Area Real Estate News & Market Trends

You’ll find our blog to be a wealth of information, covering everything from local market statistics and home values to community happenings. That’s because we care about the community and want to help you find your place in it. Please reach out if you have any questions at all. We’d love to talk with you!

Jan. 21, 2020

Giveaway- Well-Being Gift Box

 

 

G I V E A W A Y - Happy 2020, it's the start of a new decade and we want to inspire you to practise self-care and self-love to bring out your best self for 2020.

 

With the help of a few fantastic local companies, I have put together a Well-Being Gift Box to shower you with some of my favourite self-care products all made locally here in Nanaimo. The winner will get skincare products from @matkahollistics and @curesoaps, and collagen powder from @goodlifejuice.

 

Total value: $150

 

Bonus points for tagging your friends and for sharing this post in your Instagram story

 

Good luck!

 

How to enter.

 

  1. See the Rafflecopter box below.
  2. Log in using either your email address or your Facebook account. 
  3. Click on the action, and once you click the entry requirement, your entry will be noted. Every step you complete increases your number of entries.
  4. Our giveaway will run until February 13. The winner will be contacted directly via email or Facebook on February 14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Blog
Dec. 23, 2019

Buyers Guide Checklist

 

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases of your life, and it's so important to have all of your bases covered! I've put together this fool-proof list of what to consider when buying a house. Whether it's your first or fifth home, this list will help you to think critically and make the correct choices.

 


Step 1: Priorities First

Neighbourhood | Lifestyle | House Considerations:

 

Before you begin putting pen to paper in building your list of dream homes, stop and

consider your motivations and lifestyle needs. Here are a few key considerations to

incorporate into your home search:

○ Schools in the area

○ Nearby amenities

○ Style of house

○ Proximity to recreation

○ Identify what your home needs to fit your lifestyle

○ What are your current needs and will the house grow with you?

○ What is your buying intention? Long term real estate plan, income property, flip?

○ Daily commute

○ Transit

○ Neighbourhood demographic. Are you looking for an adult or family-oriented community?

 

 



Identify your needs vs. wants:

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of house hunting. Identifying your needs from

your wants will give you a greater sense of clarity and help with staying on budget,

limiting house hunting frustration and disappointment.

 

A NEED is something you must have when purchasing a home.

A WANT is something you can easily add or change to the home in the future.

Get clear on your financial health:

Create a savings plan and budget to save up a down payment. I highly recommend that you download Mint app as a tracker tool to help with budgeting/saving. The minimum downpayment in Canada is 5%;

however, anything under 20% requires mortgage default insurance. You should also take into consideration the additional costs that come with buying a house.

Before you start shopping around for a lender, order a copy of your credit score. Knowing your credit score in advance will help you better prepare, whether that is saving up a larger down payment or taking measures to improve or build your credit before going through the application process.
 

To get an accurate credit report order it through Equifax Canada or TransUnion

Canada, they both offer different information to help you on your way to financial peace

of mind.


Talk to a financial planner and get pre-approved:

Get your mortgage pre approval from your bank or mortgage broker. This can be a long process so the earlier you start, the better prepared you will be. What is the difference between a mortgage broker and a bank? A bank can only apply for a mortgage with the bank they are associated with. Whereas a

mortgage broker works with multiple lenders to ensure you are getting the best rate.

 

If receiving money from family, make sure you have a paper trail or money has been in

your account for 3 months minimum. Tip: within 3 months of planning to purchase, do

not make large purchases, keep your bank statements looking clean. If you are

self-employed, make sure you have consistent earnings and two years notice of

Assessments.

Picking the right real estate agent:

Pick a realtor that you feel understands your needs and wants. Have a buyer

consultation with 3 agents and pick the one you feel is right for you.


Step 2: Starting the Search

Tools:

Have your private client search set up so you receive all new listings. The search is

specific to your criteria and can be changed at any time

 

 

Research:

Once you have established a list of potential homes, take a drive by the house and get a

feel for the neighbourhood. Pictures and listing descriptions don't always tell the full story.

