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Serving Southwestern BC
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Happy family with their Sold Home
Thinking about becoming involved in a Real Estate transaction for the first time?  There are some terms that may be confusing.  Here are some of the more generally used terms and their definitions that may be of assistance:
  • The Brokerageis the real estate company under which the individual REALTOR® is licensed.
  • The Licenseeis the managing broker, associate broker and/or representative of a real estate company brokerage.
  • REALTOR®is often used interchangeably with licensee, real estate agent or representative and, in BC, is licensed under the Real Estate Services Act.  A licensee can use the term REALTOR® if he/she belongs to a local real estate board or association that enforces a strict Code of Ethics.
  • The Boardsare the real estate boards and associations in whose jurisdiction the property is located and/or of which the brokerage or REALTOR® is a member. These boards and associations assist REALTORS® to market, sell or lease real estate. The boards also provide ongoing training for their members, enforce ethical standards and help resolve disputes between members and the public.
  • The Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®)is a computerized cooperative selling system of a real estate board for real estate listings and sales. MLS® System is operated by the boards in conjunction with other real estate boards and The Canadian Real Estate Association.
  • Personal informationmeans any personal information about you, including your name, address, phone number, financial information and may include information about your property (such as listing and selling price, lease rate, listing term, etc.).
  • The Buyer/Tenant is often referred to as the Purchaser.
  • The Seller/Landlord is often referred to as the Vendor.
  • The Principalis someone who has engaged a Brokerage to act for and on his or her behalf either to buy, sell or lease real estate.
  • The Landlord is often referred to as the Lessor.
  • The Tenant is often referred to as the Lessee.
  • Mere Posting is a listing where the Brokerage has chosen or agreed not to provide services to the Seller/Landlord other than submitting the listing for posting on a Multiple Listing Service®.
  • Ranchers are generally thought of as homes where all living space occupies the ground floor of the property.  However some homes are still classified as Ranchers when they have basements and lofts.  And some townhomes are classified as Ranchers as well.  Refer to the menu bar at the top of each page of for a complete list of all Ranchers for sale according to their specific home style.
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Benefits for a First Time Rancher Home Buyer
Your friends and relations keep telling you to buy a home but is that right for you?  Before committing to this decision make a list of the benefits of becoming a home owner and particularly of becoming a rancher home owner.  And when this process confirms this is the right decision for you then proceed in the next step to buying your first rancher home.

Considerations for the First Time Rancher Home Buyer
The first thing a first time home buyer needs to do is to talk with a Bank or Mortgage Broker to determine the value of the home you can afford.  Then approximately 90% of all home searches begin on the Internet using the price limit that has already been determined. The Internet allows you to search through thousands of listings quickly and easily in this manner.  Some of the specialized web sites, like www.RancherHomes.caallow you to narrow your search, to see any virtual tours, to view all property photos, to locate the property via sites such as Google Earth, to see the Walking Score of the home, to view the location of the property relative to schools, attractions, shopping, public transportation, to save your narrowed searches, to save your preferred property listings, and to email select home listings that you feel may interest other friends and relatives.  For select properties you can also use a Mortgage Calculator to make certain you can afford those homes that interest you.  This quick and easy search capability should allow you to be very specific when you meet with a REALTOR® to begin the home purchase process.
How Long does it take to Buy Your First Rancher Home?
Most Buyers will find their new rancher home within a couple of weeks or less.  The key is how motivated are you?  If you are not committed to buying that first rancher home then it may never happen.  Good REALTOR®s will determine if you are really committed to your first rancher home purchase and if so what you are looking for in a home and why.  Your REALTOR® will then only show you those rancher homes that are still available (with no accepted offers) and that meet this criteria.  In some instances a REALTOR® may also preview those rancher homes whose criteria is questionable in order that they and you do not waste time.
How many Rancher showings should you expect to see?
The general average number of rancher homes shown to a Buyer in one day is six. You will find that any more than that and you will find the features of the rancher homes start to run together and it will be more difficult to determine which rancher home/s your prefer.  Most REALTOR®s will not be able to dedicate every day to finding, previewing if neccessary, scheduling, confirming, and then touring with you and so expect to maybe do showings every other day for the two weeks.  That means you may see up to 36 rancher homes over this period.
Great looking Rancher
How to assess the features of each Rancher home showing?
  • Take a close-up picture with your phone or camera of each rancher home address as your home showing tour continues.
  • Note those features you like about each rancher and highlight those features that are "deal-breakers" for you.
  • Check out the location of each rancher, it's neighbourhood, and what is next door.
  • Right after each rancher home showing rate the rancher.
  • If there was no clear choice after seeing all the rancher homes decide on which of your highly rated ranchers you would like to view a second time.
  • You will probably notice features of each rancher - good and bad - that you did not notice the first time.
  • When you have made your final rancher home selection your REALTOR® will then complete a Current Market Analysis and recommend an offer or range of offers.  It is then your decision on what offer you wish to present.  Your REALTOR® can review the strategy of presenting your first offer relative to the end price you wish to pay and considering the market at the time.  In a Seller Market for instance you may not have much opportunity to negotiate price.  And in fact should there be multiple offers the accepted offer may even be more than the asking price.
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Who Pays the Commission on a Real Estate Transaction?

