The annual ritual of spring cleaning is upon us – but it can seem a daunting task. Here's how to break it into easy pieces: 

Kishor’s Top 10 Spring Cleaning Jobs

1. To begin Kishor always suggests working room by room and working from top to bottom and left to right. This helps one keep on task.


2. Remove items to be taken to dry cleaning or washed, such as drapes and decorative bedding. Many draperies and curtains are machine washable, but check labels first. Dry-clean fabric shades. Wipe down wooden blinds with a damp cloth and warm water mixed with a little mild dishwashing liquid – this also works well and safely on metal and vinyl blinds.


3. Damp-dust places that are not part of your regular housecleaning, such as high shelves, window ledges and art.


4. Wipe down walls and ceilings – concentrating on fingerprints and soiled areas. No need for chemicals – simply use a bit of water and baking soda to get scuff marks off. However, if you have really stubborn surface grime, especially prevalent in kitchens, tackle it with a solvent-free degreaser (it’s a good idea to test it first in an inconspicuous area to ensure it won’t mar the surface).


5. Clean, vacuum and treat upholstered and leather furniture to bring a new life and longevity.


6. Clean and treat wood furniture to bring it back to its original shine. Do you have heat damaged wood or stubborn rings (often caused by wet glasses) on your favourite wood table? They may be removed by rubbing a mixture of equal parts of distilled vinegar and a quarter cup of baking soda with a gallon of warm water. Then wipe off and apply wood protector of your choice. Voila! Back to new.


7. When vacuuming and cleaning floors and/or rugs, move furniture that has been in place during the winter season and clean underneath; perhaps move things around to get a new perspective. Synthetic carpets and rugs with waterproof backings can be deep-cleaned with a rotary shampoo machine and a hot-water extraction machine. However, rugs without backings, such as those expensive oriental rugs, require professional cleaning.


8. Pull out items in cabinets and drawers, vacuum out debris and wipe down both the inside of the drawers and the items in them, then return them back in place. This is a great way to downsize and feel lighter.


9. Wash down windows and window sills. For streak-free windows, mix equal parts of distilled vinegar and warm water. Use either a dry cloth or newspaper … yes, this writer has tried using newspaper and it really works. To clean out winter’s stale air, open the windows and breathe in that fresh air. There is nothing like the smell of spring to lift your spirits.

10. Head outside to sweep away old man winter and spray down decks and sidewalks. A pressure washer can be rented from tool and equipment rental shops or at some hardware stores. P.S. For another sense of renewal, consider buying a new door mat to welcome in the new season.


For more information and tips on Home Organizing go to


Source: © 2016 Real Estate Weekly (

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March sales set an all-time record

Metro Vancouver home sales eclipsed 5,000 in March for the first time on record.

Residential property sales in the region totalled 5,173 in March 2016, an increase of 27.4 per cent from the 4,060 sales recorded in March 2015 and an increase of 24 per cent compared to February 2016 when 4,172 homes sold.

Last month’s sales were 56 per cent above the 10-year sales average for the month.

"March was the highest selling month the REBGV has ever recorded,” Dan Morrison, REBGV president said. “Today's demand is broad based. Home buyers are active in neighbourhoods across our region."

New listings for detached, attached and apartment properties in Metro Vancouver totalled 6,278 in March 2016. This represents an increase of 5.2 per cent compared to the 5,968 units listed in March 2015 and an 8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 when 5,812 properties were listed.

The total number of properties currently listed for sale on the MLS® system in Metro Vancouver is 7,358, a 40.5 per cent decline compared to March 2015 (12,376) and a 0.8 per cent increase compared to February 2016 (7,299).

“Strong job and economic growth in our province, positive net migration and low interest rates are helping to drive this activity," Morrison said. 

The MLS® Home Price Index composite benchmark price for all residential properties in Metro Vancouver is currently $815,000. This represents a 23.2 per cent increase compared to March 2015.

Sales of detached properties in March 2016 reached 2,135, an increase of 24.8 per cent from the 1,711 detached sales recorded in March 2015. The benchmark price for detached properties increased 27.4 per cent from March 2015 to $1,342,500.

Sales of apartment properties reached 2,252 in March 2016, an increase of 38.4 per cent compared to the 1,627 sales in March 2015.The benchmark price of an apartment property increased 18.8 per cent from March 2015 to $462,800.

Attached property sales in March 2016 totalled 786, an increase of 8.9 per cent compared to the 722 sales in March 2015. The benchmark price of an attached unit increased 20.1 per cent from March 2015 to $589,100.

Download the full stats package by clicking here. 

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PTT and First Time Home Buyer's Fact Sheet 

The Property Transfer Tax is a tax payable to the Provincial Government by purchasers of real estate. The tax applies to all types of real estate, whether residential, commercial or industrial.


The amount of the Property Transfer Tax is 1% on the first $200,000.00 of the property’s fair market value and 2% on the remaining fair market value. For example, if the fair market value of the property is $200,000.00, the tax payable would be $2,000.00 (1% of $200,000.00). If the fair market value of the property is $250,000.00, the tax payable would be $3,000.00 (1% on the first $200,000.00 = $2,000.00 and 2% on the remaining $50,000.00 = $1,000.00).


“Fair Market Value” is best described as the price that would be paid for a property on the open market (which is usually the actual purchase price paid for the property).


There are a number of exemptions available to avoid this tax, the most common being for “First Time Home Buyers"


To qualify as a First Time Home Buyer, the following criteria must be met:

  • Purchaser must never have owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time;
  • Purchaser must be a citizen of or a permanent resident of Canada;
  • Purchaser must have resided in B.C. for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date they become the registered owner, or the Purchaser has filed two income tax returns as a British Columbia resident within the prior 6 years of becoming the owner;
  • To obtain full exemption, the purchase price must not exceed $475,000.00. A partial exemption is available for homes between $475,000.00 and $500,000.00 (see formula below);
  • Purchaser must move into the property within ninety-two days after registration of the purchase of the property and reside in the property for at least one year;
  • Pro rata exemption where property exceeds .5 hectares or a portion of the property is not residential (i.e. commercial lofts) – purchase price of entire property must not exceed the price limitations.
You can calculate the amount of tax payable on any price on Spagnuolo Group's Property Transfer Tax Calculator here.

Other exemptions exist as well, such as a transfer of a principal residence between family members. For details on this and other exemptions, go to and pick the “Property Transfer Tax” button located on the right hand side on this screen.

Source: Copyright © 2008 by The Spagnuolo Group of Real Estate Law Firms. 

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