One of the many things that we wished we could control when we are moving countries is the price of real estate. The perfect situation would be to sell your home at the top of your local market (in the first week ideally), transfer your money with a great exchange rate and then buy in BC when our real estate market is at its worst.
Well as you probably know that is about as likely as your winning the lottery (and about as valuable).
The truth is that none of us can predict, let alone control, these things. You can do your best to go with the flow of things, but however carefully you watch the foreign exchange markets or plot the real estate trends you are not going to influence things.
Foreign exchange is outside our knowledge – we rely on the experts at the various foreign exchange companies (see our web page on this).
If you are selling your home then you can do all the things that we advise our local clients (spruce the place up, fix everything that needs doing, keep it tidy and price it right).
And when it comes to buying here in Vancouver, or elsewhere in BC, then you need to get a realtor you can trust. (We hope that will be us or one of our partners as that is how we make our living and how we support this relocation resource we have set up).
Our own story is worth noting in this. When we came here we were as green behind the ears as most other people. Without any particular reason we flitted from one realtor to the other and chose one in the end because he seemed relaxed and easy going. Unfortunately this also meant he did not go a very good job of informing us about the market. With our real estate knowledge now, we know that we paid too much.
How do we know? As realtors we have access to information that is critical in coming up with the fair market value of a home. This is what we give our buyers when they are considering an offer:
- comparison prices of the homes in the area
- how long the home has been on the market
- sales history for the home
- recent sales of comparable homes in the area
- analysis of the price per square foot of this home and others sold
- analysis of the assessed value compared to sales prices
All these factors will give you a pretty idea of what the home is worth. Our realtor gave us none of this! You could say that he saw us coming!
So the real estate statistics for July are out and they show that the market has slowed down. Prices are coming down a bit but so are the number of listings. This seems to be swinging toward a balanced market (not favouring either buyer or seller).
We caution people that the devil is in the details. Some places here are still drawing competitive bids because they are attractively priced and presented. In other cases a good discount is available because sellers are getting desperate to sell. However others are holding out for prices which actually may not be attainable since the market has moved downward.
Get good advice and find somewhere that you really like and you should be ok!