Paul Toffoli Vancouver BC REALTOR®

Cell: (604) 787-6963 | EMAIL |



Talking closing with award winning Vancouver realtor Paul Toffoli 

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. Paul Toffoli, he’s an award winning realtor voted by his clients as Best Realtor in Vancouver and we’re going to talk about closing today. How’re you doing today Paul?


Paul: I’m well today Mark, thank you very much.


Mark: So closing, lawyers, notaries - all that stuff.


Paul: Yeah, this is when all the hard work and all the stress and anxiety of going through the home search or the stress of selling your home and having to keep it clean all the time and having all those people traipsing through your home - this is when it all pays off. This is when, oh my god, we have a new home whether you’re selling or buying it’s the day of having a new home. It’s a very straightforward process, it can be very stressful, so just because you’re moving. One of the most stressful things in life, I think what they say, is moving from one home to another. So, the more prepared you can be, both physically and emotionally, the better off you’re going to be.


So let’s just talk about what the process is from a legal perspective, from the paperwork perspective and then can talk about some of the other ins and outs of moving. I didn’t mean that as a pun. So, legally you’ve gone through this contract process, you’ve negotiated your contact with the help of your realtor, you’ve gone through your subject removal, you’ve had your inspection, you’ve done all those types of things. At the time of subject removal, you would of paid a deposit into the realtors trust account. Typically it’s the buyers agents trust account and that’s held in trust just towards the closing of the sale. About the last week before the sale, the buyer will go into their notary or their lawyer’s office, the seller will go to their lawyer or notary’s office and sign the land title transfer documents, the buyer will sign the mortgage documents and will go through that whole process. It’s fairly straightforward, but basically before the buyers goes in, the notary will say, this is the amount of a deposit or a bank draft you need to bring in. So basically the way the funds work, we have the purchase price of say $300,000, you’ve paid a deposit of $15,000, you’re putting 20% down - there’s other fees that come out of that including the lawyers fees, there may be some other items that need to be adjusted for like property taxes etc. The buyers notary will prepare a statement of adjustments that takes all those things into account, the seller’s lawyer or notary will look at those items, confirm that, there will be agreement. A few days before completion, the buyer goes in, goes through all those documents, signs the mortgage documents, the lawyer will send a request to the real estate company holding that deposit and request that those deposit funds be transferred and give them directions as to where any excess funds would go, how commissions are to be paid and so forth - so that money gets transferred to the buyer’s lawyer. 


On the completion day, the buyer’s lawyer will then send a request to the bank or the mortgage company for the balance of funds that are being lent. Those funds get combined. There will also be a cheque, typically that balance of the deposit that would be brought in by the buyer at the time they sell. All those funds are combined. Once the right amount is there, the buyer’s notary or lawyer will transfer those funds to the seller’s lawyer or notary, who will then pay off the mortgage that’s sitting on the title, and any excess funds in addition, any outstanding strata fees etc, will then be paid out to the seller. The seller will then do what they want, if they’re buying another property they may transfer some of those funds to another property, they may put them in their bank account, whatever they decide to do that is up the seller because that’s their money at this point in time.


Things that sometimes stress people out is how do we adjust for property taxes, how do we adjust for strata fess, i’ve got to transfer BC Hydro into my name, got to call Telus, got to call the gas company - all those things. So those are all minor steps that you can take care of well ahead of time. But the statement of adjustments will be prepared by the lawyers, will have all the financial accounting dealt with and you just have to take your time and go through it. Make sure that the lawyer or notary explains it to you, if you’ve got any questions, make sure that you’re questions are answered so you have a real comfort level. Once the buyer’s lawyer notifies the seller’s lawyer that those funds have been gathered and are ready to be picked up by the courier, then permission will be given to transfer the title at Land Titles and that’s really the key moment and that happens on completion day. As soon as that title is registered at Land Titles as having been transferred, previous mortgage is being paid off, all those things are dealt with, then the buyer becomes the new owner. Now does that mean they’re walking in that day, moving into their new home? No, because typically completion is the following day or sometimes 2-3 days afterwards. It can sometimes  be the same day, but that’s rare. that’s to make sure that the seller has received their funds before the buyer actually gets the keys. So say the day after or a couple days after, typically at 12 noon, they buyer is going to get the keys to the property. Those arrangements will be made through the realtors, so the listing agent, the seller’s realtor will make arrangements with the buyer’s realtor to get the keys. If I’m working for the buyer, I meet the buyer at the property, typically we do a walk through to make sure everything is as expected and go from there. Often in this situation is when you discover that the seller’s abilities to clean and the time they had, or the expectations on how they have to leave the property are not the same as the buyers hoped they would be.


