Fixture or Chattel? Does it Stay, or Does it Go?

As a REALTOR®, the question of Does it Stay or Does it Go comes up with every transaction. The technical terms; fixture or chattel, are how they are described. As a buyer or a seller, it is important to know what is really included in the sale. I’ve asked my law student Ghost Writer, B. Sacamano,  to help answer this question and the following is his article. B’s experience includes being a REALTOR® so the fixture chattel debate is discussed in an understandable way.

Fuzzy Dice

Have you ever bought a used car? What was included in your purchase? Were the tires included? How about the seats? Of course they were, they are after all, part of what makes it a car. The half used container of engine oil in the trunk was probably removed prior to the sale. As was the emergency road side assistance kit, and any other personal belongings not essential to the operation of the car in its capacity as a drivable car. The fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror for example, the atlas in the glove box (younger readers feel free to google what that is), and the stack of cd’s under the front seat, all disappeared prior to you driving away in your new ride.

I’m hoping that this analogy will provide a bit of clarity regarding what’s included, and not included in a house sale. At the very least it should get you thinking so you can ask the right questions at the appropriate time of the sale. All too often the REALTOR® gets a frantic call after possession day regarding something that has been taken or switched out for something different. And the best way to deal with this issue is to prevent it from happening in the first place. This pre-emptive attitude will require knowledge of fixture’s and chattels.

Chattels can simply be described as personal property, and would not be included in any sale unless specified in writing. From our car analogy, this would be the half-used oil in the trunk, the atlas and the fuzzy dice. Conversely, a fixture is attached to the land (or home) in some way, and as such would by default be included in the sale. From our car analogy, this would include the tires and the seats. They are essential to what makes the car a car.

This seems simple enough, if it’s attached it stays, and if it’s not it goes, right? Not quite. Confusion arises when chattels become fixtures, either intentionally or unintentionally. You see, there is a legal principle that says whatever is attached to the soil becomes part of it. In other words, if an item of personal property is attached in some fashion to the land or the house, it will become a fixture and henceforth transfer ownership with the land.

This is of course the difficulty in answering the fixture or chattel question. The seller may have never intended an item of personal property to become a fixture in the first place, whereas the buyer may have assumed the item is included as it appears to be a fixture.  Unfortunately the courts have decided the issue both ways; they have on one hand said that the physical attachment of a chattel is enough to indicate that chattel is actually a fixture, [1] and they have also conversely said physical attachment is not enough.[2] Essentially it comes down to the particular set of circumstances.

So what’s the simple solution here? Basically, if you want the container of oil, or the fuzzy dice, make sure to ask for them. Don’t assume they are included in the deal just because they were in the car when you looked at it. And likewise, if you’re going to put the original wheels back on the car before possession, make sure to stipulate that at the outset. When in doubt, you have to write it out.

[1] Holland v Hodgson (1872) LR 7 CP 328

[2] Monical –v- 0793545 BC Limited, 2013 BCSE 25

If you have any further questions, please contact us or feel free to leave a comment or a like and check out our Facebook and twitter feeds.

Will Our Real Estate Market Change Soon?

There is certainly lots of talk about the possibility of change to our real estate market and to our industry. Our Government seems to be intent on doing their part with the implementation of a new property transfer tax. Others have posted our industry should change because of perceived conflicts of interest and what could be referred to as “An Old Boys Club” mentality. I believe the term “incestuous relationship” was used.

Change happens

This conversation for me is deeply disturbing. In over 30 years of being an Agent, Manager and a Broker Owner, I have always tried to adhere to what my Dad taught me. Treat people right and the business will come. Have I been perfect at this? Nope! Do I always try? Yup! Can I get better? You Betcha! Getting better everyday should be what it is about. Looking out for my clients interest must always be my number 1 priority.

I know there are many others like me in this industry and I would have no problem naming many without hesitation should you ever want a list.

There has been ton’s of change over these years. Technology, regulations, Legal issues have all driven their own change.  I remember the computer terminal we first had. It was about 2 feet wide and 3 feet long. Reams and reams of paper were used as we would print out listings and other info. Any one remember Dial Up modems? Do you know how slow 300 baud is compared to today’s high speed connections? Our first Fax machine cost over $3,000.00 and used thermal paper. After about a year you couldn’t read what it said!

Of course for many, I am speaking a different language. You likely don’t know what a baud rate is or even a fax machine. Well, we could talk about a bunch of stuff here but the reality is “Sure things will change.”

