Want the Best Looking Lawn On Your Block? Make Sure You Water it Properly. Here’s How.

We’re now in the warm weather.  We may love the summer drought, but our lawns don’t. Luckily we have an abundance of water in our municipal reservoirs, and the watering restrictions are not as draconian as they are in other cities.

So here’s how to keep your lawn looking lush and green this summer.

1. When should you water?

Water 2-3 times a week to allow a deep root system that is more resistant to drought conditions. Allowing the soil to dry out between waterings encourages the roots to dive deeper into the soil to seek out sources of moisture buried in the soil.

2. What time of the day should you water?

Water your lawn early in the morning ensuring that it will dry completely before nightfall. Watering at night on a regular basis can lead to fungus and other disease problems. Watering during the day is not as effective as there is higher evaporation.

3. How long should you water for?

This depends entirely on your soil type. If your soil is sandy, it will take longer for the water to get absorbed as opposed to a clay type soil that absorbs water more quickly. It also depends on the water pressure and what type of sprinkler system you have.

The rule of thumb is around 20-30 minutes to get an inch or so of water into your lawn.

Here are some other tips:
- After watering, stay off the grass. Walking on water soaked loan can cause damage to the turf and soil compaction.
- Make sure you don’t water for long periods of time that result in water flowing down the street or driveway.
- If you have brown patches that don’t respond to watering, check for other problems associated with the lawn.
- If you have automatic sprinklers, make sure you check them regularly for coverage and leaks.

Our team of professional advisors looks forward to helping you achieve your goals with our real estate services which include: Home Sales and Purchases, Property Rental and Home Financing advice, and investment opportunities in Residential and Commercial projects.
Contact us or call 604.695.1000 if you are interested in selling or buying a home.

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Beware of Real Estate Scams on the Internet

As we are becoming more and more reliant on the Internet for our day-to-day purchases and activities, many of us are beginning to search and for and buy properties on the Internet.  While this has proved to be very convenient, unfortunately, it has also been a bonanza for Internet savvy fraudsters who target unsuspecting investors and homebuyers. 

How do you protect yourself against these unscrupulous scammers? 

  1. Always confirm the identity of the agent or broker.Do an online search to confirm that the person you are dealing with is actually a real person. Also do a search on the property’s address to see that it actually exists.
  2. Inspect the property before you commit funds.When you actually view the property and meet the agent, you will know that the property exists. If you have trouble doing this, then you should suspect a scam and walk away immediately.
  3. Be weary of multiple listings of the same property.It is very easy for scammers to take an existing listing and repost it as their own with their contact information. They can list the property on various search engines and sites and vary the asking prices.
  4. Don’t disclose your personal information.As a general rule, never disclose you personal information and bank details on the Internet if you are not familiar with the site.  Fraudsters can make their sites look real and display various signs of authenticity and trust, but these can be images that are easily cut and pasted.  So beware.
  5. Don’t get lured by attractive pricing.One of the best ways of avoiding a scam is to ignore a listing that looks too good to be true. This is how fraudsters lure unsuspecting homebuyers into their trap. If the listing looks too good to be true, avoid it and report it immediately. 

Why not let us find you the property or investment that you are looking for? Our experience and know how, makes us one of the most trusted realtors on the Lower Mainland. Contact us or call us on 604 913 1000.

 

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How to Prevent the Dangers in Your Laundry Room

Your laundry room is full of heavy-duty appliances and a plethora of cleaning products, which can make it a real danger zone in your home. In the US alone, over 10,000 house fires are started in the laundry room. The fire hazard is not the only one present – recently, colorful detergent packs have been responsible for a number of children ingesting them and being rushed to the hospital due to poisoning 

Here’s how to keep your laundry room a disaster free zone: 

  1. Prevent lint from building up. Lint buildup is the biggest culprit and is responsible for a majority of laundry room fires. Clean out the lint screen after every use. Make it a habit of inspecting vent pipes, the ducts outside your home and the space behind the dryer to ensure there isn’t any lint buildup.
  2. Replace the dryer duct and water hoses. If your dryer vents with a foil accordian duct, replace it with a rigid metal one that doesn’t collect as much lint. Replace rubber hoses with reinforced braided ones to prevent them from bursting or cracking.
  3. Keep detergents out of reach of children and tightly sealed. The convenient candy like detergent packs that are becoming very popular are very dangerous if kids get their hands on them. They look like tasty candy and kids would definitely swallow them. Make sure they are stowed out of reach and tightly sealed.
  4. Label all containers. If you are using do-it-yourself detergents and stain removers, make sure you label the bottles properly – avoid using containers that have been used previously for food or drink. Clear liquids in unmarked plastic bottles can be easily mistaken as a drinkable liquid.
  5. Keep machine doors locked. Front loading washers and dryers can be ideal hiding spots for kids playing hide and seek. If they do not have built in safety locking, buy some child safety locks to prevent kids from getting stuck inside.
  6. Maintain your machines regularly. Get your machines checked annually to ensure there are no mechanical defects, or problems that may have occurred over the year. Over the year, items from pockets can slip through the drums, accumulate and present a possible hazard.

