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.
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:
- ix38wq%Pc - Make sure you have a strong password with a mix of numbers, letters and symbols.
- Play Hard to Get - Visit the Privacy section under Settings to limit who's able to view your profile details.
- Catch a Hacker Early - Select Settings and then Security and Logins and turn on get alerts about unrecognized logins.
- Extra Security - Visit Two-Factor Authentication in the Security and Logins section to choose an extra layer of security.
- 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:
- 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!