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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from TeamW - Rudi & Trish Widdershoven
December 2017   

Hi,

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Its hard to believe the Holiday Season is here and the year is almost over!  We thank you all for being part of our "real estate family" &  a special thank you to everyone who reached out after Rudi's fall in October, the expressions of concern & support were truly wonderful!.  2017 has been quite a year with fun family times, lots of business, Rudi's mishap, family & friend health issues and losing some very special people.  We are very grateful for where & how we get to live our lives & the amazing friends & family that we have.
 
We hope that you will spend some special time with family & friends during the Christmas & Holiday season.  We are on another family adventure, going east to visit family in Toronto & New Brunswick. This time the kids & all the grandkids are coming with us to Toronto for 4 nights of exploration & celebrating with family.  It will be busy with 25 for family dinner Saturday! We are excited!.

Thanks so much for being part of our 'real estate family", we appreciate your faith & confidence in us. Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Mortgage Changes - Act Now!
Setting the Stage for a Perfect Sale- First Impressions matter!
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Tired of Tossing and Turning?

MORTGAGE CHANGES - ACT NOW! 

Mortgage changes come into effectJanuary 1st.  Its important to give some thought to your long term plans!
 
Last month the Federal Governments Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) confirmed the implementation of a new minimum qualifying "stress test" for uninsured mortgagesGuideline B-20 now requires borrowers who have a down payment of 20% or more to qualify for mortgages at higher rates. Borrowers will have to be approved at either the five-year mortgage rate "published by the Bank of Canada", (currently 4.99%), OR the mortgage rate the federally-regulated financial institution offers + 2%, whichever is higher.

No matter how much money you put as a down payment, you will have to pass the "stress test".  The effect of the changes is signifigant, resulting in approximately a 20% decrease in affordability, or borrowing power.

This change is important to note;  If you are planning on purchasing real estate in 2018 & beyond; or If you are planning on placing financing on your current home as part of your future retirement planning process.

We believe everyone should consider having financing on their homes, even if you do not "forecast the need". Having the option in place is usually easier to do now than in the future, plus it impedes any future risk of fraud. Maybe you will use or need it for that "special holiday", a new vehicle, an unforeseen medical situation, or for extended life supplementing retirement plans. We know at least one financial institution, RBC, will give you pre-approval this month under current regulations & rates. You can qualify for 120 days to either "purchase & close" on a new property, or to place financing on your current home.

If you would like to explore this option speak to your financial advisor, or ask us team@teamw.ca as we would be pleased to explain it to you further. We can  put you in contact with a mortgage specialist. But don't delay as Dec 31is the deadline for application under the current rules!

SETTING THE STAGE FOR A PERFECT SALE- FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER! 

When you put your home on the market, our goal is the same! Sell it quickly & for top dollar. Proper staging of your home from day one will create an wonderful impression that should generate a huge buzz & quick sale!

Staging isn't as much an expense as it is an investment. Not only is your home likely to sell for a higher price but it will probably sell faster. This is important because homes that sit on the market longer tend to lose value, especially in this current market enviroment. Don"t forget Trish is an "accredited stager" & can help you with it! The process begins with cleanliness, de-cluttering, some de-personalizing & a neutral pallette. Buying a home is an emotional decision, buyers need be able to envision themselves living there. Thats why most photographs, trophies `& kids artwork need to go. Your are moviing anyway so pack it now!

Staging ensures your home is inviting to buyers by increasing functionality and the flow of rooms. Sometimes that includes removing & storing furniture so the house looks spacious. The use of lighting and other features can create a warm & cosy effect. A properly staged home usually generate more showings.

Start by cleaning up the front of the house & yard, & don’t forget the back too. Buyers can have a tough time ``visioning``. So turn your craft room back into a bedroom or transform a nook into a comfy reading spot. Great lighting creates a warm and welcoming ambience so make sure you update light fixtures, lamps & that light bulbs are working. Buyers will also look through cupboards & closets (storage space can be a factor in "downsizing") so don’t forget those areas as well. The garage matters too, but it can have some boxes etc.

A well staged home will make a great first impression and capture the hearts of homebuyers. Whether you pay a professional to stage your home or do the work yourself, staging is a worthwhile investment that will massively increase the odds of your home selling quickly and for top dollar.

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Lack of inventory continues to drive our market.

The year is almost over, which seems hard to believe! Looking at the latest statistics for the greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area released by VIREB it has been an active year (though sales volumes were down from 2016 as predicted).  We did did see an increase in values as we predicted, due to lack of supply & continued strong demand.

Overall Single Family homes here has seen 8% fewer homes listed and 16% fewer sales.  However the average sale price increased by 14%.  The average "days on the market" is down by 23% to 26 days.  The overall current "active listings" November 2017 is down by 6% in comparison to November 2016.  Check out the summary report by clicking here.

Keep in mind the above numbers vary for different geographic areas. For example Parksville has seen a drop in the number of new listings by 9% and average sale price up by 10% while Fairwinds has seen an decrease of 23% in listings and a 18% increase in average sale price. If you would like more detailed information on particular geographic regions or different styles of properties contact us at team@teamw.ca .  Also none of these stats include waterfront homes as they skew the averages.

Also BCREA (British Columbia Real Estate Association) has released their Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast for the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area (Malahat north). The forecast is a contined drop in the number of single family home sales at  -7.9%, and a continuing increase in average sale prices by 2.4%.  Keep in mind January 2017 they forecast a 2% increase in average sale price and we ended with  an approximate 14.5% increase.  For the full details of the Forecast please drop us a note at team@teamw.ca and we would be pleased to supply it to you.

TIRED OF TOSSING AND TURNING? 

Healthy sleep habits can greatly improve your quality of life.

If all you’re dreaming of is a good night’s sleep, you’re not alone. Lack of sleep can take a massive toll on our mental & physical health. The following tips may help you get your much needed sleep!

  1. It's a No-Glo - Hide all light no matter how faint and turn off your smartphone & computer screens at least 30 minutes before bed.

  2. Chill Out & Warm Up - Keep your bedroom temperature cool. You can wear socks to bed to help your body transfer heat even.

  3. Light Bright - Take in all the daylight you can as it changes the melatonin levels in your body which causes you to sleep better when darkness falls. Melatonin in pill form at bedtime helps some people.

  4. Keep Regular sleep Patterns - Try to go to bed & wake up about the same time daily. If you get poor sleep one night, don’t nap the next day, it will affect your internal clock. But naps as a regular thing are good for you (as long as they do`t affect your regular sleep pattern.

  5. Stay Fit - Exercising early & daily can help you sleep better. but avoid it later in the day. Instead, ease muscle tension with some light, relaxing stretches before hitting the sack.

  6. No Worries - Write a to-do list before going to bed in order stop your mind from turning. Keep a journal beside your bed just in case something pops in your head or to jot down concerns or things to remember. Then go back to sleep.

Lack of sleep can contribute to physical and emotional health problems so it's important to consistently practice positive sleep habits. The above suggestions can help you peacefully drift off to sleep each night so you'll be much more energetic and productive throughout the day. Sweet dreams!



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 
 
 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow us on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook! 

 
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The year is almost over, hard to believe.  In looking at the latest statistics for the greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area released by VIREB it has been an active year though down from 2016 as predicted in # of sales.  However values did increase mainly due to lack of supply and strong demand.

 

Overall for Single Family homes there have been 8% less homes listed and 16% less sales however the average sale values have increased by 14%.  The average # of days on the market has gone down by 23% to 26 days.  The overall current number of active listings at the end of November are down by 6% in comparison to November 2016.

 

Keep in mind that the above numbers vary for different geographic areas.  As an example Parksville has seen a drop in the number of new listings by 9% and average sale prices up by 10% while Nanoose Bay has seen an increase of 3% in listings and a 16% increase in average sale prices.  If you would more detailed information on geographic regions or different styles of properties contact TeamW at team@teamw.ca .

 

Also BCREA (British Columbia Real Estate Association) has released their Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast and for the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board area (Malahat north) they are forecasting a continuing drop in the number of single family home sale, -7.9%, and a continuing increase in average sale prices by 2.4%.  Keep in mind that in January of this year they forecasted a 2% increase in average sale prices and we are going to end up with approximately a 14.5% increase.  


All the best,


Rudi & Trish


Click Here To View or Download The Full Report




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  Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven November 2017   

Hi Paul,


Hope everyone is doing well & we truly appreciate how many responses we got regarding Rud's crash & burn fall!  We are pleased to report the cast was removed yesterday & he is on his way to full use of his arm again!  I am extremely happy to not be full time driver anymore!  We have had some wonderful experiences through this process with people going out of their way to come to us or even offering to drive Rudi instead of him driving them to view homes!  A special thank you goes to Susie Mattner in our office who was particularly helpful, we are mentoring her & she's becoming a GREAT Realtor* and we feel will be part of our greater circle of support on a contining basis.  Susie will look after business when we are away in the future.
 
Its hard to believe the holdiay season is already upon us! 1 month tomrrow is Christmas Eve!
 
Please try not to let the stress of the coming season be your focus this month...remember Christmas & the Holiday Season is about sharing time & creating special memories!  Be kind to one another and donate to those less fortunate...the magis of the season is not about the biggest or best gift...its about sharing & caring for each other. 
 
Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Smart Home Security Made Simple
The Feng Shui Way
Building a Better Community

Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update 

High demand and low inventory driving brisk market.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales in October 2017 rose by 16 per cent from one year ago but dipped 10 per cent from September.

Last month, 460 properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 398 one year ago and 511 in September.

When looking at these sales figures, however, it is important to note that 2016 was a banner year for real estate.  We are not expecting a significant market change in direction in 2018, as sales activity in the VIREB area is still robust.

VIREB attributes most of the decline in sales numbers to ongoing lack of inventory challenges. Although the supply of single-family homes for sale has been rising each month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 in December 2016, inventory in October was 1,138, down 2% from last year & 8% from September.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the housing market in B.C is strong, particularly in the southern half of the province. B.C.’s GDP is currently tracking at 4 % and is expected to average 3.7 % for 2017.

Government policy decisions, slightly higher interest rates & the new mortgage stress test, could affect the housing market in 2018, but it is too early to say how. These attempts to temper rising home prices are aimed mainly at overheated markets in Vancouver & Toronto. They will likely be countered by other factors, most baby boomers are entering their retirement years, millennials are purchasing first homes, plus interprovincial migration.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, states that sales are still brisk throughout VIREB. “Looking purely at statistics, it appears that the market is cooling, but the opposite is true,” says Stromar.  “Lack of inventory is certainly tempering sales, but what is available sells faster & for more money.”

Stromar adds that multiple offers still occurr regularly, even on condos, townhouses, & mobile homes, which is unusual for VIREB. However, sellers still need to price their homes realistically.  “Although many properties are selling above list price, sellers must set a reasonable price because consumers are savvy & may not look at an overpriced home,” she said.

Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar.  “Our current market conditions can be confusing & chaotic for buyers & sellers. REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks,” says Stromar.

In October, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $463,800, up 17 % from 2016. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area. The benchmark price of an apartment condo rose to $272,300, up 28 % board-wide from the previous year, while the benchmark price of a townhouse hit $360,100, a 22 % increase from 2016.
 
The October 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in Parksville Qualicum Beach was $524,900 up 17% from last year, Nanaimo's benchmark price broke the $500,000 mark up 14% to $501,400. Campbell River area was $366,800, an increase of 19 % over October 2016.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $466,200, up 20 % from last year.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $409,500, an increase of 14 % from October 2016.
Port Alberni's  benchmark home was $253,600, up 18 % from one year ago.

Smart Home Security Made Simple 

A fully secure home will provide you with peace of mind.

Whether you’re at home sleeping or away on vacation, it’s important to know that your home is secure.  A secure home can be more attractive to potential buyers when it comes time to sell.

Smart lighting, remote locks and wireless cameras can all make your home safer; however, the issue of cyber criminals hacking into smart home systems is a valid concern so homeowners shouldn’t forget about the basics.

Eliminate potential hiding spots by trimming down bushes that are around your windows and doors.  Most thieves are opportunists who see an open door or window and decide to take a chance and see what they can make off with.

