Thursday, 30 April 2020

Here Are The Top 5 Predictions For Real Estate Once The Pandemic Subsides

It’s no secret that the real estate market has a long road of recovery ahead. As the day-to-day work of showing properties and building homes has slowed to a crawl, agents and others in the industry have started to look to the future and make predictions about the lingering effects the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the industry.
Here are the top five top predictions for real estate once the pandemic subsides. 

Buyers will upsize

“Microapartments” were supposed to be the wave of the future, but city dwellers who have been cooped up in one or two rooms will likely be looking to spread out (and the owners of larger spreads have already decamped to their vacation homes). 
I think that the desire for larger apartments will come back into style and many will be looking to size up — whether sizing up in square footage, light, outdoor space, view, or amenities. The concept of a ‘microapartment’ will become a very challenged notion. Buyers will want their own living room!

Boutique buildings, townhouses and technology will win out

While the pandemic has promoted some to wonder whether the trend toward urban living will diminish, most agents don’t think that will stop people from investing in real estate in large metropolitan areas. 
Vancouver has experienced soaring housing and living costs. However, while suburbs are less dense than cities thereby reducing contact during the pandemic, they have fewer hospitals and resources for treatment. Nevertheless, the pandemic may result in those previously planning to relocate making the change sooner. … In addition, the related job losses are expected to decrease rents, along with stricter home buying standards from lenders, as city housing stock tends more toward rental than ownership.”
Agents think that boutique buildings will win out over large developments and townhouses will become more prized. 
I certainly think this is good for townhouse living because you don’t have the same issues you have in an apartment building such as sharing an elevator, not having access to your gym, and you have private outdoor space.
 The adoption of touchless technology, including remote access for locks and thermostats, will become standard, and multifamily building owners and managers will see challenges.
Markets will vary as to how well multi-family owners can absorb losses, with lower income tenants less able to recover. Owners will likely have to absorb more maintenance costs due to enhanced cleaning and increased wear and tear of residents working from or staying home.

Outdoor space and home offices will become a hot commodity

Balconies, terraces and private roof decks are already prized amenities for any prospective buyer, but they will become even more in demand in the coming months. 
Being stuck inside, I think people may realize what is important to them in a home and in their space. People will consider what it would be like to reside in this space without being able to leave now. Outdoor space may become more important, I’ve talked to clients who have told me how grateful they are for theirs right now.
Home office space will also become a more standard offering. Stern notes that for multi-family projects in the planning stages, developers are reconsidering layouts to accommodate tenants working from home.  

Construction prices will rise

Before the pandemic, the construction industry was already facing a shortage of skilled workers, with many professionals leaving during the Great Recession and construction booming across the country. 
When the moratorium on construction ends and builders are ready to get back to work, we can expect delays in the permitting process and increased costs as the supply chain slowly recovers and superintendents get up to speed on how to keep workers safe. 
Will construction workers remain distancing? Will there have to be someone on site to take people’s temperatures if someone gets sick? Even when the moratorium on construction ends and there's a desire to go back to work, that doesn't mean it’s going to happen with a degree of promptness.
There will also be the challenge of new constraints on construction lending and the slowdown of land acquisitions following a likely recession. 

The supply chain will shift

More than 30 percent of construction materials come from overseas from countries such as China, Italy, Brazil and India, which are facing their own challenges with COVID-19. 
Many of those suppliers are going to build it up in the U.S. and Canada, but it’s going to take years.
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, 29 April 2020

Key Questions For Buying Or Selling A Home During The Pandemic

Nearly every industry has been impacted by the global COVID-19 pandemic and real estate is no exception. Because the cornerstone of buying or selling a home is face-to-face interaction, the way we do business has been altered. Open houses and showings have been cancelled, conducting inspections and funding loans have become trickier, and even tasks like having documents notarized have created delays. Consequently, sellers may pull their homes off the market, while buyers may suspend their search. 

However, adjusting to life amid COVID-19 requires us to prioritize rational analysis over gut impulse. 
If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home – now or in the near future – you don’t necessarily have to abandon your efforts. By staying informed and working with experienced industry professionals, such as agents, attorneys and financial advisors, you can still achieve your real estate goals with a few strategic adjustments. Start by asking yourself the following key questions to determine how you might best navigate the real estate market during this (or any) global crisis.

