Spring maintenance and heat dome preparation

What a spring – we had snow on the local mountains this past week and temperatures overnight are still hovering around 4° C. It’s hard to believe that it was about five weeks from now, last year, we saw backyard temperatures of 43° C. We have put together some tips to get ready for summer – if winter ever leaves us behind.


Heat dome


We live in a special place, on the edge of the forest at the edge of a city. We know that this intersection makes Lynn Valley special and the people who live here care deeply about our wild areas. However, there is tension between urban and wild areas and we have to take care of both – last year we spoke to the DNV Fire Rescue services about preparing our homes for wildfires

DNV Fire Rescue cooling kids off at Lynn Valley Park.

It may be unlikely we have another heat dome like last year’s extreme heat but the statistics have temperatures climbing and longer stretches of warm weather are becoming more common. A heat warning, as defined by Environment Canada, means daytime and nighttime temperatures or humidex values are expected to be higher than the average high temperature for 2 or more days in a row.

Here is what you can do to prepare:

Before:

  • Listen to local news and weather reports for heat warnings.
    • Know the humidex rating – it combines the temperature and humidity to indicate how hot the weather feels to the average person.
  • Find ways to keep cool before hot weather starts.
    • Arrange air conditioning and fans to help keep your home cool.
    • Find out where you can go to get cool such as public libraries, malls, and municipal cooling centers: last year the NVDPL opened for cooling, as did the Pipeshop on Lonsdale and there were additional misting centres. 
    • Discuss heat safety with members of your household. Have a plan for wherever you spend time – home, work and school – and prepare for possible power outages.
  • Get trained in first aid to learn how to treat heat-related emergencies.
  • Ensure you have sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), as sunburned skin reduces the body’s ability to cool itself.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of cool liquids before you feel thirsty to reduce your risk of dehydration and heat-related illness.
  • Ensure that your animals’ needs for water and shade are met.
  • Make sure you know those who are most at risk in your neighbourhood, such as the elderly, children and those who are sick or in need of extra assistance.

During:

  • Stay hydrated and cool
    • Drink plenty of cool fluids, even if you don’t feel thirsty, and check-in with children and seniors to make sure they are drinking regularly.
      • Avoid caffeine and alcohol because they can cause dehydration, which stops your body from controlling its temperature properly
    • Avoid being outside during the hottest part of the day (typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.).
    • Dress for the heat and for your activity level:
      • Wear light, loose clothing to let air circulate and heat escape.
      • Always wear a hat and apply sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher before going outside.
    • Slow down your activities as it gets hotter. Move indoors and don’t work, exercise, or play outside for an extended period of time.
      • Take frequent breaks in a cool or shady area and use a buddy system if you need to be outside when it’s hot.
    • Check on your pets and animals frequently – make sure their needs for water and shade are met.
  • Check with your neighbours, friends and those at risk.
    • Pay close attention to how you and those around you feel. Following public health guidelines in your province or territory, check on vulnerable family members, friends and neighbours (such as children, the elderly and ill) who may require assistance.
    • Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, or heat stroke, can happen to anyone who stays in the heat and sun for too long.
      • Watch for symptoms of heat illness, such as:
        • Dizziness or fainting

          Lynn Valley asphalt temperature last June.

        • Nausea or vomiting
        • Headache
        • Rapid breathing and heartbeat
        • Extreme thirst
        • Decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine
        • Changes of behaviour in children

Annual Spring home maintenance


We would all love a low-maintenance home – and the reality for that to be the case, being diligent about the little to-dos helps avoid major repair costs. Now is the time to tackle a few projects outside to maintain the appearance and value of your home. 

  •  Check out the roof

It is vital to ensure your roof is free of damage. An issue with your roof, such as damage to shingles, flashing, or leaks, can quickly impact other areas. Look for missing, torn, or curling shingles and any shingles with missing granules.

  • Clean out the gutters and downspouts

Over time, gutters and downspouts can get clogged, especially if you have many trees and vegetation in your neighbourhood. We all know that clogged gutters can cause water damage and prevent water from being directed away.

Remove any debris, patch holes in your gutter with exterior grade caulking, and check your downspouts to ensure they are properly directing it away from your structure.

  •  Inspect the foundation from the outside

Your foundation is often the source of water issues in your basement. Do a walk around the exterior, check for cracks in the foundation, and inspect the exterior walls, siding, and brick for damage. If you identify issues, contact a foundation specialist to look.

  • Check seals around exterior windows and doors

The cold weather can cause cracks or harden the caulk around your windows and doors. Inspect the seals on all windows and doors and replace them as required. This will help prevent water from getting in and help reduce your energy bill. Replace any broken or damaged screens.

