October 31, 2014
Low-Cost Safety Equipment That Can Help Sell Your Home
While we like to think of our homes as a safe refuge, there are still many things we could do to make them even safer. If you are selling in the UBC real estate market, you should take care to make it as risk-free as possible.
A new buyer will want to see these things already installed in the home. With enough careful preparation, your home can be the safest place there is. To protect it and the people who live in it, safety experts recommend the following devices:
Most houses have a smoke alarm, but one truly is not enough. Fire safety recommendations state that there should be at least one smoke alarm on every floor of the house. You could go even further by placing one inside each bedroom and near areas prone to fire, such as kitchens and living rooms.
Always make sure that your smoke alarm's batteries are charged and operable. Many people dismantle smoke alarms because they will sound off while they are cooking, only to forget to replace the battery later on. Check batteries at the start of every fall and spring to be completely certain that smoke alarms are working properly.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Everyone is wary of fire, but less people concern themselves with carbon monoxide. This gas is odorless and colorless; it only takes a small amount to build up to unsafe levels.
Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm per household. Follow the instruction's recommendations to decide on a location.
The type of outlet switch with a “test” and “reset” button is called a ground fault circuit interrupter, or GFCI. These special outlet assemblies should be located in any room that has a high usage of electric devices or a high likelihood of splashing water.
They are generally installed in bathrooms and kitchens. If you are going to be using high-capacity devices frequently in a room then they may be useful there, as well.
Outlet Covers and Plates
Any infrequently used outlet is recommended to have a plate cover on it. This especially holds true if you have kids or pets in your house. If you have children living in your home, unplug devices from outlets in main areas after use and then replace the outlet cover.
These four devices alone can prevent unfortunate incidents from happening. Someone selling or renting their home should take the time to install these devices in order to reassure the new residents that they can sleep safe and sound.
If you have a home for sale near UBC, we would love to tell everyone how secure they will be once they move in. Our team of real estate experts will convincingly tout any benefit you add to your home while looking for the perfect buyer. Take a look at our seller's page to find out more about what we can do for you.
October 28, 2014
Increase in UBC Housing Fees Presents Opportunities for Local Home Renters
Recently, the University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus announced that they would be increasing housing fees by 20 percent for students living in university-run facilities. The average cost per month of student housing after the hike was calculated at $780.
This development has prompted dissatisfaction in most students. Their difficulty in affording on-campus housing could translate into big gains for landlords that rent properties on or near campus.
Students Deterred from Living on Campus Because of Fee Hike
The decision to increase the housing fee was made by the university's executives and board of governors, but without any student input. UBC is set to make a $6.5 million windfall as a result of the increase, which tallies to about $105-$140 per student.
Andrew Parr, managing director of student housing and hospitality at UBC, explained that the fee increase was necessary to cover funds for student services and financial support programs. He also claimed that the $780 cost was less than the typical rent in the area. Despite this assertion, he still acknowledged that directly comparing shared dorm facilities to private residences was inaccurate.
Potential Migration to Private Properties
Many students are likely be seeking alternatives in the vicinity instead of hoping for the university to change its mind. The local real estate market in Point Grey and near UBC has many available properties that would perfect for renting.
With private residences, students can have amenities that would not be available to them in most campus housing. For instance, they would be able to have their own private rooms and would not have to share a bathroom with hundreds of other residents. A house can also provide more robust facilities, such as a full kitchen and even a backyard.
A Perfect Time to Rent Housing to Students
This atmosphere presents a ripe opportunity for investing in housing on or near the UBC campus. Anyone who bought a one of the UBC homes for sale in the area could generate ample revenue from monthly rent. They would be providing local students with a beneficial service.
A savvy buyer could use the climate to their advantage by advertising rates better or at least comparable to the university's, but with added benefits. Students like housing that gives them freedom from the restrictions that most university-run housing options require.
Landlords could build a reputation by adding to their rented out properties as time goes on. Satisfied students can spread positive word-of-mouth and build the property owner's “branding” by voicing that private residences are more comfortable and convenient than living in university housing.
If you are interested in this unique market's potential, you could jump at the chance while it is still timely. Take a look at our property listings to find the perfect investment opportunity.
