April 2020

All posts from April 2020

The Future of Freeing up Floorspace

by Bevony on April 29, 2020 No comments

With many places on lockdown, many people are spending a lot more time at home. As such the ability to free up floor space is quite appealing. this is so especially to those who live in homes that accommodate extended families. This is especially appealing to those who live in small quarters. 

When it comes to freeing up to floorspace the answer lies in the ceiling. This we see from Bumblebee Spaces. The San Francisco based company makes a modular system for storing home furniture in the ceiling. The design allows for accessories and furniture to be stored in the ceiling and to drop down when they are needed. 

With such a design system, when working you need your desk and chair, and not your bed. You also won’t need your dresser or nightstands. With this system, these items can be stored away from sight. That way you only have the things you need to work so you can remain focused while working. 

The Inspiration Behind the System 

Murphy from the company notes that a move from Maryland to San Francisco meant making do with less space. He is a previous engineer of Tesla and Apple but notes that he had always been interested in home space. His personal frustrations made him even more interested. At the time of his move, the cost of a two to a three-bedroom home in Maryland could only get him a studio or one-bedroom apartment on the West Coast. 

Murphy noted that he had a growing family and also had to deal with parents coming to visit. He got inspiration from the Micky Mouse Clubhouse cartoon and began to prototype a floorplan in his home’s garage. The cartoon had him thinking about how the clubhouse could transform from one space to the next. After mulling over that for a while, he realized the importance of first moving shoes, clothes, etc before being able to move rooms. 

He went on to note how ceilings were really dead space and how they could be unlocked while also having the ability to liberate walls. Not only would this free up floor space but it would also create better air circulation and result in less clutter and less furniture in the home while offering more natural light. 

How their Modular System Works 

The system can work with any ceiling that is 9 feet or higher. Anchors are put in place to distribute weight across the entire ceiling. Modules are added using retrofitted furniture which takes up approximately a depth of one foot. 

The software that Bumblebee Spaces uses allows individuals the opportunity to have insight into what their homes are capable of. Looking at your home through this software will really cause you to take a look at your possessions and how you are using them. It can also help you to get a handle on items that are not entirely necessary within your home. 

Available Bumblebee Modules

Modules by Bumblebee offer desks that descend as whole work stations to include anything you want to leave out on a desk including a computer and even your pens and smaller implements. Items only come down as you needed them so when you want your desk you get only that and when you don’t need it, it won’t be taking up any of your footprints. 

Ultimately Bumblebee is giving people space; physical space which further turns around to provide mental space. This allows people to live their best lives on a budget. They can afford a home without having to invest in larger home spaces.  Future homeowners may find that they have more money to go around. Thanks to having less money going towards rent and mortgage payments. 

Are you considering building a home? Here at SilverBeam Homes, we offer house building services to help make your dream a reality.

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BevonyThe Future of Freeing up Floorspace

Millennials and Home Buying

by Bevony on April 22, 2020 No comments

Sellers are finding creative ways to entice home buyers. You will find anything from apartment builders using clever marketing. Sellers are offering free wine and some go the extreme of offering a lucky home buyer a Tesla! The main focus of this marketing is millennial buyers and renters. These are those people between the ages of 20 and 40 years.  Or if you want to look at it another way; people born between 1980 and 2000. In Canada, that target market makes up approximately 10 million people according to a Nielsen study. This number represents approximately ¼ of the Canadian population so it is a large enough target market.

Why Target the Millenials

The Housing Market is realizing that the Millenials have different values from those of the generations before them. One example of this is the fact that Millenials have a preference for cycling and car-sharing rather than opting to own a car. They are known to be the shoppers looking for organic products, shopping locally and prefer urban lifestyles over rural ones.  

An RBC study done in April 2019, shows a trend of Millenials leaving major Canadian cities for more affordable communities within provinces. Statistics show that on average 9  Millenials are moving from different provinces or countries.  

The statistics show that Millenials are more immersed in the digital age and social media and are inclined to ordering things online. This generation, for the most part, is not looking forward to yard work on a weekend. 