I always tell my clients who are buyers to have an expectation that the property may not be as pristine and clean as you hope it will be. Most often we’re pleasantly surprised and the seller’s do an excellent job on cleaning, but it is the one area where due to people being rushed to get out the door, that moving to a new home that they’re probably going to have to clean. Sometimes there are challenges to cleaning. So we just want to be prepared mentally and emotionally that it may not be perfect. And sometimes I’ll get a phone call to help my clients to connect with cleaners etc. It’s really an exciting day.  It’s very stressful day because of the moving and the movers and all those things, but it is a very exciting day.


Mark: So what other than walking into maybe not as clean a home as you’d like, what else can go wrong? What if there’s timing issues? What if somebody doesn’t get out in time?


Paul: Yeah, this is something that happens very rarely, but occasionally you have a situation where maybe, the seller’s mover is late arriving, they’ve over booked themselves. Or maybe it’s a tenanted property and the tenants haven’t been able to organize their move as they will and really that’s why you want to have realtors involved because it can become quite emotional and quite stressful. I’m the buyer and I’ve just moved out of my previous home, I’ve got everything in the truck, I pull up the curb and I see that the sellers are still moving out. This is where you want to have realtors who are communicating with each other and making sure that it’s all clear. Because if I know the day before, as a buyer, that there might be a problem on the timing, I’m going to talk to my mover and maybe talk to the person who’s bought the place I’m moving out of or maybe it’s a rental, the landlord, and say look we might have a bit of a hitch, we might have to leave a couple hours later, how can we work it out? Usually if the realtors are communicating with each other and are doing a good job, you don’t have surprises. It happens occasionally and then it’s like, well maybe,  I’ve got some resources, maybe I’ve got another moving company that I can refer or bring some extra resources in. But it’s going to be a stressful day, you have to be prepared for a few surprises, but the more communication the more conversation there is between various parties ahead of time the more smoothly it’ll go.


Mark: And that’s it. That pretty much sums up closing. Pretty straight forward process and if you are, in my experience, well prepared for your move there’s a lot less stress than if you’re last minute moving and trying to clean as your backing out the door.


Paul: Exactly


Mark: We’ve been talking with Paul Toffoli. Again he’s been voted Best Realtor in Vancouver by his clients. You can reach him at or give him a call 604-787-6963. Thanks Paul


Paul: Thank you Mark



Delving into the details of real estate transactions with award winning Vancouver Realtor Paul Toffoli of   604-787-6963

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Vancouver’s award winning real estate agent, Mr. Paul Toffoli. How’re you doing today Paul?


Paul: I’m well Mark, yourself?


Mark: I’m good. So we’re going to talk about subject removal, and I guess really what we have to start with is what’s the due diligence you have to do before you can do that?


Paul: Sure, as we’ve talked about previously, as part of the negotiation process we’re typically going to have certain subjects that are going to be part of an offer. So that would be things like: financing, inspection, property disclosure, title search - those are typical ones on single family homes. On strata properties like condo’s and town homes we’re going to have reviewing the strata documents, the minutes of the annual general meetings, the regular meetings - there are a whole other layer of things we could talk about when we go into strata’s. But basically over the course of say a week to ten days, we’re going to go through this process of due diligence where we’re going to make sure that the back is going to finance the property for my clients and that there’s no strings attached. People do get pre approval but there are strings attached, so you want to get all those strings dealt with. Then you have the home inspection done, read those strata documents, get any questions answered regarding those strata documents, look at the title and make sure that if there is anything on the title that it is something that can be easily removed - so there’s not a lis pendens or something else, that you’ve got the right names of the sellers on the contract, all those little details. And finally, any disclosure issues that may be dealt with. And there could be other things like the subject to the sale of the buyers current property, those types of things. So we go through that process, tick all those boxes, cross the t’s dot the i’s - however you want to put it - and make sure that everything is in order so that there’s a comfort level. It can be a little unnerving, a little stressful because it’s not something that people do everyday, but we go through that process and get as much information as we can so we have a comfort level when removing those subjects. 


The subject removal is just very simple signature on the addendum of the contract, client or clients sign that, the seller does not need to sign that typically because most of these subjects will for the sole interest of the buyer. There can be seller subjects, but that’s a different story. Once the clients have gone through the process, and their comfortable that they’ve done all their due diligence, they’re ready to commit to 100% of purchasing the property then we sign a simple addendum to the contract that the subjects are removed. In conjunction with that, there’s typically a deposit that’s payable either at the time of the subject removal or within 24 or 48 hours of the subject removal, it’s typically done by bank draft. So the client goes to the bank, gets a bank draft from the teller in the amount of typically around 5% of the purchase price but that’s previously negotiated, part of the contract. They sign the subject removal, that deposit cheque comes into my office and goes into our trust account and goes towards the purchase price on closing. And that’s the next big step, is the closing. What happens then?