All REALTORS® are required by law to present a Buyer or Seller with the Working with a REALTOR® brochure and to make certain that they answer any questions a person may have about this process.  Real Estate commissions are an area that is greatly misunderstood by the general public.  In fact a REALTOR® must provide their client with written details of any revenue they will earn as a result of representing a client in a real estate transaction.

A Real Estate Office

The Real Estate Commission Process
REALTORS® are independent businessmen working through a real estate broker.
  • All real estate transaction fees paid to a REALTOR® pass through the broker.
  • Only a real estate broker can pay a REALTOR® a commission and sign a listing agreement with a seller.
How Are Real Estate Agents Compensated by the Broker?
Agreements between REALTOR® and their brokers vary. New REALTORS® will earn as little as 60% of the total commission received by the brokerage. From that amount, other administration fees are charged to the REALTOR® for office fees, advertising, sign purchases, etc. Top producing REALTORS® may receive up to 100% of the commission and pay the broker a per transaction fee. The balance of REALTORS® fall somewhere inbetween these figures.
Total Commission
The standard listing contract between a seller and their REALTOR® gives that REALTORS®' broker the exclusive right to market the home. In return the Seller contracts to pay a commission to the broker. Most REALTORS® charge a competitive commission rate - and sometimes this rate is negotiable and sometimes a REALTOR® will refuse the listing if the commission rate offered is not competitive.  The Seller must recognize if they don't agree to pay a competitive rate there may not be sufficient funds to attract a Buyer's agent and their home may not sell as a result.  In fact it is fairly common for a Seller to offer a commission bonus when their home does not sell in a reasonable time.  The commission is normally calcuated as a percentage of the sale price that is split between the the Seller or listing broker and the Buyer's broker.
Seller's Commission
The split of the total commission between the Seller's REALTOR® and the Buyer's REALTOR® is approximately 50%.  However the commission split should favor the Seller's REALTOR® slightly because of the marketing and adminsistrative costs faced by them.  And as previously mentioned the Seller may decide to offer a commission incentive to the Buyer's Agent should their home not be selling.  So depending upon the circumstances a commission split may be higher or lower for either the Seller's REALTOR® or Buyer's REALTOR®.  Your REALTOR® should discuss these various options with you as required.  At the REALTOR® offers a competitive commission rate for the Seller; discounts for repeat clients; and rewards for customer referrals.  Contact for complete details.
Buyer's Commission
A Buyer normally has the commission paid to their REALTOR® paid for by the Seller.  However when a Buyer signs an Exclusiver Buyer's Agreement and should the Seller's commission be less than what the Buyer's REALTOR® will accept then this Agreement may require the Buyer to subsidize the commission to be equal with the agreed upon commission percentage.  At the REALTOR® will do everthing possible to find you the home you want even if that includes lower than normal commission rates and homes for sale by owner.  But commissions in these areas remain negotiable to ensure the REALTOR® is not losing money by managing the transaction.

In all cases the REALTOR®- whether representing the Buyer or Seller - will review and answer any questions relative to the payment of the commission and will present either their Buyer or Seller with written confirmation of what commission they will earn on any Real Estate transaction.


