Canadian Life Style

Buyer Beware in BC

So I stopped at the Starbucks in Cook’s Cottage Village…neat community with original old homes. I met a man who teaches accounting and finance at UBC in the exact same building …Sauder School of Economics…where I studied British Columbia Real Estate..and he also teaches in a small college here in Victoria. Summer school right now. He didn’t take the ferry…He flew over on the seaplane.

I told him I was a Realtor and he started off right away about the differences buying and selling Real Estate in out two countries. Number one he said in Canada it is buyer beware. The legal system is not as active here as in the US. Canadians were under no obligation to disclose issues. In US I have two specialties. One is Senior Real Estate Specialist and the other is Risk Management Specialist. That means I work hard to make sure all known issues are disclosed and the buyer is as thoroughly informed as possible. There is no need for litigious issues because we handle all possible issues before we close escrow. So 30+years selling Real Estate and no concern with our deals. In Canada if you discover issues you are just stuck.

Then we discussed the serious housing shortage in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island and how the developers are out of control. The lack of active real estate lawyers is allowing highly unethical if not criminal dealings taking place. A couple of weeks ago big study release regarding casinos and foreign money laundering in Vancouver Real Estate. Highly escalated prices ..million plus prices for junk property. They want the land. I told him the politicians need to get active and get control of this. He said yes they don’t have much of a heart for it. Then I told him about the townhouse I saw being built in Sidney with just inches between the homes. He said oh yes they are doing that all over Vancouver..just cramming buildings in next to each other. Built with wood…we both recognized that people are going to die with these poor building codes being allowed. And then he said..not only fire..we have earthquakes. Vancouver is on the ring of fire. What will it take to care about the people’s lives.

Then we discussed financing I thought the Canadians are more conservative about debt. Well he enlightened me on that. Biggest debt Canadians have is their mortgage. Apparently it is currently 80% of their earnings. Oh dear…I thought they were much better off then that. The loans are 5 year loans…So what they do is refinance them every 5 years. That means no fixed rate…in truth like an adjustable rate mortgage

. So from my perspective I thought the Canadians were pretty smart. Every time I look up a Canadian owner they have no debt. Well he says that’s because the US lenders would not lend to Canadians. So when everything was tanking in US and Canadian dollar was up they got loans from Canadian banks and paid all cash on US properties. Not the pretty picture I thought it was. So I thanked the college professor for my education. Oh my did I learn a lot. BUYER BEWARE!

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