Mark: So what are some, you mentioned some strings with say financing. so can you give a couple common strings that people might run into?


Paul: So in financing, banks or mortgage brokers will typically go through a financing pre approval process, but that pre approval may be subject to seeing your notice of assessment of the last two years taxes; it may be subject to a confirmation letter from your employer saying that you’re a permanent employee, that you’re not on probation, stating what your salary is to make sure it lines up with what you told the mortgage broker; it could be subject to confirming any outstanding debts; any credit checks. That type of thing, so there’s usually a list of items. And you just want to make sure, that once you’re ready to remove subjects, all of those subjects from your bank, on your financing, are gone so you don’t have a risk of them saying, oh yeah, it’s fine except for NOA didn’t add up to what we thought it did and you can’t get your financing.


Mark: Right, so we’ve been talking with award winning realtor in Vancouver BC, Mr. Paul Toffoli. You can visit his website or give him a call 604-787-6963. Thanks Paul



How Does a Realtor Help with Your Property Search?

Mark:  Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation.  We’re here with award winning, best in Vancouver, Realtor, Mr. Paul Toffoli.  How are you today Paul?


Paul:  I well Mark, having a great day.


Mark:  Awesome, so we’ve recovered from our power outage here and we’re going to talk about how does a Realtor help with your property search?  How does that work?


Paul:   Sure, and I think that’s one of the main jobs of a Realtor, is to help their clients find properties that may be of interest to them.  One of the things that we know is now with all the technologies and the internet and so many people are so tech savvy and able to do searches on their own.  People can find properties on their own; it’s not magic like it used to be to find properties.  What I find, my clients tell me, is that having someone like myself help them through the process really increases their efficiency so, I’ve been through it, this is what I do full time as my profession, is I help people buy and sell properties, so there’s lots of things that I can do to just make it more efficient.  Sending them properties that I know will be better for them than others, or if there’s questions on properties, I’m kind of a one stop shop , I can get the answers for them.


One of the things my clients really appreciate is that, if we’re going to go look at a number of properties, we just set a time up together, I make all the phone calls, I set up all the appointments, we say we’re going to meet at property A at such and such a time and we’re going to be together til a couple hours later and it’s just a very efficient process, they don’t have to make a hundred phone calls or ten phone calls and listen to the voice mails and so forth.  So it’s just become a much more efficient process and also as we’ve talked about quite a bit on other Google Hangouts, there’s going to be questions, there’s going to be all those things with contracts and so forth so part of it is building that relationship over the course of looking for properties and I have a better understanding of what my client is looking for and they can ask me all the questions that are going to give them a comfort level when it comes time to actually put in an offer and get really serious about buying property.


Mark:  So, my experience, when we bought our last house was we sort of worked in concert.  Our Realtor found houses and we looked and we were able to help him refine what it was we were looking for because we were looking at the same time, so we worked as a team but also I found that often, we would get distracted by perhaps stuff that was not in our target range, maybe a little too expensive and too nice and wouldn’t it be nice, where that’s where I found a Realtor was very focused on finding what would really fit us.


Paul:  And that’s a fact, look it’s really fun to go and look at properties, it can be really fun.  I enjoy it and it can be fun to go see some stuff that maybe not be quite what you started out looking for and sometimes your ideas will change over the course of the process but having somebody who’s been through it, who’s a sounding board, who you can talk to about each property as they come up really I think helps refine the process and again, we’re busy people, as I said we can all look on line and see properties and think that might be a good one but the fact that I’ve seen so many and know the right questions to ask both of my clients and of the listing agent or the other Realtor who may be presenting the property really helps us to save a great deal of time and energy and makes it a much more efficient process.


Mark:  Experience pays off, basically.


Paul:  Experience pays off and I think one of the other big factors is when we’re walking through a property and my clients have questions about, can we renovate, can we update, what about the wiring, what about the plumbing, guess what, they don’t have to ask those questions because I’m already asking them for them before we get into the house.  I’m pointing out areas of concern or areas of benefit and that’s really one of the biggest things because this is what I do because I’ve done so much of it myself and for my clients.  They really appreciate having that instantaneous feedback so that they’re not going home scratching their head and coming up with questions later that, oh, we’ve got to go back and ask the listing agent or whatever, it becomes a much more efficient and enjoyable process.