What Everybody Wants

We all want a Happy Family and a Happy Home

Regardless of what era you are born in, there are some things that all potential homebuyers have in common. They want to find homes that are affordable to rent or buy. A CIBC study, published in Bloomberg News shows that 94% of individuals want to buy a home. And there is much variety of available for those who seek homes for purchase. You can find apartments, townhomes, condos duplexes and even have the opportunity to build your dream home from the ground up.

Challenges for Home Buyers

With the stress test that the federal government introduced, some are finding owning a home to be a bit more difficult. As such, one in three Canadians has put off their plans to own a home. This data can be found in a published survey found in the Financial Post. 

After criticism from young voters, the federal government decided to offer the “homebuyer incentive” program. This would mean, one could have a bank mortgage, this “incentive” loan and a student loan. With approximately 35% of millennials still living with their parents, this can be a frustrating thing to consider. This causes a delay for many and their independence which further impacts their lives as they start their families later on in life and thereby produce smaller families. 

In the above report, the comparison was also made with the wealth of Millenials compared to other generations in the Canadian population. The results show that millennials have more wealth, more assets but also more debt than Gen-Xers at their age. The study showed that educated Millenials make more money than their Gen-X counterparts did with 216% for Millenials, 125% for younger Gen-Xers and 80% for baby boomers. 

In addition to the above, there is also a rising tax burden that very often goes overlooked. The taxation of home purchases has increased and is being increased. This has a direct correlation to the affordability of housing options overall. It also has a correlation with the costs of maintaining a home. In Vancouver, we see typical new apartments with government taxes and fees up to 26% of the cost. These fees are often embedded in the final prices of these offerings. 

The Consensus

With all these costs to factor in, most millennials’ only choice is to rent. As per Statistics Canada homeownership rates of millennials versus baby boomers have a noticeable difference. In 1981, boomers of the same age owned homes. The statistics show that in 1981 55.5% of boomers owned homes compared to 30-year-olds today at 50.2%. 

While it is harder for Millenials to purchase a home. They do want to own one. An Environics study shows that they aspire to be financially secure, own a home, have a strong family relationship and achieve in their career. These are the same aspirations of all previous generations. So at the end of the day, we are looking for the same things.

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BevonyMillennials and Home Buying

Refresh Your Bathroom with these Five Quick Tips

by Bevony on April 15, 2020 No comments

Over time your home starts to feel a little drab. Renovations can be extremely expensive so you cant decide to gut the entire house. What you can do is pick a room and make some simple changes to refresh the space. Today we want to look at how you can refresh your bathroom. Keep reading for five ways you can bring new life to your bathroom. Come back next week so we can help you refresh another room in your home.

Get Rid of Some Stuff

This is good advice for refreshing any space in your home. The first thing you always want to do is to clear out. This part is not exciting, at least not until you see the space you are working with. This is especially true if you have a lot of clutter in your space. While the task can be hard and you can find it frustrating to choose which items to let go of you can make it easier. Just think about the treat it will be when you get to go out and purchase new stuff. 

You don’t have to do this task all at once. You can set aside 15 minutes every day where you go into your bathroom and commit to removing items that are no longer needed. Think about the last time you used an item and let that guide you into what can be cleared out.

Choose a Shower Curtain

In most bathrooms, the shower curtain is what stands out the most. As such changing out your shower curtain will make a big impact on the look and feel of your bathroom. Choose your colors and patterns based on the feel you want to get from your bathroom. If you want a zen-like, spa feeling then you want to go for colors and prints that are relaxing and soothing. If you want your bathroom to be vibrant then you obviously go the opposite route. If you want to increase storage you can opt for a shower curtain with pockets.

Change Your Soap Dispenser

When changing your soap dispenser, you don’t have to worry about it matching your shower curtain. You can choose to have your soap dispenser, toothbrush holder and soap dish in a contrasting color to the rest of the items in your bathroom. You have the option of choosing a natural element such as stone, or wood if you are going with a relaxed zen-like bathroom.