For the discerning seller who wants to maximize their property value and attract bidders from around the globe placement on the V List is ideal. Please compete and submit this form. One of our Advisors will contact you shortly to appraise your home and discuss the benefits of having a V Listing. 

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The Shangri-La Vancouver – Luxurious Condo Living At Its Best!

The Shangri-La Vancouver offers some of the most incredible and unique apartments available. It is comprised of two residential addresses – 1128 West Georgia Street & 1111 Alberni Street) + a 5 Star luxury hotel.

Rising 650 feet at the corner of Georgia and Thurlow, this 61-story luxury tower is Vancouver’s tallest building and redefines the skyline with its distinctive architectural design.

Built to LEED Silver standards, the building features a variety of sustainable design strategies including a geo-thermal heating and cooling system, energy efficient lighting, green roofs and 57,000 bamboo trees.

The 1128 West Georgia Street address known as “The Estates” occupies the top portion of the building starting at the 46th floor all the way to Penthouse on the 61st and 62nd floors. From all the residences, the views are unobstructed in every direction capturing some of Vancouver’s most breathtaking vistas.

The Estates come with a host of luxurious amenities such as valet parking, limousine service, private concierge, in suite maid service and direct access to room service from the on site hotel staff. 

The Live/Work private residences are located on 1111 Alberni Street on the edge of Downtown Vancouver’s West End (Burrard & Georgia). They have their own entrance and occupy the 16th to 42nd floors.

All suites feature open concept floor plans with contemporary Boffi kitchens and baths, hardwood floors, air-conditioning and more.

The building is located in the centre of Vancouver and access to any part of the city is easy. Local amenities are numerous and include, boutique and luxury shopping and restaurants, Robson street shopping and Urban Fair directly below the building.

Residents have access to amenities that include 24 hour concierge services, the Chi Spa, four distinct dining experiences at the MARKET by Jean-Georges, valet parking, Xi Shi Lounge, an outdoor pool, a sauna, a steam room and a 5,000 sq. ft. fitness facility

The world-renowned Shangri La condos are available on The VList. Vist our Shangri-La information page or our Shangri-La Estate page for more information.

Contact us or call 604.695.1000 if you are interested in selling or buying a home at the Shangri-La.

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A Quick Primer On The Most Popular Mortgages Available

While a mortgage is fundamentally a loan that is secured against your home, there are many variations to the type of mortgage that can be used for various needs. Based on your goals and risk characteristics there may be a number of different mortgage products that will meet your needs.

Below you will find a list of the many different types of mortgages that you may be exposed to. These are the ones you will most commonly hear about or come across. Trying to figure out which is appropriate for your situation may seem daunting, that’s why it is always important to get an expert opinion on the type of mortgage to get.

Pre-Approved Mortgage

A Pre-Approved mortgage is a Free and No-Obligation deal that lets you know before you go looking for your home or signing an offer to purchase, how much you can afford to borrow based on your qualification and personal credit rating. In many cases, a seller prefers to negotiate an offer with purchaser who has been pre-approved.

Conventional Mortgage

A conventional mortgage is a loan that does not exceed 80% of the purchase price or appraised value of the home, whichever is less. This type of mortgage does not have to be insured against default.

High-Ratio Mortgage

A high-ratio mortgage is a loan that is above 80% and up to 95% of the purchase price or appraised value of the home, whichever is less. These mortgages must be insured against loss by either Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a Federal Government Corporation, or GE Capital, a private insurer. The premiums can be added to the mortgage amount or paid at closing.

First Mortgages

A First mortgage is the first debt registered against a property that is secured by a first “charge” on the property. If a default on the mortgage occurs, the first lender has first right on the property to recover the outstanding principal and interest costs, and any other costs incurred during the process.

 

 

Second Mortgages

A second mortgage is a debt registered after a first mortgage has been registered. In most cases, the interest charged on the second is higher than the first, reflecting the higher risk to the lender.

Open Mortgages

An open mortgage allows you the flexibility to repay the mortgage at any time without penalty. Open mortgages are available in shorter terms, and the interest rate is higher than closed mortgages –  as much as 1%, or more. They are normally chosen if you are thinking of selling your home, or if you are expecting to pay off the whole mortgage from the sale of another property, or an inheritance.

Closed Mortgages

A closed mortgage offers the security of fixed payments for terms from 6 months to 10 years. The interest rates are considerably lower than open mortgages, and if you are not planning on any one of the above reasons, then choose a closed mortgage.