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First Time Home Buyers

Step 1 - Get a Preapproved Loan
You have to know how much you can afford to pay for a home before you begin this process.  Otherwise you could end up very frustrated and disappointed when you fall in love with a home (especially a Rancher) that you then find out you cannot afford.  In addition many REALTORS® will not work with you if they cannot confirm what home you can afford to buy.  Also, many Seller's REALTORS® will not consider an offer seriously if they cannot get assurance that you can get a sufficient loan. Get a loan preapproval from a Bank or Mortgage Broker in advance and you will then know what home you can buy.  The REALTOR® at will not work with a Buyer that is not preapproved.  He wants to assist, particularly first time Buyers, but understands he can only do so with a serious buyer.  And a serious Buyer is someone that has taken the time to get a preapproved loan.  If you are interested in a referral to a Mortgage Broker contact
Step 2 - Hire a REALTOR®
I believe in hiring a REALTOR® once your preapproved loan is in place. Your REALTOR® will save you time in the long run and:
  • A REALTOR® will help you determine what features, location, and price best meet your needs and then set you up with auto-notifications via email of any homes that meet this criteria from MLS.
  • the REALTOR® at will do even more.  Within minutes he will set you up with your personal web site that will display all current listings that meet your criteria in order of new listings first.  In this way you can avoid constant emails and check this site at your leisure. has the added advantage of displaying new listings 2 days prior to their display on the public MLS site!
  • REALTORS® will also check and ensure you are not looking at homes that already have accepted offers on them.
  • REALTORS® may also know of new listings not yet on the market and you may get an opportunity to view a home before it's listing is live on MLS.
  • Most REALTORS® will setup your showing tour and then drive you in their car at their expense.
  • Some REALTORS® will preview homes for you when their suitability is questionable.
  • REALTORS® will tend to spot overpriced listings and check with you before including them for a showing.
    Step 3 - Decide on a Home to Buy
    Buying a home takes time, energy, and focus and can be overwhelming for a lot of Buyers. It is not easy to find the perfect home - especially a Rancher. I advise Buyers to look at a maximum of 6 homes at a time.  More than that can present too many options for a Buyer and make it difficult to separate the differences in each home
    Buyers do a lot of research now online before actually starting to view homes. They no longer tend to drive around preferred areas looking for For Sale signs as they may have in the past.  In fact Buyers tend to start researching online an average of a year in advance of actually buying their home. Once they have determined their preferred location, and begin to do home showings with their REALTOR®, then buyers tend to buy their home after 2 or 3 showing tours.
    Step 4 - Make your Offer
    Some Buyers make the mistake wanting to offer a price for a home based upon the list price of other homes they have seen.  However list prices may be based upon a Seller's inflated view of the value of their home - especially if they love their home - and do not neccessarily bear any relationship to what the market will actually pay for their home.
    Here is where your REALTOR® will be a particularly valuable asset to you by completing a CMA or Current Market Analysis on the home you would like to buy.  Your REALTOR® will look at comparable sales of similar type homes in the same condition and location that have sold within the past 3 to 6 months. This will provide a more accurate projection of the value of this home in the current market.
    You may end up paying over list price in a seller's market or under list price in a buyer's market.  Your REALTOR® can give you a price range and help you in the strategy of making your offer based upon current market conditions.
    Step 5 - Do a Home Inspection
    In most instances a home inspection is done once your offer has been accepted.  This is one of your Buyer costs and you do not want to be making this expenditure unless you have assurances you can buy the home.  However in some instances - such as buying a foreclosure home - you may want to risk this expenditure instead of potentially risking even more by contracting to buy a home that may have expensive problems such as a faulty foundation.
    Sellers do not have to repair problems found during a home inspection. The home inspection is for the buyer's edification. However in most instances the home inspection is a condition of the contract that must satisfy the Buyer or the home purchase is not completed. Sometimes a Seller will make repairs when faced with the alternative of their home sale not completing.

    Other conditions of your home purchase/offer need to be reviewed and understood and will be explained by your REALTOR®.  Contact and he will be pleased to sit down with you to review all issues impacting your first home purchase.

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When a Buyer has selected the home they want to buy, figuring out how much to offer to buy that home can be very intimidating - especially for first time Buyers.  Buyers are worried if they offer too little, they will risk insulting or alienating the Seller.  And should they offer too much, they may be overpaying.  A lot or Ranchers are sold to first time Buyers who are even more worried than experienced Buyers about what price to pay for their new home.
Most Buyers will consult with their REALTOR®.  And in some instances, Buyers expect their REALTOR® to "guessestimate" a price and hand it to them.  Should they?

Hiring a Realtor

Should a REALTOR® Tell a Buyer what offer to make?
REALTORS® are there to assist and advise a Buyer on making their offer - a REALTORS®' job is not to determine your price.  Most experienced Buyer's REALTORS® will provide market information, a suggested price range, and a recommended offer strategy but the actual value of the offer is up to the Buyer.  Most REALTORS® will refuse to determine your price because:
  • If an offer was too low
    If a REALTOR® encouraged you to make a bottom line offer, and you lost the chance to buy that home because another offer came in higher or because the Seller refused to respond to the offer because he was insulted, a buyer could blame the REALTOR®. 
  • If an offer was too high
    Should an offer be accepted without a counteroffer, Buyers may often wonder if they should have made a lower initial offer. If the REALTOR® had insisted on a price, and the Seller accepts immediately, Buyers may question whether their REALTOR® was working in their best interest or focusing instead on the REALTORS®' own commission. 
  • The REALTOR® isn't buying this home
    The Buyer must make this decision because it will be the Buyer's home and not the REALTORS®' home.  Once the sale closes, the Buyer must make the mortgage payments and be responsible for maintaining the home - not the REALTOR®.  Most Buyers are smarter and more knowledgeable than they give themselves credit for and are fully capable of setting an offer price.
  • A REALTOR® can be sued
    You may be talking with a new REALTOR® or those friends & family not licensed as a REALTOR® who will suggest a different approach.  These people may mean well but don't know any better.  An experienced REALTOR® has his reputation to consider and the knowledge that he can be sued if he is not looking after his client's best interest.