Mark:  Awesome.  Thanks Paul.  So we’ve been talking with the champ, the current holder of the best in Vancouver, voted by the readers of the Georgia Straight.  Mr. Paul Toffoli, best Realtor in Vancouver.  Thanks a lot Paul.


Paul:  Thanks Mark.   


I have sold a property at 801 2108 38TH AVE W in Vancouver.
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Talking with award winning Vancouver, BC Realtor Paul Toffoli about financing

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with award winning realtor Mr. Paul Toffoli in Vancouver, BC. How’re this morning, Paul?


Paul: I’m really well Mark


Mark: So, we’re working our way through the BC real estate buying process and we’re up to, what for some people is the challenging stuff, we’re talking about financing. So how does getting your financing pre-approved help you with buying a house?


Paul: Well, it should be self explanatory, but I’m betting for some people it’s not because as part of the process, it’s very important to understand what you can afford. For many people it’s not so clear, I mean even for myself, I look at all sorts of numbers out there and wait a minute, where do I fit in that picture? I’d love to live in a four bedroom house on the West Side of Vancouver. What’s that going to cost me and what can I afford? So, one thing that I highly recommend is to work with a mortgage broker or work with your financial institution to get pre approved for your mortgage. It’s a very straight forward process, all of it can be done over the phone and emails, though some people prefer a personal touch and I think it makes a lot of sense if you have a relationship with someone or there’s a mortgage broker that you would like to work with if you can do some of it face to face I think that really helps the process. But really what you’re going to do, there’s a list of questions that the mortgage broker is going to have, they’re going to run a credit check to make sure you don’t have any skeletons in your closet that you may have forgotten about or you may have not even known about - do you have an outstanding cell bill? is your MasterCard payments down? - things that people don’t even think about sometimes - they think ‘Oh, I make $75,000 per year, I’m paying rent of so much’, etc etc, they forget about that car payment - that’s oh my goodness, that’s $300 bucks a month that’s coming out of my debt service ratio that I can’t put towards my mortgage. So if you go ahead, early in the process and meet with a mortgage professional, they will go through all that with you, they will give you advice, should you accelerate those car payments, maybe take some money out of savings, pay off the car so you don’t have that debt showing up, those monthly payments showing up on your approval. Go through the whole process, they will then say, this is what the banks will lend you comfortably, this is how much down payment you have, if it’s less than 20% down, this is the amount of mortgage insurance it’s going to cost you every month and go from there.


Once you’ve gone through that process then you can comfortably go out and look at properties and you can say, yes this is within my price range. We can afford that $450,000 bungalow in Langley or maybe it’s a $550,000 bungalow in Langley, or we can afford that two bedroom condo in East Vancouver. Knowing what your affordability is, is absolutely critical to the buying process.


Mark: You can contact Paul Toffoli by giving him a call at 604-787-6963 or visit his website


Exploring home purchase fees with award winning Vancouver realtor Paul Toffoli - recently voted "Best Realtor in Vancouver" by Georgia Straight Readers

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation and we’re here with award winning realtor in Vancouver, Paul Toffoli. Paul we’re going to talk about what taxes and fees are payable on a home purchase in BC. How’re you doing today?


Paul: I’m well, Mark, I can’t believe it still summer sort of. So, Mark we agreed we’d talk about taxes and fees that apply to purchasing property in British Columbia and it’s actually really straightforward. If you’re buying a brand new property in Canada, but in BC particularly, there is GST that applies, it’s a 5% tax, there are rebates on that if your purchase price is under, I believe it’s $450,000 dollars, so each transaction needs to be calculated and of course, that only applies to brand new properties. If it’s a resale property, so something that’s been lived in for even six months, or sometimes people will actually have a brand new property that they paid GST on and then they flip it right away, then typically there is no GST payable on those transactions. That being said, I think the CRA may feel that if it hasn’t ever been lived in, that the GST should be paid twice. So that’s a good question for your accountant to clarify that. But typically we only see GST being paid on the property the first time it’s bought, as a pre sale or a brand new property and that’s 5% with rebates.


For resale properties, so that’s something that’s been lived in before or is not brand new, then there is no GST. Now there is another tax, a provincial tax that applies to all properties. So regardless whether it’s a new property and you’re paying GST or resale property where you’re not paying GST, there is always property transfer tax that is applicable. That tax is 2% of the first $200,000 dollars, sorry take that back, it’s 1% of the first $200,000 dollars plus 2% of the balance, that goes on up to the top. 


Now, if you’re a first time home purchaser, purchasing under $475,000 dollars as of this taping, then there is no property transfer tax - there is a full rebate. You will have a rebate up to about $525,000, and it slowly disappears once you hit that $525,000 mark there is no rebate at all. It’s not you get it free on the first $475,000 and it’s gone. Once you hit that number you’re paying the freight.