Variable Rate Mortgages

A variable rate mortgage means that the interest rate of the mortgage will fluctuate throughout the term. The mortgage rate is set at the prime rate plus or minus a certain percentage. The prime rate is the interest rate on loans that the banks are currently offering to their best customers and corporations. So if you obtain a variable mortgage rate of “prime -0.25%”, this means that your mortgage rate will always be whatever the lender’s current prime rate is minus .25%.

Fixed Rate Mortgages

A fixed-rate mortgage means that the interest rate of the mortgage will remain the same until the mortgage comes up for renewal. Therefore there are no surprises. You know what your mortgage payments and interest rate will be throughout the entire term.

We are affiliated with various Financial Institutions and you can access a full range of financial options for your home. Get the mortgage that’s right for you with the best rates and start saving money.

Complete and submit this form. A Mortgage Specialist will contact you at your convenience.

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Vancouver House – Currently One Of The World’s Most Talked About Real Estate Projects

 Vancouver House, at the foot of the Granville Bridge, promises to be a defining architectural monument on Vancouver’s skyline. This internationally award winning architectural masterpiece by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) was 95% sold out in a matter of weeks. 

Once finished by 2018, Vancouver House will be the sort of sculptural building that lands in the pages of international architecture and design books. 

According to Bjarke Ingels, Vancouver House has been shaped by the surroundings – it is growing out of the dense surroundings, and as soon as it comes out into the air, it expands and creates much larger flow plates at the top than at the bottom.  

The German word – Gesamtkunstwerk- is used to signify the project –  The building as a total work of art. Every facet and aspect of the building is done with the same care and sensibility. BIG is responsible for the design and/or overseeing of the building’s totality: shell, accessories, furnishings, and landscape.  

Each of the 388 homes is also unique, with no two floor plans alike. Some are long and narrow; others are more square. Irregular outlines create interior nooks and alcoves.  

The 52 story tower appears to defy gravity, a top-heavy shape that ascends from a triangular base. It’s the reverse of the usual building that gets skinnier and skinnier as it goes up. 

The top of the building is reserved for unique penthouse floors at different levels, each with spectacular and unobstructed views. 

Those discerning individuals who purchase a penthouse, will be invited to travel to New York to work with the architects to make the final choices for their home, so that everything works in harmony with the whole project itself – Gesamtkunstwerk in action! 

Visit our Vancouver House building information page to learn more about Vancouver House!

 

 

Vancouver House

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The Erickson – 1560 Homer Mews.

The Erickson is an award winning Arthur Erickson signature creation located at the foot of Homer Mews on False Creek, Vancouver. 

Situated on the Seawall & backing on to David Lam Park, it is just a short walk to the popular Round House neighbourhood with its trendy restaurants, coffee shops and nightlife. Yaletown shopping & Vancouver’s entertainment district are just a few blocks away. 

Framed by waterfront on three sides and soaring more than 17 stories, the building offers towering skylines and endless views of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. The Erickson’s twisting form rotates counterclockwise and then shifts clockwise, evoking the motion of the water below. 

On entering the building you are greeted by a stunning lobby and a 24-hour concierge service. The private elevators whisk you to your suite that features hardwood flooring and floor to ceiling windows, highlighting the unobstructed panoramic views of the city, mountains and False Creek. 

The developer – Concord Pacific  – has spared no expense using top of the line appliances, custom millwork, spa-inspired bathrooms and many other luxurious features. 

Expansive private balconies and terraces provide panoramas of city, mountain and horizon vistas from sunlight to twilight.  

Building amenities include:
• 24 hour concierge
• Meeting Room
• Men’s/Women’s Change Room
• Wheelchair Access
• Theatre
• Yoga Studio
• 60 foot indoor ozonized pool
• Whirlpool, Steam room and sauna
• Massage and spa facilities
• Personal hair salon
• Fully-equipped fitness room/gym
• Yoga/Pilates studio
• Private board room
 

Vancouver born and raised, the late Arthur Erickson is probably one of Canada’s greatest and most celebrated architects.  During his lifetime as an architect, he invented unsurpassed urban schemes as well as new building types that were well ahead of their time socially and environmentally. 

Erickson never developed a signature style. His buildings, which vary wildly, take their cues from the details of the site and the clients’ needs.  

The long list of Erickson’s built works includes a number of stunning residences and iconic buildings such as the Simon Fraser University; the University of Lethbridge; the UBC Museum of Anthropology; Roy Thompson Hall, Toronto; the Canadian Chancery in Washington, DC; the Tacoma Glass Museum; Etisalat building, Dubai and so many more.

For more information and to view homes for sale visit our The Erickson – 1560 Homer Mews information page.