Experienced REALTORS® provide guidance and assistance, however, to lead a buyer to choose the right offer pricing.  Because ultimately it is always the Buyers' decision - not the REALTORS®'.

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Why Should You Hire a REALTOR®?
Real estate transactions are among the largest financial investments that most people make. A trained professional can help make this experience pleasant and rewarding. In fact, with the assistance of a real estate professional, property sells faster and for a higher price.
Best way to sell your home - Hire a Realtor
So when you're trusting a REALTOR® with your most valuable possession: your home - you want this person to take this responsibility very seriously.  And when you are looking to buy or sell a Rancher you want to deal with a specialist who appreciates and values your home style choice as is shown at  Here's why you should hire a REALTOR® and what a REALTOR® promises:
  • Your REALTOR® is highly trained
  • Your REALTOR® is continuously trained
  • Your REALTOR® does everything by the book
  • Your REALTOR® is an ethical businessperson
  • Your dealings with a REALTOR® are insured
  • You have the opportunity for recourse
  • Your REALTOR® will grant you access to the exclusive Multiple Listing Service®

For more information about the REALTOR® commitment, plus buying or selling your home, including step-by-step guides, checklists, expectations and questions for your REALTOR® and information about REALTORS®' extensive training and Code of Ethics, visit

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A Few Small Changes That Will Make a Big Impact

According to today’s buyers, the kitchen and the master bathroom are most critiqued rooms in a home. What does this mean for sellers? They should look to improve these two influential rooms first. Whether undertaking a major remodel or making small improvements, these are the two most lived in rooms in the home and they draw the most attention.

Show Off The Improvements

During a tour, most buyers will notice and appreciate a new vanity or countertops more than new gutters. They also notice and appreciate fresh paint and carpets. But it can be overwhelming for homeowners to consider all the potential upgrades when preparing a home for sale. However, there are two rooms that should not be ignored. If sellers are tight on budget and time, they should turn their focus to these two rooms first.

  • Create a chef's kitchen buyers can see themselves cooking in
  • Turn a basic bathroom into a spa-like oasis where buyers want to escape

While the kitchen and master bathroom are the most expensive areas of the home in terms of remodeling, there are some budget-friendly ways to make improvements buyers will notice.

Turn up the Heat in the Kitchen

Kitchens are the heart of a home and so sellers should pay attention to detail when planning improvements.


Here are some of the most popular kitchen projects with the highest return on investment:      

1. Install all real wood cabinets. Buyers are rarely impressed with flimsy shelves and composite materials. If attaching hardware, keep it neutral in style.

2. Buy commercial appliances, or go for the look of commercial. Upscale cooktops and ranges create real impact in the kitchen.

3. Seek to use natural wood, dark laminate wood or stone floors that clean easily. Spills can happen anywhere, but they are very common in the kitchen. Avoid light floor colors and grout as they show dirt and stains easier.

4. Install stone or granite countertops. Tile countertops are difficult to keep clean for the same reason tile floors are – the grout stains easily. Single material countertops, which are clean and easy to wipe down, are a favorite of most home chefs. They look beautiful too.

5. Update the lighting fixtures. Sellers will be amazed at the return they get from simply upgrading the kitchen lighting. Whenever remodeling to sell, keep in mind style varies, so keep items as neutral as possible.

Bonus Tip: When showing the home, declutter and organize the kitchen counters. Hide the coffee maker and toaster. Remove all clutter and magnets from the fridge. You’ll be surprised at how much larger your kitchen looks without the clutter.

Create a Spa-Like Oasis in the Master Bathroom

Sellers don’t have to do a lot to make a big improvement in the master bathroom. A new tub liner, or "shell," can make a marred tub look like new and save the seller from having to replace it.

If not replacing the vanity, a new faucet, new lights, fresh caulking around the tub, a new towel rack and a new mirror can make a tired bathroom come alive.

Spa-Like Bathroom Upgrades Buyers Love Include:

  • Walk-in showers
  • Dual Vanity
  • Stone or natural wood flooring
  • Modern and bright lighting fixtures
  • Ample storage space for towels and personal care products

Bonus Tip: For bathrooms, always display a sparkling clean bathtub and commode. There should be no dirty clothes or even hampers visible. The bathroom should be clean and smell fresh.

A kitchen or bath upgrade can be as simple as a weekend-long, low-budget brush-up. With the right planning, some of the most noticeable repairs do not require much. A fresh facelift will go a long way in the buyer’s mind.

And, as for the other areas of the house, don’t skip a fresh coat of paint and replace the carpets. These details add value and make the home more attractive to buyers

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The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.