September 29, 2017
Cool Gadget - Human Transporter
Get more done with the WalkCar... this is the solution to your daily transportation needs. Those that live in urban environmenets likely have to deal with a lot of traffic congestion and even taxes and fees for car use. The WalkCar allows you to get around in urban areas without the exhaustion that can occur with excessive walking.
The WalkCar allows you to arrive at your destination energized and ready to take care of what is important to you. Even though the WalkCar is lightweight and can fit into a small tote or backpack, it boasts a battery that can last for about 7 hours when travelling at a speed of just over 6 miles per hour.
The WalkCar is rated to withstand loads of up to 265 lbs. There is little doubt that once more people see what this great product can do; models will be built with even higher weight capacities.
The WalkCar can easily take on hills, so you don't have to. The Wheels are able to handle small bumps in the road as well as uneven pavement.
The WalkCar is easy to control. Simply leaning in the directions you want to go is all you have to do. Japanese engineering has made the WalkCar very sensitive to the needs of the individual, so it responds quickly to your body movements.
Sounds like fun!
September 27, 2017
A weekend long OktoberfeSteveton kicks off again.
The second annual OktoberfeSteveton is back, bigger and better than last year. It will all start about 4pm this Friday with 6 Steveston Village restaurants co-hosting through to Sunday the celebration of all-things German, complete with a different craft brewery pavilion at each location.
On Saturday, No. 1 Rd. will be closed off to cars from Moncton to Bayview for the main event, the street party from 10am to 6pm with a DJ, Porche Car Show, German accordian player, kids entertainer, Sockeyes and White Spot mascots and of course, a German-style barbeque out front of Davood's Bistro.
Once again there will be a German-themed beer garden out the back of Steveston Seafood House on Moncton St from 10am to 10pm, with German beer, wine and food being served with the local rock band 'Thor' providing the entertainment.
The German accordian player will perform from 12pm to 3pm, while the children's entertainer will be there from around 11am to 4pm.
The fun doesn't stop there. After the street party closes at 6pm; there will be an outdoor movie screening outside Menchies at 7pm.
The 6 co-hosting restaurants and their guest breweries are: Davood's Bistro (Paulaner); Hogshack (Fuggles & Warlock); Chef's Playground Eatery (Parallel 49); Catch (Four Winds Brewery); Shady Island (Red Truck) and Britannia Brewing Company (Britannia Brewing).
There will be stamp cards at every one of the co-hosting restaurants for festival goers to get stamped and then enter it to win a prize.
More than 2,000 people took part in the inaugural OktoberfeSteveton last year. Let's make this one even bigger. Enjoy!!
September 26, 2017
Vancouver council considers a 'mansion tax' - taking from the rich & giving to the poor
Last weekend, longtime anti-poverty activist, Jean Swanson pitched 2 special property tax brackets for high value homes at a rally in Vancouver's Point Grey neighbourhood.
The 2 proposed tax brackets would draw an extra 1% from homes assessed at $5 million and higher, or 2% from homes assessed at $10 million and higher. This would affect approximately 4,942 homes and would generate about $174 million annually.
She went on to say that we are in the middle of a housing crisis and have about 2,000 people homeless on the streets dying at half the age of others. The average 1 bedroom apartment is $1000 a month, more than the total minimum wage of a full time worker.
This $174 million could go to modular housing for the homeless, then social and co-op housing.
Andy Yan, from Simon Fraser University City Program is intrigued by how this top 3% of the city's properties alone held 14.2% ($39.5 billion) of the markets total $278 billion assessed value. He goes on to say that maybe we should consider a progressive land tax, because we actually have other taxation schemes (like ICBC) vehicle tax for luxury cars as examples. It's not a foreign system, it's not something that's coming totally out of the blue.
The idea of a 'mansion tax' is not new either. The state of New York implemented one in 1989, though it functions as a transfer tax on real estate worth more than $1 million. Vancouver's proposed tax more closely resembles an income tax recently approved by Seattle's city council, which when implemented will draw 2.25% annually from residents earning more than US $250,000.
UBC economist, Thomas Davidoff, said the tax would primarily affect homeowners who bring money from outside of Vancouver into the city, and is particularly beneficial to residents. He says, 'It's very hard to find anything undesirable about raising taxes on high value Vancouver property, but obviously it's bad for the rich guys.