Should I withdraw my home from the market?
Many sellers have withdrawn or are thinking about withdrawing their homes from the market because they don’t want to accumulate more days on the market when they are unable to conduct showings. A “withdrawn” status means that a home is not currently being shown, but the seller is still actively engaged with their agent. 
There are multiple variables you should consider before withdrawing or deciding not to list your home at this time. Remember that a spike in withdrawn listings results in a reduced supply of homes, which could create an increase in buyer demand. 
While the impact of COVID-19 has forced some buyers to walk away from deals, other buyers may be undeterred or even incentivized by current events. Those who work in essential industries or are undergoing job relocation may also be particularly motivated to buy. 
Ultimately, though catalysts shift with current events, it’s important to remember that people have to buy and sell homes in any market. While things are still changing day-by-day, several areas are still leaning toward a seller’s market, due to fewer homes being listed.

Is it wise to buy a home during a pandemic?
Whether or not it's wise to buy a home right now depends on your individual situation. Potential buyers may have to reassess their financial reach post-COVID-19. If you have lost wealth in the stock market and you don’t have another source of income, it may not be wise to stretch yourself further by purchasing a home at this moment. But if your income is stable or has increased, you might be able to strike a better deal on a home now than you could have just a few weeks ago. 
Though the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to incite many fire sales any time soon, the market is beginning to experience some price adjustments. Buyers who aren’t attached to a particular home and are willing to explore different options may be able to negotiate with sellers for more favorable terms.   
Since more homes are being withdrawn from the market, buyers may start to feel discouraged – especially if a property they were excited about was withdrawn. However, just because a home was withdrawn doesn’t mean the seller isn’t still planning to sell their home. Since consumers don’t have access to important information regarding these status changes, working with a strong real estate agent is even more vital now than ever before. 

How will COVID-19 impact pending transactions?
If you’re already in the process of buying or selling a home and cannot fulfill your contractual obligations because of hardship imposed by COVID-19, you may be able to renegotiate a transaction’s terms.  
Social distancing regulations will very likely have an impact on the cadence of your real estate transaction. Expect delays that may result in more than just an inconvenience; for example, those who have experienced a change in employment status may have difficulty providing verification of employment before closing. We are also seeing lenders reevaluate jumbo loans, down payment amounts and credit score requirements, which may impact a pending transaction. 
Some buyers have had to press pause for thirty days or switch lenders in order to move forward. You may also need to negotiate a longer closing period in order to accomplish all of the necessary home inspections that may not be possible while social distancing regulations are in place. 

What is the long-term outlook?
Though the coronavirus pandemic is unlikely to drastically alter the real estate market in the long term, it might have a lasting impact on the features buyers find most appealing.  They may be in even higher demand, post-COVID-19, because of the ease with which they allow healthcare workers, frequent travelers, college students and elderly or ailing family members to socially distance themselves if necessary. 
Because real estate is a tangible asset, it may become an even more attractive option for a diverse range of investors in the wake of COVID-19’s impact on the stock market. You may want to take this time to educate yourself on the basics of real estate investing, because it is never too late to begin building wealth with the right team and strategy in place.

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, 28 April 2020

Sanctuary or Solitary? Keeping Your Sanity When Stuck Inside the House


Home. The word means a safe and comfortable sanctuary to return to after a busy day. But with the novel coronavirus on the march across the country everyone is under orders to stay inside to slow its spread.
With this situation unlikely to change very soon, how can we make our homes feel more like a sanctuary again, and keep our sanity?
Everything is becoming blurred. If you notice yourself not getting that sense of 'I just ended my day, I’ve done my work for the day, I’ve packed it up,' it’s probably a great time to signal to yourself that you want to reclaim some of that sanctuary of the home.
The difficulty is that no one knows when the current situation will end, as things keep changing week by week. So while we're in this limbo here are some tips to manage the stress of a life lived indoors.

Keep separate spaces sacred

Prior to the past month, a small percentage of people worked from home full time. But that number has ballooned over the past few weeks, which has served to blur the lines between workspace and living space.
The two areas in which we struggle now that we're all home is the geographical separation as well as the time separation. In other words, you end up doing work on the couch while watching TV as well as at your desk, and at all hours of the day and evening.
I suggest carving out a space, of any size, that is solely for work or school and then  closing off that space, mentally and physically (if possible), when we’re not working or studying.
Even in a small space, we can designate a work zone. It doesn’t have to be a room or a specific table, but a zone, a marker to oneself that when I have my laptop open, that means I’m in work mode. When I have my laptop closed, I’m off.
Conversely, make sure to set up a work-free zone where you can kick back.
We need to be more intentional about allowing for there to be parts of our home that are still an oasis, that still are soothing and relaxing to us even though we have to probably take up more of that space at home to work in.