Again, it’s 1% on the first $200,000 dollars plus 2% on the balance. There are also some other exemptions. If you’re transferring between family, so my first home I bought from my grandmother, it was a family home she’d been in for many years. I did not have to pay property transfer tax on that because it was a transaction between direct family members. So those are the main ones. You do have other fees and other costs. You have home inspection - on 95% of all transactions unless it’s brand new property with the warranty, you’re going to have legal fees. So we’re talking about when you transfer property you have to hire a lawyer or notary to do the conveyancing of that property. That typically on a purchase is around $900 - $1500 dollars, depending on the complexity and who is doing the work, and also on a sale of a property you’re going to have that cost. So those are the main ones.


On selling a property, what are the costs? You’re going to have some legal fees, like we just talked about, but it’s typically a little less - under a $1000 dollars, including discharging a mortgage. The biggest one is real estate commissions, real estate fees and those will vary depending on your realtor so that’s something to talk about. But all of the taxes on those transactions are paid by the buyer. Now unless, it’s a revenue property. 


We’re fortunate in Canada that we have a capital gains exemption for our principal residences. So if you bought your home 20 years ago for $400,000 dollars and you’re selling it today for $1.5 million there is no capital gains tax on that gain. If it’s a revenue property, however, you would be paying capital gains tax and again, talk to your accountant about the details, but generally you’re taxed on 50% of the gain at your marginal tax rate. So if you’re in the top marginal tax rate of 48%, you’re going to pay about 24% tax on that total gain. 


I think that covers most the costs and fees on buying and selling real estate in British Columbia.


Mark: Awesome. Simple, sweet, easy. Thanks a lot Paul. Paul’s an award winning realtor here in Vancouver, just recently voted by the readers of the Georgia Straight magazine as the best realtor in Vancouver. You can reach him at or give him a call at 604-787-6963. Thanks Paul


Paul: Thank you Mark



We're exploring the buying criteria that is so important in choosing the best home for your family with Vancouver award winning realtor Paul Toffoli.

Mark:  Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation.  We’re here with award winning for the fifth time in a row Vancouver’s best realtor, Mr. Paul Toffoli.  Paul, how are you this morning?


Paul:  I’m feeling really good Mark, thanks very much.


Mark:  So voted by consumers as the best realtor in Vancouver, we have to give the props and congratulations.  That’s very, very cool.  So let’s dig into why you’re the best realtor in Vancouver.  Let’s talk about the real estate buying criteria and how to select a home that’s going to fit me, so how do I select an area?


Paul:  So just to clarify that was the readers of the Georgia Straight that voted me best real estate agent in Vancouver, it’s a nice honor for 2014.  So how do we select criteria for where we want to buy property, whether it’s a place to live in, whether it’s a revenue property or even commercial real estate, what is it we’re looking for.  Let’s talk about a place to live because that’s really the bulk of the people I work with are people who are looking for a home to live in and the first criteria is pretty straight forward; it’s what can I afford, how much money do either, will the bank lend me or how much money do I actually want to spend because believe it or not I have a lot of clients that come to me and say but I can’t believe how much money the banks are willing to lend me.  I don’t want so spend that much money and I’m a person who believes in that.  Don’t spend to your maximum if you don’t have to.  Now that can be very challenging in Greater Vancouver.  We find people are pushed to their maximum whether they want to be or not often, but so the first step is talking to a mortgage broker, talking to your bank, going through the process of getting pre-approved for your financing and that has a couple different aspects to it.  Number one is how much equity do I have for my down payment, so where am I getting my down payment from, is this money that I’ve saved over the years, is this a gift that I received from somebody, is this an inheritance that I have been given or left, is this equity that I have in an existing property, pull equity out of a property that I already own so either by selling that property or what is often what I recommend the client’s is if you own a property that you bought quite a while ago and if you’re able to just pull equity out so do a mortgage where you pull a chunk of cash out of that, keep that property as a rental property for your retirement down the road and then buy something else.  It is a great way to go if you can swing it.   


But getting those ducks in a row so talking to your mortgage broker, going through the analysis, do I want to just put five percent down if that’s all I have which is the minimum you can put down under the current guidelines or do I want to put 20% down so I don’t have to pay CMHC fees or do I want to put a little bit more down.  So that’s number one, finding out what you are able to borrow and how much equity you have or how much cash you have so that you can set your price criteria in a realist spot because there’s really nothing worse than in going out and looking and seeing a bunch of properties in a price rant that you think you can afford and then push comes to shove and you find the one you love and make an offer and the bank says no we’re not going to lend you that much money.  It’s absolutely devastating from an emotional perspective and so why go why go through that.  So get pre approvals in place and tick off all those boxes, that’s number one.  


