Real Estate in Squamish – Talking with the experts

When we talk about what you need to know about buying a home, seeking out the right real estate agent has to be a top priority. This past week we sat down with Tara Hunter at MacDonald Realty to get her perspective as a Squamish real estate agent.

Whether you are buying or selling, choosing an agent is the obvious place to start. So how to do you go about finding the right one for you? Tara recommends getting online and doing your research. Once you have narrowed down what looks good on “paper”, set up a face to face meeting and see what kind of chemistry you have together. You need to have trust to make the relationship work. All that said, word of mouth still goes a long way when it comes to a referral in this industry.

As someone looking to purchase a home, you won’t pay an agent to represent you. Your agent will be paid by the seller of the property. There are standard percentages in place regarding these rates. You don’t need to have an agent represent you to buy a home BUT, other than getting their services for free, there are plenty of advantages to using one. There is a lot of fine print in the legal documents that go along with the purchase of a home. A realtor can make sure you are protected in that department. Using a local agent is making the most of local knowledge – they know if a property has a wooden foundation or how the strata is managed. They also have valuable information from the district that might include zoning bylaws and future developments that could affect your desired property. Experience goes a long way!

In Tara’s decade of experience in the industry, the biggest mistake she sees are those who don’t use representation or use the wrong representation. She sees many buyers who have sold their homes in Vancouver and use the same real estate agent to find them a home here in Squamish. The lack of local knowledge doesn’t always work out well for those buyers.

Although Tara rates today’s market as “stable”, 2016 has had some major fluctuations. January to March was an outstanding time with far more buyers than sellers on the market. Homes were selling quickly and often with multiple offers over asking. But things have considerably slowed down in the last month. The foreign buyers tax in Metro Vancouver took effect Aug. 2 and we are feeling the effects of that here in Squamish. The cooling market in Vancouver (more info here) is slowing the migration to Squamish.

Buyers in today’s market are often looking for a “mortgage helper” in the form a secondary dwelling. Although upgraded kitchens and bathrooms are great features, according to Tara, adding a carriage home is the best investment you can make in your home for resale value. If you want to read more about zoning for carriage homes in Squamish, see here.

Trusting your agent is the key to any successful transaction. Do your research and find the professional that is going to make this process as painless as possible for you. Your happiness is their best reference!

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