Perhaps you want to install strike plates on your doors to help protect the deadbolt from crowbars or kick attacks. Thieves want to get into your home as quickly as possible, so if one forceful kick doesn't work, they’ll likely run.
Windows are also popular break in points so install heavy sash or keyed locks.  You can also get special window films installed so your windows are more difficult to break.

Give the impression your home is lived in while you're away on vacation by installing a dusk-to-dawn porch light.  Although technology allows you to control blinds and lights right from your smartphone, you'll still need to find someone to rake your leaves as there isn’t an app for that yet!
 Also if you are away for a period of time we have companies locally that do "home checks" and will do some clean ups to make the home appear lived in. Also make sure you check with your insurance company if you will be away for more than 2 weeks. Most now have specific requirements or you insurance can be invalidated, and they may not pay a claim.

When it comes to home security, paying attention to the little things can often make a huge difference so take time to follow up on details. Potential buyers prefer a secure home as it's one less thing for them to worry about, so you may as well do it sooner than later so that you can enjoy the benefits as well.

The Feng Shui Way 

Creating good feng shui around your home is easier than you think!

Feng shui is an ancient Chinese practice that helps achieve a harmonious living environment in order to promote happiness and prosperity.  Here are a few ideas to enhance the energy flow around your home:


  1. De clutter! Clearing your home of clutter will introduce a smoother flow and make you feel better. Clutter is a sign of trapped energy so try and be ruthless and get rid of everything you dont need. Plus its the perfect time of year to help others less fortunate with donations!

  2. The Right Path - Place a few plants and wind chimes on your porch and make sure the path to your front door is unobstructed.


  3. Fire & Ice - Essential oils, crystals, candles and water features such as fountains and fish ponds or bowls will bring calm and balance into your home.

  4. Mirror, Mirror - The strategic placement of mirrors helps improve feng shui by drawing more sunlight into otherwise murky rooms and by expanding narrow areas such as hallways.

  5. Thiink outside the nest! Birds bring great energy to add a hummingbird feeder or a bird bath to your yard

Feng shui emphasizes that our physical surroundings have an impact on our emotional well-being so it’s important to be aware of how we arrange our space.  Buyers often feel certain vibes when they enter a home so a "harmonious feel" could be the difference between a quick sale and one that drags on.

Building a Better Community 

Getting to know the people living around you offers plenty of benefits!

Research shows that there are many physical and mental health benefits to enjoying a sense of belonging.  Here are a few ideas to help you build community spirit:
           Rags to Riches - Organize a street or neighbourhood garage sale or                       clothing swap in your ‘area.  It’s also a great way to get rid of clutter!



           Clean Green - Coordinate a beach or park clean-up and then enjoy drinks and snacks that could be donated by a local business. Or afterward offer the bottles to a local team or school fundraising project.

           Book Smart - Build a “Little Library” at your local park or on your front lawn and enjoy watching people gather to exchange books.


           Start a Block safety program- Create a list of "who has what" be that skills and or equipment for emergency situations in the area. Who has a first aid certificate? Who has a generator, or who needs mobility help with leaving their home?

Getting to know people who live close by will really improve your quality of life and foster a sense of belonging.  Social media can also help build a safe, connected, friendly place to live by providing a platform to share events and ideas.


PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook
 
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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven
October 2017   




Hello Everyone! 


We hope all is well with all of you! We have been reminded to appreciate the "little things in life" in the last few weeks as Rudi had a pretty major run in with some stairs last week. He broke his wrist, 2 ribs, and had a great black eye with 6 stitches. I am the designated driver for the next 4 weeks or so & Rudi is trying to learn how to do everything "left and 1 handed". Even a shower was a chore the first few days and typing is certainly an issue. So if you happen to receive a cryptic message from him blame "SIRI" for not intrepreting his dictation, or left handed texting. We lost an old friend to cancer 2 weeks ago & a family member has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer this week. We are counting our blessings & greatful that Rudis fall injuries weren't worse.

We are still keeping up with business, including 2 offers this week. We still have an extreme shortage of homes & condos for sale locally so it continues to be a sellers market, though not quite as brisk as in the spring & summer.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- we' would love to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
The Lowdown on Being a Landlord
Picture Perfect Smartphone Snaps
Worm Juice Anyone?

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Housing market shows no signs of cooling down.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales dipped in a little in September, down to 511 from last year’s 527, (only 3 %).

However, VIREB attributes the slight decline in sales numbers to seasonal market conditions and inventory challenges.  We feel this is a combination of lack of inventory for sale and a minor seasonal change. There were only 1,233 single-family homes for sale in September, a decrease of 3% from 2016. So thats a direct relationship to sales.

Strong economic fundamentals are underpinning housing activity in British Columbia, particularly in the southern half of the province. The B.C. economy has expanded at above-trend growth for three plus years, with 2017 expected to be the fourth year of economic growth over 3%.

Current employment growth is about 7%, & consumer confidence is high, with retail sales in B.C. expected to climb close to 8% this year. The high level of interprovincial migration, combined with the supply of homes for sale dropping to its lowest level in over a decade, makes it is easy to see why home prices are rising and  a sellers’ markets thriving. These economic trends are expected to continue for the remainder of the year..

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, confirms that the VIREB area has been a sellers market for  months now.  “With a sales-to-active-listings ratio of around 32 per cent, the VIREB market is firmly in sellers’ territory," A housing market is  a "sellers market" when the ratio of home sales to active listings is above 20 per cent. We believe local area knowledge, relationships with other local realtors and experience are key in this sort of market.
"Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS* have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks," adds Stomar.

We are still seeing multiple offers, though not as often, even on condos, and some mobile homes. Although some properties are selling above list price, sellers still need to price their homes correctly because consumers are well informed and don't purchase overpriced homes. 
Preapproval for financing is key and this will really apply in the future with the changes in mortgage qualifications that are coming  in January 2018. Please call us if you have questions about the coming changes!

In September 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $462,500, up 18 per cent from one year ago. Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.
Parksville Qualicum's average price was $573,951 up 23 % from Sept 2016.

THE LOWDOWN ON BEING A LANDLORD 

Rental properties can be appealing but they’re not for everyone.


Purchasing a rental property that you yourself can also live in is a great way to get your foot in the door, so to speak.
It's much easier to afford a property if you have someone paying rent and the best part is you don't even have to put up with a roommate! Maintaining your investment property is easier if you're on site to cut the grass and perform other general repairs. You usually get a better tenant if they know their landlord is the neighbour too!
Finally, you’ll be able to write off a portion of your mortgage interest, property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. come tax time.

The other option is to buy a rental investment and let someone else pay the mortgage while you take advantage of the marekt appreciation in the long term.

There are however a few points you’ll want to take into consideration as being a landlord can sometimes be challenging and you need to treat it like a business, to be successful. Also asking us about the Residentail Tenancy Act in B.C. is key as there are very specific rules which vary from province to province.

Also having an emergency fund is essential as you’ll be responsible for immediate problems such as a broken toilets, furnaces or leaky roof as well as overseeing ongoing maintenance.  It's also common to be in between tenants occasionally so you may have to budget for lost rent, although we currently have a .2% vacancy rate here. Insurance is available for loss of income due to repairs but it is also an added expense.
Even the most reliable tenants can be late with their rent which will turn you from investor to collector.  Dealing with disagreeable tenants can also be hard work.  If this is something you feel uncomfortable with, you may want to consider hiring a property manager.


As with any property purchase, it's important to seek professional advice from your real estate agent to ensure you buy the right property, at the right time, in the right location.  If you'd love to operate your own business and are able to plan for the unexpected, being a landlord might be a great fit for you!

PICTURE PERFECT SMARTPHONE SNAPS 

Fancy filters aren’t the only way to make your photos pop!

Smartphones now have digital cameras that are capable of almost anything!  Here are a few simple tips on how to take fantastic photos:

  1. Avoid the Zoom - The quality of your photos will be much better if you crop instead of zoom.


  2. Clear View - Clean your lens as the grime that collects will cause your images to turn out dark and hazy.


  3. Rule of Thirds - Create natural looking photos by positioning the focal point a little to one side instead of in the middle.

  4. Add an App - Android and iPhone devices have various apps that are loaded with great features to help make your pictures pop!

  5. Play with Perspective - Take photos from unique angles such as kneeling or lying down.  If you’re taking a selfie or a portrait of another person, hold the phone a little higher.

These tips will help you take professional looking photos that you’ll be proud to show off!  Just be sure to keep an eye on your storage space as there’s nothing more frustrating than getting the “insufficient storage” message when you’re trying to take the perfect shot.

WORM JUICE ANYONE? 

Mix up a ghoulish drink that your Halloween guests won’t forget!

Send chills and thrills to your Halloween guests this year by brewing up a batch of scary punch!  All you need for this spooktacular blood red drink is:

  • 4 10-oz. pkgs. of frozen strawberries, defrosted
  • 2 6-oz. cans of lemonade concentrate, thawed
  • 1 bottle of lemon lime beverage
  • 1 bottle of cranberry or grape juice
  • ping pong eyeballs & plastic spiders
  • gummy worms & candy corn

Freeze some candy corn in ice cube trays.  Next, blend the lemonade concentrate and strawberries and transfer to a punch bowl with the lemon lime beverage, cranberry juice, candy corn ice and ping pong eyeballs.  Finally, garnish the punch bowl with gummy worms and plastic spiders.

Of course for the adults you could add some "libations" to the mix for some extra zip!



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven
September 2017   


Hi,

Does your home sometimes feel a little cramped?  If so, this month's article has some terrific space saving strategies that will help you get the most out of your square footage!


There's also some great advice on how to keep your plants lean and green as well as a reminder about the dangers of radon and how it can affect your family's health.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 


Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Thinking Big in Small Spaces
How to Keep your Houseplants Lean and Green
The Lowdown on Radon

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Vancouver Island housing market continues to sizzle!

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales dipped in August, down to 540 from last year's 622, a decrease of 13 per cent

Sales declined by three per cent from July, which saw 557 sales. However, although fewer units are moving, the board attributes it to lack of inventory, not a cooling market

There were only 1,349 single-family homes for sale in August compared to 1,395 last year, a decrease of three per cent.  Not enough supply is coming onto the market to keep up with demand, which results in homes selling faster and for more money.

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, confirms that the VIREB area has been a sellers' market for several months now.  "Our housing market shows no signs of slowing down, and there is little evidence of buyer fatigue," says Stromar.  "Multiple offers continue to be the norm, and we're now receiving them on condominiums and townhouses, which is virtually unprecedented for the VIREB area."

Stromar adds that many properties are selling above list price, but sellers still need to price their homes correctly because consumers are savvy and will not purchase an overpriced home. She offers the following advice for buyers.  "When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved," says Stromar.  "You should also decide beforehand on the price you're willing to pay if you find yourself in a multiple-offer situation."

Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar.  "Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks," says Stromar.

In August 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $457,500, up 18 per cent from one year ago.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The benchmark price of an apartment in August rose 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, while the townhouse market also strengthened, up 27 per cent overall and hitting 51 per cent in Duncan.

The August 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $367,000, an increase of 21 per cent over August 2016.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $454,900, up 21 per cent from last year.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $408,300, an increase of 15 per cent compared to August 2016.  Nanaimo's benchmark price rose 18 per cent to $492,900 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 15 per cent to $508,200.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $248,300, up 19 per cent from one year ago.

THINKING BIG IN SMALL SPACES 

With a little help, you can still live large in a small space!

If you live in a small space, it’s important that you don’t feel boxed in.  The following tips will help transform your cramped quarters into something more expansive:

  1. Shady Solutions - Painting walls a soft shade and the ceiling bright white will give the illusion of added height.

  2. Is That a Door In Your Pocket? - Installing pocket doors is an easy and inexpensive way to create lots of extra useable space.

  3. Lighten Up - Keep window areas clear of heavy drapes to expand wall area and let the sun shine in as it helps a space feel larger.

  4. Mirror Mirror - Strategically placed mirrors will create the illusion of added space and they’ll also reflect light into adjoining rooms.

  5. Cut a Rug - Having the same type of flooring throughout your home will make it feel more spacious so avoid using too many area rugs.

  6. Hide & Seek - Maximize every hidden space you have by using shelving pockets behind doors or bed risers for that all important under the bed storage.

  7. Cut the Clutter - Have a place for everything so that the surfaces in your home don’t get cluttered.  Storage baskets for example are great for hiding remotes & magazines.