October 20, 2014
Five Advantages of Living Near a College Campus
All over Canada and the United States, a new trend is developing. Many older adults and retirees are relocating to college towns and settling down near their alma maters. There are several reasons why this movement is picking up steam.
A Slower Pace
While Vancouver is not a “college town” proper, the University of British Columbia's campus offers a slight respite from the bustling activity of the metro area. Students are concerned about making it to class on time, but they are not aggressively plowing through traffic trying to get back to their families at five o'clock.
Many students on campus do not own cars. The area of Point Grey where UBC is located has a relatively low traffic flow and far less population density than nearby downtown Vancouver. All of these factors mean a more leisurely atmosphere, peppered with the excitement of learning.
This laid back attitude is aided by the breathtaking scenery in the vicinity. Beautiful beaches surround Point Grey; they offer a tempting way to unwind during a free afternoon.
Lower Cost of Living
Students generally have very little to no income. Savvy business owners will cater to less affluent clientele; many shops in Point Grey do just that. Bulk produce, inexpensive lunches and affordable services all abound near UBC for this exact reason.
If you are a sports fan, the UBC Thunderbirds have countless teams for you to cheer for. If you are a fan of hockey, basketball, rugby, swimming, soccer or any other major team sport, you can find a local team to root for.
Many club sports are popular at UBC as well. You can enjoy watching the fencing group take on other schools, or watch students battle it out on the chess board or pool table.
If sports are not your thing, there are events being held nearly every day of the year. Colleges tend to attract world-renowned performers and guest speakers. Lectures, special exhibitions, musical performances and plays can all fill out your calendar.
The esteemed Vancouver Symphony Orchestra also frequently plays at UBC's Chan Centre during their concert events.
While no area is 100 percent “recession proof,” college towns are not subject to the fickleness of other market speculation. Students and professors will always need housing, and local businesses will always be there to support them.
When you purchase a property near a campus, you can rest assured that you will be well-insulated from the booms and busts of other real estate markets. Your investment will be protected and there will always be a demand for your property should you ever choose to sell.
If all of these reasons compelled you to take a closer look at one of the UBC homes for sale, we encourage you to visit our buyers page.
October 16, 2014
Tips for Renting Properties to Students
Renting out properties to students can be another way to generate income. Renting to students can actually be quite easy once some preparations are made. Here are some of the best ways to make renting to students as smooth as possible.
Learn How to Target Your Tenants
Many university student bodies have a reputation for being raucous party-goers. This is an unabashed exaggeration, but the fact remains that some students are more prone to getting rowdy than others.
To avoid attracting the wrong sort of crowd, go as much as you can by word-of-mouth recommendations. If you cannot find a quiet-mannered tenant through networking alone, you can also make stipulations as to who can rent from you.
For instance, writing “Grad students only” or mandating that the students be seniors or older can go a long way towards nipping reckless behavior in the bud. Older students tend to take their studies more seriously and spend more time working instead of messing around.
Be as Specific as Possible on the Lease Agreement
Having a written contract is vastly different from a passing verbal agreement. Lay out everything in the open for the student to sign. You should always make demands plain, such as:
- No pets
- Tenant maintenance responsibilities, such as mowing the lawn
- No more people living there than is on the lease
You could even set out penalties in the lease agreement if need be. For example, if your tenants forget to mow the lawn several months in a row, you can charge them a fine and use the money to hire a lawn service.
Develop a Consistent Plan for Rent Payments
Be very clear about the rent due dates. If you are nervous about tenants not paying on time, you can always get their parents to co-sign the lease. Many students are not yet accustomed to financial responsibility, but their parents should be. When the student cannot pay, you could then contact the parent directly to collect payment.
Protect Yourself from Liability
Having a lawyer review your lease agreement is always a good idea. Separate the landlord's responsibilities and expectations distinctly from the tenants. Also set aside some money in case you are faced with litigation or major repairs.
Documenting the state of the house before and after a tenant is also important. Take plenty of photos, and collect a security deposit from each tenant that can be kept if they fail to maintain the house properly.
Finally, make sure you abide by zoning laws. Single-family zoned areas can only have two unrelated tenants living together, or you could be subject to fines.
With enough care and forethought, your tenants can be easy to manage. Many landlords collect checks and visit the property once or twice a year to assess any regular repairs. If you are interested in finding one of the UBC homes for sale to rent out to students, you can start by visiting our buying page.
