Thursday, 31 January 2019

Is Buying an Airbnb a Good Investment?

Thinking of buying a house or condo to put up on Airbnb? Whether you're hoping to subsidize the mortgage on a vacation home or are just looking for a creative way to make a few extra bucks, buying a property to rent out for short-term use is becoming a widely popular investment strategy.
In some cases, managing an AirbnbHomeAway or KidandKoe listing could generate a great profit. However, such financial gains are not without their potential pitfalls. Savvy investors know the key to success is due diligence. Here are some things to look out for.

1. Does your condo board (or city) allow it?

Gone are the days when owners could list a condo on the short-term rental market and everyone would be none-the-wiser. Thanks to the popularity of websites like Airbnb, many homeowner associations or co-op boards now implement restrictions on short-term property use. If you're looking to purchase a condo for the purpose of short-term rentals, make sure to check with the HOA's rules before investing. 
If you're not beholden to a homeowners association, you still need to do your due diligence. Some cities like Vancouver require specific businesses licenses and registration to operate an Airbnb. You may also need to check with your homeowner's insurance agency since there are many ways hosting could equal liability.

2. Are you buying in a popular area?

As with all property investments, location is important—a beachside property will likely be in demand more than one inland—but it can also mean more competition. Start by working with a REALTOR® who can help you analyze comparative listings in the area you're considering purchasing. Get a taste for the neighbourhood by checking out nearby amenities and statistics on listings. It's also important to get a full understanding of how much you can charge and generally how occupied it gets throughout the year. A beach rental property might do well in the summer, but the winter may be a different (and costly) story. A local REALTOR® can help you consider what drives popular year-round properties.

3. Take into account your overhead and understand your ROI

There are many hidden or circumstantial factors potential owners have to consider before investing in a short-term rental property. Costs such as condo fees, décor, professional cleaning and vacancy rates all must factor into your calculations. If you don't want to deal with the day-to-day management of the property, outsourcing could alleviate headaches but may also eat into your profit. Potential buyers must also consider property and income taxes, as well as home insurance.

4. Use the right REALTOR®

Last but certainly not least, the expertise of a REALTOR® is invaluable, especially considering the important variables above. Do your research and work with a local REALTOR® and you could be on your way to earning a comfortable monthly income.
The article above is for information purposes and is not financial or legal advice or a substitute for financial or legal counsel.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 &


This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Quiz: Which Design Style Should You Embrace this Year?

Does your living room leave you feeling uninspired? Are you bored with your basic bedroom? There's no better time to start an interior design project than the beginning of the New Year, so why not change up your décor and try something new?
From edgy Industrial to artful Bohemian, there are several design styles to choose from—but we find it's always best to go with one that speaks to your taste and personality. Take our quiz to find out which interior design style fits you in 2019.

1. Pick a wallpaper

a. Paisley please!
b. Wallpaper? I'll take cement or brick, thanks.
c. The busier the better
d. White and simple is my jam
e. Something regal

2. Choose a chair

a. Beanbag 
b. Gunmetal dining
c. Funky armchair
d. White plastic moulded with dowel legs
e. Velvet vanity chair

3. Lock on lighting

a. Groovy 
b. Edison bulbs
c. Colourful and eclectic
d. Simple rounded pendants
e. Crystal vintage

4. Pick a palette

a. ‘60s vibes
b. Utilitarian 
c. Light and airy
d. Don't make me choose, I love them all!
e. Deep, rich hues

5. Select a piece of art

a. Mandala-inspired print
b. Vintage bicycle to hang on the wall
c. All the colours and textures!
d. Quirky and simple
e. Glamorous framing

6. Choose a cocktail

a. Cheap, craft beer made by a local brewery
b. Moscow Mule—copper mug not optional 
c. Long Island Iced Tea and make it a double
d. A simple gin and tonic, with cucumber and a sprig of rosemary.
e. Martini

7. Pick a flower

a. Daisies
b. Succulents in metal frames
c. Flowers, flowers everywhere!
d. Pussy willow
e. White roses

MOSTLY As: Loco for boho? Your design style is Bohemian. Odds are you're a traveller artist or free spirit and it shows through your laid-back personality and mix-and-match aesthetic.