Viewing homes:

You may fall in love with the first home you view or it might take twenty; however, when

you find the right home you will know.
 

Writing an offer:

Once you have found the right home, it is time to write an offer.

Accepted offer:

After you have an accepted offer, it is now time to make sure the terms and conditions of

the contract are met before subject removal. Depending on the contract, your deposit

may be due shortly after acceptance or after subject removal. This step includes booking

an inspection if needed, sending your bank a copy of the accepted offer for financing

and reviewing title and any other documents to ensure you have done your due diligence. 

*(Typical terms include: Financing, Inspection, Title, PDS, Due Diligence, Deposit, Insurance).

 

Subject removal:

Once you are satisfied with the terms of the contract and have financing approved, we

can remove subjects! With subjects removed, the property you have purchased in now

considered sold and the deal is firm and legally binding. If you are renting this is the time

to give notice of your move. Book movers and a cleaner.
 

Completion:

With the contract now firm it is time to prepare for completion. Approximately 3-5 business days

before completion meet with your lawyer or notary to sign documents. Prepare bank

draft for amount to be provided by notary/lawyer. Make sure utilities are transferred and

set up in your name for the day of completion on your new home.

 

Moving Day/Possession:

Possession day is the day you get the keys and can take physical ownership of the

property. Possession may be the same day as completion of the following day,

depending on what is written in the contract.


Step 3: Relax and enjoy your new home
Time to celebrate, invite your friends and family and unpack and relax.

 

Posted in Blog
Dec. 6, 2019

AirBnB Do's and Don'ts



So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to turn your space into an Airbnb - it’s a great idea and can become a fabulous source of passive income (as long as you’re
properly registered!). However, there are a lot of moving pieces that come along with hosting guests.

Yes, Airbnb is full of beautiful photography and carefully curated spaces, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a ton of work. I’ve put together a great list of “Do’s and Don’ts” for you to consider before you go crazy on the Urban Barn website!



Don’t slack on your listing. You have to consider that there are hundreds of places to stay in your area, so what is setting your Airbnb apart from the rest? Number one, splurge on professional photography. Having carefully curated photos showcasing your space will bump up your bookings! It’s also important to invest in a good cleaner who understands your Airbnb setup (you can add a cleaning fee to your listing to offset this cost.) Try to remember that you are investing in your own little business, and while it may seem silly to buy a brand new dishware set that you’ll personally never use, it will mean the world to your guests. No one wants to show up to a space they’ve paid good money for to find there are mismatched plates. 

Do make yourself aware of the regulations. It would be awful to have spent tons of time and energy on your listing and find out you didn’t check all of the boxes required to make it legal. First and foremost, it’s important you obtain a business license. Airbnb has a great article about the possible regulations in the Lower Mainland and Victoria, but it's important to look into your local laws on the matter. In February of 2019, Nanaimo counsel recommended seven actions to regulate short-term rentals, which included: ensure that zoning regulations that apply to bed and breakfasts are extended to short term rentals, and determining an appropriate fine for listing a short-term rental without a valid license. For more information on the proposed regulations for short term rentals in Nanaimo, click here. 

Don’t overdo it on the rules. People don’t want to feel like they’re in high school again (does anyone?!) Of course it’s fine to put common rules and regulations like no smoking or quiet hours, but spending hours on a thick “RULES” book left dramatically in the middle of the coffee table will not make your guests feel welcome. Sure, the house manual needs some guidelines about how to operate the baseboard heating, but not the manifesto of behaviour! Pro tip: Don’t forget to specify on your space being pet friendly. If you’re okay with pets, be sure to decide what size you’re going to max out at. 



Do communicate often. As with anything, the easiest way to avoid conflict is to keep the lines of communication open and straightforward. People will not read four pages of your listing, so try to keep crucial points at the very top. Make sure you have filled out as much as possible on the Airbnb listing, and automate the check in process as much as possible. The more you communicate with your guests, the more likely you are to build a great rapport and have them refer friends to your listing. Or rebook the next time they vacation in your town!