Davidoff drew a comparison between a homeowner living in a $5 million mansion, declaring a poverty income and paying $20,000 a year in property tax but no income tax, and a tech worker making $200,000 a year and renting but paying $60,000 in income tax. The idea that somebody sitting on a $5 million property, not working, ought to pay way less tax than somebody renting and working, making $200,000, doesn't make sense.
September 25, 2017
Celebrate Oktoberfest In Vancouver
It's time to take out the Lederhosen and start practicing your favourite German phrases, because Oktoberfest is coming to Vancouver! Harvest Haus, the biggest celebration of Oktoberfest in Vancouver will be back from October 5 to 14 in a new bigger location.
The 4th annual event will be taking place in Downtown Vancouver at Sole Food Street Farms at 88 Pacific Boulevard, next to BC Place. This years Harvest Haus features a packed schedule of events for an excellent evening of guzzling beer and feasting bratwurst.
The expanded 'Mini Munich' will feature 7 dinner sittings and a lineup of events that include axe throwing contests, Stein Games (beer sport competitions), a Lippensynchron Battle (i.e. lip synching) and lots more.
Tickets are available now and cost $25 for general admission, which includes access to a four and half hour celebration with unique musical performances and authenitc European food stalls. Alternatively, splurge for the Harvest Burgermeister ($40) for VIP seating, a complimentary beer stein, access to a VIP bar and other perks.
September 22, 2017
How much will the proposed new mortgage rules reduce Home-Buying Power?
A proposal by Canada's banking regulator to expand 'stress tests' for mortgage borrowers will reduce how much house Canadians can afford by up to 21%. And reducing affordability by that much is likely to lead to a 10% plus decline in house prices.
If these new rules are implemented in their current form, the effect of these changes could be significant. When buyers qualify for less mortgage financnig, it puts significant downward pressure on homes prices.
Properties worth more than $1 million will likely be most affected by this change, which means that Vancouver will be one of the most impacted areas.
Canada's federal banking regulator (OSFI), has proposed a 'stress test' for borrowering of uninsured mortgages, where the borrower puts 20% or more down. This follows a new rule introduced last fall which requires borrowers who put less than 20% down to pass a similar test.
About 46% of mortgages outstanding in Canada are uninsured, with a 20% or more down payment. A household with an annual income of $100,000 and a fixed rate 25 year mortgage at 2.84% can afford an house worth up to $726,145 currently. Under the new proposed rules, the same household would be able to afford only $573,791, a reduction of more than $150,000.
How do you feel these changes are going to affect our local home values?
September 21, 2017
What income is required to purchase a house in Vancouver?
There is an interactive map published by a Vancouver programmer that suggests even an above-average income isn't enough to get into the front door of a single family home in Vancouver.
Jens von Bergmann of MountainMath, mapped the assessed value of every house in Vancouver, then calculated the approximate income required to purchase each home.
His data suggests that those bringing in the average Vancouver family income of about $90,000 are shut out of about 60% of the city. The map shows families in that range can afford a $568,000 home.
The map assumes buyers have a 20% down payment, and are willing to spend up to one-third of their income, before taxes, on a mortgage. The mortgage used for the simulation is for 25 years at 4% interest.
A single family home on the east side becomes affordable to those earning around $250,000 a year, while the most affordable home in the west requires a salary of about $300,000.
Even $500,000 wouldn't get you a home in the majority of the West Side of Vancouver.
If you are willilng to rent out an existing or newly created suite you may be able to buy in the market with incomes of $125,000, but a buyer's chances of finding that home is slim. There are approximately 62,000 households that bring in $125,000 per year, which is almost as many as Vancouver has single homes.
This data leaves you wondering why so much of the city is reserved for the rich and why any move at all that would create more affordable housing is not enough.
September 20, 2017
Gas stations cashing out on Vancouver Real Estate
Vancouver will likely lose more gas stations as land values rise and high density zoning along major corridors in the city encourages more fuel companies to cash out.
Gas stations are typically located in prime areas on corners of major crossroads, and as the opportunity costs of capital that's built within those sites, and how it has been growing over the years, makes sense that the gas stations who are cashing out.
This month alone, Chevron Canada confirmed that it would be selling and closing five more gas stations in Vancouver. They are located at Cambie and West 16th, Oak and West 41st, Broadway and Alma, Cambie and West 59th and West 4th and Macdonald. Of these five, 2 have already ceased operations with deals completed and the other 3 have offers with expectations that they will be closed in the next 4 to 6 weeks.
