Karelyn Campbell

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The Bank of Canada has raised it's benchmark interest rate by 50 basis points to 3.75%.

This is the sixth increase to the benchmark rate since March of this year as they aim to reign in inflation. The next Bank of Canada rate decision is expected on December 7 and a statement from the bank makes it clear that rates "will need to rise further", although it's anticipated that the size of the increases will be smaller.

What does this mean for homeowners and homebuyers?

Homeowners on a variable rate may be nearing or at their trigger rate - the level at which their monthly payment will no longer cover the interest.

While the cost of borrowing remains high, homebuyers may rejoice as falling home prices may allow young people priced out of the market to realize their dreams of homeownership once the market settles.

Want to take a closer look at your specific situation? Send me a message and let's chat!
 
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The final walk-through on your new home is an exciting event. It means you have successfully maneuvered through negotiations, inspections, and financing approval, and are on the verge of signing your closing papers. Most buyers attend the final walk-through with thoughts of furniture placement and paint colors in their heads. But the walk-through is about more than just making sure your favorite chair will fit by the fireplace. Be sure to do your due diligence to make sure there are no issues that should be resolved before you reach the closing table.  


The purpose of the final walk-through is to ascertain that the home is being conveyed to you in the same condition it was when you agreed to purchase it. Here are a few of the things you should check: 

  1. Make sure no damage has occurred to the home that the sellers are responsible for repairing. Weather conditions or careless movers can cause accidental damage, and old and forgotten damage may be uncovered when the sellers’ belongings are removed.
  2. Check that appliances are still in working order and no new plumbing or electrical issues have popped up. While you aren’t doing a complete home inspection, you can visually check for obvious problems that should be repaired before you move in.
  3. Confirm that items contractually conveying are present. If the sellers agreed to leave particular furniture, décor, or equipment, see that it has not been removed. 
  4. Make certain the sellers have removed all their belongings. You don’t want to arrive with the moving truck only to find out that the sellers left behind an assortment of unwanted furniture or trash. The sellers should be held responsible for removing everything that doesn’t convey with the sale.
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1. How do I pick a contractor?

Ideally, you want to build the same kind of relationship with your contractor as you do with your real estate agent: one built on trust that makes you want to go back to that person for any future needs. Your contractor should be a very good listener and communicator. You want them to “get” your vision for your home, and to keep you in the loop every step of the way. Do your due diligence by checking out contractors’ reputations, talking with other clients, and looking at work they have done previously before you make your selection.


2. How much will my project cost?

Of course, the answer depends upon the scope of your project, but in order to get the best estimate from your contractor, take time to write down each detail of your plan so that the contractor can include everything in their estimate. Renovations are famous for taking longer and costing more than originally planned, but this is often because the homeowner makes additions or changes along the way, or they don’t realize that, for example, if you move a wall in your home, you may have to then reroute electricity and outlets. One item often leads to another, so you have to look at everything piece by piece.


3. How long will renovations take to complete?

As we said above, this depends on the amount of work being done– and how many changes are made along the way. The more pre-planning you do, the better estimate your contractor can give you.


4. How do I prioritize projects?

If you are living in your home during renovations, you may want to plan out the project in phases, so you can live out of some rooms while others are being worked in. You may also need to phase projects based on cost and availability of funds.


5. Where do I begin?

You begin by conducting a lot of research. Start a look book for your home, either in a notebook or online, collecting pictures of the look and finishes you want. Talk to different contractors, and visit kitchen, bathroom, appliance, and flooring showrooms to get ideas on selections and pricing.


6. Do I need permits?

Your contractor will know what projects require permitting. Make sure that you do abide by permitting regulations, as failure to secure proper permits can come back to bite you if further work is needed down the road. As well, when you sell your home in BC you'll have to report any renovations made without a permit as a "material latent defect". 


7. How much will renovations increase my home value?

Every homeowner hopes that making improvements will increase their home’s value, and this is usually the case, but sometimes what homeowners view as improvement can turn out to be liabilities to future buyers. For example, don’t put so much money into the house that it becomes more expensive than the rest of the neighborhood. And be careful not to add personal style preferences that can’t be easily changed, like ornamental fixtures, radical architecture, or unusual landscape features.


