Blog › June 2011

Check the recently listed property by Oleg Tsaryov.

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West Vancouver will be changing.

This idea of revitalizing Ambleside– the traditional heart and gateway of West Vancouver community – is not new. It has been under debate for many years, with lots of thoughtful, citizen-led reports outlining possibilities for enhancing the village and enriching the quality of life we treasure.

Along the 1300 block Marine, plans include a walk-through atrium, new four-storey mixed use buildings with commercial space below and housing apartment/condos above, new storefronts, new waterfront amenities and retention of the arts corridor and parks along the beach. West Vancouver municipality will continue to acquire the beachfront properties along Argyle for public use. The West Van Police station would be moved up by municipal hall. Opening hours would be extended beyond 7 pm.

Developers are also planning a 138 residential seniors housing building on the former Wetmore Motors site (2200 block Marine).

Plans for the rezoning and revitalization of the Safeway store site (1600-1700 block Marine) are also in the works. Count on a high rise proposal with the de rigueur mixed-use policy in full swing.

Rounding out the mix is Park Royal. Their  recent council approval for a new “at grade” street level intersection across Marine Drive indicates their intent to pursue several new developments. Their first project will be the removal of the westernmost vehicular overpass and the installation of the above mentioned street level intersection across Marine Drive.

Also on the horizon for Park Royal is their plans for a new multi-million dollar VIP movie theatre to be built on a new third level located at what can best be described as the back of the mall adjacent to the current Brick store location. This new third level mall structure will have eight new theatres, three of them VIP with liquor licensed concierge service, luxury “motion” seats and more.

Future Park Royal plans also include the development of the current White Spot corner into a high-rise, multi-use building with commercial on the lower level and condo apartments, similar to the adjacent West Royal Towers, on the higher floors.

West Vancouver will be 100 years old in 2012. In a century we have evolved from a quiet mill town, once connected to Vancouver by a single rowboat, to one of the most desirable and affluent municipalities on the West Coast. Yet we retain the ethos that makes us a place of excellence – a city nestled between the rain forest and the ocean, a community that embraces its First Nation heritage and preserves our unique lifestyle on the edge of a burgeoning metropolis of more than two million people.

Generations of civic participation and slow, thoughtful and financially prudent growth is how we and those before us built the West Vancouver that exists today. The Memorial Library built in 1950 to commemorate the soldiers of World War II, the 1975 policy to purchase waterfront lots in Ambleside to preserve the waterfront for the public and the new community centre in 2009 are just a few examples of West Vancouver’s quiet evolution as a community that inspires excellence and leads by example.

Years of thoughtful studies and plans, brought together by the Ambleside Town Centre Strategy Working Group, are ready to be brought to life. Successive Councils have listened to the community interest in having a village that builds on the local successful businesses we have today and brings residents closer to the village centre through the creation of smaller housing options.

In a revitalized Ambleside there will be more locals living close to the village centre, additional small retailers, pedestrian enjoyment, office space,  a strengthened arts scene and more to do in the evening. Ambleside must retain the village life we cherish, and it should not have to shut down after 7pm.

Oleg Tsaryov,

I am dedicated to helping my clients buy and sell luxury residential and investment property in West Vancouver.

July 1, 2011. The mortgage game.

Should you lock in, or take a risk and how much should first timers spend?

Many homeowners are wondering whether to lock debt such as mortgages and secured lines of credit into a fixed-rate mortgage or stay variable. Even some who are mortgage free are concerned with how rate increases will impact secured lines of credit, the financing of vacation homes and recreational property. First-time buyers may be particularly concerned with entering the national capital’s expensive real estate market.

What can you afford?

As a first time home buyer, it’s essential to figure out what you can afford. A quick rule of thumb is that your household expenses should not add up to more than 40 per cent of your pre-tax household income. Household expenses include mortgage payments, property taxes, condo fees, utility and heating costs, and any payments on other loans such as car loans, credit card debt and lines of credit.

First of all you should get a copy of your credit history from the credit bureau and/or Equifax Canada. As this is what lenders will look at, it’s important to review its accuracy.

Secondly, do a household budget, list your assets and liabilities and meet with a bank or mortgage broker to be pre-approved for a mortgage. Try the monthly payments on for size. Let’s assume that your current rent is $1,000 and your anticipated payment as a homeowner is $2,350 for principal, interest, taxes, hydro, etc. Try putting aside the extra $1,350 immediately. It will get you in the habit of allocating the level of payment every month. Consider the maintenance costs as well, from normal upkeep to potentially larger expenses like a new roof or re-plumbing.

Start saving before you start shopping — the larger the down payment, the lower the financing costs. Although it’s not always possible for first-time home buyers, try to come up with at least a 20-per-cent down payment. Any down payments below this level must be insured with Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) or Genworth Financial — another expense to factor in.

To assist with your down payment, consider using the Home Buyer’s Plan, which allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 from your RRSP for the purchase of a qualifying home.

Mortgage options

Fixed rate: If the prospect of rate increases is causing you significant concern, then perhaps you should consider locking in all or some of your debt. With the inflated home equity line of credit rates that consumers have been charged (prime plus 0.5 to one per cent instead of the traditional prime), it’s not that big a jump to a five-year fixed rate, perhaps as little as one per cent more.

If your fixed-rate mortgage is renewing in 2011 and you are interested in another fixed-rate mortgage, it may be worthwhile negotiating with your lender to close out your current mortgage and move into the new lower rate mortgage without penalty. As a strategy to pay off the mortgage sooner, consider increasing the payment and utilize weekly or accelerated bi-weekly payment schedules.

If you would like some level of security but don’t want a fixed rate on all your debt, consider a blend where a portion is at a fixed rate and the balance at a variable rate.

Variable rate: There are many studies that show that despite its volatility, a variable-rate mortgage tends to save more interest in the long term.

Variable-rate mortgages are best for consumers who are financially stable and can financially and emotionally handle the day-to-day fluctuations. One strategy is to benchmark your variable rate payment to that of a five-year, fixed-rate mortgage. Not only will you apply thousands of dollars against the principal and shorten the mortgage term, you will also build a higher potential payment into your budget.

Here are other tips for a variable-rate mortgage:

• Ask for a variable-rate mortgage at below prime. You might even be able to get prime minus 0.80 per cent.

• Negotiate a better rate on your home equity line of credit. Try to get the prime rate or prime plus 0.5 per cent, as opposed to the current prime plus one per cent that you are probably paying.

• Consider moving all of your debt to a combination of these two options.

For consumers who like the variable-rate mortgage option but are concerned about rate increases, ask your financial institution to give you a 90-day rate guarantee at their best discounted five-year rate. Keep the five-year, fixed-rate guarantee as insurance if rates increase significantly and renew it every 90 days until you feel rates have stabilized.

Your Extra Costs


Oleg Tsaryov

Top Realtor in West Vancouver

Recently Sold Listing 1508 - 7080 No 3 Road, Richmond, BC

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