Then number two is, where do I want to live, what fits my lifestyle.  Am I thinking apartment condo, am I thinking townhouse condo, or am I thinking single family home so that’s number one, am I looking at living in Vancouver or am I looking at East Vancouver, West Side.  Do I need to be near schools, am I the type of person who is comfortable living in a strata property where there’s bylaws and rules and regulations and decisions are made on a consensus basis and I don’t have the final say on decisions or am I a person who really wants to have the final say on what I can do with my property, not in all aspects, there are bylaws and so forth, and can I afford that to buy a single family home, and could be I would rather have a single family home in New Westminster rather than a condo in Vancouver.  Am I a person who’ll use transit, do I want to be near Canada Line or Expo Line or one of the other rapid transit options or am I a person who’s going to be and do I need my car at work, am I going to be commuting.  Am I comfortable commuting from Langley to downtown Vancouver or would I rather be in Squamish. 


So these are just some of the things we work through to try and look at the different options about where and what.


Mark:  So it’s lifestyle maybe even a list of here’s what’s important, I like to hike, I like to ski so maybe the North Shore is a better option or you know I’m more of a golfer so maybe Surrey or South Surrey become better options or Marine Drive, etc., etc., all those things sort of become, make a criteria list of your lifestyle and then and then like you said what are my personal requirements in terms of what kind of a place am I going to live in.  Is that right?


Paul:  Absolutely, and this is something that I go through with my clients regularly and most people by the time they’re sitting down with me have already gone through a list and hopefully they’ll have met with a mortgage broker, if they haven’t I can refer them to one to work with but they’ve already got a sense, if they live in an area that they’re happy with that’s number one.  Most people will sort of have a few different options for different areas, but then it’s about what’s happening in their lives.  Am I about to get married, are we thinking about a family, do we need two bedrooms or three bedrooms, what can we afford in our different areas or  from the other side of the equation often it’s people who are getting ready to downsize.  We’ve been in the family home; we don’t need the four bedroom home anymore.  Are we comfortable moving into a condo, are we comfortable moving out of our neighbourhood or do we really want to stay in our neighbourhood.  So it’s those are the questions that we go through a process and people come to me with a lot of questions around that.  I’ve lived in the Lower Mainland my entire life, I’m really familiar with a lot of different communities and neighbourhoods, I’ll often find I have people who want to look in East Vancouver and North Vancouver because you have similar price points and similar demographics in similar lifestyles in those communities.


So what are the pros and cons of neighbourhoods, what are the schools like, those are all sorts of questions that come up and it’s a process to work through.


Mark:  Sure, that’s great stuff.  I think there’s lots of, this is probably, I don’t want to drag this on too much today because you have lots to do today.  You’re basking in the glory of your latest victory.


Paul:  No basking allowed.


Mark:  So I think next time that we should probably talk about how we can maximize getting the best deals like how to fixer-uppers apply into it since you’ve done contracting and all that kind of stuff, how about rental options within a home.  All those other things that might be a little bit outside of the box but really good options for people to try and make things work in Vancouver for themselves.  So thanks a lot Paul.  We’ve been talking with again award winning best realtor in Vancouver as voted by his clients and the readers of the Georgia Straight, Mr. Paul Toffoli.  You can reach him at or give them a call at 604-787-6963.  Thanks Paul.


Paul:  Thanks Mark.



With award winning Vancouver Realtor Paul Toffoli, we're going through some details of the buying process for real estate in BC

Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation and we’re here with award winning realtor in Vancouver Paul Toffoli. How’re you doing today Paul?


Paul: I’m well Mark.


Mark: So Paul, I guess we’re going to talk about the real estate buying process in BC, specifically in Vancouver, I guess there’s not a ton of difference throughout the whole province, but I imagine that one of the really key things would be getting expert advice to walk you through a pretty complicated process. Is that right?


