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RBC First Home – Real Estate Pros

Pressure for winning bid on a home purchase leads some to waive ‪#‎HomeInspection‬. Home purchase subject free is it a good idea?

Ask us questions at ‪#‎RBCFirstHome‬ Twitter Chat on Tuesday August 18th @ 5:30 PM PST. Team of Real Estate Professionals across Canada ready to help. Chance to also win $100 Visa Gift Cards. Don’t miss this event courtesy of RBC Royal Bank.

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RBC First Home  Real Estate Professionals across Canada

RBC First Home
Real Estate Professionals across Canada


Problems with Underground Oil Storage Tanks – Vancouver Real Estate

Many homes in the Greater Vancouver area built before 1957 were originally heated with furnace oil. When natural gas became available, the oil storage tanks, which were normally located underground in backyards, were filled with sand or capped. However, as these unused tanks start to corrode and rust, the remaining oil can leak out and flow onto the rest of the owner’s property, the neighbour’s property, storm sumps and waterways, resulting in contamination of soil and water. Apart from the negative financial impact on the market value of the property, the owner can face substantial legal liability under various statutes and bylaws for such contamination.
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B.C. condo owners on the hook for huge deductibles

B.C. condo owners on the hook for huge deductibles

B.C. condo owners on the hook for huge deductibles

Some B.C. condominium owners are learning the hard way that simple leaks can turn into complicated and very expensive problems.

If a sink overflows, a washer hose breaks or a toilet leaks, for instance, and damages suites to the extent that an insurance claim has to be made, the condominium strata council can seek the cost of the insurance deductible from the responsible owner.

According to B.C.’s Strata Act, a strata corporation can “sue an owner in order to recover the deductible portion of an insurance claim if the owner is responsible for the loss or damage.”

It’s a situation that Vancouver condo owner Jack McLaughlin knows all too well. When his sink started leaking, it took three hours to locate the shut-off valve and by then, the damage was done.

“It went down and damaged nine other units and caused hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of damage,” McLaughlin said. The building strata insurance covered a most of the cost — except for the deductible. “There was a $50,000 deductible, and we had not insured for that,” said McLaughlin.

$150,000 deductible

Nineteen condo towers in downtown Vancouver have deductibles of $50,000, while six have deductibles of $100,000.

And the more claims for water damage, the higher it will climb. Because of several incidents, McLaughlin’s building now has a whopping $150,000 deductible.

Condo owner Jack McLaughlin tells the CBC's Kirk Williams how a simple leak under his sink became a huge expense.

Condo owner Jack McLaughlin tells the CBC’s Kirk Williams how a simple leak under his sink became a huge expense. (CBC)

It’s not something many owners seem to be aware of, said Lindsay de Craene, of The InsureBC Group.

“There’s a lot of people out there who just have no idea they could be on the hook for these deductibles.”

Most condo insurance policies cover a $25,000 deductible, but there have been so many claims, deductibles have been going up faster than the coverage being offered.

“There’s really only two or three companies in the marketplace that will cover those high limits,” de Craene said.

De Craene said it can pay to find out if you can buy more coverage for higher deductibles.