  8. Open Up - Arrange your furniture so you can see as much of the floor as possible.  Rooms with blocked views can feel cramped so move furniture away from entrances.

Whether you're getting ready to put your home on the market or you just want to create more space for yourself, these easy and inexpensive tips will help give you a little extra breathing room.  By thinking big and getting creative, you can comfortably live large in even the smallest of spaces.

HOW TO KEEP YOUR HOUSEPLANTS LEAN AND GREEN 

A few houseplants will offer your home a breath of fresh air!

Houseplants are visually appealing and also improve our home's air quality by adding oxygen and removing harmful pollutants.  Here are a few hardy plants that will thrive in any environment:

  1. Spider Plants (Chlorophytum comosum) are great for beginners as they’re almost impossible to kill and they also look great in hanging baskets.

  2. Cast Iron Plants (Aspidistra elatior) are foolproof as they only require dim light and don’t need much water.

  3. The Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena sanderana) simply stands in water and has been used by the Chinese for centuries in the art of feng shui to create harmony in the home.

Accidental drowning is a leading cause of death for houseplants.  Water them thoroughly but make sure there are drainage holes so excess water can escape as you don’t want your plants to be sitting in water.

Improper lighting is another reason why promising young plants become statistics.  It's important to match the lighting needs of plants with the amount of light you have to offer.

Houseplants are a simple and cost-effective way to infuse natural, serene style into your home.  Better yet, research suggests they reduce stress and cold related illnesses and also increase our energy levels so go out today and outfit your home with some of nature's lean mean green machines!

THE LOWDOWN ON RADON 

Do you know if you and your family are protected against radon?

Radon is an invisible radioactive gas that occurs naturally in the environment from the breakdown of uranium in soil and rocks.

It doesn't present a concern outdoors but when radon becomes trapped inside a house, it can be very harmful to your health as it increases the risk of lung cancer.

Radon can seep into your home through gaps in floors, walls and foundations.  The only way to know if you have high radon levels is to purchase an inexpensive testing kit or to install a radon detector.

Radon concentrations vary from home to home so don't take any chances -- protect your family by testing your home for radon today.



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

 
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  Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven August 2017   

Hi,

The middle of August is here, where has this year gone?  We hope that you have had a chance to enjoy the wonderful summer weather we have had, and that you have not had to endure too much as a result of the numerous forest fires in the province.


We had the great pleasure of spending 4 nights on a 56' houseboat on Sproat Lake with the family - 5 grandchildren and 6 adults (full days for sure)!  It was a great time and such a wonderful lake to spend time on.  Fish and Duck Houseboats were great to deal with. We would certainly consider doing this again and highly recommend the experience.  Before the adventure our son Nick took Rudi golfing at Fairwinds,Nick shot 73 and we won't talk about Dad's score :)  Then the two boys jumped off a perfectly good bridge south of Nanaimo, yes we bungy jumped - what a hoot! (and yes we both hooted & hollared!) The grandson & girls were smart & just watched!

We hope you enjoy the balance of the summer and an expected great September as well.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Getting Ready for Fall
Preparing for the Real Estate Roller Coaster Ride
Do-It-Yourself Apps

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Low inventory and high demand creating brisk sellers’ market.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that single-family home sales dipped slightly in July, down to 558 from last year’s 605, a decrease of eight per cent.

Sales were also down by approximately 10 per cent from June, which saw 618 sales.  Despite fewer units moving, however, lack of inventory means homes are selling faster and for more money.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 13 per cent from July 2016, with 1,367 active listings available last month compared to 1,575 one year ago.  The number of single-family homes for sale has steadily increased each month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 in December 2016, but demand continues to exceed supply.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that the supply of homes for sale in the province has dropped to its lowest level in over a decade.  This dynamic has created significant upward pressure on home prices and created sellers’ markets in many areas, including Vancouver Island.

“Consumer demand is high, and buyers are snapping up well-priced properties quickly once they hit the market,” says McClintock of VIREB.  “Multiple offers are commonplace, which is frustrating for buyers and their agents. In fact, we’re now seeing multiple offers on condominiums and townhouses, which is virtually unprecedented for the VIREB area.”

Still, McClintock notes that even in this market, sellers need to price their homes correctly because overpriced homes can sit unsold for months.  He also has advice for buyers.

“When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved,” says McClintock.  “And, since many homes are selling above list price, you should decide beforehand on the price you’re willing to pay.”

Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds McClintock.  “Our current market conditions can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help streamline the process to ensure the best possible outcome while mitigating associated risks,” says McClintock.

You can view the summary of statistics for the Greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area by visiting our blog. 


Though the overall number of sales for the Greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area are down year to date for 2017 ( down 17%) the market continues to be active and challenging.  As of the end of July the number of  homes listed was down considerably as well,- 15%.  The active number of listings at the end of July was down 35% from the same time in 2016 – no doubt accounts for the lack of sales.

Overall sale values for single family homes year to date are up 10%.  Keep in mind these are the statistics for the greater area and the individual sub-zones can vary dramatically.  As an example: Fairwinds active listings are down 59% while French Creek is up by 17%.  The average sale price for waterfront homes in the greater area has increased by 21% while the active number of listings is down by 41%.

If you would like more detailed information for your specific area or certain style of  home please contact TeamW, team@teamw.ca, and we would be pleased to discuss with you.

GETTING READY FOR FALL 

Getting back to fall routines can be tough after the lazy days of summer.

Getting back into your regular routines can sometimes be a little hectic.  Here are a few tips that will help make it a little bit less stressful on everyone:

  1. Plan Plan & Plan again! - The first few weeks of fall can be very busy and unpredictable so be sure to schedule your time & budgeting as early as possible.

  2. Sleep Easy - Ease back into your routines by gradually adjusting sleep schedules a week or so before to help get back into the routine.

  3. School Areas - remember that the kids are all back at school.  So mind your speed in school zones and watch for children on the road at different times.

  4. Have a Hub - Hang a calendar in a central spot where everyone can write down their activities and attach a folder for notices so that everything is in one place.

  5. Be Positive - Fall is a time for new beginings, new schools, kids leaving home for college or just new adventures, so enjoy the time..

Getting back to a fall activities can be an exciting time (for you and for the kids) but it’s also a period of adjustment, so try and give yourself a break as much as possible during the first few weeks.  With just a little planning, getting back into your new routine can be a nice, smooth transition.

PREPARING FOR THE REAL ESTATE ROLLER COASTER RIDE 

Never wear your emotions on your sleeve during the real estate process.

Selling your home is a huge financial transaction that can trigger a roller coaster of emotions.  When you feel like you're being tossed around at every turn, let us help you to stay on track.

Although you likely have a strong connection to your home, try not to get offended if a potential buyer wants to change your kitchen or change paint colours or wood trims. Everyone has different taste.

Also, try not to take comments personally.  It’s natural for people to comment when they're interested in something so while criticisms may seem negative, they’re actually a sign that the buyer’s interested in your home.

If you receive a “low” offer, remember that it’s often just a starting point We can help to point out that there are many different tactics such as “low balling” where an attractive price is initially offered only to be adjusted at a later point on the basis that circumstances have changed.  Please ask us about these strategies so we can help you keep a balanced perspective.

If you are able to generate multiple offers, we will remind you to consider more than just the price. There’s nothing worse than accepting a conditional offer just because it's over the asking price, only to have it come apart later when you could have accepted a firm cash offer that was almost as good.

It’s completely natural for both buyers and sellers to experience a wide range of intense emotions as they navigate through the complex real estate process.  However, if you hop on the real estate roller coaster with TeamW by your side, we hope you’ll not only enjoy the ride but you'll look forward to doing it again someday!

DO-IT-YOURSELF APPS 

Your smartphone should be an essential part of your DIY toolkit!

If you're constantly procrastinating over household projects, you should check out a few home improvement apps for some inspiration!

You’ll soon become a DIY master with the thousands of how-to guides at WikiHow complete with illustrations and videos on every imaginable topic.

There’s also iHandy Level which will help keep you on the level if you’re hanging a picture or if you need to measure a precise angle.

I am sure there is a YouTube video available on how to do just about everything imaginable.

These are just a few examples of the many apps that are available.  From picking paint shades to renovating your home, a smartphone will be the lightest and most versatile tool you’ll ever own!




PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate all of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help, please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

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Though the overall number of sales for the Greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area are down year to date for 2017 ( down 17%) the market continues to be active and challenging.  As of the end of July the number of  homes listed was down considerably as well,- 15%.  The active number of listings at the end of July was down 35% from the same time in 2016 – no doubt accounts for the lack of sales.

 

Overall sale values for single family homes year to date are up 10%.  Keep in mind these are the statistics for the greater area and the individual sub-zones can vary dramatically.  As an example: Fairwinds active listings are down 59% while French Creek is up by 17%.  The average sale price for waterfront homes in the greater area has increased by 21% while the active number of listings is down by 41%.

 

If you would like more detailed information for your specific area or certain style of  home please contact TeamW and we would be pleased to discuss with you.

 

Make it a great day!

 

Rudi & Trish

 

Click to view Market Stats Report

 

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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven July 2017   

Hi,

If you're thinking about buying a condo, there are various personal and financial factors you'll want to consider.  This month’s article examines some of the con-dos and con-don'ts.

There are also a few tips on how to keep your Facebook profile safe from hackers as well as a deliciously simple BBQ dessert that your guests will love!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Condo Conundrum -- Freedom vs. Freedom
Friends, Foes and Facebook Woes
Delicious Grilled Skewered Fruit Recipe

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Still a seller's market despite modest inventory increases.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in June 2017, 621 single-family properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 712 last June, a decrease of 13 per cent.

Month-over-month, sales decreased slightly from May, with 621 homes selling in June compared to 630 the previous month.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 20 per cent from June 2016, with 1,297 active listings available last month compared to 1,620 one year ago.

Active listings of single-family homes have steadily increased each month since VIREB hit its historic low of 859 in December 2016, but demand continues to exceed supply, with well-priced properties quickly selling once they hit the market.

“We’ve been in a seller's market for months now, and buyers are snapping up available properties,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.  “Multiple offers are commonplace, which is frustrating for buyers and their agents.  That said, sellers still need to price their home correctly because overpriced homes can sit unsold for months.”

Stromar adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy.  Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.  She also has advice for buyers, stating that patience and preparation are a must in a sellers’ market.

“When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved.  Since many homes are selling above list price, you should also decide on a comfortable price point you’re willing to pay.”

Connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market, adds Stromar.  “This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help you make an informed decision,” says Stromar.

Economist Brendon Ogmundson of the British Columbia Real Estate Association affirms that strong economic fundamentals continue to fuel housing demand in the province.  “A healthy provincial job market, low interest rates, and consumer confidence are all contributing to robust housing demand throughout most of British Columbia,” says Ogmundson.  “BCREA expects the provincial economy to grow by 3.3 per cent this year, which will likely be the highest in Canada.”

In June 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area rose to $444,500, up 18 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 15 per cent in Parksville-Qualicum to 21 per cent in the Comox Valley.  The benchmark price of an apartment in June rose 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, with Comox Valley posting an increase of 42 per cent.  The townhouse market strengthened again in June, registering a price increase of 24 per cent board-wide and hitting 40 per cent in the Comox Valley.

CONDO CONUNDRUM -- FREEDOM VS. FREEDOM 

Consider the pros and cons carefully before purchasing a condo.

Condos appeal to everyone from young urbanites who want to be in the heart of the action to seniors who just want to relax and enjoy their golden years playing tennis and relaxing by the pool.

Families are also starting to gravitate towards condos as they’re an affordable way to escape the suburbs and move to a vibrant downtown atmosphere where various amenities are only steps away.

Aside from being affordable, condos are low maintenance as you don't have to spend your weekends cutting the grass and cleaning the gutters.  They also offer enhanced security features which are perfect for those who like to travel.

Convenience however comes at a price in the form of condo fees which can be costly depending on the amenities offered by the complex.  That said, condos are often very affordable compared to single family homes, especially for those who are downsizing.

When you buy a condo, you don't own the land beneath you but instead share a common interest with others in the complex.  This means you'll be subject to rules and regulations that can dictate anything from the type of planters you’re allowed to display to the kinds of blinds you can hang.

