Sunday, March 25, 2012

Photography Showcase Sunday

The Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison Hot Springs areas offer some of the finest scenery in the province of British Columbia.  A few years ago, I started to take photographs, to share at this website, so to showcase this beautiful area "as it happens" -  here are some the pictures I liked taken this past week.  I hope that you enjoy them.

Imagine living here...

© Stephen Mullock

© Stephen Mullock


© Stephen Mullock


© Stephen Mullock


Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, March 23, 2012

First Time Buyers: Types of Housing - Mobile and Manufactured Homes

Buying a home can be both an exciting and frightening experience.  This series of posts for "First Time Purchasers" of real estate in British Columbia is designed to familiarize the reader with some basic concepts, provide handy links for further exploration and hopefully assist your decision making.

The first part of this series outlined the principle of "caveat emptor" or "let the buyer beware".  The onus of conducting oneself in a thorough and businesslike manner is a buyer's responsibility.  This job of course is greatly assisted by assembling a team of professionals, a Realtor® or professional members of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia, to help with the acquisition.

This second section will have a quick look at the first and cheapest Chilliwack* housing option - the mobile or modular home.

All residential properties for sale can be quickly accessed from this site (click here to begin).




Manufactured and Mobile Homes

Mobile Homes are homes that are built in factories and then shipped to a location for setup. These buildings must conform to CSA standards and are equipped with a highway capable chassis and wheels. While they can be moved several times, common practice is that once located on a pad site or lot, there they remain.

Mobile homes come in single wide widths up to 16' and double wide sizes from  24' to 29'.

There are numerous mobile home parks in the Chilliwack area with pad rents that vary from $300 to $526 a month. The average pad rent is $470 a month.

Manufactured Homes are also constructed in a plant and must conform to CSA Electrical
Standards (CSA A277) and the BC Building Code they also must be transported on a flatbed truck.

Manufactured homes come in single, double and triple sizes and may be as wide as 41'. 



These manufactured homes can be very attractively finished as shown, in the pictures above, of a triple manufactured home I saw yesterday at Chilliwack Quality Manufactured Homes. If you go there ask for Myrna Taylor and tell her Steve Mullock sent you.

Issues
  • Mobile and manufactured housing must meet electrical standards as set forth by the Safety Authority of British Columbia. There is usually a label somewhere on the outside of the mobile or modular home indicating that it meets CSA Z240 electrical standards.  The label is sometimes difficult to find especially if the home has new siding.
  • It seems anytime there is a significant wind storm, unanchored mobile homes fall victim and become a "news" item. It seems their shape may contribute to this difficulty. An interesting discussion about this can be found National Research Council of Canada. While hurricane force winds are not usually a concern, the Chilliwack and eastern Fraser Valley can experience gales of significant strength. All units should be anchored to withstand potential damage.
Prices: Chilliwack and District Manufactured and Mobile Homes in Mobile Home Parks  (as of March 20, 2012)

Mobile and Manufactured Homes on leasehold land
  •  HIGH*               $179,900
  • LOW*                 $    9,900
  • AVERAGE*       $  84,000
  • MEDIAN            $  80,950
Mobile and Manufactured Homes with strata fee simple bareland interests in land
  • HIGH                  $214,888
  • LOW                   $  99,900
  • AVERAGE         $158,900
  • MEDIAN            $158,900
* The value of the manufactured and mobile homes is in part determined by the interest in land assigned to the unit. A bareland strata lot, a leasehold interest is worth considerably more for instance than a pad in a mobile home part with a monthly rent.

What's next?  I have asked a mortgage specialist to have a look at the financing costs between Mobile and Manufactured Homes on leasehold lots paying a pad rent vs. fee simple bareland interests in land.  That is the topic of the next post in this series for Buyers.
NOTES:
  1. Mobile and Manufactured Homes are administered under the British Columbia Manufactured Home Act.
  2. Suggested reading: Buying a Home in BC by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia
  3. Always use a professional agent to purchase or sell real estate - I know that sounds self-serving - but, real estate is a lot more complex than many know.  If you are looking in the eastern Fraser Valley or want a referral to real agent in your area, please give me a call.
Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chilliwack's Blue Heron Reserve

This is the time of year to take a walk around Chilliwack's Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve to capture all the excitement of the spectacular Great Blue Heron preparing their nests.

Rotary Interpretive Centre© Stephen Mullock

Chilliwack's Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve has a colony of over 100 Heron nests and I took a walk there recently.   You can still get a clear view of these birds busy at work as the leaves on the trees have not yet developed.  A 5 minute walk westward along the dyke from the interpretative centre will give you the best place to observe the Herons in action.

Great Blue Heron and Nests ©

I was in for a couple of surprises as I approached the nests.   The first was, even before I could see them, the racket they were making.  No sweet trilling of birds here!  The Herons seem to be in a constant state of agitation honking and growling at each other in an unearthly manner.  The second was despite the threatening sounds they were making it was obvious that they prefer living near each other as all nests were in close proximity of each other; despite there being plenty of other fine trees in the forest.  The 325 acre reserve is well worth investigating - have a look.


Another Chilliwack treasure - the Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve.

Location and directions: 5200 Sumas Prairie Road, Chilliwack, B.C.

 Imagine living here....

Stephen Mullock RIis an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First Time Buyers: Part One "Caveat Emptor"

There is a great deal to know about real estate before you jump into your first purchase. It is easy to make a hasty decision that will be regretted later. I believe a little caution and a business approach in your real estate property dealings will pay off now and in the years ahead.

