Know any random home-buying rules and regulations? Of course not. They’re someone else’s concern. So goes the likable tone & approach of the author, Sarah Daniels, a local BC real estate agent. She “recommends needing only this (quite thin) book and your common sense to either buy or sell” (page 3). Is the book – Welcome Home: Insider Secrets to Buying or Selling Your Property (2010) – made to measure for a first-time seller with little patience? Let’s see.
I like it because:
- Math and financial things are explained in sentence, not equations.
- It offers lots of staging tips, with the summary: “If it feels like a hotel, it’s ready to sell!” (page 76).
- It’s a local perspective – Vancouver-specific points and illustrative anecdotes.
- More reasons not to sell-by-owner – Sarah says it’s a full-time job.
- She provides ‘buyer beware’ examples in a casual, conversational tone.
“[I]n Vancouver, a recent check showed fewer than 50 detached houses in the entire city limits listed at less than $500,000″ (page 22). Gah! Bastards.
Ew, I didn’t know that! You pay HST on realtor commissions? E.g. A typical realtor commission on a $500k home would be $17,000…. plus 12% HST…. bye-bye $2040 more monies (page 37).
Tone: Lots of “hecks”, though far fewer than from our old friend Jay. Still, she’s likable and knows her audience. Explaining tax implications of buying a new home she quips, “I didn’t make the law, so don’t start looking for me” (page 125).
4 examples of how strata living can suck – so be careful (page 111):
- Use of elevator to move furniture requires notice and a fee;
- Regulations on draperies and window coverings;
- No bbqs;
- No Christmas lights.
“Read all documents regardless of how boring they are!” (page 116). Except, in the book, this is in caps.
She covers reasons not to flip a house, all of them valid, making me certain that we’re not ‘flipping’ but rather renovating a home we’ll sell sooner or later for more space. I can see her point – it’s risky if your intended result (price tag) doesn’t materialize when you need it to, either because of market conditions or your overly personalized décor (page 145). She then goes into matters about adding a second suite and renting it to tenants – I skipped this part as it didn’t apply.
Tip! As soon as you close on your home, find a mover (page 192) – I might do some research and get some quotes over the winter. Last time our movers were SO bad (any recommendations?).
“I always recommend that my clients hire a professional maid service to do the final cleaning of their old place” (page 193). Yes!!!! Agree!!!!
Another tip! On moving-in day, “book a locksmith to come by and re-key all the external doors” (page 195).
Covers Canada? Nothing but.
1 reason to read it? Knowledge acquisition.
Conclusion: It’s a few hours’ insight, tips & experience from a local agent – not all of it applies to me because I know what I want & what I can afford. Still, this books covers Canadian basics for all aspects of buying/selling new vs old buildings, strata vs freehold, apartment vs townhouses vs house-houses.