With files from the CBC’s Kirk Williams

Simple 10 Tips for Home Security

Simple 10 Tips for Home Security

10 Simple Tips for protecting your home from theft and unwanted activity:

  1. If your home has been broken into, call the Police and do not touch anything until the Police tell you it is safe to do so.
  2. Always remember to keep doors and windows locked, even while at home.
  3.  Use good quality deadbolts (the deadbolt should have a “throw” length of 1″ – the “throw” is the part that extends into the door frame) on all exterior doors (including the door from the garage into the home).
  4.  Install a strike plate (the flat metal plate that fits onto the door frame and accepts the deadbolt throw when locked). The strike plate should be 6″ to 8″ long and installed with 3″ long screws to give maximum support.
  5.  Install a Door Reinforce Collar: a U-shaped metal sleeve that fits over the door and increases the strength of the door surrounding the deadbolt and door handle. To install a door reinforce collar, the deadbolt and door handle are removed, the door reinforce collar is installed and the deadbolt and door handle are then installed on top of the door reinforce collar. Door reinforce collars are available at all hardware stores.
  6.  Any glass around an outside door should be at least 40 inches from the lock or be unbreakable.
  7.  Glass doors should be replaced with solid doors.
  8.  Replace glass beside the doors with glass bricks or put security film on the glass.
  9.   If you see suspicious or criminal activity, call the Police. If a suspect is present, call 911.
  10.  If no suspect is present, call the Police non-emergency line at 604 278-1212.
For more information about this topic or if you have questions on how a home inspection can help you, please contact us at 778.898.6831 or Thanks for checking in, be sure to visit us on Facebook as well for up to date news on enjoying your home.

Am I Buying a Grow-Op House?

 Am I Buying a Grow-Op House?

Marijuana Grow Operations and clandestine labs harm communities. They appear in homes or outbuildings in residential, rural or commercial/industrial areas. Wherever they exist, there is an increased risk of criminal activity and serious or even irreparable damage to personal property.

The RCMP is now publishing online the addresses of homes where marijuana grow-ops and other drug production operations were found. Its being called the Marijuana Grow Initiative and is located here.

But the RCMP only has jurisdiction in certain areas. Vancouver itself is under the Vancouver Police Department and they do not have a publicly available location with addresses of former grow-ops. Even the RCMP site is not exhaustive, actually it seems really short.

So is there a sure way to know if the home you live in or are considering purchasing, a former grow-op or meth lab?

If the police had found it and had it dismantled previously, then yes. You can contact the City of Vancouver and ask. It’ll take them a very short time to pull up the home and check the computer to see if the home had previously lost its occupancy permit due to a grow-op and what kind of remediation was done. As for the suburbs of Metro Vancouver, the respective City Hall’s should also have that information on file.

The answer is no for the homes that were never caught. The home is like the fugitive on the run that didn’t get caught and could be fixing up to go clean. But with a good home inspector, they should be able to find signs of a previous grow-op.

Does the owner have to disclose that it was a grow-op?

Yes. By law, the owner must disclose all material latent defects. However, if you buy the home and find out after moving in, it all becomes a big legal nightmare that might not pan out. Maybe the owner did not know themselves because it happened before the moved in, or they could be hiding it.

What the court says is, caveat emptor. Buyer beware.

How do you protect yourself?

I’ve helped sell and purchase grow-op homes many times before. Even if you don’t have the suspicion that a grow-op had taken place, its best to do your own due diligence. That means making sure your home inspector doesn’t find any signs of a previous grow-op; and that your Contract stipulates that the home NEVER had been used for a grow-op or any form of criminal activity.

At least with a warranty like that in your Contract, it means ALL parties involved are confirming that it is not a grow-op you are buying. That puts everyone on the hook, the owner and all real estate agents involved. Its not a 100% deterrent, but at least you force the issue and make sure everyone is looking our for your best interests since your best interests now coincides with their own. And if you’ve got a home inspector, he’s also on the hook when he says, “No, there were no signs of a grow-op here.”

The only times I’ve met someone who bought a grow-op without it knowing is because they didn’t do a home inspection AND that they didn’t stipulate the owner must warranty there never was one. They only asked the question but didn’t back it up with homework.

I hope no one ever goes through that. Get your home inspection and cover your bases. I’ve been hearing about these articles saying inspections are a waste of money. They’re so wrong. If the situation comes up where you plan not to include a subject to inspection, like during a multiple offer situation. Then have the owner guarantee there was never a grow-op as I mentioned before. Or have one done prior to making an offer.
A special thank you to Michael Nam Nguyen for sharing his article. Michael is Real Estate Advisor in Vancouver BC with Sutton Group West Coast Realty | Specializing in residential sales, investment property and development. Should you have any questions or if your interested in his real estate services, please contact Michael Nam Nguyen at