Award Wallet, for points collectors

award-walletMy wife and I love to travel, plain and simple. We have been all over North America, Africa, Australia, Europe and Caribbean. It didn’t take me long to figure out that travel points are a neccessity for covering (or simply subsidizing) the costs of our passion. However, much like most people, I hate carrying rewards cards, so I was hesitant to sign up for many rewards programs (over and above the points-based credit card I already had). That was until I stumbled on to Award Wallet a few years back.

Award Wallet is an online website (with mobile apps available for iOS and Android), that can track points from more than 600 different loyalty programs from airlines and hotels to credit cards and online shopping – and it’s FREE. Continue reading

Increased demand in the Fraser Valley

fraser_valleyThe Fraser Valley Real Estate Board processed 1,448 sales on its Multiple Listing Service (MLS®) in October, an increase of 16 per cent compared to the 1,249 sales during the same month last year and 2 per cent more than in September.

Ray Werger, the Board’s president, says, “Sales overall continue to outperform last year and as we’ve seen for a number of months now are the best they’ve been in five years. Continue reading

Happy First-time Buyers Make Me Happy

testimonialIn this business, there aren’t too many better feelings than when you help your clients find that perfect home – especially, their first home! A close second, though, is when your efforts and hard work are recognized in writing.

I had the pleasure of working with first-time buyers (newlywed Rosa and Josiah) to find their first home. After viewing MANY properties, including offering on and walking away from a property due to a poor inspection, and riding the emotional roller coaster until they just couldn’t stomach it any further, it happened. They found their perfect home. The negotiations went well and the Seller and themselves came to an agreement. The hard work we had all put in had finally paid off and there wasn’t a second thought about the first home they offered on. Continue reading

A New Look at Caffeine

caffeineI read a very interesting article today on the effects of caffeine and the negative cycle it can perpetuate until stopped. It provides some facts that I didn’t know, including:

“…caffeine has a six-hour half-life, which means it takes a full twenty-four hours to work its way out of your system. Have a cup of joe at eight a.m., and you’ll still have 25% of the caffeine in your body at eight p.m. Anything you drink after noon will still be at 50% strength at bedtime. Any caffeine in your bloodstream—with the negative effects increasing with the dose—makes it harder to fall asleep.”

To read the full article, please click here: FULL ARTICLE HERE

8th Avenue Elite Realty in Surrey, closed by RECBC

8th_aveSometimes news travels fast, and sometimes it can come and go without anyone realizing there was anything going on.  The news of 8th Avenue Elite Realty in Surrey having their doors shut down by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) was broadcast to all REALTORS­® last week, but very few people in the public actually knew what had happened.

Last week, we were told that 8th Avenue Elite Realty had its doors shut, bank accounts frozen and license suspended due to an apparent “failure to account for trust account monies”.  To those that are unfamiliar with real estate transactions, what does this mean?  When someone purchases a property through a brokerage (such as 8th Avenue Elite Realty, RE/MAX, Sutton, Royal LePage, etc.), a deposit is taken from the purchaser and held in a trust account with the firm.  This is done for a number of reasons, but mainly to protect the interests of both the selling and purchasing parties until the deal is closed.  There are very tight guidelines on who, when and how that money can be released from that same trust account.  It would appear, based on the recent events, that 8th Avenue Elite Realty  was not abiding by these rules.

Unfortunately, this could mean that a number of people who have deals in limbo through this brokerage may be in for Continue reading

Your agent said what?!?!

Say what?I was holding an open house recently, during which, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing at one point.

The property was beautifully renovated, it was a gorgeous, sunny, day with blue skies and people were popping in consistently.  Nothing too busy, but just enough that I had people to talk to without feeling like I couldn’t give the proper attention to any one group.

Another real estate agent then came in.  She was there to meet her clients (who were running a bit behind schedule).  No problem.  It was actually nice to see that the agent was there to represent their client.  She was 20+ years in the business and seemed to be quite pleasant to chat to.  Her clients (an elderly couple looking to downsize) then arrived.  The couple took their time going room to room and inspecting/admiring the renovations that had been done – they were immaculate – and overall giving the proper attention I would expect from someone looking for their future home.  They decided that while the home was lovely, the backyard didn’t have the exposure they were looking for.  This happens and as agents, we can only do what we can – show properties, listen to feedback, show more properties until the right one fits.  I just assumed they would then be on their way.  However, what happened next, I just couldn’t believe. Continue reading

FlyOver Canada

flyover-canadaAfter being told about this new attraction (not so new anymore) FlyOver Canada at Canada Place in Vancouver for quite sometime, my wife and I finally went to check it out last week on her birthday.  Not knowing, really, what to expect – other than it was a movie that shows you Canada coast-to-coast, I have to say I was thoroughly impressed. Your “boarding pass” will run you about $20/person for the approximately 30min journey – pre-flight and flight – with “flights” leaving every 20mins.  The pre-flight is a pretty cool video of Canadiana complete with music and lighting effects Continue reading

Steveston Village Development?

steveston-waterfrontThe idyllic town of Steveston, located at the western tip of Richmond, is the site of what appears to be a battle for the ages: the City Council is facing an invasion of the Borg as they debate what to do with a developer’s plans for an historic district along the waterfront.

Yes, the Borg. Those Star Trek baddies who are part-human, mostly-machine who invade, who tell you in a terrifying voice that “Resistance is futile,” who ignore the fact that you just want to get on with your own life, and who assimilate you – forcibly make you be part of their plans, and do their bidding.

They’re pretty awesome villains on TV, and while Steveston isn’t actually facing an invasion of robots who want to take over your life, they’re facing a foe that’s pretty comparable.

Enter Onni. Onni is a real-estate development company. In Vancouver, that’s pretty much tantamount to the Borg. And Onni is making their stand in Steveston at Imperial Landing, a stretch of newly-developed land along what used to be the BC Packer’s fishing land and cannery alongside the Fraser River in Steveston. And they want you to comply with their wishes, and the won’t take no for an answer. Resistance is futile. Continue reading

South Surrey Long Boarding Park

longboardingA designated longboarding site is set to open in South Surrey this spring, giving longboarders a safe, off-street place to cruise.

The pilot project site will be located on the service access road leading to the running track at the South Surrey Athletic Park. Due to its limited slope and good site lines, the site is being developed as a safe learning environment for beginners.

“We recognize the growing popularity of the sport of longboarding among today’s youth,” Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts said in a news release. “In developing this site we want to ensure the safety of both the participants and the public.”

Safety was the paramount concern for the city, because longboarders typically have nowhere to ride other than the streets, which can be dangerous to motorists, pedestrians and the boarders. Continue reading

Why do real estate agents still exist?

housecomputerOn Tuesday, the quintessentially mainstream American real estate brokerage–Re/Max–went public. The housing market is hot enough, its initial filing explained, that raising investor cash could launch it into markets around the country it hadn’t yet reached.

But wait–real estate agents? Wasn’t the internet supposed to drive them out of business?

The online age has been hard on all kinds of middlemen, after all. Travel agents, for example, rendered obsolete by Orbitz and Expedia. Soft goods retailers, for another, outpaced by Amazon. The effect should be similar with people who sell homes: What do they have but what they know? And what of that can’t be better figured out through unbiased, publicly available data, crunched and presented on Web sites like Zillow and Trulia for free? Continue reading