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Home-Security Tips

Hopefully, you are enjoying your summer so far. One thing summer brings for many people is spending a lot more time out and about. Whether that is a family vacation, beach days or any other way you like to enjoy the sun, it all means you should think about keeping your home secure while you are out. While the tips below are ideal for ensuring your home is secure during a summer fun, they are applicable all year round.

Change the locks

Receiving the keys to your new home is an exciting moment, but it is also a good idea to exchange them for new keys (and locks) once you move in. You never know for certain who has had a set of keys in the past. You should also change the locks straight away if you or a family member loses a set of keys.

Lock everything

This should go without saying, but better safe than sorry. Any potential access point into your home should be locked when you head out: doors, windows, garden gates, etc.

Ditch the backup key

All the locks in the world won’t do you any good if you have a key waiting for would-be intruders. ‘Hiding’ it under a welcome mat or plant pot is not secure enough. If you want to have an extra key available, keep it in your care (which should be locked), or invest in a properly-installed key safe.

Don’t provide a tempting target

Think about how your rooms are laid out. Try to avoid having expensive items, such as TVs, anywhere that is easily visible from outside your home.

Do your socializing offline

Using social media networks to ‘check-in’ is great for sharing with friends and creating a record of happy memories, but you might be inadvertently letting strangers know when you aren’t at home. Consider waiting until you are home to post that photo, and if you are using social networks, ensure you tighten up your privacy settings.

Throw some light on the situation

Depending on the type of property you live in, install a motion-activated security light by any entrances. It is a visual deterrent for anyone prowling around, and these people will prefer to stay hidden in the shadows.

RECBC Rule Change Notice

Changes to the Real Estate Council of BC’s disclosure requirements are designed to ensure that consumers have the information they need to make informed decisions in a real estate transaction.

We want to ensure that all of our consumers have an opportunity to make an informed decision on your agency rights and options.

Effective June 15, 2018 all real estate agents (licensees) must make disclosures about the intent of providing services to consumers earlier than had previously been the norm in the industry.

The Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services and the Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties detail the changes to the practices that licensees follow with clients. 

These forms will:

  1. clearly explain to consumers the difference between being represented and unrepresented, and;
  2. which of those options they are being offered by the licensee who is providing them with the form.

These new forms allow licensees to disclose the type of representation they will be offering a consumer and whether they are able to treat them as a client or as an unrepresented party.

To ensure that all of our consumers are well-informed and well-protected requires us to do more than just make sure that the right forms are signed. 

We will also make sure we:

  • Engage in clear and open communication with our clients, potential clients and unrepresented parties.
  • Engage in active listening to understand your expectations and respond to your questions.
  • Use our professional judgement.
  • Take time to ensure there is mutual understanding between you and our sales agents, so that you can make the best, fully-informed, decisions about your real estate transactions.
  • Carefully document conversations and agreements to prevent any misunderstandings throughout the sales process.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association’s Working with a REALTOR® brochure will no longer be used by licensees; effective June 15, 2018, licensees will use the “Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services” to disclose the type of representation they can offer a consumer.

https://www.recbc.ca/pdf/forms/Disclosure-of-Representation-in-Trading-Services.pdf

This new mandatory form outlines the difference between being representedand unrepresented, and which of those two options is being offered to you by the licensee who is providing you with the form.

For consumers who choose to conduct a real estate transaction without a real estate professional, licensees will provide you with the mandatory Council-approved “Disclosure of Risks to Unrepresented Parties” form for this disclosure.

https://www.recbc.ca/pdf/forms/Disclosure-of-Risks-to-Unrepresented-Parties.pdf

This form confirms that the licensee providing you the form will not represent you in the transaction for a variety of reasons, such as the licensee already acting on behalf of another client in the transaction.

While it is ultimately up to each consumer to decide whether they want to be represented by a licensee, the Real Estate Council urges all unrepresented parties to seek the advice of a professional during any real estate transaction.

CRA NETS $43.7 MILLION IN FINES RELATING TO REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS

The real estate booms in Vancouver and Toronto have led to more than sky-high prices and surging housing demand. According to CRA audits over the last three years, there have also been “additional taxes related to the real estate sector,” to the tune of $592.6 million.

Over that period, CRA reviews of more than 30,000 files in Ontario and B.C. have resulted in $43.7 million in penalties, says a Thursday press release. For 2017-2018 alone, “the CRA assessed $102.6 million more in additional taxes than in 2016-2017. Penalties increased by $19.2 million from one year to the next,” the release adds. 

Most Canadians pay their fair share of taxes, says CRA, but the agency has detected some who are avoiding paying taxes related to real estate transactions.

One method is through “unnamed persons requirements,” which the CRA issues to property developers and builders who have information about buyers involved in a pre-construction assignment sale of condos. “This information is used to identify taxpayers who may not be reporting correctly for both income tax purposes and GST/HST purposes,” the release says.

The agency says “buying a first home represents a great accomplishment” but that it’s committed to “taking concrete action against those who break the rules.”

QUICK TAX FACTS

  • Builders of new and substantially renovated residences or rental properties are required to collect and remit the GST/HST to CRA when they sell, rent out for the first time or appropriate the property for personal use. Additionally, purchasers of new residences must follow the rules when applying for new housing rebates.
  • Property flipping is not illegal, so Canadians have the right to purchase and sell property for a profit. However, the income resulting from these transactions is considered business income and must be reported.
  • The Canadian housing market is becoming more complex through pre-construction assignment sales and the real estate sharing economy (vacation rentals), and CRA is committed to ensuring tax obligations are met.

Source: Advisor.ca