Thursday 27 August 2015

Disclosure Statements in Real Estate

Disclosure Statements are a common term in real estate, but the term can actually refer to two very different documents.

When you buy a home the seller most often has completed a "Property Disclosure Statement". This is a real estate board form which provides answers to set questions regarding a property. A Seller can choose how many of the questions to answer or even if they want to fill out this form. It is signed by the Seller and at the time of a sale can also be signed by the Buyer as having been read and accepted. This becomes a binding part of the contract and holds the Seller accountable to the answers provided.

When buying a property that is part of a development, there may also be a "Developer's Disclosure Statement", but this is a document prepared for the developer by a lawyer. This Disclosure Statement will include various rules for the development as well as any easements or covenants placed on the land. It may also include a Building Scheme - explaining what the rules are for building a new home. Examples of some of the things to be found in this type of a Disclosure Statement is no clotheslines; no front yard fences; landscaping or lawn requirements; lighting requirements; driveway requirements and even house building standards (siding, roof line, etc). These Disclosure Statements are not just found in residential neighbourhoods. Many more remote developments, where a Seller has parcelled off a number of lots in a development, will have a Developer's Disclosure Statement. This may cover things such as how long a recreational vehicle can be parked on the property, whether a mobile home can be put on the property, how access is to be used, etc. There may even be a Building Scheme, if the developer wants a certain look to the development, such as cottage specifications or no two level homes. If a property has a Disclosure Statement then the Contract of Purchase and Sale must acknowledge the Buyer's receipt of the document as well as any subsequent amendments, prior to being presented to the Seller/Developer. A contract should not be prepared on a property until the prospective buyer has had the opportunity to read and acknowledge the Disclosure Statement.

It is important in all cases to make sure you are aware of Disclosure Statements, as they can have a big impact on how you use the property you are interested in purchasing.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 20 August 2015

New Look for BC Oceanfront Website

Today we launch a new look for the BC Oceanfront website. This has been years in the making it seems, but was started in earnest a few months ago. It was time!

 Larger photos and easier to read online listings are just some of the improvements that were made with the help of Chameleon Creative. We are very excited to have a website that is platform responsive so that no matter what device or browser you are using you will get a full-service and easy-to-use website. There are also some backdoor editor improvements that you may not see but will make Kate and Jennifer’s ability to edit and upload to the site easier.

We have kept what made the site special, in particular the wealth of information and knowledge that Ed, Shelley and BC Oceanfront are known for. Our information packages, also sporting a fresh look thanks to Jennifer, include all the information they have in the past such as great property details, mapping and lots of pictures. The information we now provide can be as simple as a good online map, or as detailed as latitude and longitude coordinates or even UTM coordinates. We have worked to address the needs of different clients, from the ones who surf the site casually dreaming of the property they want to own one day to the clients who are very clear on what they want and expect more detailed information. The site now has a search function (using keywords, try it out) and allows us to put more information in front of the client.

We hope you enjoy the upgraded site, we are excited to bring this fresh look to our clients!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 13 August 2015

What are Marine Parks?

The coast of BC has over 40 designated marine parks. These are parks that include both water and land areas but are generally accessible by float plane or boat only (with some exceptions). Many of them allow wilderness camping but only a few offer even basic services (an outhouse, water, campsites).
Rebecca Spit Marine Park, accessible by road as well as boat on Quadra Island.
These marine parks run along the entire coast of BC and among the numerous islands that dot the coast. They are an attraction for boaters, kayakers, hikers and many others. The largest marine park on the coast is the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, off the NE coast of Vancouver Island, which consists of dozens of small islands and the waters around them. This park is very popular with kayakers and people whale watching.

Marine parks often provide a welcome refuge for people traveling along the coast, and are common meet-up spots for boaters.  Desolation Sound Marine Park, along the central coast, is very popular with boaters due to its protected waters, easy access to the Discovery Islands and its beautiful beaches.
private properties within Desolation Sound Marine Park

Some of the remote and recreational properties we have listed through the BC Oceanfront office either border or are very near to marine parks. A select few are even lucky enough to be private property within a marine park - very rare.
flying over Surge Narrows Marine Park

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 6 August 2015

Power on Remote and Recreational Properties

When dealing with recreational and remote properties there are considerations that don't come up with regular residential properties. For instance - is there power and where does it come from?

Some recreational and remote properties are close enough to small communities that they can hook into existing BC Hydro power supplies. It can be surprising how many boat access communities, such as Quatsino on the NW coast of Vancouver Island, actually have power from BC Hydro. This is then just like obtaining power for any new property - lines need to be accessed and power brought into the property through coordination with BC Hydro, neighbouring properties and local communities.

For properties beyond the scope of BC Hydro, there are still options for power. Many of the older, more established remote properties will have gas generators of some sort. This involves generators and usually a battery bank to store power so that the generators aren't running all the time. This requires gas to be brought on to the property, and general upkeep on the equipment.

Solar power has become an attractive option for some, and it is not unusual to see a house or cottage with an array of solar panels on the roof. These supply a battery bank which stores the energy. Some larger properties have been known to use solar power but keep a gas generator on hand as an emergency back-up system.

Another option for those who have access to a running water supply is personal use hydro-power. This requires a license for the water use, and on a good, strong water source can be a great power supply. There are a variety of set-ups depending on the amount of power required.

All of the options have pros and cons when it comes to upkeep, initial cost of installation and materials, efficiency, etc. It requires some good research both on the options and the property itself. At BCO we have a good deal of information on alternative energy and are always looking out for new and innovative ideas in power for remote/recreational properties.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!