8. How should I pay for renovations?

If you have the cash to pay for your renovations, that’s certainly a good way to go. Otherwise, you might consider a home equity loan with a manageable monthly payment or a revolving line of credit that you can use for renovations as well as emergencies that may arise later.

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A Record Year For Real Estate

Despite record-low inventory, sales numbers were strong with 11,045 units sold; just shy of the 12,014 and 11,341 unit sales seen in 2016 and 2017. Were there sufficient supply we surely would have seen significantly higher sales across the board.

Inventory remains tight across Vancouver Island as it does in most markets, with supply needing to double in order to balance the market. This statistic has remained stead since 2020 and the Government of BC and Municipalities are attempting to make changes to speed up development approval processes to increase housing stock.

The board-wide benchmark of a single-family home reached $785,300 in December 2021, up 34% from one year ago. Apartments reached $403,800, up 29% year over year. And townhomes reached $609,300, up 35% year over year.
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If you have a home to sell, you’re probably excited to get the process started. There are many things you need to consider when selling your property, and it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by the task. The good news is we’ve done extensive research about what you need to know about selling your home – and we’ve answered the questions you’re probably wondering:  


How will you determine my home’s value?  

To determine your home’s value and set a listing price, I will complete a Comparative Market Analysis. The CMA uses recent sales of homes close in geography, age, size, and features to yours. (A CMA is not the same as an appraisal, which a licensed appraiser can perform.)  


Is it a good idea to start high?  

Many sellers like the idea of “starting high” to see if they get higher offers, but this strategy isn’t usually practical. First, buyers may not see your listing if they use a price filter set to what they expect prices in the area to run. Second, you run the risk of the appraisal coming in lower than your contract price, which will require your contract to be renegotiated or canceled. Third, if your listing price puts your home higher than your neighborhood value, your home will likely sit on the market longer as buyers wait for you to make a reduction. It’s best to set a realistic listing price that will bring you buyers quickly. My goal is always to get you the highest possible price in the shortest amount of time.  


What percentage of the listing price can I expect to get?  

The list-to-sell ratio is determined by dividing the selling price by the listing price. The ratio is largely market-driven. In a sellers’ market, which is when inventory is low, sellers may get close to 100% or over 100% if the home sells above list price. In a market with a large inventory of homes, a buyers’ market, buyers have more negotiating power, so the list-to-sell ratio may be closer to 90%. My goal is to get you as close to a 100% list-to-sell ratio as the market will bear.  


How soon can I get my home on MLS?  

Once we agree to work together, I will begin gathering information on your home and preparing your MLS listing contract. I will also schedule a time for a professional photographer to take photos of the property. As soon as all the information and pictures your listing can go live on MLS.  


What do I need to do to get ready to list?  

For your part, it’s a good idea to begin cleaning out or organizing storage spaces, closets, and drawers and putting away some of your décor or belongings. You may also want to have the exterior pressure washed, and the landscaping cleaned up. We can talk further about specific things that will help your home show better.  


How will showings be conducted?  

You and I will agree on the terms you are comfortable with for showings. We want to make the home accessible to buyers without too much disruption to your personal life. We can use a showing schedule, and unless we agree otherwise, I will notify you in advance of showing requests. We use electronic lockboxes that only active members of our local Realtors association can access. We can set the lockbox on a schedule, if necessary. Any time the lockbox is accessed, I receive a notification.  


How will you market my property?  

Marketing your listing is of utmost importance. Most buyers find their properties online through MLS (via their agent,) Realtor.ca or other search engines. Listings in our MLS system automatically show up on these sites within a day or two of becoming active. In addition, I share my listings with the agents in my network, on my website, and on my social media. We can discuss additional opportunities such as hosting open houses,online advertising, and marketing within your neighborhood.  


How long will it take to find a buyer?  