  • Take a closer look at the garage doors

Check the garage doors to make sure they are working. Vacuum dust and dirt around the doors, make sure nothing could fall and prevent the doors from working properly.

  • Check the chimney

If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, it’s important to check the chimney and the unit for any blocks or damages. Look between the joints of bricks and stones.  Have any fallen out? Is there vegetation growing out of them? Each signals water infiltration. Also, look for efflorescence—a white calcium-like deposit that indicates your masonry joints are no longer repelling water but absorbing it.


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

3 pieces of homework to do this Fall to take advantage of a changing real estate market

There have been some changes and lots of chatter about the local housing market in the last few months. LynnValleyLife’s experts believe strongly that for some it may be the perfect time to make a long awaited move. While some segments of the housing market are going strong, others are measurably dropping and every indication is they will continue to do so. Combine this with the new tougher lending rules which have taken many buyers out of the market and the result is a unique opportunity to “move up” for those who have or can gain access to some funds.  There is no time like now to do your homework and see if you fit into this group.


Step 1 Explore your capacity (“Could I do it, if I wanted to?”)


“We know from our experience current statistics and trends – this is absolutely time for a certain part of the market to make a move up,” says Jim Lanctot, realtor and LynnValleyLife’s founder. “But we also know it is not worth the stress and heartburn if the new lending rules make it impossible, even though your cash flow says you can do it.”

Take a look at the last few years and assess your life changes – promotions, additional income, less debt – and how they have impacted your borrowing capacity, says Lanctot.

“The rules brought in on January 1st have changed the lending landscape and your life may have changed too,” said Lanctot. “Go in and have a chat with a mortgage broker to fully understand the new rules and get a clear picture of purchasing capacity. It’s invaluable information and the mortgage brokers do it for free.”

September is a great time to reach out to your broker or touch base with one of several experienced LynnValleyLife’s mortgage brokers such as:  Mortgage Dave,  Tim Hill or Linda Findlay.


Step 2.  Take advantage of market changes (“Do I want to do it?”)


“For those that can afford to move up from the $1.25M – $1.6M bracket to the $1.75M+ bracket this is a time to put some cash in the bank,” says Lanctot. “It looks like the next 90 days offer a unique opportunity sell while buying in the next six months could have you measurably ahead.”

The fluctuations and changes in the real estate market haven’t been affecting the different price segments equally.

“The market is healthy – to very healthy – below the $1.7M mark,” explains Lanctot. “If you have been looking to move up from below $1.7M to above $1.7M it’s the time for you.”

The typical balanced ebb and flow of a buyer’s vs. seller’s market isn’t happening in Lynn Valley right now. Above the $1.7M mark the market shifts dramatically towards a buyers market, he said.

“If sale prices are dropping at certain percentage –  for example a $2.5M home last year looks like it will be selling for less and you are selling your home for $1.6M it means you now have a smaller step up to buy,” adds Kelly Gardiner, LynnValleyLife founder and realtor.


Step 3.  Talk to Your Local Experts (“Make a plan and do it”)


“A lot has happened in 2018 – government policy has changed, mortgage rules tightened and the market has shifted,” says Lanctot. “There is no crystal ball or guarantees, but all signs are pointing to a unique opportunity for some families – and you don’t have to fly solo.”

September is a great time to harness the momentum of summer’s end  and reassess the future.

“Come in and have a cup of coffee,” says Lanctot. “There are good opportunities locally. Together, we can help you understand where you are in the market with what you currently own and create that plan to get you in the home or investment that fits your current needs and financing capabilities.”  

The LynnValleyLife office is located at 3171 Mountain Highway. Jim Lanctot and Kelly Gardiner can be reached at 778-724-0112 or at [email protected] or [email protected].


Looking for more?


There’s always something fun and exciting happening in Lynn Valley. Check out our Community Events Calendar or learn more about Local Activities, Mountain Biking or Hiking and Walking Trails.

The Provincial Budget and Lynn Valley Real Estate

This week’s provincial budget had a focus on housing and real estate. Some policies are tax measures geared at the wider-province but could have impacts here in Lynn Valley. If you are planning to buy or sell in the next few months here are some issues you might want to consider.

The government released a 30-point housing strategy aimed at reducing housing demand, curbing tax fraud, building affordable housing, and increasing security for renters.

New tax measures include increasing property taxes and property transfer taxes on residential properties valued above $3 million, expanding the foreign buyer tax, and implementing a housing speculation tax.