Don’t overlook the small details. Make sure you spend some time in the space to get a sense of the guest’s experience: is there enough space in the closet? Is the kitchen stocked with enough equipment to prepare a meal? Pro Tip: Stay in the space yourself for at least a night, preferably longer in order to learn what finer details you might miss otherwise! And don’t forget about those little finishing touches. Leaving a small gift like a bottle of wine, beer, or fresh local baked goods for when your guests arrive will make them feel welcome and excited to explore your area. Another great idea is having a guest book with local tips, great places to adventure, and where to grab a bite in your town!



Do be prepared for problems. It's always better to under promise and over-deliver than seemingly guarantee an amazing place but fail to mention any little issues that could have a negative impact on your guest’s stay (it’s also a great idea to charge a security deposit through Airbnb.) Identify potential hazards, such as exposed wires or possible tripping hazards, and resolve or clearly mark them. Replenish the first aid kit, and supply emergency instructions, including a list of contacts for local services and the closest hospital. If the emergency exit is not already marked, provide a map for guests.

And there you have it! What kind of do’s and don’ts have you considered when trying to decide whether or not to host an Airbnb in your home? I would love to hear your ideas!

Posted in Blog
Nov. 14, 2019

Tips for Choosing a Contractor



Are you the kind of person who walks into a space, and instantly sees all of the possibilities? So am I. We recently bought a new home, and as we begin preparing for the move, my mind wanders to all of the renovations that could be done to make the space ‘ours.’

For anyone who has done a home renovation, you know that things rarely go exactly to plan. To avoid further home reno stress, I recommend hiring a contractor, especially for big jobs. But, that can be easier said than done as there are so many companies to choose from! I’ve got a few suggestions when choosing a contractor.

Recommendations. Ask friends, co-workers or neighbours for recommendations. It’s highly likely that you know someone who has recently done a renovation, or at least has used a contractor in the last few years. It’s also a great idea to check references. Contact both their past clients and subcontractors.

Interview at least three contractors, ask lots of questions and make sure you get a written quote. And don’t forget to read reviews. Check out Google and other online review forums! This is pretty much a job interview, so you don’t want to jump the gun and hire the first person you meet!

Insurance and license. Ask the contractor for a copy of his licence and ensure they and their workers are insured. If you don’t do your due diligence and look into these things, you can be on the hook for any issues or accidents that may happen. It’s also a good idea to check their credibility by following up with the Better Business Bureau.

Don’t pay for the whole job upfront. Be wary of contractors look for large upfront payments before the job begins. And never pay 100 percent of the job before it is complete and you are satisfied. 




Communication. Make sure you are comfortable communicating with the contractor.  

Get the proper permits. If you are not sure if you need one, contact the city permit department and ask. A good contractor will also be able to tell you and coordinate the permit process. Unpermitted work can also cause problems when it's time to sell.

Be clear on the work that is needed and get clarity on who will be performing the work, will they hire subcontractors for portions of the projects, if so who.



Sign a detailed contract. Make sure the work to be completed is detailed and clearly outlines deadlines, progress, payments, materials and labour costs. You can always write your own if the contractor's version is not detailed enough. Document everything and make sure you document changes to the original agreement in writing.

Do you have and tips for me when it comes to hiring a contractor to aid in the renovation process? Email me your ideas!

Posted in Blog
Oct. 29, 2019

Brunch & Banter with Siya, Jaclyn, and Ryan

From curb appeal to interior finishes, this move-in ready Parksville home is meticulous and the perfect place to set down roots. The beautiful French country kitchen features vaulted ceilings, new appliances and wood floors that flow throughout the home. Unwind in the bright living room and take in the mountain views from the homes many oversized windows. Enjoy the low maintenance yard featuring rock landscaping, automated irrigation and top of the line artificial turf. The low maintenance lawn will save you time and preserve water, not to mention it looks incredible.

This 2556 sqft home has five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a den and a bonus room. The functionality of the floor plan is impressive and provides you with plenty of space to grow.

Price: $849,900 Beds: 5 Bath: 3

Posted in Blog
July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates