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episode # 81

Rookie Mistakes Vancouver Real Estate Investors Make with Jon Lumer and Jeremy Rae

Join Matt and Adam for another edition of the VREP Roundtable, featuring Vancouver New Condos team member Jon Lumer and New Westminster Realtor® extraordinaire Jeremy Rae.

This episode was recorded over a glass of The Fuzz Milkshake IPA from Bridge Brewing in North Vancouver.

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Episode Summary


On the New Westminster market:

At the end of July, Jeremy took numerous offers on a ground-floor loft apartment (there were 14, nine of which were subject-free). It listed at $400,000 and sold at $497,000 without negotiating. Condos are doing well; inventory is low, as is typical for this time of year. Houses have slowed down. At a 20% sales ratio, it’s a sellers’ market. An entry-level, move-in ready house starts at about $1.2 million, and busier streets are less expensive. For condos, an entry-level one-bedroom in a newer building (built after 2000) goes for the $400,000 range, and rental rates near a SkyTrain are $1,600-1,700 per month.

For the past three to five years, New West has become trendy. It has a lot of character and history, and a diverse group of people. There isn’t a suburban feel, it’s very walkable and accessible by bike. There are many amenities like restaurants, and new buildings. Many people jump from New West to Port Moody.

On the worst part about being a realtor:

Jeremy – Other realtors can be brutal to deal with at times. Sometimes it feels like they’re not facilitating the same thing. Working evenings and weekends can be tough; it’s a lifestyle.

Jon – It’s a commission-based industry. You can spend months or years helping people and sometimes it doesn’t pan out. You must make peace with this and see the big picture to be a good realtor.

Matt – You talk to a lot of people every day and you give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but there are shady people that can make you cynical. For instance, a guy wanted to write an offer and was ready to spend a lot of money but turned out to have been arrested in multiple places for fraud. He was already known in the industry.

On a common misconception about the Vancouver market:

Jon – People look at resale and can’t find anything they can afford, so they decide to look at presales. In the past, there were discounts for building a presale and waiting to take possession of the new place, but it’s now often more expensive to do this. Presales are too popular; the under $1 million category will generally sell out in 24 hours.

Matt – A client was looking to switch their buyers’ agent. The misconception is that it will hurt the agent’s feelings. It’s a big purchase, so if you don’t feel like you’re getting the right service you should not feel bad. There’s a lesson to be learned for agents.

Jeremy – The new Brewery District area does not have a brewery. It’s called Sapperton and is one of the most historic areas of New West.

Adam – History is going to repeat itself or dictate the future. People say their friends and family have made hundreds of thousands of dollars and expect the same. The global context for this changes and needs to be considered. The market will self correct—people are short-sighted.

On common mistakes that investors make:

Jon – People want to invest only in the neighborhood in which they live. You won’t be checking in on it constantly and need to broaden your horizons outside your comfort circle. There is an experience and knowledge base to tap into—build a team that knows the area (for instance, Jeremy in New West).

Adam – We’re a cash neutral or cash positive market. Many markets, especially for new construction, require a 30-50% down payment. The capital gains model is risky. Many investors think their 20% down payment will cover taxes, maintenance, etc., but this is not the case.

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