MOSTLY Bs: Your design style is Industrial. You love converted lofts, original brick and exposed ductwork but, even if you don't live in an industrial space, there are still ways to incorporate this edgy, utilitarian style into your home.

MOSTLY Cs: Your design style is Maximalist. You know what they say: more is more. Maximalism is back in a big way for 2019 in diametric opposition to the Minimalist styles that have been dominating design trends for the last few years.

MOSTLY Ds: Your design style is Scandinavian. Simple, light, clean and cozy; there's a reason why Scandinavian style continues to dominate our design feeds. Embrace the hygge and bring Scandi design into your space for 2019.

MOSTLY Es: Your design style is Hollywood Regency. Bring on the glamour! You're all about rich colours, luxurious fabrics and lacquered finishes. Embrace your inner superstar and let your high-end taste shine through a Hollywood Regency aesthetic if you're feeling a little bit Gatsby this year.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 &

This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Why More Canadians Are Embracing Multi-generational Living

Multi-generational living—where two or three generations of a family live under the same roof—continues to grow in Canada and the real estate market is taking note.

According to Statistics Canada, multi-generational households are fastest growing type of households in the country. Between 2001 to 2016, multi-generational households rose 37.5%, which was well above the median increase (21.7%) for all households.

From an ageing population (more seniors living with their children and grandchildren) to increasing levels of immigration, there are a number of factors influencing the demand.
Think of it as going back to times of yore, where parents are now living with their children. What we're seeing is a widowed parent coming back to live with their children.

Increasingly, retired parents are selling their homes and moving into their children's in-law suites, allowing them to play a bigger role in their children's and grandchildren's lives.

But while older parents moving in with their children is the most common generation-combination, extended families purchasing homes together—whether siblings or with extended family like cousins—is also part of the growing phenomenon.

Indigenous and immigrant families, which account for a growing share of Canada's population, are more likely to live with their extended families. In 2016, multi-generational households were most common in Nunavut (12.2%) and the Northwest Territories (4.3%), followed by Ontario (3.9%) and British Columbia (3.6%).

The two largest markets for multi-generational households are Toronto and Vancouver. Besides both cities have high proportions of immigrants, they're also Canada's priciest housing markets, where sharing expenses might a lot of financial sense.

Homebuilders have responded by offering homes accommodating multi-generational living.

 Fully developed basement suites are popular because they provide a sense of independent living while also maintaining a connection to the rest of the house. Those suites typically have separate entrances, their own kitchen and full bathroom, bedrooms and living area.

Multi-generational living has a lot of benefits. It fosters a sense of familial and cultural connection—keeping families closer together. Another key driver is cost. Sharing household expenses can make a lot of financial sense for big families.
Keep in mind, however, there are also costs associated with buying suitably large abodes with multiple configurations.

For example, a traditionally developed basement could cost $25,000 to $30,000 but adding a self-contained suite can run up to the $40,000 to $50,000 range. And of course, there will be additional hydro, maintenance, insurance and other costs to consider.
Additionally, the greater the number of people living in a home, the greater the challenges; often, a healthy dose of patience is needed. This living arrangement is best suited for families who get along.
Still interested? Work with a trusted and informed REALTOR® to help you find the best property for your family.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 &

    This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Friday, 25 January 2019

International Market: New York Real Estate – Top 5 Reasons Young Couples Want to Live in Long Island City

While a Manhattan address was once considered quite an asset, in recent years, neighbourhoods off the island have come to rival—if not surpass—Manhattan’s cachet. In fact, Queens has become a standout among the city’s five boroughs, with more affordable home prices compared to Manhattan and Brooklyn, a sense of community in its intimate neighbourhoods, and its wealth of cultural opportunities. Long Island City, in particular, has become a haven for young couples, who are leaving Brooklyn and Manhattan in droves for this popular Queens neighbourhood. Just check out what this amazing area has to offer:

1. A Booming Job Market

Whether you’re fresh out of college or looking to change careers after decades in your current field, there’s no neighbourhood in the city with a job market like the one you’ll find in Long Island City. In addition to numerous financial companies, Long Island City is home to start ups like Songza, Digital Natives, and Vengo Labs. Better yet, the area will soon be home to Amazon’s first New York City outpost, poised to add 25,000 jobs to the neighbourhood.