Joint ownership also means you'll be in close contact with your fellow condo owners.  Some people love the sense of community offered by condos but for those who value their privacy, it can be a difficult adjustment.  Pets are another key consideration as Fido may not be welcome in some buildings.

If your real estate vision includes extensive renovations, condo living may not be for you as your options could be limited.  If however you'd rather spend your time chilling by the pool instead of painting shutters, the low maintenance factor may be just what you're after.  It's really a choice of freedom vs. freedom.

FRIENDS, FOES AND FACEBOOK WOES 

A few simple precautions can secure your page against hackers.

Imagine if someone hacked into your Facebook account, changed your password and started posting inappropriate content.  You'd be forced to sit and watch your reputation go down the drain.  Here are a few ways to avoid a hack:

  1. ix38wq%Pc - Make sure you have a strong password with a mix of numbers, letters and symbols.

  2. Play Hard to Get - Visit the Privacy section under Settings to limit who's able to view your profile details.

  3. Catch a Hacker Early - Select Settings and then Security and Logins and turn on get alerts about unrecognized logins.

  4. Extra Security - Visit Two-Factor Authentication in the Security and Logins section to choose an extra layer of security.

  5. Best Friends - Designate a few friends under Your Trusted Contacts that can help you get back into your account if you get locked out.

Facebook has various security features but they usually have to be manually activated.  Once done though, it’ll be much harder for a hacker to gain access to your account and much easier for you to regain control in the event it does happen.

DELICIOUS GRILLED SKEWERED FRUIT RECIPE 

Mix things up on the grill with a healthy, tantalizing dessert!

The heat of the grill turns fruit into juicy, sweet goodness that’s a great finale to any meal.  Here’s what you’ll need to make this simple yet healthy, delicious dessert:

  • skewers
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • melted chocolate
  • an assortment of fruit (pineapple, peaches, mangos, etc)

Lightly oil the grill and preheat the BBQ to medium.  Cut up the fruit and thread onto skewers.  Grill for a couple of minutes per side.  Finally, pick your preference of the honey/cinnamon mixture or melted chocolate and drizzle over top just before serving.  Enjoy!



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from TeamW - Rudi & Trish Widdershoven June 2017   

Hi,

The middle of June already, where does time fly.  Next Wednesday is the 1st full day of summer.


The market has been active and certainly keeps everyone on their toes.  Trish held the fort down for a couple of weeks while Rudi went to New Brunswick to help out his folks after his father spent 3 weeks in hospital.  Rudi got lots of chores done that were too big for them and was able to make arrangements for additional support.  Now they too can enjoy the coming summer and leizurely get into the garden when time and energy permits.

Rud & Trish enjoyed Rudi's return by spending the weekend in the mainland having a big family dinner, attending a lovely wedding in North Vancouver and then enjoying a boat cruise around Vancouver as a follow up to the wedding.

Please review the invitation to the right for TeamW's celebration of your continued support and the 1st full day of summer.  We hope you can attend!  RSVP team@teamw.ca .
 

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Home Is Where the Smart Is
Soothe Your Soul with a Water Feature
Washing the Washing Machine
VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 
Demand continues to exceed supply on Vancouver Island.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in May 2017, 632 single-family properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 765 last May, a decrease of 17 per cent.

VIREB attributes the year-over-year decrease to continuing inventory challenges, not a weakening market.  Month-over-month, sales increased by 32 per cent from April, which saw 477 sales.  This increase likely reflects seasonal selling conditions since the housing market is typically busier in the spring.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 28 per cent from May 2016, with 1,210 active listings available last month compared to 1,681 one year ago.  Listings of single-family homes have steadily increased each month since VIREB hit its historic inventory low of 859 in December 2016.  However, demand continues to exceed supply, and well-priced properties are snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Limited supply, combined with high demand, means it has been a sellers’ market for months.  Sellers are in the drivers’ seat, and the lack of inventory is frustrating buyers and REALTORS® alike,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.  “That said, even though we’re in a sellers’ market, homeowners still need to price their home correctly.  Houses can sit unsold for months if they’re priced higher than the market will bear.”

She adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration that buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy.  Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.  “Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.  “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

Stromar also has advice for buyers, stating that patience and preparation are a must in a sellers’ market.  “When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved.  Since many homes are selling above list price, you should also decide on a comfortable price point you’re willing to pay.”  She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar.  “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

For Single Family Homes in the greater Parksville – Qualicum Beach area in comparison to last May number of new listings was down 7% and the number of sales were down 25%, however note that the number of active listings at the end of the month was down 27% in comparison to the same time last year.  The lack of availability of inventory is reflected in the reduced number of sales.

Year to date (January to May) 2017 vs 2016 the number of new listings is down 16% and the number of sales down 20%

The prices continue to remain strong due to the lack of supply and the average value of the homes sold in May 2017 was $548,696 which is a 13% increase from May 2016.

If you would like more in-depth details check out the report here or if you would like to have a discussion about your specific situation or needs contact us, team@teamw.ca , and we would be pleased to meet and explore your situation with you.

HOME IS WHERE THE SMART IS

Smart home technology is continuing to grow at a rapid rate!

Smart home technology has gone from basic security to smart windows that open and close based on the weather and indoor air temperature.  Here’s a look at a few smart home innovations that will revolutionize our lives:

  1. Connectivity is King - The connected home is a huge theme this year that features connected appliances, smoke alarms, lightbulbs and doorbells.

  2. Talk to Me - There’s a huge focus on voice activated products around the home including voice controlled garbage cans, air purifiers and fridges.

  3. Home Help - Robots are being used to offer companionship for seniors and there’s also an innovative, lifesaving cane that sends out an alert in the event of an emergency.

  4. Laundry Lackey - Washing machines that can do multiple loads at once will save us valuable time and there’s even a machine in the works that will fold the laundry!

  5. Breathe Easy - Sensors can monitor your indoor air for Co2, VOCs, allergens and humidity levels and they’ll also be able to expel bad air and introduce clean air to your home.

  6. Robot Cleaners - With intelligent visual navigation, app control and powerful suction that cleans in corners, you’ll never need to push a vacuum again!

Smart home technology is always improving and it’s a major selling point because the higher your home's IQ, the higher the resale value will be!  Who knows what the future will bring but one thing’s for sure; smart home technology can provide you and your family convenience and peace of mind.

SOOTHE YOUR SOUL WITH A WATER FEATURE 

Bring new life to your outdoor space by creating a peaceful paradise.

Imagine relaxing after a stressful day at work and unwinding on a backyard lounger while listening to the sound of flowing water.

Your backyard’s the perfect place to take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life, and the addition of a water feature will help transform your garden into an oasis of tranquility, give it a beautiful focal point and may well increase the value of your home.

Water features also create an environmentally friendly haven for wildlife such as frogs, birds and butterflies.  There are a wide variety of solar powered fountains to choose from and by utilizing the sun's rays, you'll lower your electricity bills and won't get tangled up in cords.

Water attractions can be as simple or complex as your budget allows, ranging from a simple tabletop fountain to a full-scale babbling brook.  Safety of course should be a concern if you have small children and if you plan on digging, make sure to contact the utility companies.

It's important to spend a bit of time during the planning stage to ensure your water feature will integrate with your landscape and environment and then once you’ve finished implementing your new water feature, find a comfortable seat, close your eyes and imagine yourself in paradise.

WASHING THE WASHING MACHINE 

If your washing machine is giving off a musty smell, it’s time for a wash!

Washing the washing machine may seem strange but over time, soap scum and bacteria build up in front loading washing machines which creates a musty smell.

Start by cleaning the rubber door gasket with white vinegar and water.  Next, mix ¼ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of water and add it to the detergent compartment, then pour 2 cups of vinegar in the drum and run an empty load at the hottest setting.

Clean your washing machine every month to keep it in tip top shape.  If you leave the door open between loads, promptly remove laundry as soon as the load has finished and don’t use too much detergent, you’ll help keep your washing machine fresh and clean.



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

 

Demand continues to exceed supply on Vancouver Island.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in May 2017, 632 single-family properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 765 last May, a decrease of 17 per cent.

VIREB attributes the year-over-year decrease to continuing inventory challenges, not a weakening market.  Month-over-month, sales increased by 32 per cent from April, which saw 477 sales.  This increase likely reflects seasonal selling conditions since the housing market is typically busier in the spring.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 28 per cent from May 2016, with 1,210 active listings available last month compared to 1,681 one year ago.  Listings of single-family homes have steadily increased each month since VIREB hit its historic inventory low of 859 in December 2016.  However, demand continues to exceed supply, and well-priced properties are snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Limited supply, combined with high demand, means it has been a sellers’ market for months.  Sellers are in the drivers’ seat, and the lack of inventory is frustrating buyers and REALTORS® alike,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.  “That said, even though we’re in a sellers’ market, homeowners still need to price their home correctly.  Houses can sit unsold for months if they’re priced higher than the market will bear.”

She adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration that buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy.  Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.  “Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.  “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

Stromar also has advice for buyers, stating that patience and preparation are a must in a sellers’ market.  “When you find a property you like, you need to act quickly, so make sure your financing is pre-approved.  Since many homes are selling above list price, you should also decide on a comfortable price point you’re willing to pay.”  She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.

“This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar.  “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

For Single Family Homes in the greater Parksville – Qualicum Beach area in comparison to last May number of new listings was down 7% and the number of sales were down 25%, however note that the number of active listings at the end of the month was down 27% in comparison to the same time last year.  The lack of availability of inventory is reflected in the reduced number of sales.

Year to date (January to May) 2017 vs 2016 the number of new listings is down 16% and the number of sales down 20%

The prices continue to remain strong due to the lack of supply and the average value of the homes sold in May 2017 was $548,696 which is a 13% increase from May 2016.

If you would like more in-depth details check out the report here or if you would like to have a discussion about your specific situation or needs contact us, team@teamw.ca , and we would be pleased to meet and explore your situation with you.

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Though the number of sales are down May 2017 from May 2016 the market continues to be active and Buyers are struggling to find the right home for them.


For Single Family Homes in the greater Parksville – Qualicum Beach area in comparison to last May number of new listings was down 7% and the number of sales were down 25%, however note that the number of active listings at the end of the month was down 27% in comparison to the same time last year. The lack of availability of inventory is reflected in the reduced number of sales.


Year to date (January to May) 2017 vs 2016 the number of new listings is down 16% and the number of sales down 20%.


The prices continue to remain strong due to the lack of supply and the average value of the homes sold in May 2017 was $548,696 which is a 13% increase from May 2016.


If you would like more in-depth details or have a discussion about your specific situation or needs contact us and we would be pleased to meet and explore your situation with you.

 

Rudi & Trish

 

Click image to view May Market Stats

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Hi,

Well spring is finally here and we are almose finished our pink rain of cherry blossoms!  Everything seems a bit late this year but my herb garden is florishing and we are already planning our Summer BBQ and Client Appreciation event  on June 21st!  It is the first full day of summer!  Yes we truly do appreciate your business and support!! 


Wednesday, June 21
Drop in any time between 3 - 7pm
1478 Madrona Dr, Nanoose Bay
RSVPs appreciated though not required
team@teamw.ca or 250-468-1498

We have had a wonderful year business wise so far and Rudi even managed to get away to New Brunswick for 5 days to get a Widdershoven four generation photograph while our son Nick and family were there.  Rudis' Dad is 91 and was hospitalized shortly after is & still in hospital so it was great that he got to go while everyone was there.  All our kids and grandkids are healhty & well and we are greatfull for that every day!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue... Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
Cashing In On Curb Appeal
Unplugging Kids from TechnologyV

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Low inventory continues to write its own sales story.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in April 2017, 478 single-family properties sold on the MLS® System compared to 659 last April, a decrease of 27 per cent.  Month-over-month, sales edged slightly lower from March.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 33 per cent from April 2016, with 1,122 active listings available last month compared to 1,694 one year ago.

Additional listings have entered the market since VIREB hit its historic inventory low of 859 in December 2016.  Active listings rose to 893 in January, 949 in February, and 1,023 in March.  However, properties are being snapped up almost as soon as they hit the market.