These sales follow Chevron's previous closures of it downtown station at 1698 W. Georgia St which sold for a reportedly $72 million.
Chevron still has the largest market share in the city and will continue to operate its remaining 17 retail stations in the city.
Chevron's land sales remain unique to Vancouver at this time, and despite skyrocketing land values across Metro Vancouver, there are no plans to sell locations in other municipalities.
While it seems that more people in Vancouver are walking, cycling and taking transit, its a myth that drivers are using less fuel. Chevron has a certain amount of volume that they can sell, and it's based on what they can produce at their Burnaby refinery dailly. Volumes have increased over the last couple of years in Vancouver and each year there are more vehicles on the road.
Meanwhile, downtown Vancouver is facing the fact of having no gas stations in the downtown core. Esso's station at Burrard and Davie is currently for sale.
September 19, 2017
The Vancouver Cheese & Meat Festival - September 30
Meat and cheese go together like bread and butter, so it just seems right to have a festival devoted to the perfect pairing. The 2nd annual Vancouver Cheese and Meat Festival is approaching quickly and tickets were quick to sell out. However, there is a rumour that some extra passes will be made available to those on the waitlist for evening tickets. Additionally, if you post on the Event Facebook page, there's a good chance that people may be willing to sell their tickets if they're no longer able to go to the actual event.
This year the Cheese and Meat festival will be hosted in Vancouver on September 30th at the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre in Yaletown (181 Roundhouse Mews).
The festival will feature local and international cheese and meats with an assortment of condiments, including pickles, nuts, bread and more. Guests will also be able to enjoy the meaty and cheesy delicacies paired with a variety of beverages, including wine, beer and cider.
The full list of vendors is available on the Cheese & Meat Festival website.
The Cheese and Meat Festival also takes place in Victoria, and recently launched its first event in Seattle. To keep an eye on ticket sales, visit the Facebook Event page.
September 18, 2017
Vancouver's newest hotel set to open
Vancouver's ever-changing skyline will evolve once again, when the city's newest entertainment destination, Parq Vancouver, opens its doors on Friday, September 29th. A celebratory roll of the dice on the casino floor will mark the occasion at 11pm.
Built to meet LEED Gold environmental standards, Parq Vancouver is the largest private develpment in British Columbia, delivering everything in one stunning space; including 2 world class luxury hotels, a coveted culinary line-up, a new standard in convention hospitality, state of the art gaming and a transformative outdoor experience that is unique to Vancouver.
With a lobby featuring a full sized Douglas fir encased in glass, the DOUGLAS represents a balanced dialogue of nature and the city. The DOUGLAS joins the diverse and dynamic portfolio of more than 100 Autograph Collection Hotels around the world that are independant and one of a kind.
With more than 60,000 square feet of well appointed, fully accessible and flexible space, Parq Vancouver redefines the meeting and convention experience, offering 13 ballrooms, boardrooms and meeting rooms including the 15,604 square foot Parq Grand Ballroom, the largest ballroom in the city.
The second and third floor gaming levels - bathed in natural light by floor to ceiling windows feature 600 slot machines, 75 table games, a poker room and 11 exclusive salons for a private gaming experience.
Guests will be able to book their stays at JW Marriot Parq Vancouver and the DOUGLAS by visiting parqvancouver.com
September 11, 2017
The World's Biggest Eye Contact Experiment
In the blink of an eye the world will change. On September 23rd, hundreds of thousands will gather in cities and villages around the world to simultaneously share the magic of eye contact with each other in public spaces to rebuild our sense of connection.
The Liberators International, the social movement behind this act believe it is deeply important to involve people in participatory acts of human connection. They feel that with the rise of political and environmental uncertainty, a sense of separation and isolotation is causing fear and disruption. 'When we feel connected to each other, we feel more peaceful, more open to others lives. Sharing one minute of eye contact enables all of this to flow without the need for even speaking the same language'.
This event will take place on September 23rd, during the weekend of the International Day of Peace as declared by the United Nations. It will take place all around the world on publc squares, plazas and in parks. For a constantly updating list of cities click here.
Safe spaces are created where people who want to participate can share a minute of eye contact with a friend or a stranger in silence, and realize the power of human connection.
In Vancouver, this will take place at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 800 Robson Street from 11am to 2pm. Click here to sign up to participate.
September 8, 2017
Tips for Buying a Home under Probate
In an article posted in the Real Estate weekly recently, it was explained that from time to time you can find a deal on a home that is part of an estate, but there are
particular conditions you should include in your offer.