2. Amazing Homes

The luxury condos Long Island City has to offer are unlike those you’ll find anywhere else in the city. In fact, Long Island City offers the best views of Manhattan you’ll find anywhere, and developers are taking advantage of the neighbourhood’s prime vantage point in the development of luxury buildings like Skyline Tower. The tallest condominium in all of Queens, the 67-story glass-encased tower offers stunning views of Manhattan from each of its spacious luxury homes, as well as close proximity to the neighbourhood’s parks, offices, and cultural attractions.

3. Great Restaurants

Don’t feel like cooking? That’s not a problem if you call Long Island City home. The neighbourhood has emerged as a surprising foodie hot spot in recent years, with Michelin-starred eateries like Casa Enrique rubbing elbows with mom-and-pop shops like the popular Court Square Diner, Beebe’s, and Mu Ramen.

4. Easy Access to Manhattan

Not eager to waste precious time on a lengthy commute? Then Long Island City might just be the perfect neighbourhood for you. While it can take upwards of an hour to get to Midtown or the Financial District from parts of Brooklyn, Staten Island, and The Bronx, this Queens waterfront neighbourhood provides easy access to Manhattan. In fact, Long Island City dwellers can get to Manhattan in just seven minutes by car, take a leisurely ferry ride in just 30, or hop the 7 train for a 15-minute commute.

5. Culture at Every Turn

Queens is experiencing a cultural renaissance, and that’s more apparent in Long Island City than anywhere else. Within the neighborhood’s limits, you’ll find museums like MoMA PS1, SculptureCenter, the Noguchi Museum, the Fisher Landau Centre for Art, the Self-Taught Genius Gallery, as well as concert venues like the Waltz-Astoria and Melrose Ballroom.
If you’re looking to move to New York—or just looking for a new neighbourhood to call home—look no further than Long Island City. With amazing culture, beautiful homes, and the city’s hottest job market, there’s no better time to find out why this amazing Queens enclave has become such a hot spot for young couples.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 &

    This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

What defines a real chef’s kitchen?

Love cooking? Looking for a home with the ultimate accessory: A chef's kitchen? Here's what to look for and how to tell if you're getting the real deal or simply getting burned.


In real estate terms, a house that is advertised as having a chef’s kitchen means that you should expect a certain standard of quality. It also means the kitchen is one of the major selling features of the home. So help you cut through the marketing noise, we looked into what really constitutes as a real chef’s kitchen. Here are some tips to help you spot the difference.
What features does a chef’s kitchen include?

A chef’s kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean a professional chef uses it, but the people who live there definitely appreciate food. They also tend to like cooking gourmet meals and entertaining. A chef’s kitchen is probably the central hub of the home and will have a spacious open layout that allows multiple people to cook and prepare food simultaneously.
Generous countertops are definitely a desired feature of a chef’s kitchen with a variety of workstations and islands for prepping and cooking functions, including a plate-staging area for adding the final garnish to dishes. There may also be a baker’s station or pastry station.
Multiple deep sinks are a must in a chef’s kitchen for washing food and rinsing dishes easily.  Some kitchens have islands that sport an additional sink for washing vegetables. If you’re cooking up a storm, you’ll want a faucet or ‘pot-filler’ over your stove to easily fill large pots of water directly on the stove so you don’t have to lug the pot from the sink.
Other must-have features that typically appear in a chef’s kitchen are multiple ovens, including convection or steam models, with induction or gas cooktops for faster, more efficient cooking. A microwave and warmer drawers to keep food hot are also must-haves.
Name brand, specialized appliances are usually featured in a chef’s kitchen, and because they add to the designer appeal, you can expect at least one or two. These could include (but are not limited to): twin dishwashers, a high-end fridge with an air purification system and a vacuum seal to keep food fresher longer, a freezer with an ice maker and a wine cooler.
Cooking utensils and gadgets are also high-quality items that appear in a chef’s kitchen and will be super organized, with everything you need in pull-out drawers or within arm’s reach.
Basically, a chef’s kitchen will make cooking a pleasure rather than a chore!

Why is a chef’s kitchen so popular?

If you’re not a professional chef it begs the question: why have one?
A chef’s kitchen is a trend because of reality TV shows, and because people are more aware of the food they eat and how it’s prepared. Entertaining at home is more popular these days as people want to try out the recipes they’ve seen on TV.
For those who only cook for friends and family on the rare occasion, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have a kitchen with the wow factor to make your guests envious.