“Properly priced single-family homes between $400,000 and $600,000 rarely last more than 48 hours and usually generate multiple offers, with many selling above list price,” says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.  The real estate market on Vancouver Island has been telling the same story for several months now, notes Stromar.

“Limited supply, combined with high demand, means it has been a sellers’ market for months.  Sellers are in the drivers’ seat, and the lack of inventory is frustrating buyers and REALTORS® alike,”says Stromar.  “That said, even though we are in a sellers’ market, homeowners still need to price their home correctly.  Houses can sit unsold for months if they are priced higher than the market will bear.”

She adds that sellers are not immune to the frustration that buyers are experiencing because it is hard to sell your home if you cannot find another property to buy.  Still, homeowners reluctant to sell due to concerns of housing availability should make the most of this hot market.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.  “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.  “This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar.  “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

In April 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $419,100, up 17.5 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 13 per cent in Duncan to 22 per cent in Nanaimo.  The benchmark price of an apartment in April rose 28 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increase was in Campbell River, at 39 per cent.  The townhouse market also strengthened in April, posting a 21 per cent increase board-wide.

CASHING IN ON CURB APPEAL 

A few small changes will transform your home’s first impression!

The key to getting top dollar for your home is to create huge demand.  In order to get as many people through the door as possible, your home has to stand out from the competition.
 
There's no need to completely overhaul your home's exterior as it's often the small details that increase the visual appeal of a property.  Here are a few ideas that will enhance your home's curb appeal:

  1. Light It Up - Solar lights will add a welcoming glow and dramatically highlight your home’s exterior.

  2. Perfect Entrance - A well-lit entry with perhaps a comfory chair and a couple of hanging baskets will set a tranquil tone.

  3. Peeling Paint - You want buyers to see that your home is well cared for so paint or power wash the exterior especially the trims and clean all the windows.

  4. Accessorize - Replace outdated fixtures such as your, door handle and lighting and make sure your house numbers are attractive and visible from the street.

  5. Landscaping - Cut the grass and trim the hedges.  Well-kept flower beds show pride of ownership and a few large pots full of bright flowers will accentuate the entranceway.

  6. De-clutter - An uncluttered exterior is as important as an uncluttered interior so put away tools, toys, bikes, pet toys and gardening equipment.

  7. Watch Your Back - When buyers drive by your home, they’ll usually try and get a glimpse of the backyard so make sure it also gets top notch treatment!

Just as people judge a book by its cover, buyers make assumptions about the interior of your home based on how the outside looks.  It's therefore important to make a great first impression starting at the curb.  Your efforts will significantly increase the chances of your home selling quickly and for top dollar!

UNPLUGGING KIDS FROM TECHNOLOGY 

It just takes a little planning to curb the addiction to screens.

Children rely on technology more than ever resulting in less exercise and a lack of creativity.  Here are a few “old school” activities to help them disconnect from their devices:

  1. Personal Puzzles - Cut an old photograph into various pieces and then see how quickly they can put it back together.

  2. Build a Fort - Drape blankets over chairs to create a cool fort.  Once they're comfortable in their new abode, drop by with some “fort warming” snacks.

  3. And... Action! - Putting on a play is a great way to exercise a child's imagination.  They can take turns writing, acting, designing costumes and even filming.

  4. Egg & Spoon Race - Give your children an egg and spoon and see how quickly they can cross the finish line without dropping it.  This old-fashioned game will get them active and outside!

  5. Caching In - Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game!  Register online and then set off to find the hidden cache with the help of a GPS.

Kids love being tourists in their own cities so take some time to regularly plan fun family outings that don’t involve technology.  If we make the effort to disconnect once in a while, our kids will be more likely to do the same.



PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

 
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  Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven April 2017   



It’s been a long time coming but spring is finally here so this month’s article takes a look at a few of the latest gardening trends that will be sprouting up!

There’s also some advice on what to do if you think your house may have a foundation problem as well as a few tips on how to give your home a good spring clean.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate 
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Update
The Latest Garden & Landscaping Trends
Cracking Up is No Laughing Matter
Spring New Life into Your Home

VANCOUVER ISLAND REAL ESTATE MARKET UPDATE 

Low inventory continues to limit Vancouver Island buyers.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) reports that in March 2017, 484 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 518 last March, a decrease of seven per cent.

Month over month, sales rose by 40 per cent from February 2017, which saw 346 sales.  Inventory of single-family homes declined by 36 per cent from March 2016, with 1,023 active listings available last month compared to 1,598 one year ago.

Low inventory continues to frustrate consumers and REALTORS® in the VIREB area. An additional 145 single-family properties came onto the market in March, but the increase was not significant enough to have a noticeable impact on inventory.  Sales would no doubt be much higher if there were more properties available, says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.

“Properly priced single-family homes between $500,000 and $600,000 rarely last longer than a day or two and generate multiple offers, with many selling above list price,” says Stromar.

Certainly, the VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for several months now.  Although some homeowners continue to be reluctant to put their home on the market fearing they will not find another house to buy, Stromar urges people to sell now.

“Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.  “When the market does correct itself – and it always does – it usually happens without warning.”

She adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market.  “This kind of market can be confusing and chaotic for buyers and sellers, but REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities that can help clarify the situation,” says Stromar.  “We’re also equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help buyers formulate winning offers and ensure sellers receive maximum dollars for their home.”

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that strong economic fundamentals are fuelling housing demand throughout British Columbia, with the B.C. economy continuing to outpace the rest of Canada.  Increased interprovincial migration and strong job growth are significant forces driving the provincial housing market.

In March 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $410,400, up 17 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 12 per cent in Port Alberni to 23 per cent in Nanaimo.  The benchmark price of an apartment in March rose 26 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were seen in the Comox Valley and Campbell River, at 31 per cent.  The townhouse market also strengthened in March, posting a 19 per cent increase board-wide.

The March 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $323,100, an increase of 15 per cent over March 2016.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $408,300, up 15 per cent from 2016.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $353,000, an increase of 14 per cent compared to March 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 23 per cent to $452,900 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 18 per cent to $463,500.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $217,800, up 12 per cent from one year ago.

THE LATEST GARDEN & LANDSCAPING TRENDS 

Get the dirt on this year’s latest and greatest gardening trends!

It’s the time of year when many of us start coming up with ideas on how to jazz up our outdoor space.  If you’re the type who can’t wait to get your hands dirty, here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  1. Natural Materials - Wood and rocks are popular gardening materials as people are moving towards a more organic and authentic look.

  2. Cozy Comfort - The Danish concept of Hygge is about creating comfortable gathering areas for friends and family such as pillow chairs that surround an outdoor fireplace.

  3. Grow Local - Sprawling lawns are being replaced with edible landscapes so homeowners can organically grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

  4. eGardening - Smartphone apps make it easy to plan and grow your garden based on your climate zone.  They can even alert you if a cold snap’s coming so you can cover your plants.

  5. Gardening Gadgets - Robot grass mowers and customizable sprinkler systems that monitor the weather and adjust watering schedules are helpful for those who love lush lawns.

  6. Polly Plants - Create an inviting garden by planting bright, nectar rich flowers that will attract a variety of pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Gardening is a great way to get outside and get in touch with mother nature so it’s no surprise in this ever-connected digital world that taking a break to work on our gardens is growing in popularity.  Regardless of whether or not you follow the latest trends this spring, here’s to digging in and getting your hands dirty!

CRACKING UP IS NO LAUGHING MATTER 

The foundation is the home’s most important structural component.

A serious foundation problem can quickly turn into an expensive nightmare.  Buyers realize this and won't purchase a home until it's been properly repaired or worse, they’ll simply walk away.

If you notice cracks, bowing or anything else that looks suspicious, you should have the foundation inspected by a qualified professional to determine just how serious the problem is.

Indications of possible foundation problems include uneven floors, windows/doors that are hard to open/shut and diagonal cracks on walls around the corners of doors and windows.  It's important to keep in mind though that many homes have cracks and defects which are purely cosmetic.

Foundation cracks are caused by hydrostatic pressure from water that soaks into the earth around the base of the home.  The foundation sinks as water spills out from the gutters and puddles around the perimeter putting pressure against the foundation which causes cracks that make the house settle more than it should.

If you're selling a home with a foundation problem, it’s usually best to get it fixed beforehand as a questionable foundation problem can often squash a sale.  If you don't plan on fixing the issue, at least get a few quotes so that you're able to show the approximate cost of repairs.

SPRING NEW LIFE INTO YOUR HOME 

It’s finally that time of year to refresh and reorganize your home!

Spring has sprung which means fresh scents, chirping birds and new life in the garden!  It's time to bring that spring fresh feeling into your home so open the windows, let the fresh air in and:

  • create a spring cleaning checklist
  • focus on only one room at a time
  • throw out all expired items
  • vacuum and rotate your mattresses
  • clean under the beds

With a clean, fresh home under your belt, you'll be all set to focus on cleaning up your outdoor furniture so that you can enjoy the summer months that are just around the corner!


Vie
PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498 

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

 
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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven

  March 2017   
 



Poor indoor air quality can cause an array of health problems for you and your family. This month’s article shares some ideas that will dramatically improve the air you breathe.

There’s also a fun way to keep in touch with your pets when you’re away at work as well as a discussion on the importance of having emergency escape ladders for the upper rooms of your home.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Warmest Regards,
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report
Breathe Easy in a Healthy, Happy Home
New Technology for Pet Parents
Upper Level Fire Escape Planning

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 

Despite additional inventory, we're still in a sellers’ market.

In February 2017, 347 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 406 last February, a decrease of 15 per cent.  Sales rose by 42 per cent from January 2017, which saw 245 sales.

Inventory of single-family homes declined by 38 per cent from February 2016, with 949 active listings compared to 1,529 one year ago.  However, the 949 available properties reflect a six per cent increase over January, an encouraging development since the lack of inventory continues to challenge consumers and REALTORS® in the VIREB area.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that strong economic fundamentals are fuelling housing demand throughout British Columbia, with the B.C. economy continuing to outpace the rest of Canada.  Among other factors, increased population growth is a significant force driving the provincial housing market.

“In the first three-quarters of 2016, net migration to British Columbia hit 50,000 people,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.  “Although most of those residents will end up on the Lower Mainland, the effects of this influx will inevitably trickle into other markets.”

Although BCREA expects the provincial economy to weaken somewhat this year, consumer confidence and job growth should continue to have a net positive effect on the housing market.  After dipping in late 2016 and again, and that is certainly happening on Vancouver Island.

In fact, sales in the VIREB area would no doubt be much higher if there were more properties available, says Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President.  “The Nanaimo market in February was busier than I’ve ever seen,” says Stromar.  “Single-family homes in the $450,000 range are practically flying out the door, and multiple offers are the norm, not the exception.”

The VIREB area has been a sellers’ market for several months now, and Stromar encourages people to list their homes now.  “Real estate is cyclical, and consumers need to take advantage of these market conditions because they won’t last forever,” says Stromar.

In February 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $403,100, up 18 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 14 per cent in Duncan and Port Alberni to 25 per cent in Nanaimo.  The benchmark price of an apartment in February rose 22 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were seen in Parksville-Qualicum (24 per cent), the Comox Valley (26 per cent), and Campbell River (26 per cent).  The townhouse market also strengthened in January, posting a 20 per cent increase board-wide.

The February 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $318,100, an increase of 17 per cent over February 2016.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price hit $401,000, up 17 per cent from 2016.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $345,500, an increase of 14 per cent compared to February 2016.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 25 per cent to $444,400 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price increase by 20 per cent to $454,100.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni stayed the same as in January but did rise by 14 per cent from one year ago.

Breathe Easy in a Healthy, Happy Home 

Improving your home’s air quality is easier than you might think.

The term "air quality" is usually associated with outdoor air pollution caused by cars and factories.  The truth however is that the toxins in our home can be just as dangerous.

Hazards include pet dander, dust mites, nitrous dioxides, formaldehyde and fungi.  Fear not though as there are a variety of ways to improve your home's air quality such as:

  1. Let It Out - Properly ventilate your home with exhaust fans and open up your windows whenever possible.

  2. Natural Air - Houseplants such as peace lilies and spider plants will soak up toxins and naturally purify your home’s air.