Create a schedule

A basic schedule goes a long way toward dividing the home into a space for work and relaxation.
You might draw up a schedule ahead of time and say, 'OK, from 9 to 11 every day is work zone. Or from 5 to 6 every day, I'm going outside to take a walk or I am closing work things down and I'm going to have a cup of tea,' so we might make those designations quite concrete.
Each person in the house should have their own schedule.
Creating a realistic cap on the day for ourselves is helpful because it announces an end to the day when the whole space turns back into home space.


Dress the part

In addition to a schedule, there are other ways to signal to your brain that you're shifting gear—by changing clothes, for example. Although the idea of wearing pajamas all day sounds really appealing at first, donning "real" clothes for work can clarify the fuzzy line between work and home.
When I’m in work mode, I’m in this outfit or dressed in a certain way, and when I switch off work mode, I might change into something more casual. I might separate the transition by going out for a walk, and when I come back that means I have turned off my work mode for the day and now I am in rest mode.


Take care of your space—and yourself

The desire to keep your home clean and virus-free can make it seem more sterile and less like a comfortable space. And you can wear yourself out trying to keep it that way.
Each of us has our own personal threshold of what we’re able and willing to do, and I think if you find yourself getting overwhelmed by the number of things you need to do to keep yourself safe, it's worthwhile to maybe write down the top two or three things that you think you really can do.
You can't control every single element of your sanctuary, so narrow your focus to the tasks that truly make a difference. Make sure your home is comfortable and your high-touch surfaces are clean, but don't be hard on yourself if you can't get to every single household chore.

Cut yourself some slack

Transforming a home into a multipurpose space (office, gym, school) is difficult, and no one really planned for it. We're all meeting the challenge differently.
The important thing is, we should be intentional, otherwise that home space can begin to feel claustrophobic. It can begin to feel like there's nothing going on here but work and school and worrying. It should have all those functions, but it also should function as a home is supposed to, which is rest and refuge and oasis and calm.

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, 24 April 2020

5 Ways To Get Your Fitness Fix in Quarantine—Using Stuff You Already Have at Home


Being stuck at home for weeks on end is enough to make anyone go a little stir-crazy. But for the fitness buffs? Not being able to get in your regular workouts can lead to all sorts of debilitating side effects—like sleepless nights and mismanaged stress, just for starters.
It turns out we don't have to give up our workout routines entirely while stuck in quarantine. In fact, you can break a sweat right inside your home—using things you already have lying around the house.
Check out these creative home fitness hacks from the experts. Happy workout!

1. Fill up a backpack for weight resistance training

Remember that backpack you used to wear in the good ol' days of carefree weekend trips? Well it’s time to dust it off and put it to work again. Fill up your old pack with books, stockpiled cans of food, or even water bottles to get some weight resistance going.
Once it's filled, you can use it for squats, overhead presses, or even rows.
You don't even have to be that structured about it. You can also load that baby up and wear it around the house.
Maximize what you’re already doing. You can increase your calorie burn throughout the day just by wearing a weighted backpack while cleaning or cooking.
You can more than double your calorific output while walking around carrying 15 pounds of weight.

2. Use your couch for squats, step-ups, and more

It turns out, your couch is good for more than just Netflix marathons. In fact, your couch can be used for myriad easy home workouts. (No, we don’t just mean passing the snacks.)
The couch can be used for triceps dips, elevated pushups, split squats, and even step-ups.
Couches, or even tables, can also be used for rows and hip thrusts.
Also, we’re pretty sure the fitness police won’t mind if you get these reps going during your next TV binge session.

3. Bring out the bath towels for planks

Towels are a fitness must-have—and not just for dabbing your glistening forehead midworkout.
In particular, windshield wiper planks: From a standard plank position place a towel under each foot and alternate sliding each foot toward the shoulder, while the other leg stays straight. This will strengthen your core and hips.
Another great exercise you can do with towels is the hamstring slide.
Beginning in a glute bridge, slowly slide your feet away from your body until you are flat on the ground. This is a great way to get the hamstrings fired up and make them stronger.

4. Grab a gallon of water for strength and conditioning

Just like all those stockpiled cans of soup, you can put your gallon water bottles to work in more ways than one while quarantining at home.
When sheltering in place happened so quickly many didn't have time to pick up workout equipment. Start using gallon jugs or detergent bottles. Sounds odd, but you can get a total body workout.
Check out free demo videos to get your shelter-at-home workout started.

5. Involve your partner or roommate

On the off-chance that you and your family members are looking for yet another activity to do together during this incredibly cozy time of self-quarantine, we’ve got just the thing.
The other thing that you can use to make your workout more fun is a partner. If you have a spouse or children, you can incorporate them into your workout. For example, having someone sit on your back while you do pushups.
Another one is  Weighted squats with your spouse. And hey, it might not be for everybody—but it still beats a broken elliptical machine.