LynnValleyLife’s real estate experts Jim Lanctot and Kelly Gardiner are available to help you understand how these changes will affect your property sale or property search. They can be reached at 778-724-0112


Tax Measures


Foreign Buyer tax

  • Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the foreign buyer tax will increase to 20 per cent from 15 per cent and will be extended to the Fraser Valley, Capital, Nanaimo, and Central Okanagan Regional Districts.

“This may refocus some of the buyers who left the North Shore for regions like Victoria,” said Jim Lanctot, publisher with LynnValleyLife and realtor with the Lynn Valley office of Sutton WestCoast Realty. “By distributing this tax wider it may no longer deter those keenly interested in areas like the North Shore.”

Speculation Tax

  • The province will implement a new speculation tax on residential properties, targeting foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay income tax in B.C. This includes those who leave their homes vacant.
  • The tax will apply to the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Capital, and Nanaimo Regional districts and in the municipalities of Kelowna and West Kelowna.
  • In 2018, the tax rate will be $5 per $1,000 of assessed value. In 2019, the tax rate will rise to $20 per $1,000 of assessed value.
  • The province will administer the tax and will collect data to enforce it including, social insurance numbers, household information, and world-wide income information.

Property Transfer Tax

Effective Feb. 21, 2018, the Property Transfer Tax on residential properties above $3 million will increase to five per cent from three per cent.

Provincial School Tax

Beginning in 2019, the provincial school tax will increase on most residential properties in excess of $3 million.


Affordable Housing


The province will:

  • Invest $6 billion in affordable housing to create 114,000 homes over the next 10 years.
  • Enhance local government capacity to build and retain affordable housing.
  • Require developers to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment of pre-sale condo purchases.
  • Track beneficial ownership information.
  • Collect additional information to increase transparency and strengthen enforcement in real estate.

Database on pre-sale condo assignments

The province will require developers to collect and report comprehensive information about the assignment of pre-sale condo purchases. The information will be reported to a designated government office and shared with federal and provincial tax authorities to ensure taxes are paid.


Other Highlights


Task force on money laundering and tax evasion

The province will work with the federal government to formalize a multi-agency working group on tax evasion, money laundering and housing.

Residential Tenancy Branch

Increased funding to the Residential Tenancy Branch to reduce wait time, improve service and deal with disputes more quickly, as well as strengthening the Residential Tenancy Act and the penalties for those who repeatedly break the law.

(Source: Greater Vancouver Real Estate Board)

Emery Village development info session planned

LV Community Association president Gillian Konst asked us to pass along an invitation to learn more about the redevelopment proposed for Emery Village (the rental housing area that is currently east of Mountain Hwy and 24th Street, off Emery Place). Proposals for the layout of the property, the multifamily low- and high-rise building, and amenities are here

Lynn Valley Community Association is facilitating an information session on the new development plans for Emery Village.  Our role is to encourage everyone to help shape change in their community.

This is a second opportunity for you to learn more about the proposal, and consider such questions as:

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Lynn Valley realtors address sellers’ “fear factor”

There was a good article written by Barbara Yaffe in the Vancouver Sun, outlining one of the reasons behind the current shortage in home listings.

She writes “Observers agree that the fear of selling one’s home and not being able to find another property is part of the story behind a low inventory of real estate listings, both in Vancouver and Toronto. The situation is handicapping buyers and sending prices skyward.”

And, later in the article, “if they want to buy something else in their neighbourhood, they are likely to face that scourge of the real estate industry, the bidding war.”

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Downsizing – Go Big Going Smaller

downsizing picThe fears most of us have about downsizing from the homes we’ve lived in for decades, raised our families in and filled with memories are very real to us but the good news is they are just fears. We still have the memories. And, hey, we’re a bit tougher than that. Besides, fear has a way of evaporating when we don’t fight it and focus instead on reasons to move on with our lives. The lesson we get to learn here is – there really is a new chapter waiting for us out there.

Now that’s kind of exciting.

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Mountain Court goes to public hearing

Interested in the local townscape? Polygon Properties will be at District Council on Tuesday, June 16 at 7pm, hoping that their bid to redevelop the site on 27th Street across from Safeway will be supported.

You can learn more about the proposal here. As envisioned in the Official Community Plan for Lynn Valley, the site would include new road connectors and pedestrian pathways to facilitate traffic flow within the evolving town centre.

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LVLife welcomes new sponsoring realtor

The LynnValleyLife team is growing, and we couldn’t be happier to introduce to you the newest sponsoring realtor of our community news website.

We know, though, that for many of you Suzanne, or “Suzie,” Callaghan needs no introduction! Like many of you (and our editor!) Suzanne is an Argyle Secondary grad who has spent the last two decades raising her family in her friendly hometown ‘hood!

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