© Stephen Mullock

The problem is "you don't know what you don't know" and that is why I have started this series on First Time Real Estate Purchases to start the discussion and point you to some good resources.
We should start with one of the most important obligations of being a Buyer.

It is the doctrine of caveat emptor which is Latin for "let the buyer beware".  You have to love it when Latin phrases get used; they add the weight of antiquity to an idea.  What "caveat emptor" means is that the Buyer may not be able to recover from a Seller for deficiencies later found in the property that could have been readily discovered with a careful inspection by the purchaser.  Now, the seller cannot be hiding things, particularly latent defects and they can't lie to the Buyer - still, the Buyer has a high level of duty.  With great property comes a great responsibility. 

How do you go about protecting yourself if you are planning to buy a piece of real estate?

By keeping your eyes open as you tour properties and by hiring professional help as needed in the acquisition. The most important of the group of professionals you might need is your Realtor®. 

I am not suggesting that a Realtor® will know all the risks to look for, but, like a "canary in a mine shaft" their job is to raise the alarm when the first hint of trouble is suggested.  When something is "amiss" their job will be to direct you to the expertise needed to clarify the situation.

How do you find a good canary?

Experience is one quality that will help a Realtor® but a curiosity and commitment to furthering their education for the protection of their clients is another.  I recommend the professional members of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia be given additional consideration as their education is backed by either a Bachelor degree in Urban Land Economics a Diploma or equivalent.  This Institute has professionals throughout the province of British Columbia in many real estate occupations including sales, appraisal, management, law and development. They can be identified by the RI(BC) or RI initials after their names.

Education aside, the "area knowledge" of a Realtor® can be the most valuable attribute for a Buyer to rely upon.  From this the Buyer might learn about potential harmful issues such as land slippage, flooding, weather concerns, water limitations, contamination and a host of other serious local issues known only to residents. 

You can also check if an licensed real estate agent has been disciplined by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia as rulings are published on line at www.recbc.ca.

You need an agent that you can confide with, one that you have confidence in and, one that will place your interests ahead of all others.

So in closing Part One, remember "caveat emptor" and find a good canary or rather Realtor®.

Imagine living here...


Suggested Link: Buying a Home in British Columbia by the Real Estate Council of B.C.

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shutter Sunday

These are some of the pictures that pleased me this week.

© Stephen Mullock

The brightness of a Chilliwack barn roof against the darkness of Sumas Mountain.

I also had some business in the Vernon area and while the light was too flat for my liking there were a couple of compositional opportunities.


© Stephen Mullock


Imagine living here...

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Kilby Historic Site Gala Fundraiser


Come out and support the Kilby Historic Site and have a great time as well this coming Saturday, March 10, 2012.  I have already bought my ticket and hope to see you there.  For ticket information call 604-796-9576 or visit www.kilby.ca .

I have written a number of posts about this wonderful site to find these articles  just type "Kilby" into the Search box to the left.

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Conditions and Sales Analysis - February 2012

An extra day in the February leap year could not help the sale performance of Chilliwack* single family houses.  A total of 78 single family detached homes sold, well below expectations and the second worst totals in 10 years.  On the other hand, February sales of Chilliwack* strata properties were, while not good - decent.
Chilliwack from the air © Stephen Mullock


MONTHSalesAverage Sale PriceDays on MarketActive Listings
Feb 201278$340,00085878
Jan 201270$312,00081773
Feb 2011104$332,00080n/a



There appears to be a large improvement in the average sale price, when January 2012 is compared to February 2012, but, 78 February sales is a small sample and there was one property that sold for $1,200,000 shrewing the average.  If this one property is removed and the average of the remainder recalculated we get an adjusted average of $329,000; a number not unlike the average of a year ago.

Median SALE Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes (SFD): February 2012 - $332,500 up from $311,000 last month.

Median LISTING Price of active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Homes: March 2, 2012 - $369,900 (unchanged from the month before)


2012 - 2011 Market Strength

 

The chart below was designed to get a better sense of the overall health of the Chilliwack* single family residential market.  This is done by comparing the number of sales in a month, February 2012 had 78 against a 10-year average for the same February month of 117.  A percentage and market strength measurement is found by dividing the current sales activity into the historical 10-year average (78 / 117 = 67%).  By looking at the chart below we can see if the Chilliwack* single family housing market advanced or retreated during the month.

In February 2012, we see a market in retreat, despite it being a leap-year and gaining an extra day the result was only 67% of the 10-year market strength average. If we look at the 10 years prior to 2012 we see only one year that had a lower sales result and occurred in the February 2009 following the financial meltdown when a dismal 56 sales took place.

Single Family House Monthly Unit Sales as % of a 10-Year Monthly Sales Average

MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulyAugSeptOctNovDec
201281%67%
201185%91%75%70%68%93%74%86%86%70%86%92%





STRATA HOMES

© Stephen Mullock
The sale of Chilliwack* strata units (townhouses, apartments) with 53 for the month is low but still a better performance than the single family detached house market for February and stronger than the Chilliwack* January strata market. We would expect the ten-year average of 68 for the month of February, so 53 sales only gives us 78% strength.  Still 10 strata homes are selling each month for every 100 units on the market; and this is up considerably from the January numbers.

Chilliwack*Strata Housing Sales Report for February 2012


MONTHSalesAverage Sale PriceDays on MarketActive Listings
Feb 201253$205,000105554
Jan 201243$225,00088493
Feb 201168$207,00096n/a

Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: February 2012 - $204,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: March  2, 2012 - $216,000

Stephen Mullock RI
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty 604-792-0077 for experience, local knowledge and friendly service.