October 13, 2014
Investing in UBC Student Housing is a Great Opportunity
The University of British Columbia's Vancouver campus has a housing shortage. Purchasing a private property to rent to students on or near campus can be a great way to turn a tidy profit every month. You will also be providing a service to local students looking for a place to live.
UBC Outgrowing Its Dorms
UBC has over 50,000 undergraduates and graduate students attending any given semester. Many of these students do not have cars or wish to live as close as possible to campus.
Unfortunately for them, UBC has had difficulty in the last few years providing university-run housing for all who want it. A growing freshman class size has outstripped the school's ability to house all the students who want to live on-campus. Since freshman are guaranteed a housing spot, this year they were given more than 750 residence spaces that are normally reserved for upper-level students.
While there are several non-affiliated housing options for older students, these also fill up quickly. Many students are left wondering where to turn in order to find a place to live.
Give Them Some Shelter
Buying one of the many UBC homes for sale or UBC condos can help alleviate the campus' dire situation. An upfront investment can turn into a reliable source of revenue every month. Students will be grateful to have a place to live where they can walk or ride the bus to campus.
This idea works especially well if you have a child who will be a student at UBC. You can buy the house during their enrollment and save money on their rent while charging any of their roommates. When they move out, you can get their help to find new tenants that can be reliable and respectful of the property.
Going About the Process
Many people are unaccustomed to having students as tenants. With a few preparations, they can be as accommodating as any family living in your house, if not easier. Here are some pointers to help smooth out the process:
- Post vacancies on campus at the Student Union, or the foyer of the Graduate Student Society buildings
- You can demand only seniors or graduate students if you want to assure that they will be mature enough to take care of your property
- Remind the students that any houses not within walking distance of campus can still be reached by bus. All UBC students pay for a TransLink U-Pass that allows unlimited travel on local bus lines
- Make sure to file any rent as income on your tax return
- Since running a rental property is akin to a business, any repairs or regular maintenance may be eligible for tax deductions.
With due diligence and smart selection of tenants, you can have a reliable source of income with minimal involvement. To start looking for a potential student property that you would like to invest in, visit our buying page.
October 6, 2014
Top Attractions to Check Out While Checking Out UBC
The University of British Columbia and Vancouver real estate market is heating up, showing signs of growth. This means that there could not be a better time to make the move and join the crowd coming into the community.
So why is this area expanding? What is drawing everyone to this eclectic community? Aside from beautiful landscapes and one of the best universities in the world, there is an immense cultural draw. Let us take a look at four of the top attractions near UBC.
Nitobe Memorial Garden
This gorgeous facility spans an impressive 78 acres available for the public to enjoy. Walking tours and Segway tours are available for you to explore and see over 12,000 plants from around the area and from around the world.
Beaty Biodiversity Museum
With six collections containing hands-on exhibits, presentations, tours, a theater showcasing films, pull out drawer exhibits and more, this museum has much to offer. You can spend as little as an hour and half enjoying one exhibit at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, or spend several days trying to take it all in.
There are over 500 exhibits for you to enjoy, showcasing all aspects of local history and culture. You can take in the impressive skeleton of a 26 meter long blue whale—the largest creature to roam the earth, or perhaps visit Canada’s third largest fish collection. In an effort to showcase the natural beauty of our surroundings, the museum has curated a truly amazing collection.
UBC Museum of Anthropology
Ranked in the top five of all of Vancouver’s museums, the Museum of Anthropology is not to be missed. This world famous collection of historic works, including over 500,000 artifacts, contains the very famous sculpture Raven and the First Men. An image of this sculpture is shown on the back of Canada’s $20 bill.
Chan Centre for Performing Arts
The gorgeous design and superb acoustics of this performing arts center make it stand out from the rest. Since its opening in 1997, performers, artists, critics and the public have all flocked to sing the praises of this one-of-a-kind facility.
With a beautiful glass corona and three interior spaces designed to be a feast for the eyes and ears, it is no wonder that this is one of the best venues in North America. Performances in the theatre happen year round.
These amazing cultural experiences are worth checking out- swing by while you visit the area as you look for your next home, or once you find your dream home in the area. For more information or to check out current listings of UBC homes for sale, contact us and we will be glad to help!
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