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.

Thursday, 23 April 2020

Stuck Indoors? I Bet You Haven't Tried These 21 Activities Yet


When sheltering in place, there comes a point when your old methods of passing the time go stale. Yes, once you may have reveled in the prospect of more time to bake sourdough bread, do puzzles, and binge-watch all the shows in your Netflix queue. But now, well, not so much.
I rounded up a bunch of activities that go beyond the usual suspects. To ward off boredom, keep those brain synapses firing, and maybe even accomplish something productive, give these a try.

1. Learn (or relearn) an instrument

Do you still have that old flute or violin in your closet from when you took lessons in grade school? Does your family have a piano or keyboard just waiting in the living room (or a closet), ready for you to play? Take this time to learn, relearn, or improve your skills on that instrument. You're sure to find lots of instruction videos on YouTube.

2. Make the best Mother's Day and Father's Day presents ever

With Mother's Day and Father's Day just around the corner, why not spend this downtime making some sweet gifts? With lots of time, you could make Mom and Dad an incredible gift. Put pressed flowers in a beautiful frame, get creative and make a picture out of pasta shapes, or order some yarn and learn to knit something they can use when the weather cools down.

3. Start a journal or a blog

Things may be extra stressful in this uncertain time, which is why it might be good to write your thoughts down in a journal or to even start a blog about your experience. Putting everything down on paper could help you get peace of mind. Plus, it'll give you a creative outlet.


4. Learn a language

It's the perfect time to finally learn a second (or third?) language. You could order some language-learning books or download an app like Duolingo to help you get started. If you have children at home, you could include them in your lessons. Who knows? Maybe you'll all be able to speak Spanish or German by the end of all this.

5. Edit your list of contacts

It's probably been a long time since you've gone through the contact list on your phone. Take this time to delete the number for your old dentist, or the gym you haven't gone to since 2009.
While you may find yourself deleting a few numbers, you might also be motivated to reach out to friends you haven't talked to in a while.

6. Play one of those long, complicated board games

Long days at home are made for board games like Dungeons & Dragons, Monopoly, or Risk. Don't worry about starting a game you won't be able to finish before bedtime. You can leave the pieces where they are and finish it tomorrow. Or the next day. Or the day after that.

7. Daily yoga and meditation

With so much uncertainty in the world today, it's important to be able to take time to relax. Getting into yoga or meditation can be a great way to do that.
There are so many incredible (and free!) yoga and meditation channels on YouTube, including Yoga with Adriene and Boho Beautiful. Start a challenge with a friend or family member to do some yoga every day—or maybe just every week.


8. Try new workouts on YouTube

Ballet barre? Jane Fonda videos? Kickboxing? Break out of your usual workout rut by trying a new type of workout. YouTube is a treasure trove of expert-led workout videos.

9. Host a wine tasting

Have some wine delivered to your home, and be sure to get varietals, or at least brands, that you’d never normally choose. Gather some cheese and crackers to snack on, and give your partner or other drinking-age roommates a wine tasting night like no other. Live alone? Coordinate a wine buy with friends, and hold a group video meeting to discuss.
Take your best shot at describing any underlying flavor notes like chocolate, stone fruit, or oak. For extra credit, study some wine terms to impress everyone at the virtual table. When social distancing is over, you'll fit right in when you all take a trip to Napa Valley. I highly recommend Napa Valley :)

10. Learn to mix fancy cocktails

Did the fancy wine night go well? Another fun activity that also involves alcohol is making cocktails. If you can order mixers, great. If not, use whatever juices or sodas you have in the house already. There's bound to be a drink you can make—or make up—with whatever you have in your kitchen.
If you're not drinking right now, this could be a perfect time to find out which mocktails taste best.

11. Download all the movies you never had time to watch

Never seen "The Godfather" or "Casablanca"? Now's the time to finally watch those classics! Rent, buy, or stream the movies you've always wanted to see, and load up on popcorn.

12. Have a spa day

Cutting your own hair could be risky, but that doesn't mean you can't keep up on the rest of your beauty regimen. Take a day to do your nails and put on a face mask.
You could make it a group activity with your family or roommates, drinking some cucumber water and watching a movie as you paint your nails. Or connect with friends over Zoom to make it a virtual day of pampering.

13. Attempt a new recipe

Maybe you're at the level where ordering one of those meal boxes is a big enough cooking challenge. Or perhaps you're ready to learn how to make French macarons. Either way, giving yourself a challenge in the kitchen can be a fun (and tasty) way to pass the time.

