Friday, April 24, 2015

Equity with a Laneway House

Here are some of my thoughts on home equity for a laneway house. For the record we don't own the land that we are building the laneway house on, my parents do. So we are paying for the laneway house but we are getting zero equity in return. I worked out (somewhat informally) with my family how that will the equity would be divided in the distant future. So we are getting a (small) detached house for roughly the price of a two bedroom condo but we have no equity, no option to sell, our money is locked in until maybe the distant future. My wife and I are comfortable with this, we have a plan and this is going to be in line with what we want. To be honest with you I didn't really think about the equity portion of building a laneway house too much prior to getting it the process started. To us having our equity lock away for a while is okay, we didn't want to go with the alternatives: rent, buying a two bedroom, we can't afford a detached house, the only option that we really wanted to consider was a townhouse.

One thing that makes me wonder is will the money that we put into the laneway house, will that translate to equity for the entire property? Hypothetically does a million dollar piece of land with a $350K laneway house automatically mean $1.35 million in equity? I'm not sure, I actually don't know at all.

I've always approached the laneway house as our forever home. I don't anticipate needing to move. We have three bedrooms and two bathrooms, the space maybe small but in my opinion it's future proof for a while. I'm not going to worry about the equity (for now).


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stucco Video

I really enjoyed watching these stucco videos from His videos are really informative. I really like seeing him apply all the different finishes and matching existing  finishes.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Laneway House: Electrical Wiring


Guest Post: Websites for House Research

Here's where you can see tax info for addresses. But it doesn't include longer than 3 years sales history. 
What's good about this bc assessment site is it gives recent sales in the area, click on the tab.

Here's another interesting free gov info site.  It shows you all the info about a property GIS.  Play with the side menu and what you can gather from your parents area.  Also, you can get a satellite bird's eye view by clicking on the side menu.  There's different versions of this for every city, ie. Richmond, North Vancouver, Burnaby, Delta, etc.

Len is Realtor with Royal Pacific Reality Group, Visit his site for more tips.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Guest Post: Burglarproof Your Home

Here’s how to make your home less attractive to burglars.

Start by thinking like a criminal. Take ten minutes and “case” your home – looking for opportunities for thieves, such as low basement windows without bars, open doors and windows, screen doors with flimsy locks, (during warm weather many homeowners open doors and windows to let breezes in), a spare key hidden under a doormat.

Precautions you can take when at home

1. Open windows: install locks which let you open windows 6” but then lock in place.

2. Open doors: install solid lockable screen doors or bars to allow air in and keep thieves out.

Precautions you can take when away

1. Create a ‘lived in’ look: if you are away, have lights and sprinklers on timers and have a friend or relative pick up mail and flyers, put out garbage cans, walk around your home, and make it clear that someone is around. Leave out dog dishes.

2. Noise: set a radio or TV on a timer to go on at different times of the day. If you have a dog, consider having someone drop by to care for it, rather than boarding it.

3. Hide clues of absence: stop your newspaper subscription, and don’t leave a message on your answering machine indicating that you’re away. Have a friend or trusted neighbour periodically park in your driveway. If you’ll be away for several weeks, have your lawn cut.

4. Keys: keep track of all keys you’ve made and who has them. Never hide keys anywhere around your front door. There is no ‘secret’ hiding place.

5. Alarm system: any alarm system, from a basic door alarm to one with remote monitoring – can be a good deterrent.

6. Visual deterrents: display “beware” signs indicating that you have a dog or an alarm. Often, the stickers are enough of a deterrent to make thieves look for an easier target.

7. Doors and locks: have minimum 1.5” deadbolt locks on all exterior doors. Locks are only as good as the door and frame in which they are installed. Hollow-core wooden doors can easily be kicked in or forced open – solid core or metal doors are best. Auxiliary locks can prevent sliding glass doors from being lifted out of their tracks.

8. Protect your valuables: remove anything of extreme value from your home and store it somewhere safe.

9. Lights: take care installing motion sensor lights around the exterior of your home. There is new evidence to suggest this can be a give-away that you’re not home.

Len is Realtor with Royal Pacific Reality Group, a father and a recovering denim addict. Visit his site for more tips.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Guest Post: August Smart Lock Review

I was in the market for a Smart lock and researched many Smart Locks (Lockitron, Goji, Kevo,) and decided in purchasing the August Smart Lock.

A few factors weighed in on my purchase. Security, Price and Installation.

Security: I wanted a solution where I could still use my keys in case either I forgot my phone or I ran out of batteries. I also wanted to make sure the Smart Lock was not easily hackable so it would not make my home vulnerable. The August Smart Lock uses Bluetooth LE and its wrapped in 128-bit AES encryption. Even with the encryption, is my home still vunerable? Yes. Would a skilled hacker hack into my Smart Lock or rather hack into a Government website or bank? I would think it would be the latter.

Price: I purchased the August Smart Lock for $199USD last year when they were offering preorders for the device. They have raised the price to $250USD so I thought for the price and how it does not require you to replace your entire door lock.

Installation: Installation and setup took a total of about 10mins. The August Smart Lock replaces your deadbolt and fits almost all deadbolts on the market. The easiness of the installation was very impressive. A small download of the August app on the App Store and I was quickly able to configure and calibrate my Smart Lock.
The August Smart Lock uses 4 AA batteries which will typically last for year with normal everyday use. It also has a patented EverLock feature which will automatically lock your door. To unlock your door, the August Smart Lock uses their Auto Unlock feature with uses your GPS and bluetooth to unlock your door as your approach it.

After using the August Smart Lock for a few months, I have run into a few issues with my Smart Lock.
On one occasion, my Smart Lock did not work and my front door did not open. I opened the app on my phone and could not connect to it. The only solution I had was to use my keys and then remove the batteries from my Smart Lock and then I was able to connect to my Smart Lock.

I emailed their support with the issue and they promptly replied that their Auto Lock and Everlock were currently in BETA and an Firmware update would be rolling out in the next couple of month that will hopefully resolve this issue.

Overall I am happy with my August Smart Lock. The relative ease of installation, price and fast support factored into my experience with this product. If you were looking for a Smart Lock on the market, this is a Smart Lock I would recommend.