 

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Here’s How You Can Benefit from Other Home Buyers’ Mistakes

The 20th Annual RBC Home Ownership Poll was recently released. Results from the poll showed that most first-time homeowners admitted to making at least one mistake when they purchased their home.

Below is a list of the biggest mistakes made by first-time homebuyers.

  1. Focused on the low interest rates – New buyers felt compelled to buy because mortgage rates were low. It is better to focus on the loan and payment that works, rather than obtain a very-low rate.
  2. Skipping the home inspection – Buyers who opted to avoid this found themselves faced with huge repair costs, especially those who had bought older homes. Always get a comprehensive home inspection done  - it is worth the investment.
  3. Ignorant of the closing costs – Some ill-informed home buyers did not account for the additional fees such as lawyers’ fees, land transfer fees, title fee etc. in their budget. Make sure you do your homework properly especially when it comes to finances. Contact a realtor if you are not sure.
  4. The down payment could have been larger – Many homeowners could have made a larger down payment but chose to use the funds to renovate or buy appliances, or furniture. With a smaller down payment, the mortgage payment is larger, and this can be overwhelming in the long run, especially for those households on a tight budget.
  5. Not checking the market value of the neighborhood – Some homeowners paid too much for homes that were renovated above and beyond neighboring properties; this may price them out of the market when it comes time to sell. Always compare your price with homes in the neighborhood, to ensure that you are paying market value.
  6. Overwhelmed by certain features of the home – Buyers found they ignored obvious structural or electrical problems because the home had an important feature that they fell in love with. Always look at a home with an objective and neutral lens. If in doubt, get a neutral opinion.
  7. Not getting pre-approval for a mortgage – By not obtaining pre-approval, many homebuyers fell for homes that were out of their price range. A mortgage pre-approval measures your qualifications and how much you can afford.

To learn more about Virani Real Estate Advisors or to discuss a property purchase or sale fill in this form, visit one of our offices, or call 604-913-1000.

 

 

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Why A Fresh Coat of Paint Will Help Sell Your Home More Easily

It’s a fact – study after study proves that we equate color with emotion. The colors we chose for our homes are a public representation of how we see ourselves. But this can become a dilemma because not every potential buyer views colors the way you do. 

Most realtors will recommend a fresh coat of paint for their client’s home. According to a 2009 survey done by HomeGain, a spend between $500 – $750 to paint your home increased your home price by an average of $1,500 to $2,000. That is at least a 250% return on investment! 

Basic rule of thumb – Stick to single, neutral colors. 

By keeping your colors neutral, buyers will be able to easily visualize their furniture in your home, as they are not influenced by busy, dark colors. Light, neutral colors bode well with online photos, which is the first place people check when looking for homes. 

Always make sure that your paint has a fresh appeal, no dings, and no marks. If there are any, they should be repainted or touched up because this gives the feeling of a well maintained home. 

The colors you chose have to be livable and appealing, you want a color where the buyer will come in and say that although it may not be their first choice, they can live with it. 

Another good tip is to remove all the personal touches you’ve made within your home in an effort to make the place as impersonal as possible when staging your home for sale. The neutral-colored palette without all the clutter will help potential buyers envision how their personal taste can be implemented into the house. 

If you have any doubts on the colors you have currently in your home, it may be worthwhile employing the services of a professional stager. 

If you are planning to purchase a new home, or have any real estate related questions, let us help you. We have been in the real estate business for over 26 years.  Call us on 604 913 1000, contact us  and  follow us on Facebook!

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The indoor Air in Your Home is Polluted – Here Are 3 Plants That Can Detox the Air.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ranks indoor air quality as one of the top five environmental risks to public health, because air pollution inside your home or office can be worse than the pollution outside. 

There are a number of things you can do to clean up the air in your home – stop buying air fresheners and other products with toxic chemicals and solvents that actually do you more harm than good. You can also open your windows for a few minutes a day to let in some fresh air. 

There is another alternative – You can grow fresh air by placing common household plants in your home. Here are 3 common houseplants that could vastly improve the indoor air quality of your home. 

Areca Palm. Placed in the living room, the plant is a ‘daytime oxygen factory.’ Keeping 4 shoulder height plants per person would be the most effective way. 

Mother-in-Law’s tongue. This is an ‘evening oxygen factory.’ Having 6-8 waist high plants per person in the bedroom would help flush out all the carbon dioxide from your room. 

Money plant. This is a very useful plant that removes formaldehyde and other volatile organic chemicals from the indoor air.  

These three household plants will certainly improve your indoor air quality, even if you don’t have quite so many. Be sure to keep the foliage clean and dust free (so the leaves can do their job), and keep the top of soil clean and free of debris, as in some cases, that’s where the bulk of the filtering is taking place. 

Learn how we make use of today’s best marketing techniques to sell your home. Your home is important to you and you need an agent you can trust to get you results. Contact us or call us on 604 913 1000.

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