These Real Estate Experts Demystified Vancouver Listings & Here Are 7 Things To Look Out For
You're dream-home bound with this handy list.
Whether you're buying your first home in Vancouver or looking to sell and upgrade to something new, feeling a bit lost in this pricey and ever-changing market is normal.
Take property listings, for example. How can you know if somewhere is worth visiting, let alone considering your new home?
Real estate agents Jamie Wegner and Alan Calimbas know the unique reality of B.C.'s largest city all too well, and their advice can steer you in the right direction when it comes to browsing house listings.
Wegner and Calimbas both work with Properly, a new kind of real estate company whose suite of easy-to-use online tools and team of property experts help to rid the buying and selling process of unnecessary stress.
To find out more about how to interpret Vancouver listings, Narcity Canada talked with Wegner and Calimbas who shared seven tips to keep in mind when you start your property search.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
All Good Listings Have These Details In Common
To tell the difference between a top-quality listing and a lacklustre one, the real estate agents look at what information has been provided.
For Wegner, a good listing has to include: "Eye-catching photography, combined with home staging, a catchy Instagram reel, and the right pricing strategy."
At the very least, he added, a listing should have great photography, video, a floor plan and a well-thought-out description.
Calimbas emphasized that a listing isn't all about the house either: "Access to desired amenities [is] very important to the buyers who will be purchasing as real estate is all about location!"
The Right Staging Goes A Long Way
Staging refers to how the property has been prepared for showing and can include everything from furniture to cleaning and even painting.
"You can have the most beautiful home with a fantastic floor plan, but if the furniture doesn't [complement] the space, it can really be a deterrent for buyers," explained Calimbas.
"You have to paint the picture of what the home could look like if they were to live there."
When you're browsing listings, staging can help you get an idea of the size of a room as well as if the property has been cared for. Buying a well-maintained home means less work for you when you get to move in.
Because good preparation can make all the difference, Properly provides up to $6,000 to help homes look their best before they're put on the market.
How To Spot 'Creative' PhotographyIan Whitworth | Dreamstime
Another key element in a property listing is photography. While excellent pictures can make a property look fantastic, some photos don't tell the whole story.
"Different camera angles can make a home look more spacious," said Wegner. "Sometimes photoshop is used to fix imperfections or make the property look in better condition than it actually is."
One tip he suggested is to compare the photography to the floor plan. If the pictures don't make sense, then some creative license may have been taken.
For Calimbas, a listing with an excessive amount of irrelevant photos is a giveaway: "Homes that need work or are considered undesirable will have photos of features other than the home."
If there are plenty of pictures but half of them are of the neighbourhood, the realtor's logo or generic images of the Vancouver skyline, for example, there’s something about the property that they're not showing you.
How To Recognize Accurate ImagesCourtesy of Properly
The good news is that you can tell quite easily if a property is being accurately represented.
For Wegner, a listing that has at least 20 clear photos is on the right path, and Calimbas agrees.
"The more photos of the home itself, the better," he said.
Video tours are also an excellent way to get an idea of what a property looks like before you schedule a visit.
Real Common Real Estate Code Words
If you feel real estate listings are packed full of language that's tough to decipher, you're not alone.
Thankfully, Wegner shed light on some common phrases: "'Cozy' could mean a few different things," he said. "But the first thing that comes to mind is that the property will be on the smaller side."
"'Well-loved' in my mind is a home that has been cared for and looked after. 'Potential' usually means that there is room for improvements to the home to bring more future value. 'Fixer-upper' means that you should bring your tools or contractor because there is going to be work to do!"
Calimbas said you should also watch out for "good bones," which likely means the interior is worse for wear, and "charming," which tends to just mean "old."
The Kind Of Words You Want To Read
Conversely, there are positive terms the agents like to see.
"'High-end finishings,' 'stunning views,' 'over-height ceilings,' 'imported stone,' 'beautifully renovated with no expense spared,'" listed Calimbas.
Wegner added that a well-written description goes beyond keywords, and should include: "An effective opening statement, features and amenities, touch on the [neighbourhood], and descriptive words like ‘bright’, ‘custom,’ ‘natural light,’ ‘spacious,’ [and] 'wow factor'!"
Know Who Listed It & What Their End Game Is
Understanding who created the listing and why can help you understand what you're in for.
Properly, for example, wants to take the stress out of buying and selling real estate, so their agents go to great lengths to create beautiful and accurate listings that are in the best interest of the buyer and the seller.
"Properly real estate agents do as much due diligence as possible before listing a property to make sure they have all of the relevant information needed for buyers to make an informed decision," said Wegner.
"On the selling side, we offer home staging services, professional cleaning, professional photos & videos, and [we] provide a floor plan. All of these things combined make for an exceptional presentation when listing the property."
For many, getting into the real estate game in Vancouver might seem daunting, but it can be well worth the effort.
"Vancouver is like no other city in the world," said Wegner. "We have the mountains, ocean, [and] nature at our doorstep and we are rated one of the best cities to live in in the world."
Calimbas agreed, adding that: "Vancouver is one of the very few places in the world [where] you can ski, golf, and boat all in the same day!"
Having an understanding of what makes a good property listing is a great place to start when you're beginning the search for your new home.
And with the help of Properly's experts, you can be confident you will find something that checks all the boxes — even in Vancouver.