Expert tips to lock down properties in Vancouver's red-hot housing market

With housing prices up and the supply low in Vancouver, prospective home buyers need all the help they can get to lock down properties in the red-hot market.

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The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said earlier this week that there were 4,172 homes sold in Metro Vancouver last month, a 36 per cent jump from a year earlier. But, at the same time, there are only currently about 7,300 properties listen for sale, which is down nearly 39 per cent. The board added that the average price of a detached home has also increased by 27 per cent, to over $1.3 million, from last year.

With these challenges in mind, here are some tips on how to win a bid for a prized property:

Stand out from your competition

Experts say buyers should go into the process with no conditions attached. That means getting financing in place ahead of time, and having a bank draft deposit on hand.

Realtors also say it can help to bring a deposit that is bigger than other competitors.

"I think, in some cases, people are coming with a higher deposit because, again, if you want to stand out compared to other offers, obviously, people will notice that," realtor Gary Serra told CTV Vancouver.

Serra even suggests buyers should write personal letters to sellers explaining the reasons behind their bids.

"We want to appeal to the seller, and make sure our offer stands out over another," he said.

Early home inspection

Experts also say buyers should get a home inspection as soon as possible.

Home inspector Shawn Anderson said half of his clients are taking him along to open houses.

"It is really crazy," said Anderson. "I was in one just recently where it was so packed, where it was like they were giving away free wine."

Kyle Gould, who recently moved to Vancouver from Ontario, says the process of looking for a home in a hot housing market is "frustrating."

"I got sticker shock, and it is a big reality that kind of smacked me in the face that it is a wild game out here," Gould said.

Assignment sales

Part of the issue may be that some buyers are now flipping homes in assignment sales. That's when buyers sell a contract before the closing date for a quick profit.

One Vancouver developer bought a property for $2.5 million last year and sold it for nearly a $1-million profit. But days after its sale, an advertisement on Craigslist popped up offering half of the property for $2.3 million.

"That's how the market is. Everybody's just trying to make the flip," the Craigslist seller told CTV Vancouver.

The Canada Revenue Agency is currently investigating the practice to ensure people are paying their fair share of taxes.

Vancouver-Point Grey MLA David Eby is calling for a system to track assignment sales.

Eby said he wants to be sure people are declaring the profits they're making through assignment sales.

"We have no idea the scope of the problem, about how much it may be inflating the real estate market," Eby said.

With files from CTV Vancouver


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