First, what is probate?
In short, probate is the court procedure for 2 things: Official approval of the will by the court as the valid last will of the deceased; and an appointment of the person (or persons) who will act as the executor to the deceased's estate.
Essentially, it is the court process that gives the executor the authority to act on behalf of the deceased.
Special Subjects to Your Offer
In probate real estate purchases, because reaching probate does take some time, you can be hit with delays in the purchasing process. When you make an offer on a property under probate, you will have all your usual subjects as a buyer (inspection, finanancing and so on). However, you must also have a subject for the seller that reads:
'Subject to the seller receiving the follow by a (subject date):
1 a copy of the grant of probate or letters of administration that allow the property to be sold; and
2 assurance that everyone entitled to claim under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act have waived or released their claims against the property. This condition is for the sole benefit of the seller'
To make sure an offer does not collapse if probate is not granted by the time you have reached the subject date, you may want to add an automatic extension of the subject. This way you are covered if probate has not been granted by your subject date and you will not have to get everyone to sign an addendum.
You may also want to add an additional clause about extending the closing date if probate is delayed. It will read: 'If probate has not been granted by the closing date, the closing date will automatically be extended 15 busines days after probate is granted.'
Typically you will want to make this subject to probate date 2 to 3 months away.
What Happens Next?
Once an accepted offer is handed in to the party in charge of probate, they will expedite the file. Which means, it goes from the bottom of the pile of documents to the top at the lawyers office.
Once the buyer has removed their subjects the property is technichally sold. Unless something very unforeseen happens during the time the lawyers are granting probate, the property will sell. However, until the seller (the executor) removes their subject to probate, the listing will stay active. This means that, despite all the listing agent's attempts to communicate that the propery is technically sold, they will still be inundated with calls and inquires about the listing.
When it comes to a probate sale, it would be wise to hire an agent who has some expertise in this area, as there are many things that they know, where others may not.
September 6, 2017
Bike the Night is back!
You may be familiar with the very popular Vancouver bike raves that pop up from time to time in the city. These events typically involve people decorating their bikes and themselves with glow sticks and riding around town while enjoying music along the way. While fun, most of these bike raves are not actually sanctioned by the City of Vancouver.
Enter: Bike the Night 2017. A fully sanctioned event organized by HUB Cycling. The 2nd annual event will be held on Saturday, September 16, 2017 and you are invited to join more than 5,000 other riders for Vancouver's only official night ride on the city streets.
This event will be different from the 'flash mob' feel of other nighttime biking adventures. Children are very much welcome on the ride and encouraged to participate. In fact, children up to 16 ride free.
For adults, tickets to the event cost $15, but they include a host of extra goodies including an invitation to the kick off party at 6pm. You'll want to be early to this party because the kick off festiviites include:
Free bike inspections and basic maintenance
Pop up ping-pong
Bike decorating station
Relay races and games.
Sounds like a fun way to spend an evening!
September 5, 2017
Luxury & Supercar Weekend Cruises into Vancouver
Interested in a 2018 Rolls Royce Phantom ($750,000)? Do you see yourself behind the wheel of the 2017 Karma Revero ($201,000)? Are you ready to make the investment of a lifetime and buy your very own 2017 Pagani Huayra Roadster ($4.5 million)? Even it these supercars in your life are only in your dreams, you'll have the opportunity to get up close and personal with the lastest and hottest cars on the market - as well as designer collectables, jewellery, clothing and watches - at Luxury & Supercar Weekend, taking place under the sunshine at Vandusen Botanical Gardens on September 9th and 10th.
In addition to viewing these beautiful vehicles, the annual event features pop-up pavilions showcasing everthing from diamonds to bedding, as well as fashion shows staged by Oakrdige Centre and the Luxury Supercar awards ceremony. The main attraction vehicles are gathered in the Concours D'Elegance - named for the 17th century aristocratic parades where horse drawn carriages rolled proudly thoughout Parisian parks in the summertime - and included vintage cars such as the pre-1954 Woody Wagon; iconic luxury cars like Porsches, Cadillacs and Jaguars; and new releases like the 2018 Audi R8.
Admission includes access to the Canadian Concours d'Elegance show and awards, as well as entry to the fashions shows.
Perfect for an indulgent day out, Luxury & Supercar Weekend is coming up fast. For more details and to buy tickets click here.