualified experts even
when referred by a friend.
Once your homework is done and you have short-listed the top 3-to-5 potential candidates, your next steps are to schedule a site visit. Be sure to have a family member, neighbour or friend attend the initial meeting with you. Have potential candidates identify themselves upon arriving at your home; request a quote for service, verifying the full price, deadlines and scope of work. Get it in writing! Be sure to compare detailed quotes, which should include the contractor and company’s name and logo, the current date, and check if the quote expires as some company’s may limit their quotes to a specific period of time.
Keep your family and community safe during and after the renovation process. Find the right company to work for you. Referrals can be trusted, however it is up to you to verify details deemed important enough to avoid legal recourse, costly repairs, and the stress of a fatal disaster.