Paul: Yeah, it’s one of the things that I would advise people when you’re first starting out the process. We’re going to talk about this more in the upcoming weeks about the entirety of the process because it is a fairly complex process of buying property. One of the first steps that I recommend to people is you know what, get some expert advice. If you’re buying a car are you going to take it to a mechanic? If you’re investing your finances on the stock market you going to talk to professional. It’s all that much more important when you’re buying real estate to get expert advice because boy theres’s lots of things to be careful about. It’s a multi faceted project, I mean there’s a financial component, there’s construction components and then there are the laws and regulations about buying real estate, there’s a legal component if you’re talking about contracts. It’s complicated. So what I suggest to people is interview some realtors, talk to a couple people. If you want to talk to one, feel free to just talk to me. It makes sense to me to talk to a couple people and what I usually do with potentially new clients is we sit down over a coffee and we talk. I talk to people about my background, I talk to people about the process that we go through in the buying process. I lay the cards open on the table and say ask me anything you want, grill me on how I work, ask me the tough questions, how do I get paid, what do we look for when we’re buying real estate. There’s contract questions, there’s inspection questions etc etc. I’m very comfortable saying do this with one or two other realtors as well because you want to be working with somebody who’s a really comfortable fit for you. At the end of the day it can be a very enjoyable process, but it can also be a very intense process. You want to have a level of trust and comfort with the person you’re working with. That they’re going to give you solid advise, that it suits your needs and requirements because it’s not a cookie cutter world. Everybody’s different, everybody’s got different things that they need and you want to have a comfort level with the realtor you’re working with. The same goes with a mortgage broker. There’s lots of different financing options out there right now. There’s the big banks, there’s the credit unions, there’s private lenders. There are a plethora of options. Right now the interest rates are relatively, not relatively, they’re darn low and that may change in the next few years. So you want to have an understanding on what that will mean to you. What is your ability to change your mortgage from the form you may start with to another form, how’s it going to affect your credit rating - those are things you’re going to need advice from a mortgage broker. And again, it makes sense to me to talk to couple different people to get the information, get that comfort level and get an understanding. I have a mortgage broker that I have a strong relationship with and one of the things she says to new clients is, to go to their existing bank and see what the banks can offer them and then come back and have an informed discussion and just find out what all the different options are. 


So the first thing I recommend to people is talk to experts in the field so you get advice moving forward into what can be a really complex process.


Mark: I think that sums it up as far as what we wanted to discuss today. I think having been through it a few times now and had it been easy and incredibly scary and being able to trust the person who’s negotiating on your behalf, guiding you through the process for me was well, when I didn’t it was horrible and horrible in terms of I don’t ever what to buy another house kind of horrible and the second or third time was, well this is just really easy and thank God. All the gotchas were looked after and none of those times were with you Paul, because you’re just to darn far away!


Paul: That’s one of the things, it really is about getting a comfort level with the person you’re going to work with, having that trust because it really is about trust and on making sure you have somebody you’re working with that knows their stuff and has been through it more than once before. That’s how I seek out advise when I’m working in a field that I’m not familiar with and that’s how I recommend people proceed when working in my field of expertise.


Mark: Awesome Paul, thanks you. We’ve been talking with award winning realtor in Vancouver, Paul Toffoli. You can reach Paul at or you can give them a call to set up that coffee 604-787-6963. Thanks Paul


Paul: Thanks Mark


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Exploration, Criteria, Financing, Finding Property, Offers, Negotiation and more - How a real estate agent can help you navigate buying or selling your home.


Mark: Hi, it’s Mark Bossert from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with award winning realtor in Vancouver, Paul Toffoli. How’re you doing today Paul?


Paul: I’m great Mark. Another beautiful Vancouver day I think we have about a week of summer left.


Mark: Well hopefully a little bit longer I’ve got some fresh lettuce in the garden…anyhow we’re going to talk about the real estate buying process overview with I think is an awesome topic. We’re going to talk about all the pieces of the process - so Paul what is the overview of the whole process of buying real estate?


Paul: Ok, so this is where it becomes interesting. Most people when they start the process think, you know, I’m just going to go to a few open houses, see what’s out there, see if anything tickles my fancy - then lo and behold they see something they like and they’re overwhelmed by the process. Not only are there a lot of steps and a lot of detail but there’s a lot of risk and it can be very scary. One of the things about the process that I work through with my clients is that we try and go in an organized manner. So how does it start? I’m just going to do an overview and then we’ll dig deeper into some of these steps at a later date.


First thing, let’s have a coffee, let’s talk about this process, let’s establish the criteria you are looking for - why do you want to buy a property? Is it an investment? Is it a home? Is it something that’s going to be home for awhile and then an investment? Those types of things. So let’s talk about criteria - that can also be where’s it going to be? Is it a condo? Is it a house? How much can I afford? That’s a big part of that criteria is getting that financing in order. Working with a mortgage broker, working with some members of my extended team. I can refer mortgage brokers etc. So what can I afford…I would like to live in a mansion somewhere, but maybe I can afford a house on a 33 ft lot. So that’s a really important piece of the puzzle that we talk about early on in the process. As part of that process, what are the additional costs that go into, not only home ownership or property ownership - that could be strata fees or insurance etc. What are the costs involved in the buying process? Are there taxes? Are there fees? How does the realtor get paid? all those kinds of questions we talk about and answer. Then once we have that overview in place, then we go and start looking at properties and some of that is the search process. 


So how do I find properties? How do I find what’s available in my process? Am I a person who wants to see every single thing out there or am I a person who just wants to see five things and I’m going to choose one of those five? Everybody has a different process. So we talk about that and we start that process. We go to open houses, going on tour with me - where I set up the tour. Sometimes it’s easy and there’s a nice selection of properties. More often in the Vancouver marketplace there’s not a lot of selection so it’s a patience game where we get educated, get all of our ducks in a row and wait for that one right property to come in place. Then once we’ve found that property, there’s the offer process.


So putting together a contract of purchase and sale. What are the subjects that we put on that property? Financing, inspection, if it’s a strata, then strata documents, all those types of things. Negotiating that contract, those terms, price, dates, subjects all those types of things. Then what happens when, omg, what happens if it’s a multiple offer and four people like the property? … which shockingly enough sometimes happens in Vancouver. How do we make sure we’re the ones that get the property or if we’re not the ones who get the property that we’re ok with that we didn’t because we put our best foot forward. Once we’ve got the contract negotiated and it’s under contract, going through the subjects, getting that home inspection done, getting that financing done so we have everything in place so that instead of being a two week process, it’s a one week process to make ourselves a little bit more attractive to the seller. Getting through that due diligence process - what I do for my clients is I read all the strata documents as well as my clients reading the strata documents. There’s lots of questions associated with those things. 


And then finally, once we remove those subjects, we’re at a place where it’s decision time, we’re going to remove those subjects and then post subjects, getting ready for the closing. Next is finding a notary or lawyer. What do I need to look for? Do I need a notary or a lawyer? Are they interchangeable? And of course, that’s a whole different can of worms that I’m  not going to get into right now. What else do I need to do? What about insurance for the home or the condo? Finding a mover. What happens on the closing day, what happens during the closing week, where do the keys come from? All of those things are part of the process that we go through beginning to end. Then finally the fun one - well wait no moving isn’t fun, but getting the keys is fun. The moving then living in your new home.


So this is a multi step, complex process and I think is really important. When I’m talking to my clients it’s really important to be highly organized around it and having someone to give you comfort because I’ve gone through it how many times a year, 40+ times a year, I’m working with clients on this buying process and holding their hands through it so it’s not a shock when a question come up. Being prepared - that should be my new motto. Be prepared. 


Mark: So what I take away from that is every client that you get is going to have some different wrinkle, some different criteria, some different obstacle or opportunity that changes a lot of what works. And because you’ve got a pretty massive amount of experience in this area for a lot of years - you’ve seen a lot of it already and if you haven’t seen it before its familiar or close enough to something that you actually have done, that you can help people through the process. I’ve been a multi home owner now, there are a few thing that are more stressful than sitting there waiting on something that you missed.


Paul: You don’t want to be the day after you’ve remove subjects - oh god, what about the - whatever it might be. A small example, I’ve renovated properties myself, I’ve worked doing general contracting for myself and for others, I’ve worked in my financial background, I’ve worked on managing thousands of rental properties. I have a deep background that’s not just selling real estate. I own and manage real estate for myself, I’ve managed real estate for others. I had a client last week, we were looking into a house in Vancouver that we thought on first blush, when we went through the open house we thought it would be a great property for them. When I walked through the property within 15 minutes I identified that there was vermiculite with potential asbestos repercussions, there might be an oil tank and about four other things before we got to the offer and inspection stage. so they decided not to put an offer in on that particular property just because there was too much risk, much more than they wanted to do. So often we can eliminate properties before you get emotionally involved. And that is where the pain often comes from, you get emotionally bought into a property and then it’s hard to let it go. I try to walk people through that process or at least help them to understand the risks they’re dealing with.


Mark: So I guess for me, that’s the benefit of having an experienced, professional to guide you through what is an extremely complicated and often scary process. You have that little bit of peace of mind that you’re not on your own and somebody who’s walked the walk and talked the talk and know what he’s doing and is going to help you and make sure you’re not getting into some kind of financial difficulty that you can’t recover from. 


Paul: Absolutely, and we have a little fun in the process as well, you know it should be fun - it’s looking for your home. But we try to take some of the anxiety and stress and manage it, it’s still going to be challenging but at least it doesn’t feel out of control.


Mark: Awesome. So we’ve been talking with Paul Toffoli, he’s an award winning realtor in Vancouver. You can go to his website or give him a call and have that coffee with him 604-787-6963. Thanks a lot Paul


Paul: Thanks Mark

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