Can you tell us about your journey into real estate? How did you get started and what inspired you to choose this field?
I always wanted to do business, and since I come from a business family and that had a background in real estate, I could not think of anything apart from real estate, which came very naturally to me. I’m people-oriented and always in the community, which helped me grow my business. I come from an IT background where I used to help my customers. My customers used to be my company’s employees whom I helped with IT-related services. I was already into serving clients’ fields; this is just another field where I could apply my skills, and I still love it. I started as a solo agent, now I have formed a team named Neeraj Kumar Real Estate Team which is brokered by eXp Realty so that I can serve more families.
What neighbourhood do you cover?
My team and I cover all of Metro Vancouver, which includes cities like Vancouver, Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster, Delta, Surrey, Langley, and Maple Ridge. Our client side is mostly need and budget-based. So wherever our clients take us, we go there in the Metro Vancouver area.
How do you handle multiple offers or bidding wars?
It is imperative, especially in Metro Vancouver. When the market becomes very active, knowing how to win the bidding war is vital. I prepare my clients well in advance; sometimes, we add minimum subjects if the market demands. Otherwise, we always add subjects so the client is fully covered and has enough time to do their due diligence, like home inspection, reading starter documents, etc. But in the case of a hyperactive market, we can still do those things but in advance. For example, we can swiftly pre-inspect a new listing and the home before making an offer. Getting the mortgage pre-approval done in advance prepares them so they’re all set when the time comes. That’s assurance, not a complete guarantee, still subject to financial preconditions. However, pre-inspections, starting documents early, and gathering neighborhood insights can be accomplished in advance. We prepare our clients in advance and are subject to an offer that is as clean as possible, so that the offer is attractive to sellers, and sellers pick the offer.
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How have recent Bank of Canada interest rate changes affected the real estate market? Will the market recover from this soon?
The rate hike impacted the market negatively, making homes less affordable. Higher interest rates mean buyers need to qualify for their desired homes. Prices have adjusted somewhat, but more is needed for everyone to afford them. This reduced buyers’ purchasing power. Recent announcements of stable rates have boosted buyer confidence, influencing their buying decisions. I can see that the inquiry has gone up. I prefer to avoid predicting; I work on data and the current situation, and never like to predict. I’ve noticed reports suggesting stable rates or a possible cut next year. If that happens, market activity and buyer confidence could rise, leading to increased purchases. This shift could likely drive prices upward and change the market scenario.
Is now a good time to buy, or should the buyer wait?
Buy when the bank approves your mortgage, and you can pay your mortgage. I always say it’s not about timing the market but time in the market. So buy and wait instead of waiting and buying. Statistically, a lower interest rate often means higher demand and prices. Paying a slightly higher interest now might save you from paying much more for the property later. If you can manage the current rate, buying now is wiser than waiting. Waiting might be optional.
How do you help sellers sell their homes faster?
We use cutting-edge technologies such as drone photography, virtual tours, and highly professional pictures to showcase the home. We also hire professional services from digital marketing companies such as Digii Ninja to help us promote the listing online and on social media.
What would you like to say to first-time home buyers?
Many people think they have to pay the fee to the real estate agents to use their services. No payment is involved when you hire a real estate agent to help you purchase the home (the seller pays both sides). Why not get professional help when it is available for free. Secondly, I advise them to get adequately educated before making one of their life’s most significant decisions. I have been organizing Information Sessions to educate first-time home buyers for many years, where we cover the A-Z process of home buying in BC, Canada. Our next session is coming up in March 2024.
Are you planning to expand your team in the near future?
It is the perfect timing for this question. We are anticipating a busy market in 2024 and looking forward to adding a new team member. More information can be found on my website.
What do you do outside real estate?
When I am not busy I like to organize social & engaging community events. I like to go for morning walks, read books, and am always open to meeting like minded people. I am a Yoga enthusiast and like to spend some time on the mat every day. Out of passion I also promote Yoga in Metro Vancouver because it keeps you healthy physically & mentally and also helps you keep up with modern day life. I support events related to International Day of Yoga and Yoga in general.
Giving Back To The Community
With a firm belief in giving back to the community, Neeraj Kumar is connected with few local non-profit groups and charity organizations such as Vivek Educational Society of Canada, Friends For Cause Foundation, & Touching Lives Foundation which are making a difference in the society. He believes we can build a better world together!