  3. Humid House - Purchase a humidity gauge so that you can monitor and adjust your home’s humidity levels.

  4. Clean Green - Use natural cleaners such as lemon juice, vinegar and baking soda instead of toxic chemical cleaners.

  5. Furry Friends - Brush pets outside and wash their beds on a regular basis to control hair and dander.

  6. Fresh & Clean - Mix up homemade air fresheners instead of using synthetic ones that are full of harmful chemicals.

  7. Tread Lightly - Carpets trap irritants which can be especially harmful to children so vacuum regularly and place doormats at each entrance.

We focus so much time and effort decorating our home for aesthetic appeal but we often ignore our indoor air quality.  Implementing just a few of these ideas will make a huge difference.  Nothing in life is quite as precious as the air we breathe so it’s important that we don’t take it for granted.
New Technology for Pet Parents 
You’re now able to watch, chat and play with your pets from anywhere!

It’s now easier than ever before to check in with Fido or Fluffy while you’re away.  Here are just a few of the ways the latest hi-tech pet gadgets can help:

  1. Pet Play - Relieve your pet’s boredom with a built-in laser pointer that you control remotely.

  2. Treat Time - If your pets are behaving, you can remotely dispense a treat or two as praise.

  3. Cheeky Pup - Now you can spy on your dog to see if he’s secretly jumping up on the couch for a snooze.

  4. Home Alone - The sight of your smile and the sound of your voice can help alleviate your pet’s anxiety.

  5. Fido’s Calling - Certain video calling cameras allow your pet to tap a button so that they can call you!

Leaving our best friends home alone is hard but innovative technology can now alleviate some of that stress while providing peace of mind.  Now you can check in on a sick pet, keep tabs on a mischievous pup or simply give your pet some love while you’re away.

Upper Level Fire Escape Planning 

No one wants to think about a house fire but it’s important to be prepared.

Hopefully your family already has a fire escape plan but an often-overlooked element are fire escape ladders.

This compact yet fully functional ladder will protect you and your family by providing a safe, reliable means of escape.  It’s important to measure the windowsills and purchase one for each upstairs room.

Once you’ve made the purchase, make sure every family member knows where they’re stored and how to use them.  It’s a good idea to have a practice run so that everyone will be comfortable using them in the event of an emergency.


PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook
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We would like to bring the following to your attention:

 

Reporting the sale of your principal residence for individuals (other than trusts)


On October 3, 2016, the Government announced an administrative change to Canada Revenue Agency's reporting requirements for the sale of a principal residence.

 

When you sell your principal residence or when you are considered to have sold it, usually you do not have to report the sale on your income tax and benefit return and you do not have to pay tax on any gain from the sale. This is the case if you are eligible for the full income tax exemption (principal residence exemption) because the property was your principal residence for every year you owned it.

 

Starting with the 2016 tax year, generally due by late April 2017, you will be required to report basic information (date of acquisition, proceeds of disposition and description of the property) on your income tax and benefit return when you sell your principal residence to claim the full principal residence exemption.

 

The Potential Implications


If you fail to report the sale of a residence in 2016 or later years, you won’t be entitled to the PRE. If you forget to designate a property as your principal residence in the year of sale (for 2016 and later years), you should ask CRA to amend your tax return for that year. CRA will often accept a late designation but penalties could apply (the penalty could be $100 for each complete month the designation is late, or $8,000, whichever is less).

 

For further information check out the following links:

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/bdgt/2016/qa11-eng.html

http://www.thor.ca/blog/2016/10/new-tax-reporting-rules-for-principal-residence-sales/


If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us.

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Hi

Today, February 15th, is National Flag of Canada Day!  February 15, 1965 was the first time the current well respected Canada flag was raised on Parliament Hill, 52 years ago.  My where does time go?


Trish and I are very proud to be Canadians and therefore this past weekend we fixed 2 of our flag poles at home so we can proudly display our flags in time for the anniversary.  Earlier today I got to replace the well worn flag at the RE/MAX First Realty office with a new flag.  All is in good shape for today.

Take a moment today to think how well our flag is respected and how lucky we are to live in such a wonderful country.  Thank you Canada and all Canadians.

We look forward to celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation in July.

Warmest Regards,
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report
Hot Home Trends for 2017
Local Census Results
Clean Up Your Digital Clutter
The Power of Lemon Aid

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 

Inventory challenges continue to moderate sales activity.

In January 2017, 245 single-family homes sold on the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System compared to 258 last January, a decrease of five per cent.

Sales were virtually unchanged from December, which saw 243 sales.  VIREB attributes this static sales activity to inventory challenges rather than insufficient demand.

Active listings of single-family homes did increase by four per cent in January to 893 from December’s 852, which typically happens at the beginning of the year, with 389 properties coming onto the market last month.  However, inventory is still down by 38 per cent from one year ago, a significant reduction from the 1,431 available properties in January 2016.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that housing demand in the VIREB area and throughout British Columbia is being driven by a provincial economy that continues to outperform the rest of Canada.  Although BCREA does expect B.C.’s economy to weaken somewhat this year, strong job and population growth will continue to have a net positive effect on the housing market.

“Although BCREA anticipates that less robust economic conditions combined with government policy constraints will slow housing demand by more than 15 per cent in 2017, unit sales should remain well above the 10-year average of 85,000,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.  “Sales in the VIREB area this year will likely trend lower than in 2016, but this is merely the market returning to more normal levels from last year’s unprecedented sales activity.”

Janice Stromar, 2017 VIREB President, reaffirms that housing sales in the VIREB area would be much higher if there were more homes available.  “We’ve been in a sellers’ market for several months now, with buyers snapping up available properties and multiple offers a common occurrence,” says Stromar.  “But real estate is cyclical, and these conditions won’t last forever.  If you’ve been thinking of selling, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of our current market situation.”

Stromar adds that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive housing market. REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling a home.

In January 2017, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $400,000, up 18 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 14 per cent in Duncan to 21 per cent in the Comox Valley and Nanaimo.  The benchmark price of an apartment rose 21 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were posted in Parksville-Qualicum (25 per cent), the Comox Valley (27 per cent) and Campbell River (28 per cent).  The townhouse market also strengthened in January, posting an 18 per cent increase board-wide and high double-digit increases in every zone, from 16 per cent in Nanaimo to 26 per cent in Parksville-Qualicum.

The January 2017 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $311,900, an increase of 16 per cent over January 2016.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $400,400, up 21 per cent from 2016.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $348,000, an increase of 14 per cent compared to January 2016. Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 21 per cent to $434,100 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 18 per cent to $457,800.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $216,100, up 16 per cent from one year ago.

Hot Home Trends for 2017 

The new year is a great time to update your living space!

It’s fun to follow the latest home and garden trends, especially if you're hoping to make your home more attractive to buyers.  Here are a few of the latest trends to look out for:

  1. Shedquarters - A “shedquarter” is a private, backyard spot that can be used as an office, artist workspace or party area.

  2. Docking Stations - Small, pull down desks can be added almost anywhere as wireless technology enables us to shift away from traditional home offices.

  3. Vintage Vanities - Putting your bathroom sink on just about anything is huge this year!  Old dressers, filing cabinets and even tree trunks can be converted into unique vanities.

  4. Laundry Love - Homeowners are giving their laundry rooms some serious love with innovative storage solutions, bright lighting and even stylish wallpaper!

  5. Foodscaping - Instead of traditional vegetable patches, backyards are now being transformed into edible landscapes that include vegetables, berries, fruits and herbs.

  6. Smart Windows - Cutting edge window technology now allows our windows to be programmed according to the weather outside as well as the air quality inside.

Just like fashion, home trends can come and go so it’s important not to overcommit.  Hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration as to what’s coming next, whether you’re thinking of selling or just simply looking to update your home.

Local Census Results 

Well the latest census numbers are out from the 2015 long form census and growth in the area is constant across the whole of the District:

Parksville                                                          12,514         + 4.5%
Qualicum Beach                                                8,943         + 2.9%
Nanoose Bay                                                      6,125         +7.9%
Area G (French Creek & North Qualicum)     7,465         +4.3%
Area F (Errington / Coombs)                            7,724         +1%
Area H (Bowser / Deep Bay)                             3,884        + 1%

The lowest growth is of course in areas where there is an abundance of ALR (Agricultural Land Reserve) lands which means the land cannot be easily subdivided and generally it only allows 1 permanent dwelling per parcel.  This land is usually serviced by wells and septics which curtails growth.

Nanoose is growing partly because of Fairwinds and also because there have been a few parcels of land that have been developed in recent years that were not in the ALR.

Nanaimo now has a population of 90,504, up 8%

The entire RDN (Regional District of Nanaimo) is 155,698 which includes all of the above noted areas along with a few additional regional areas around Nanaimo.

We thought everyone would be interested in the overall population and there the areas of growth are generally.

Clean Up Your Digital Clutter 

Get a jump on spring cleaning by clearing out your digital clutter.

Paper files are often the first items we purge during a spring clean but many times we neglect our digital files.  Kick off your spring clean this year with a deep, digital cleanse:

  1. Get a Pass - Use a password manager to encrypt one master password that can be used on all websites.

  2. Address Your Apps - Uninstall apps you no longer use to clear up space and keep your phone running smoothly.

  3. Manage Mail - Unsubscribe from emails you no longer read and delete old emails or organize them into folders.

  4. Clear Cache - Regularly clear your browser history, cache and cookies in order to create more storage and speed up your browser.

  5. Back it Up - Make sure all of your important files and photos are automatically backed up to the cloud to increase storage space.

This digital cleanse applies to your computer, smartphone and all your social media accounts.  While you’re at it, you should also review your privacy settings on apps and social media platforms to make sure you’re sharing information with the right audiences.

The Power of Lemon Aid 

The lowly lemon can make quite the impact around the house!

Load up on lemons if you're searching for a powerful, environmentally friendly cleaner that can tackle virtually any household chore!  Here are just a few ways they can make your home naturally sparkle:

  • lemon juice is great at absorbing stains on countertops

  • soak carpet stains for 20 minutes then rinse and blot

  • mix lemon juice with baking soda to create a scouring paste

  • heat a bowl of water with sliced lemons in the microwave for a few minutes before wiping it down

Lemons are an excellent alternative to toxic cleansers plus they'll fill your home with a refreshing citrus scent!  A great tip for squeezing as much juice as possible from your lemons is to microwave them for 30 seconds, wait a minute, then cut and squeeze.


PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
 
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook
 
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Vancouver Island Real Estate News from TeamW - Rudi & Trish Widdershoven

  January 2017   
 

Hi

Happy New Year!

Wow it's almost half way into the first month of 2017.  We hope that you got to spend some great time with family and friends over the Christmas holidays and we wish you all the best for 2017 and thank you for being part of our lives.  The picture of the t-shirt made at one of the family events pretty well sums up our December holiday time.  We started on December 9th having early Christmas with our kids and grand children in Langley, then off to Toronto for 3 nights with family there and then to New Brunswick for 8 nights to visit my folks over Christmas and their birthdays.

As result we were not as in in touch with everyone like we wanted to during the holiday season.  You can be assured our best wishes were with you.

2017 is off to a frosty start weather wise though very picturesque when the sun is out and the wind is calm.  It sounds like January will be up and down temperature wise, guess it will just make us appreciate our normal winters that much more.

Warmest Regards,
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
Property Assessments Are Out!
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report
Surviving the Stress of a Home Renovation
Avoiding the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
The Trick to Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions

Property Assessments Are Out! 

No doubt everyone who owns property in British columbia has received their new Property Assessment Notices.  In most cases there has been a considerable increase however this does not necessarily mean higher property taxes.  If your increase is equal to the average increase then taxes will be somewhat similar to last year, other than local increases.  If your property value increased by a higher percentage than the average then you will probably see higher taxes.  The same is true in reverse if your percentage was lower.

Are you aware that in BC there is the option of deferring your taxes if it is your principle residence?  The program was intiated so you did not have to sell because you could not afford to pay your increased property taxes.  Once your receive your property tax notice, you may be able to apply for a low interest loan to pay our current year property taxes on  your principal residence.  You still want to claim your applicable home owner grant so the loan amount is reduced.  You may qualify for this program if you are:

     *  55 years of age or older during the current year, or
     * a surviving spouse of any age, or
     * a person with disabilities

Some may ask why would you do this?  Well are you aware that the loan from the BC Government is simple interest only and the rate since October 2009 has been 1% or less, currently at 0.70%.  You may actually decide it would be prudent to invest the money rather than pay your taxes.  For more information check out the government site by clicking here.  Applicatins to defer your taxes will be available after mid May.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 

2016 was a banner year for Vancouver Island real estate.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that housing demand throughout 2016 was driven by a provincial economy that outperformed the rest of the country.  However, BCREA does expect the housing market to weaken somewhat this year.

