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!

March 11, 2020

What Buying a Home Really Costs



What Buying a Home Really Costs - A simple breakdown of purchasing costs


You might think the cost of purchasing a home is obvious, but sometimes, wrapped up in the excitement, some expenses get forgotten or are just not something you would have ever thought about. To help you cross your "T's" and dot your "I's," I have put together a list of costs and considerations to help you better understand the expenses associated with the home buying process.

Get cost acquainted

Before making an offer, it is wise to consider all potential expenses to ensure you are not left feeling surprised and overwhelmed. I have provided additional links below to allow you to delve a little deeper into understanding those costs. 

If you are a first time home buyer, find out if you qualify for the BC First Time Home Buyer's grant by checking out this link

Interested in finding how much you need for a downpayment and what your monthly payment obligation will be? Follow this link here:

The links above are a great place to start when assessing what you can afford. Once you have an idea of where you stand, book an appointment with a mortgage broker or bank to discuss pre-approval.


Making an offer to purchase

You have finally found the 'one' and have an accepted offer. That offer may include subjects like:

  • A home inspection.
  • An appraisal
  • Land survey 
  • Home Insurance policy

Tip: Get multiple quotes from different home insurance companies and interview at least 3 home inspectors.


Property Transfer Tax. What is it, and how much?

In British Columbia, property transfer tax, and prorated property taxes are paid on closing day. This payment goes to the municipality where your new home is located and is paid annually after that. 

To get an estimated property transfer tax cost, follow this link: 


Other costs to consider

  • GST if your home is a new build, commercial or rental/Airbnb.
  • City or strata fees.
  • Lawyer/notary fees for registering the property and transferring the land title.

 Tip: Reach out to your accountant to verify if your new home purchase might include GST, Speculation & Vacancy Tax or Foreign Buyers Tax.

Moving Day!

Are you hiring a moving company or doing it yourself? Are you planning any renovations and have those expenses been considered? Don't forget, TV, phone, internet, heat and electricity. Creating a checklist is a great way to ensure you don't miss anything and can track your expenses to make sure you stay on budget.



Breaking It All Down


Here are the costs we have discussed so far to help narrow it down for you. The calculation below is based on a $450,000 single-family, detached home with the first time home buyer grant. Please note, these are rough estimates, and I recommend meeting with a mortgage specialist to discuss exact amounts, as every situation is a little bit different.

  • Down payment (10% with first time home buyer grant): $45,000
  • Monthly mortgage payments (25-year amortization on a 5-year fixed term): $1846 per month
  • Home Inspection: $500
  • Septic Inspection (not applicable for all households) $500
  • WETT Inspection (older wood stove): $150
  • Appraisal: $300 (if lender requirement)
  • Insurance: $1000 per year
  • Property transfer tax (rebated at Lawyer's with first time home buyer's grant): $7000 
  • Property taxes: $3696 per year
  • City or strata fees: $300 per month
  • Lawyer/notary fees: $1200
  • Other (moving, furniture, utilities, repairs): $5000

Total after closing day: $52,192 (Reminder: this is after the first time home buyer's grant).

The total you can expect month over month: approx $2504 + utilities.


***Disclaimer: these are rough estimates. I recommend meeting with a mortgage specialist to discuss the exact amounts.

Posted in Blog
Feb. 18, 2020

6 Tips When Working With a Realtor



Buying or selling your home is a big deal! It’s not every day that you get to make one of the biggest financial decisions of your life. Knowing this, I have come up with a list of items that you should be mindful of when working with a Realtor. This way you can optimize your experience, and your Realtor can do their best!


1. Choose the right Realtor


You’re the one in the interview seat! I highly recommend that you interview a couple of different Realtors that you have already done your research on. In this day in age, you can find out a lot about a Realtor by simply checking out their Facebook, or Instagram account. What should you be looking for? Someone that aligns with who you are. It helps to have something in common with your Realtor as you are going to be spending a lot of time with them on a very big, personal purchase or sale. 


Once you have chosen your Realtor, it’s important to commit. Unless they aren’t doing their job. Then you have a right to decline your Realtor. However, if you’re working productively with them, ensure that you’re consistently working with only them. When you see a home you’d like to view, don’t call the listing agent. Reach out to the Realtor you have chosen. When going to an open house, bring your Realtor with you, or be transparent that you’re going to that open house without them.


Committing to just one Realtor gives them the opportunity to focus extensively on your purchasing goals. 


2. Be specific


So you have chosen a Realtor that is working for you. Now is the time to give them all the details including getting pre-approved. Find out what kind of product you can afford and want. When you hop online and find your dream home, give your Realtor the address AND MLS number if you can. Along with your product description, be sure to let your realtor know your expectations. How many homes do you want to see in a week? Where are you at with regard to your knowledge of your preferred product? To relay this information, phone calls or in-person meetings are important, but so are emails and text messaging. Having a record of your discussions will only help your Realtor assist you better.


3. Understand the scope


Although Realtors are not lawyers, engineers or accountants, they can definitely do their due diligence in getting you in touch with someone that is. Just because a Realtor doesn’t know the answer on the spot, doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. A professional Realtor will hunt down someone that does know what you’re asking and get you the right information!


4. When NOT to vacation


It’s a very bad idea to go travelling in the middle of your transaction. It can jeopardize the entire process, and you could lose your offer all together! Be open with your schedule. If you have plans to go on a holiday over the next couple of months, let your Realtor know, so you can work out a schedule that best meets your purchasing needs.


5. Realtors are human just like you!


Chances are your Realtor has family, friends or even a gym membership! Your Realtor needs a good work-life balance in order for them to be their best during your transaction. A good Realtor will be open with you on their hours of operation. Make sure you give them their personal time just as you would with any other professionals you work with.


6. Understanding “commission”


The unspoken myth of commission - Realtors make ‘too much.’ Well, after brokerage fees and an extensive marketing plan, Realtors can make a living. However, they don’t make any profit until the closing phase of a transaction. 


I chose to become a Realtor because I love to collaborate with my clients in every aspect of their transaction. I enjoy being a part of an emotional, yet exciting life phase whether it’s closing one chapter by selling your home, or opening another by purchasing your home. If I have done a good job with assisting you through that phase, then I receive compensation. I don’t receive any compensation until you are satisfied, and your transaction is closed.


It’s important to be open and honest with your Realtor if you ever find yourself unsatisfied with your experience. Give them feedback on what is bothering you. A professional Realtor will take that feedback in stride, and try their best to find an alternative that works best for you and your goals.


Posted in Blog
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 most significant purchases of your life, so it's essential to have all of your bases covered! Whether it's your first or fifth home, this list will guide you through your real estate journey to help you think critically and make smart choices.


Step 1: Priorities First


Neighbourhood | Lifestyle | House Considerations:

Before you begin building your list of dream homes, stop and consider your motivations and lifestyle needs.


Identify your needs vs. wants:

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:

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.



Picking the right real estate agent:

Pick a realtor that you feel understands your needs and wants. Have a buyer consultation with three agents and choose the one you think is right for you.

Step 2: Starting the Search



Have a 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




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 negotiate and prepare 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. *(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 is now considered sold, and the deal is firm and legally binding.


With the contract now firm, it is time to prepare for completion.


- Meet with your lawyer or notary to sign documents.

- Prepare a bank draft for the amount to be provided by notary/lawyer.

- Make sure utilities are transferred and set up in your name for the day of completion of 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