Choosing New Towels

Worn out towels can make your bathroom seem drab and downright depressing. The simple task of changing towels can lift your bathroom immensely. Towels are quite inexpensive so you can get a brand new set of towels of various prices without completely ruining your budget. Whether you choose colored towels or a crisp white, you can’t go wrong with new good quality towels.

Sustainable Fixtures

You will find that most interior designers place their main focus on lighting no matter what room in the house they are focusing on. Lighting can have a very significant impact on space within your home. What type of lights do you prefer or what types of light will fulfill the purpose of your room? Do you do your makeup in the bathroom or do you simply shower and use the toilet and leave? All of these need to be considered when choosing a type of light.  Remember you can find lighting solutions that offer dimming features so you can relax and wind down at the end of the day and will also allow you the opportunity to have bright lights when you need them to get ready. 

If you change your lighting fixtures you should try to get more energy-efficient ones. Consider LED lighting options and you can apply this principle to your faucets as well as your showerheads. Both these endeavors will not only refresh the look of your bathroom but will also help to reduce your electricity and water bills as well.

And there you have it, our five quick tips for refreshing your bathroom without renovation. Do you have any tips or tricks on how to refresh your space? Share them in the comments section below.

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BevonyRefresh Your Bathroom with these Five Quick Tips

The Current Condo Insurance Crisis

by Bevony on April 8, 2020 No comments

British Columbia owners of Condos and Townhomes are seeing a crisis with some insurers pulling out of the market. Those that remain are hiking up their prices. In a bid to address the problem, the relevant authorities recently held an online meeting. The meeting lasted for 4 hours and addressed the crisis that is facing BC stratas regarding building insurance. Condo owners are seeing the price of insurance increases, as well as insurance options, are simply disappearing. Meeting attendees came from various sectors of the market. They included officials from real estate, insurance, government along with other businesses and other stakeholders. The meeting took place online in light of the current COVID-19 crises. 

One-third of the residents in British Columbia live in townhouses or condos. They are faced with this crisis of wether their building will be able to find insurance. There is also the problem of affording the premiums when they do find an insurer. This along with the COVID-19 pandemic is putting a lot of stress on the residents.

Don Forgeron, the CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada noted that it is unfortunate that no immediate relief could be reached. The Insurance Bureau of Canada noted that this crisis did not just occur overnight. They also note they have made recommendations to both the stratas and the government. However, currently, time is necessary to bring forth the required change. They note these measures will provide help in the future. They are also, hoping for spillover into the short term and medium term. The impact of these changes for right now is hard to measure or predict.

Horror Stories from Residents

Over the last few months of 2020, residents have shared a number of horror stories. With approximately 1.5 million British Columbians calling strata corporations their home, a large majority. Residents told stories of increases of up to 400% in their insurance fees. They also noted a staggering increase in deductibles. We heard stories of buildings only receiving partial policies and in some cases, while some received no policies at all. 

British Columbia is not the only province in Canada that suffered a hit. Notably, though, it is the one that has taken the hardest hit. This is because of the large number of stratas that are contained in British Columbia. Factors that affect this include;

  • Where the stratas are built
  • The standards to which the stratas are built
  • Type of construction used for the buildings
  • British Columbia’s risk of earthquakes

These factors make this a bigger problem for British Columbia than that of other provinces.

One metro Vancouver condo owner of 16 years shared her story. Her building’s insurer notes they will not be renewing the policy. Because of this, her strata council will have to find a new insurer. As she lives on a fixed income, this owner is fearful of any increase to her fees that may arise from the strata finding new insurance. 

Many residents are facing similar issues and they are looking to the government for protection. We are all looking for concrete action from the government. It is expected that more stratas will start experiencing these problems as the future unfolds. As a result, there are more people paying attention to the details of this conversation.

Recommendations from the Insurance Bureau of Canada

  • Making education for risk mitigation mandatory for strata councils 
  • Amending building codes to prevent extensive water damage with the mandatory installation of leak detection devices
  • Passing legislation to avert Stratas from deferring depreciation reports
  • Prevent strata from putting off long-term maintenance with proper legislation
  • Make definitions in the Strata Property Act to define a “standard strata”
  • Make it clear in the Strata Property Act what damages are the responsibility of the strata lot owners separate from those of the strata council

Current Measures to Address the Crisis

The Minister of Finance, Carole James, noted that they are in the process of exploring ways to address the crisis. A spokesperson from the ministry further tells how discussions are underway with the Insurance Bureau of Canada. The main focus of these discussions is to ultimately make strata insurance costs more affordable.

The BC Financial Services Authority is the insurance regulator for the province. They are continually gathering data on the rate hikes and average increases across the province. They intend to determine how many of the 300 British Columbia insurance companies have stopped offering services to condos and townhouses.

This also affects renters of townhouses and condos as their landlords may have to pass the increases to them. Forgeron notes that no one should be forced from their homes because of these insurance issues. As such they are motivated for a solution to be found and implemented soon. We hope that the changes made will attract insurers to come back to the BC market. We hope that with demand taken care of, the cost of insurance will fall to more affordable prices.

The matter is indeed urgent and we can only hope that the government will heed the recommendations of the Insurance Bureau. We hope the necessary changes will be made to help keep BC residents in their homes.

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BevonyThe Current Condo Insurance Crisis

Housing Regulations Around the Globe

by Bevony on April 1, 2020 No comments

If you thought British Columbia had a lot of housing regulations, you are in for a shocker. Today we bring you a different type of blog post. When you learn what other places have for their regulations you will understand that BC regulations are not too extreme.

We went around the globe to see what kinds of limits have legislators have placed on potential homebuyers and renters.

We found that China and  India do not allow non-residents to purchase real estate. Now, China and India are the most populous countries in the world. Their regulations protect the residents. It also allows them a better chance of being able to afford a home whether they are renting or buying.

In Berlin, we see where they froze rental prices for a period of five years. This is a legislation that protects some 1.5 million tenants.

In the Netherlands, the law protects tenants from eviction by a renovation. This legislation requires a minimum of 70% of tenants to agree with a landlord’s improvement plans. “Reno-victions” are very popular in a number of countries. As a result, this practice often displaces tenants and disrupt their lives extremely.

British Columbia Housing Restrictions

The Most Rigorous Housing restrictions in Canada today can be found in British Columbia. You should be familiar with the speculation and vacancy tax as well as the 20% foreign buyers tax. Many people do not like these measures but when you take a look at other rules that have been mandated in other places to deflate housing bubbles you find that our rules are not that bad.

Asian countries are not giving foreign nationals the ability to invest in their land. This gives them control over their property values, preventing them from going up. This is not the case in the western world. Instead, we allow foreign nationals to purchase real estate. This, in turn, has a very big impact on the value of our property.

European countries have a number of hard caps on rent. They also have direct financial top-ups that are offered to tenants who have to pay more than 30% of their income towards housing costs.

Canadian Housing Pressures

We see where a lot of the most desirable cities in the world are facing a lot of housing pressures similar to the ones being seen in Toronto, Victoria, and Vancouver. These places are seeing skyrocketing prices in homeownership and in rent. While these prices are increasing, wages are staying the same. The government must now implement policies that will provide protection to vulnerable tenants.

The regulations and taxes that are put into place are supposed to help to ensure that housing prices don’t continue to drive up. With a sharp rise in the number of global millionaires and an increase in flights from Asian countries into Western countries, coupled with a record low on interest rates for megaprojects, we see some amount of negative effects.

Population growth is a benefit to developers. They respond to this growth by building housings to increase density. But is this the true solution? If there is a continuous flow of cash into the markets house prices won’t fall.  And that is why going through the tax system is the choice of most governments. When there is no money to be funneled into expensive areas, the market will be forced to keep prices from rising.

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BevonyHousing Regulations Around the Globe