“Although BCREA anticipates that less robust economic conditions combined with government policy constraints will slow housing demand by more than 15 per cent in 2017, unit sales should remain well above the 10-year average of 85,000,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.  “Sales in the VIREB area this year will likely trend lower than in 2016 but this is merely the market returning to more normal levels from last year’s unprecedented sales activity.”

As she has stated in previous media releases, Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB President, reaffirms that housing sales in the VIREB area would be higher if there were more homes available.  Seasonal market conditions can account for some of December’s decreased sales, but there are still plenty of buyers, and multiple offers are the norm when listings hit the market.

“We’ve been in a sellers’ market for several months now, and buyers are snapping up available properties,” says Hoffman.  “But homeowners need to realize these market conditions won’t last forever, so if you’ve been thinking of selling, it’s a perfect time to do so.”

Surviving the Stress of a Home Renovation 

A bit of planning in advance will help keep you sane during a renovation.

If you're thinking about renovating your home, you’ll want to try and consider every little detail in advance.

Careful planning will not only allow you to hold onto your sanity during the upheaval but will also ensure you get the best bang for your buck!  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. No Surprises - Make sure you agree (in writing) on a completion date but keep in mind that renovations can sometimes be delayed due to unforeseen circumstances.

  2. Be Flexible - Accept from the start that you’ll be dealing with a lack of privacy along with dust, noise, mess and disorganization but remember that it’ll all be worth it in the end.

  3. Kidding Around - Set aside some toys/games for the kids and schedule some playdates and local outings so you can escape the construction zone chaos.

  4. Plan Ahead - Pre-prep some freezer meals for quick and easy dinners.  Also, take this opportunity to donate unwanted items to charity so your newly renovated home won’t be full of clutter.

  5. Stay in the Loop - Misunderstandings between contractors (and spouses!) are one of the biggest causes of stress during a renovation.  Open communication is essential so schedule regular progress reports.

Watching your home transform into something new is a very exciting experience but it’s also a major inconvenience.  The secret to making sure everything goes smoothly is to remain calm throughout the process and plan ahead for surprises.  If you keep that in mind, your dream home will be a reality before you know it!

Avoiding the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide 

This odorless gas can poison or even kill with little or no warning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious threat that affects families every day.  Lower gas levels can cause headaches, fatigue and nausea while higher levels can be fatal.

Ensure exhaust gases are properly vented from the central home heating unit.  It’s also important to have your furnace, chimney and vents regularly inspected by a trained professional.

You should also install a CO detector on each floor of your home.  There are a variety of units available but it’s important to remember that a detector doesn't replace the need to maintain your furnace.  Please note that your detector needs to be replaced every 7 - 10 years.

Most cities offer environmental services that measure indoor air quality.  Prevention is key to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning as this silent killer is difficult to detect so make sure your home’s properly protected.

The Trick to Keeping Your New Year's Resolutions 

It’s important to have realistic goals as well as a flexible attitude.

The new year inspires us to start fresh but the possibility of failure sometimes stops us from even getting started.

There are a variety of smartphone apps to help you track your goals whether they be to quit smoking, build volunteer hours or lose weight.  Stride for iPhone and Resolutions for Android are both very popular options.

New Year’s resolutions don’t need to be set in stone so try to be strong yet flexible.  If you start realizing your goals aren't achievable, take a few moments to modify them.  Our lives are constantly changing so it’s important that our goals change as well.


PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!

If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498
 
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2016 Review


2016 was certainly a strong year for real estate, for Single Family Homes there were 15% more sales over 2015.  The months of December was down 33% however we believe that is due to the unusual weather.  At the end of 2016 the Active Inventory was down 44% in comparison to the end of 2015.

 

The average price of homes that sold was up 19% over 2015 ($482,475 versus $404,700) and the Median Price was $454,000 versus $373,000 for 2015 (+21%).

 

Similar statistics for Apartments, Patio Homes, Townhomes, etc. are available.  Statistics are also available for the various different areas in the greater Parksville – Qualicum Beach area.

 

The forecast by BC Real Estate Association for 2017 for Vancouver Island north of the Malahat is to moderate though remain strong.  The number of sales are expected to decline approximately 11.3% (still 13% stronger than 2015) and values are expected to increase by an additional 2.6%.  The lack of supply is certainly a strong influence on these predictions.

 

If you would like more in-depth information for you and your segment of the market contact Trish or I and we would be pleased to supply and discuss.


To read or download the January 2017 Market Report click on the image below


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  December 2016   
 

Hi,

If you're planning on selling your home, it’s important to be aware of some common mistakes that sellers often fall victim to.  This month’s feature article discusses what not to do when selling your home.

There’s also some advice on how to spot online scams that are so popular during the holiday season as well as a few tips on how to avoid the flu.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you ever have any questions or comments.  In the meantime, here’s wishing you all the best during the holiday season!

Warmest Regards,
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report
Sellers Behaving Badly
Shopping Scams are Coming to Town
Forgotten Flu Spots

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 

Inventory dips again to reach new historic low in November.

Inventory of single-family homes in the VIREB area dropped yet again in November 2016 to reach a new historic low of 1,034, a 37 per cent decrease from one year ago and dipping below October’s 1,158 available listings.

Sales of single-family homes in November decreased by 13 per cent from October 2016, but remained flat year over year, with 347 homes selling last month compared to 349 in November 2015.

The lack of sales movement can be attributed to low inventory and seasonal market conditions, not reduced buyer demand.  Active listings of apartments and townhouses also dipped in November, down 45 per cent and 47 per cent respectively, an indication that consumers may be turning to alternative property types due to the lack of single-family inventory.

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) notes that robust housing demand continues to be driven by a provincial economy underpinned by consumer confidence, surging retail sales, population growth, and a strong GDP.  In its 2016 Fourth-Quarter Housing Forecast, BCREA reports that MLS® residential sales in the province are forecast to climb 11 per cent to a record 113,800 units this year, eclipsing the previous record of 106,310 units in 2005.  Although BCREA anticipates that less robust economic conditions combined with government policy constraints will slow housing demand by more than 15 per cent in 2017, unit sales should remain well above the 10-year average of 85,000.

While the Foreign Buyer Tax imposed at the beginning of August has adversely affected the Vancouver market, there appears to be no negative fallout thus far in the VIREB area.  Foreign buyers are not turning to Vancouver Island instead of the Lower Mainland and are not the impetus driving buyer demand in the VIREB housing market, nor are the new housing rules introduced by the Government of Canada in October.  The latter restrictions, intended to standardize eligibility criteria for high-ratio and low-ratio insured mortgages, will have a greater impact on buyers purchasing homes in the $500,000-plus range.  VIREB’s benchmark prices on all property types are below that mark.

Housing sales in the VIREB area would likely be considerably higher if there were more homes available, and buyers are frustrated by the lack of inventory.  Margo Hoffman, 2016 VIREB President, is encouraging potential home sellers to take advantage of these market conditions.

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever,” says Hoffman.  “The real estate market always experiences ebbs and flows, so if you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”

Hoffman notes that connecting with a local REALTOR® is especially crucial in a competitive market, particularly when multiple offers are the norm.  REALTORS® have specialized knowledge of their communities and are equipped with sales tools, such as custom analytics, to help you develop a winning strategy for buying or selling a home.

In November 2016, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB area was $395,300, up 17 per cent from one year ago.  Prices increased in every zone, ranging from 13 per cent in Port Alberni to 22 per cent in Nanaimo.  The benchmark price of an apartment rose approximately 21 per cent board-wide from the previous year, but the highest increases were posted in the Comox Valley (23 per cent), Campbell River (28 per cent), and Parksville-Qualicum (31 per cent).  The townhouse market also strengthened in November, posting a 15 per cent increase board-wide and ranging from 11 per cent in Port Alberni to nearly 20 per cent in Campbell River.

The November 2016 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $310,600, an increase of 15 per cent over November 2015.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $393,500, up 16 per cent from 2015.

Duncan reported a benchmark price of $346,500, an increase of 14 per cent compared to November 2015.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 22 per cent to $433,700 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 19 per cent to $452,600.  The price of a benchmark home in Port Alberni hit $213,600, up 13 per cent from one year ago.

Sellers Behaving Badly 

There are various emotional side effects to selling your home.

Mistakes mean your home will sit on the market longer and eventually sell for less.  Try and get it right the first time by avoiding the following:

  1. Overpricing - Home sellers are often tempted to price their home way above market value but this tactic usually backfires.  The longer a home sits on the market, the more of a stigma it'll develop.

  2. Restricted Access - It’s easy for buyers to skip your home if it's not easily accessible.  The goal is to show your home to as many people as possible so using a lockbox is key, pardon the pun :)

  3. Hanging Around - Owners should always leave before a showing so buyers can browse without distractions.  If a buyer can make themselves feel at home, they’ll be better able to envision themselves living there.

  4. Poor Staging - You may love the statement your pink bathroom makes but odds are others won’t so consider a more neutral shade.  Also, make sure to get rid of excess clutter and take care of any outstanding repairs to portray pride of ownership.

  5. Going It Alone - Selling your home can be an overwhelming experience.  A real estate agent’s job is not only to expose your home to the masses but also to act as a 3rd party negotiator to help you get the highest price in the shortest amount of time.

Your home is most likely your biggest asset so when you decide to sell, it’s important that you do it right. Viewing the sale of your home as a business transaction and putting aside any emotional ties you may have is a great start to ensuring you sell your home quickly, easily and for top dollar!

Shopping Scams are Coming to Town 

Make sure to be on high alert for online scams this holiday season.

It’s convenient to shop online from the comfort of your home during this busy time of year but the hectic holiday season is also a popular time for cybercriminals.  Here are a few scams to be aware of:

  1. Delivery Details - Be wary of emails claiming “you have a parcel delivery but your address needs to be verified” as it’s likely a scam.

  2. The Hot Ticket - Desperate shoppers eager to score hot holiday gifts are easy prey for cybercrooks who set up legitimate looking websites that show the popular item in stock.

  3. Fake Shopping Apps - Fake retail and product apps designed to steal your personal or financial details are increasingly common and hard to recognize as they closely resemble popular brands.

  4. Holiday eCards - Don’t open eCards if you're not sure who they’re from.  Instead of a warm holiday greeting, it could be a cyber scammer whose gift comes in the form of a virus or spyware.

Unfortunately, there are many people out there who aren’t thinking about holiday cheer and goodwill to all.  Keep yourself safe by updating your antivirus software, visit only trusted, secure sites and never open messages from people you don't know.

Forgotten Flu Spots 

Your home could be a breeding ground for the flu.

It’s no fun having the flu, especially during the holidays, so it’s important to clean shared spaces and frequently touched surfaces.  Here are a few spots to focus on:

  • smartphones & tablets
  • computer keyboard & mouse
  • light switches and remote controls
  • door knobs and handles on appliances and cupboards
  • car steering wheel, seat belts and shifter

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to fight germs but regularly sanitizing common germ infested hot spots is also key.  Remember to keep the hand sanitizer on hand (pardon the pun :) and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid the flu this year!


PS  Oh by the way, we are never too busy for any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!

If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email or give us a call:  250-468-1498 / 250-248-1071team@teamw.ca

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook
 
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  Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven November 2016   
 


I dont know about all of you but I am finding it hard to fathom where this year has gone and that the holiday season is almost upon us! Christmas will be here before we know it! I heard some one say 7 Saturdays from Friday is Christmas Eve! 

We have had an amazing & productive year!  We want to thank all of your for that and for your continued faith in us.

We feel that the coming year will be one of change, Diane Kellas our trade off partner is retiring at year end so we will be helping her replacemnt Janet & also assisting some of her clients as well.  There is a new President in the United States, Real Estate Regulations are changing, and new tax implications for foreign buyers & owners are all part of that. Rest assured, we are watching & monitoring changes as they happen.  If we percieve they are goiing to greatly impact values in any way, we will be in touch.  Having said that, we are quite optomistic about the propects for the coming year. All the fundamentals are in place for continued strength in our market.  We continue to find an influx of buyers who "come from away" and the reasons are still the same.  Our amazing lifestyle, weather and the friendliness and safety of our community!