Is this new tax a good thing? I don’t know. Maybe in the long run but what about those people caught with a deal that might not close because someone won’t pay the added tax? What about the person who might be depending on that sale to complete so they can move forward on their commitments. Seems to me some innocents could get burned in this process. It isn’t to be applied east of Langley but will it drive foreign investors here? Could that be good?

Will our market crash? I don’t know. Maybe it will do like it usually does. Level off, and then decline 5 – 10% over the next 4 – 8 years. The factors driving this market are different than any other experienced during my time.

Change is a given. Our market and our industry will always change. Sometimes for the good and sometimes not so good. The more important question is “How will I navigate what is to come?”

So Here is Some Advice for Change:

  1. Don’t be part of the herd. Just because everyone is doing something doesn’t mean it is a smart thing to do. Use your head.
  2. Choose to be represented by someone who has experience and familiarity with all aspects of the transaction. The legal issues and complexity of today’s transactions need to be considered.
  3. Know your limits. Yes, a level of risk is sometimes good but not everyone is comfortable at the same level.
  4. Be clear on your objectives. What is it you are trying to accomplish.
  5. Most important of all. Work with someone you trust.

The real estate market adds a significant amount to our economy so a discussion of what affects it is worthy to take place. Please feel free to leave your comments or likes. If you have any questions about real estate please feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer them.

The V3G FSA Housing Market Report

The Real Estate market really seems to be on top of everyones mind these days. What with stories out of crazy things happening and prices going nuts it is sometimes tough to tell what is really happening. Like what is happening in your neighbourhood?  If you live in the V3G FSA area of Abbotsford, this Housing Market Report is specific to your area.

2015 was definitely an uncommon year in the housing market. We generally saw house values increase by about 11% from December 2014 to December 2015. There were instances of multiple offers as our inventory levels dropped and demand continued.  It was becoming more difficult to find the property of your choice that ticked all of your criteria.

Housing Market Summary V3G 2015

Total Houses brought to market – 504

Number of Houses Sold in 2015 – 379

Number of Houses that Remain still for sale – 65

Number of Houses that did not sell – 60

List prices ranged from a low of $268,000 to a high of $3,590,000. The average list price was $643,879 and the median price $585,000.

Sale prices were between $260,000 and $3,300,000 with and average of $596,021 and the median at $561,500.

The average Days on Market or the time it took to sell was down from previous years and is best described by the mean at 27 days.

Projections for 2016

My cracked crystal ball might not be as accurate as I would like these days but when I look at what the BC Real Estate Association predicts for our Housing Market in 2016 I tend to lean toward thinking our market will continue to be active but without the frenetic activity. Their words are “Housing Demand to Remain Elevated through 2016” You can read all about it here.  And if you would like an update on the value of your home its easy. Go to http://yourabbotsfordhomevalue.com/ and a free no obligation market update will be delivered to your email inbox.

If you have any comments please feel free to share them in our comment section or Facebook.

2015 – A Review of Real Estate Market Value

What happened to your property value?

A very common question I get as a REALTOR® is “How is the market” Typically we understand that to mean is “Is the value of my house going higher or should I be worrying about a bubble?”

House Price Index Average 2015

To say the real estate market in Abbotsford and Mission areas was active in 2015 would not really do justice to the level of activity we have had. Robust would be a better word. The number of properties that sold was up 33.8% in Abbotsford and 37.1% in Mission. New listings were up only 9.3 and 3.6 per cent respectively.

Market value on average increased about 11% in Abbotsford for a typical Single Family home December 2014 to December 2015. Mission experienced increases of 17.3% for the same time period. This is based on the average price of a single family home as per the House Price Index published by the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board.

Jorda Maisy, president of the FVREB had this to say :

The market remains buoyant, and with very low inventory currently there is tremendous
opportunity for sellers. For buyers finding it challenging in their search, REALTORS® are recommending they consider a variety of housing options and communities they may not have considered. There’s a lot of choice out there, you just need to know where to look.”

The next question that may come mind is “What will market value do this next year?” Unfortunately for that one, we cannot accurately predict what will take place. Time will tell the tale of what actually happens but my experience tells me we could expect a levelling off on the activity and depending on our supply, Market Value might level off as well.

Three things that will impact Market Value

Inventory Levels:

Currently our inventory levels are at around 60% of what they would normally be. I recall a similar situation in 1989 and 1990. An extemely robust market caused values to increase and inventory levels to plummet. In the Spring, inventory levels returned to normal and beyond causing a levelling off of our market.