How much does a chef’s kitchen cost?

If you’re building a home or renovating an existing one, a house with a chef’s kitchen is worth the money you spend. The appliances and storage components are going to be of high quality overall and have good functionality, so an everyday cook will appreciate it as much as a gourmet cook.
There are endless possibilities for customizing your own chef’s kitchen, but, in general, you can expect to pay between $50,000 and $100,000 if you want high-end appliances. These take up a major chunk of the cost.
Yes, a chef’s kitchen isn’t cheap to install, but the good thing about it is that you can never lose money on it (unless you over-capitalize for your market). Kitchens and bathrooms are the two rooms of your house that offer a great return on investment (for the most part). Plus, having a streamlined kitchen will make you more inclined to cook at home rather than eat out, so it could help you save money in the long term!
Hopefully, this article has cleared up any misconceptions about what a chef’s kitchen actually entails. If you’re still on the fence about buying a house with one or installing one, remember that when it comes to selling your home in the future, a chef’s kitchen is definitely an asset that will boost your home’s value markedly.


Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 &

    This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

BC's Speculation and Vacancy Tax - Important Dates and information

Important Dates

  • Jan 2019-Feb 2019 – speculation and vacancy tax letters mailed
  • Jan 21, 2019 – declaration period opens
  • Mar 31, 2019 – declaration due
  • Apr 2019 – most tax notices mailed
  • Jul 2, 2019 – tax payment due

Declaration for Speculation and Vacancy Tax

All residential property owners in the designated taxable regions must complete an annual declaration for the speculation and vacancy tax. Where there are multiple owners of a home, a declaration must be completed by each owner, including spouses.
You must complete a declaration to claim an exemption. Over 99% of all British Columbians will be exempt from the tax.
The deadline to complete your declaration is March 31.
If you don’t complete your declaration, you’ll receive a tax notice charging you the tax at the maximum tax rate. You can still complete your declaration to claim an exemption even after you've received a tax notice.
If you don’t own residential property in a designated taxable region, you don’t need to complete a declaration.

How to Declare and Claim Your Exemption

If you own residential property in a designated taxable region on December 31, the Province will send you a speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter in the mail by mid-February. Contact us if you’re expecting a declaration letter from us and haven’t received one by late February.
Your declaration letter will list all the residential properties you own in the designated taxable regions and will tell you how to declare and claim any relevant exemptions. The letter will be sent to you at your mailing address on file with BC Assessment.
If you need to update your mailing address, please contact BC Assessment to do so.
Your letter will include two unique identification numbers: a declaration code and a letter ID. These numbers match you to your property. You'll need these numbers to complete your declaration. You'll also need your social insurance number to verify your identity.
This is what your letter will look like:
Partial sample of speculation and vacancy tax declaration letter showing B.C. logo, date of mailing, example owner name and address, opening paragraph of letter, declaration code and letter ID location, declaration link and barcode
As soon as you receive your declaration letter, you can complete your declaration through the online declaration application. You will be guided through the exemption options for each property.
If you prefer, you can declare over the phone with the help of an agent by calling us after you receive your declaration letter. Language translation services are available over the phone.
Complete your declaration right away to claim any relevant exemptions and avoid receiving a tax notice.
Someone else can complete your declaration online for you if they:
However, if someone else is completing your declaration over the phone, you must also be present on the call. This is because protecting your personal information is important to us.
Note: The speculation and vacancy tax is distinct from the empty homes tax in the City of Vancouver.

Declaration Now Open

You can complete your declaration as soon as you receive your declaration letter. You need the Letter ID and Declaration Code from your letter before you start.
Declare now


The speculation and vacancy tax has received Royal assent in the Legislature. This information is not a replacement for the law.

Contact Information

Contact us with your questions about the speculation and vacancy tax.

Toll Free:

1 833 554-2323

(Outside North America) Office:

1 604 660-2421



Are you interested in selling or buying your home in the next few months? Work with award winning realtor, Carmen Leal and her team that specialize in Real Estate Vancouver and have qualified Buyers that are looking for a home in your area! 604.218.4846 &

    This communication is not intended to induce breach of existing listing agreement.