14. Collect your family recipes in a booklet

If you're not up for learning new recipes, turn your focus to the old ones. Take this time to make your family's favorites and write them down in a keepsake cookbook. Call family members to make sure you get the measurements right for Grandma's famous lasagna or Dad's perfect pancakes.

15. Organize your closet and your kitchen

You can clean out your wardrobe, organize your cupboard, and even tackle the garage.

16. Write notes

Bring back the old-fashioned handwritten note! Write letters to family, friends, and even residents in retirement homes. If you have kids, make sure they help. Stickers and crayons make letter writing extra fun.

17. Do some creative writing

If you already have your pens and paper out, try writing a story. You could get creative with your own children's book, start writing that memoir, or even just write a fun story about your favorite outdoor activity.

18. Learn to paint

Make a self-portrait, paint a picture of your pets, or just work on a creative piece.

19. Organize Zoom game nights

By now, you've probably chatted on Zoom or FaceTime with friends and family. But have you used video streaming to play a game? You can use a social distancing–friendly party game like the Jackbox Party Pack, where you all play from your phones.

20. Make a must-do list for once we’re allowed back outside

It's fun to have something to look forward to, especially during these tough times. While you're stuck inside, make a list of all the things you want to see in your city once it's safe to do so. Some things to put on your list: all your favorite restaurants, an old movie theater, unique workouts like rock climbing, etc.

21. Research your family tree

Take some time to dig in to your ancestry and build a family tree. Call your parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles, and collect all the names they can remember. Be sure to ask about each relation and write down any silly stories your family members can remember about your, um, colorful relatives.
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, 22 April 2020

7 ways to soundproof a noisy apartment

Most of us will never get used to the sounds of jackhammers, children screaming, or our neighbors getting a little too, um, frisky on the other side of our apartment wall. But luckily there are several solutions that can help you muffle (or hopefully mute) these urban intrusions—and they’re far easier to implement than you may think. We’ve rounded up some simple soundproofing home upgrades, as well as a couple more robust improvements, that will help you achieve a quieter household.


1. Cover walls 

Wood and glass have the uncanny ability to amplify noise in a space. By adding soft surfaces to a room, you can absorb a lot of noise. Sound-absorbing materials like cotton, foam and felt are ideal (they’re what musicians use to soundproof rooms), but they don’t always give way to the right look. A much more stylish solution is to apply materials like decorative fabric, pieces of art or greenery to sparse surfaces. This could include adorning walls with pictures and frames, adding a living wall, or affixing wall tiles or tapestries for a more bold look. Just keep in mind that some materials are better at blocking out higher- and lower-pitch sounds.

2. Add rugs and ceiling baffles 

Following the same rationale as above, adding rugs or carpet to your floors or suspended baffles to your ceilings will help keep sounds from bouncing. Rugs are also a great way to tie the decor of a room together, and if you have a dog or kids, your downstairs neighbor will surely appreciate the muffled patter of your pet or over-stimulated child. Go for “high-pile” designs to really minimize noise. If you’re not a rug person, ceiling baffles also work well. These days, they come in all sorts of fun and sculptural designs.

3. Use draft guards and door seals 

The crack below your door may not look like much, but it’s a great place for noise to enter. Adding a door guard will help mitigate unwelcome sounds. They’re also an excellent and inexpensive way to add a bit of insulation to your home, keeping cold or hot air out, depending on the season. Etsy has a great selection of door guards in various prints.

4. Replace your doors 

They don’t make doors like they used to, that’s for sure. A solid wood door provides a much better sound barrier than cheap hollow ones that allow sound to pass through. While a solid wood door is your best bet, particleboard-core and composite-core are great less-pricey alternatives that work almost as well.

5. Add bookshelves 

Bookshelves and their heavy, dense books provide excellent sound insulation and will make any home—and its residents—look more sophisticated. Bookshelves also come with the added benefit of extra storage space—although don’t go too crazy adding tchotchkes and other trinkets. Too many voids and clear surfaces will counter your noise-blocking efforts.

6. Upgrade your windows 

For those who own their homes, windows are an upgrade that might be worth investing in. Newer windows offer thicker glass and better insulation from both sound and inclement weather when properly treated. In fact, some windows currently on the market can block up to 95 percent of sounds.
However, replacing windows can be prohibitively expensive, especially if you have unconventionally-sized or unique windows that require customization. One way to find out if swapping out your windows is worth the money is to hire an acoustical consultant. They can offer up their expert advice and tell you if you need a complete window overhaul, or if you just need some caulk to seal cracks around your windows.

7. Insulate your walls 

Another option for homeowners, particularly those considering a renovation in the near future, is packing insulation between studs or joists or doubling up on the drywall. 
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.