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report
Ho Ho Home Staging for the Holidays
Preserve the Past with a Family Time Capsule
Roasted Garlic Buds and Brie

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 

Home sales cool in October and inventory dips once again.

In October 2016, 399 single-family homes sold on the MLS® System compared to 368 last October, an increase of eight per cent.  Month-over-month, sales decreased by 24 per cent from September, which saw 528 unit sales.  However in the greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area the number of single family home sales for October was the same as September while the number of new listings that came to market was 32 less.

Reduced sales activity in October was likely caused by some late-summer cooling and continuing lack of inventory challenges.  Active listings of single-family homes dropped once again in October, dipping to 1,158, the lowest VIREB has seen since the board began tracking inventory levels in 1999.

Robust sales in the VIREB area and throughout much of B.C. continue to be driven by a combination of economic factors that are creating a sound foundation for housing sales.

“British Columbia’s GDP and employment growth have been above three per cent for three years now, and is currently tracking at 3.5 per cent,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA  Economist.  “Population growth is also a significant factor, with over 8,000 people migrating to B.C. from other parts of Canada in the second quarter of 2016.”

There has been a moderating trend in activity & prices Th The greater Vancouver area we expect due to the new tax for foreign buyers. The GVRD experiencing 3 consecutive months of flat sales in August, September, & October.  Yet Vancouver’s housing prices are still high, so many of B.C.’s new residents are settling farther out in the Fraser Valley or on Vancouver Island.

BCREA cannot definately say That the Foreign Buyer Tax imposed at the beginning of August has adversely affected the Vancouver market, nor whether the new housing rules introduced by the Government of Canada in October will have an impact.  Thus far, however, there appears to be a very limited fallout from any of these factors in the VIREB market. We have seen somewhat less activity from Vancouver but it is not significant.

Foreign buyers are not turning to Vancouver Island instead of the Lower Mainland and are not the impetus behind VIREB’s robust housing market.  As well, the federal government’s new rules that standardize eligibility criteria for high-ratio and low-ratio insured mortgages will have a greater impact on buyers purchasing homes in the $500,000-plus range.  VIREB’s benchmark prices on all property types are below that mark.

The single biggest challenge for the VIREB area continues to be a lack of inventory.  Sales would be higher if there were were homes available, and buyer frustration is growing.  Jason Finlayson, 2016 VIREB Past President, is encouraging potential home sellers to take advantage of these market conditions.

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever,” says Finlayson.  “If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”

In the greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area the number of single family sales was up 17% from October 2015 while the number of active listings on the market was down 45%.  If you would like additional statistics or wish to discuss your particular situation please contact us as we would be pleased to discuss with you.

Ho Ho Home Staging for the Holidays 

It’s important to carefully stage your home during the holidays.

Decorating your home for the holidays is a festive tradition but it’s important that buyers are still able to imagine themselves living there.  Here are a few seasonal staging tips to keep in mind:

  1. Curb Appeal Counts - A few lights and a tasteful wreath on the front door will accent your home. Its good to display some photos of what you home & yard look like during the summer months.

  2. First Impressions - Hallways can be cramped and dark this time of year so remove unnecessary items, and ensure you have adequate lighting. Try and keep decorations to a minimum.

  3. Deck the Halls (a little) - Too many decorations will make your home appear small and cluttered.  Also, never decorate over architectural selling features.

  4. Bows & Bells - Put away wrapping paper, tape, ribbons, etc. before showings but don’t just stuff them in your closets as buyers usually peek in cupboards to see how spacious they are.

  5. Holiday Cheer - Seasonal treats such as hot apple cider and holiday cookies will give your home a welcoming feel.  It may even encourage buyers to stick around a little longer!

Although there are fewer buyers during the holiday season, they're usually more serious plus there aren’t as many listings to compete with.  Your home will show beautifully if you use decorations to draw attention to its best features.  Just keep the decorations to a minimum so buyers aren’t overwhelmed, or distracted.

Preserve the Past with a Family Time Capsule 

Wouldn’t it be amazing to be able to Step back in time!

It’s truly remarkable how time flies but it’s also sad how many precious family memories fade as the years go by.  There is a way to turn back the clock though!

Preserving family artifacts in a “time capsule” is a fun and easy way to relive the past!  Here’s all you need to do:

  1. Choose a Capsule - A simple box decorated by your children is a great choice as it keeps them involved.

  2. Choose Your Treasure - Add items such as photos, trinkets, school papers or stuffed toys and mark dates/descriptions so you’ll be able to easily identify them.

  3. Choose Your Spot - Once you’ve filled the capsule, seal it tightly with thick plastic and decide where and for how long you’re going to stash it.

This project is a simple, unique and effective way of preserving the past.  Don't put it off though -- the key to seeing the past in the future is to start today!  There are endless ways to make a family time capsule but the most important thing is to just have fun.

This is something we are going to do with the family this Christmas and open it every 5 years to see how much things have changed!

Roasted Garlic Buds and Brie 

Simple appetizers are the way to go during the busy holiday season.

It's not always easy to impress holiday guests but the delicate, mellow taste of roasted garlic paired with creamy Brie is sure to be a huge hit.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 whole garlic bulbs
  • 2 tsps olive oil
  • 1 round of Brie cheese
  • red pepper jelly
  • crackers

Slice the tops off the garlic bulbs and drizzle them with olive oil.  Then wrap the bulbs in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F for 45 minutes.

While the garlic is baking, slice the thin rind off the top of the Brie and add to the oven for the last 15 minutes.  When it’s done, transfer the Brie and garlic bulbs to a platter and serve with crackers and red pepper jelly.  Enjoy!


PS  Oh by the way, we are always available for any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be our honour & privilege to assist them!

If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email or give us a call: 
250-468-1498 / 250-248-1071team@teamw.ca

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook
 
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  Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven September 2016   
 

Hi,

Well summer is over, we hope that you got to enjoy some of this great weather we have experienced.  The months just seem to fly by and now it is 'almost' time to turn the furnace back on.


We have had a few short breaks through out the summer:  weekend with the family in the lower mainland and took in a Canadians Baseball game at Nat Bailey Stadium - complete with 3 foot long hot dogs;  a wonderful trip on the authentic SS Minow, overnight stay at a B&B in Cowichan Bay and recently a 4 night stay in Las Vegas with friends where we spent time on the beach, rides on the Stratosphere and a zipline down Freemont Street.

The real estate market continues to be interesting and we thank you for your continued support and business.  You will get a sense in the article below as to what has been happening.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Warmest Regards,
Rudi & Trish W.
In this issue...
The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report
The Importance of Strong Negotiating Skills
Helping Your Kids Adjust to a New School
A Few Apps to Help You Keep Your Cool

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 

Inventory levels drop to a new historic low in August.

Summer is almost over, where did it go?  Reflecting on the greater Parksville Qualicum Beach real estate market for the month of August.  The market continues to be active and more listings have been coming on however there continues to be increased demand and therefore at the end of August the active inventory available was still significantly less than August 2015, -32%.

Overview for August 2016 versus August 2015 – for single family homes in the greater area:
Unit Listed                     97 vs 74 = +31%
Units Sold                      96 vs 80 = +20%
Active Listings               166 vs 243 = -32%
Average Sale Price        $506,398 vs $413,959 = +22% (note this is average price of homes sold)
Median Sale Price $470,000 vs $373,000 = + 26%

Comparing the last 12 months to the previous 12 months shows similar trends.
  

Looking at the bigger picture, the entire Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) area (Vancouver Island north of the 'Malahat'): 

Inventory levels of single-family homes in the VIREB area dropped to a historic low in August, dipping to 1,394, a 38 percent decrease from one year ago and down from July’s 1,577 available listings.

The last time inventory was this low occurred in 2005 when the supply of single-family homes for sale dropped to 1,629 units.  VIREB began tracking inventory levels in 1999.

Robust housing sales throughout the province, particularly in the southern half, continue to be driven by a solid economic foundation consisting of consumer confidence, strong retail sales, and employment growth of three per cent.  With GDP sitting at 3.5 per cent, British Columbia’s economy is leading the country.

Although a moderating trend in activity and prices is occurring in the Vancouver market, that slowdown is not affecting the VIREB area thus far.  Market conditions in Vancouver and throughout the Lower Mainland appear to be experiencing some backlash from the Foreign Buyer Tax introduced at the beginning of August, although prices have not dropped significantly.  Sales have taken a hit, yet it is too early to determine whether this is a temporary cooling in sales activity or indicative of a larger trend.

“Sales are beginning to normalize in the Vancouver marketplace but we don’t anticipate a significant correction any time soon,” says Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist.  “The typical moderating trend seen after months of hectic activity might have been accelerated slightly by the Foreign Buyer Tax but we just don’t know yet.  We can predict many things, but not the psychology of consumers.”

If you would like to view the August Market Activity and Graph click here

If you would more details or statistics on your particular style of property or in a specific geographic area in the greater Parksville Qualicum Beach area please contact TeamW and Rudi or Trish would be pleased to supply or discuss with you, email team@teamw.ca

The Importance of Strong Negotiating Skills 

Strong negotiation skills aren’t just for business transactions.

You often don’t realize you’re using them but whether you're renting a car, asking for a raise or trying to get your kids to clean up their room, strong negotiating skills are essential.
 
Negotiating is a life skill that can be easily learned and eventually perfected.  Your success is partly based on how well you're prepared so it’s important to do your homework.

Also, never make assumptions but instead ask questions and listen to the other party’s perspective in order to gain their trust and to gather valuable information that may come in handy later.
 
There are certain scenarios where it’s best to use a third party negotiator.  The home buying/selling process can be very complex.  In order to successfully negotiate, you need to understand local market conditions but you also need to be able to identify specific psychological aspects in order to work around certain fears and motivations and turn them into advantages.

Even if you consider yourself the world’s greatest negotiator, emotions can often tear things apart.  If you negotiate with someone directly in such an emotionally charged situation as selling a home, chances are that negative personal feelings can get in the way.  It's hard to recover once that happens and oftentimes, the home of your dreams will be lost due to ego, pride or principle.
 
Emotions run very high when it comes to buying or selling a home which is why it's important to have a real estate agent represent you as a third party negotiator.  Professionals are able to see things through to the end by remaining calm and not letting their emotions get in the way.  If you're thinking about making a move, please get in touch so that we can discuss your options.

Helping Your Kids Adjust to a New School 

Starting fresh at a new school can sometimes be a challenge.

Switching to a new school can cause children considerable stress and anxiety.  If your child has just started at a new school, the following tips will help them settle in:

  1. Be Positive - Discuss your children's fears while encouraging a confident approach to making new friends

  2. Fear Not - Chances are you'll be a little nervous too.  Be careful not to transfer your anxieties over to them.

  3. Join Up - Encourage your children to join school clubs/teams and participate in after-school activities in order to meet new friends and have fun.

  4. Join In - Parent teacher groups are a great way for you to connect with the school community.  Attending field trips is another great way to get involved!

Moving to a new school can be a difficult transition so try to emphasize the positive when discussing the challenges and opportunities your children face.  By encouraging them to share their feelings with you, it'll be much easier for them to adjust to their new surroundings.

A Few Apps to Help You Keep Your Cool 

So many emotional and physical illnesses are related to stress.

Instead of being the source of your stress, your smartphone can actually help you relax with some great apps designed to relieve stress and anxiety.

Meditation is a huge stress reliever and apps such as Headspace are great at helping to guide you through the process.

Being grateful also reduces stress and increases happiness.  There are various apps like Grateful Journal to help you record your moments each day.

Finally, exercise is a great stress reliever but it can be hard to find the time.  Apps such as the 7 Minute Workout contain bodyweight resistant exercises including squats and push-ups to pump up your endorphins and help you feel great!


PS  Oh by the way, we are always available for your introductions friends and family.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!

If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email or give us a call:  250-468-1498 / 250-248-1071 - team@teamw.ca

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook
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TeamW
Home Office:250-468-1498
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TeamW-RE/MAX First Realty
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