Demand

Some predictions are we will have a strong migration of people to Abbotsford which would fuel the demand. People will need a place to live. Either rental or purchase. Either way demand should be good throughout 2016

Interest Rates

While the Bank of Canada Rate has remained somewhat steady, there is talk that it could go down and perhaps even become negative. This would happen in order to stimulate our economy. You should talk to someone who is smarter than I about such things but the Mortgage rates may actually increase. They are based on the Bond rate and apparently they may go up. Should interest rates go up significantly, it will affect the price of our homes.

Me out on a limb… Or in Summary…. I predict that you will see continued activity in our market but with more modest growth in market value in both Mission and Abbotsford. 

To see what is currently available just click on this link.

If you are interested in getting your property value updated, please feel free to contact me. I am only to happy to provide that service to you. If you found this article interesting, please like us on facebook or share through twitter.

 

October’s Abbotsford Real Estate Stats

What's the real estate market doing these days?

October real estate stats are out and they tell an interesting tale. The FVREB says “No sign of slowdown for the Fraser Valley….” Get the complete report by clicking here or you can follow this post to get my take and point of view.

This Chart is a look at the real estate market Stats for the month of October over the past 8 years. I’m not a statistician but I thought this could give us an interesting perspective of where we are in relation to other years. We will take a look at the three main areas of activity. Namely; Detached Housing, Townhouse’s and Apartment’s.

  1. Detached Housing Highlights.

    1. Inventory levels are at very low levels.
    2. Currently less than a 3 month supply of houses.
    3. Sales to Active Listing Ratio is high at 39%. (Sellers Market)
    4. Sales are up 46% from one year ago
  2. Townhouse Highlights

    1. Inventory levels have remained relatively constant compared to Detached and Apt.
    2. Currently 4 month supply.
    3. Sales to Active Listing Ratio is at an 8 year high of 24%. (Sellers Market)
    4. Sales are up 28% from one year ago
  3. Apartment Highlights

    1. Inventory levels are down almost 200 units from the high in 2010.
    2. Currently a 4.5 month supply. A signifcant change from 2010 where there was over 8 months supply.
    3. Sales to Active Listing Ratio is currently at 22% (Sellers market)
    4. Sales are up 19% from one year ago.

We can interpret from these real estate stats the following

  1. There will remain upward pressure on the price of Detached housing as long as inventory levels remain low and the demand remains high. People may hesitate to put their home on the market without being comfortable knowing they will find what they are looking for.
  2. The townhouse market will continue to remain steady. A more in-depth analysis would also take into consideration the type of units these are. An example of this would be whether or not they are age restricted.
  3. The apartment market would seem to be heading for a bit of a resurgance if the inventory levels continue to drop. After a number of years of poor performance, I believe we could begin to see a return to some appreciation in the value of some of the used apartment units with continued lowering of inventory. That would mean an apartment may make for a pretty good investment for your retirement portfolio given the right circumstances.

We often think of real estate as an investment and for most of us it is usually our single largest investment. This makes it important to understand what is affecting it. It is also a place where we call home. The place where memories are made. Relationships forged. So we can’t just look at it from a statistical point of view. But we need to be certain we are aware of what is happening so we can make informed decisions.

I hope this give you some insight into the real estate market conditions in Abbotsford. If you are interested in learning how they might affect your decisions regarding your property, please feel free to contact me at your convenience for “Friendly Service all the Time” 

 

Abbotsford May 2015 Real Estate Market Stats

What is happening in your Neighbourhood?

The Abbotsford Real Estate Market remains very active and we are now experiencing a strong sellers market in many areas.  Inventory in single family houses has dropped 20% from one year ago but remains relatively unchanged from April of this Year.

Get all the Stats – Click the Pic to Get Your Real Estate Market Stats Report!

Real Estate Market Report Cover

 

How does this affect your property? Click the Pic to get an up to date Market Evaluation of your Home!

What will happen when you do?

You will be asked for information about your property. I will receive a notification you are interested in knowing more about your property value.  The more information you provide will help make the evaluation more accurate. A complete CMA will be provided to you in a timely fashion. I will personally follow up with you to make sure that we have answered all of your questions. If you would like more information we can discuss it at that time. If you don’t need any thing else then that will be the end of it. Please understand this in no way obligates you to use my services as a REALTOR.

Your Abbotsford Home Value

Your Abbotsford Home Value

If you have a question about Real Estate and the Abbotsford Market, just leave a comment or let us know on Facebook or our twitter feed.