Several factors influence the time it takes to find a buyer. These include the market conditions, price range (higher-priced or luxury homes typically take longer to sell,) location (whether your home is in a desirable neighborhood or a unique location,) and the condition of the home (is move-in ready or in need of renovations?) In a balanced market, most houses, when priced accurately and without significant damage or extenuating circumstances, go under contract within thirty days. Homes sell faster in a seller’s market, while buyers take more time to look when inventory is high.  


Will you qualify the buyer?  

When an offer is received, I will work with the buyer’s agent to vet the buyer. All offers should be accompanied by either a pre-approval from a mortgage lender or, if paying cash, by verification of funds available to cover the purchase price. Once you accept an offer, the buyer must put down the agreed upon deposit, schedule any inspections as stipulated in the contract, and, if financing is involved, their lender will initiate the loan approval process. I will stay in close contact with the buyer’s agent to make sure due process is followed.  


What are the costs involved?  

The seller usually pays for the real estate agent fees, which are divided between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. The seller also pays their share of the property taxes. If the full annual amount has been paid, the buyer will repay their portion back to the seller at closing.


Will you also represent the buyer?  

In our market, there is a ban on dual agency. A real estate agent cannot be in an agency relationship with both the buyer and the seller in a transaction.


Can I cancel if I find my own buyer?  

The listing agreement is a contract between you and me and/or my brokerage. It stipulates the terms for cancellation, which you are encouraged to review. Once we have signed the listing agreement, a prospective buyer that approaches you directly should be redirected to me.  


How often will we communicate?  

Communication is key to an easy and successful sale. I will keep you appraised of events every step of the way. You are welcome to reach out to me with questions or concerns. When we go over the listing information, we will discuss our preferred means of communication and schedules to make sure we know each other’s availability and boundaries.


Thinking of selling? I'm here to help! Shoot me a message or give me a call today.

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The leaves are a-falling which means the pumpkin patch or the corn maze or the haunted house or the hayride or, my fave, the apple cider doughnut is a-calling!⁣

If you’re looking to dive headfirst into all things fall, check out these October events right here in Nanaimo. 


1. McNabb's Corn Maze: Enjoy the 7 acre corn maze, pumpkin patch, and produce stand. Open 7 days a week now until October 31. Buy tickets online here: https://mcnabscornmaze.com/ 


2. Haunted House: Open Saturday Oct 28-31 from 6:30pm - 10:30pm at 874 Park Ave, Nanaimo. 


3. Local Goods & Ghouls: Located at Woodgrove Centre, the Mom Market team has a special spooky themed night planned, complete with trick-or-treating and lots of fantastic local vendors. 

Wanna learn more about our cozy little patch of the world? DM me! I’d love to chat.⁣

Photo: @girlsatflourish⁣

Stylist: @rosewoodandivey

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Home equity…Everybody wants it, but what exactly is it, and how do you get it?


Equity represents the degree of ownership an individual or entity has in an asset after subtracting any debts against the asset. To say someone shares equity in a company means they would share in any assets remaining after all debts are accounted for.


For example, if your business has sold $500,000 worth of product this year, but you have rent, operating expenses, and a business loan payment totaling $400,000 for the year, you have $100,000 of equity in your business. Equity changes as the value of your assets and debts change.


Home equity works the same way. When you take out a mortgage to purchase a home, your home is collateral on the mortgage loan, so the outstanding mortgage principal must be deducted from the value of the home to determine your home equity.


In most cases, you make a down payment when you purchase your home. That down payment is your initial home equity. If you pay a 20% down payment on a $200,000 home, you have $40,000 equity when you close on your purchase.


As time goes on and you continue to pay down your mortgage principal, your equity grows. Usually, the longer your own your home, the more equity you gain because you are paying down your mortgage. However, any debts you take on using your home value as collateral, such as a second mortgage or home equity line of credit (HELOC,) decrease your home equity.


The changing real estate market also influences your equity. If you paid $200,000 for your home, and two years later the homes in your neighborhood start selling in the $400,000 range, your theoretical equity increases. (Theoretical because you don’t realize your home equity until you sell your home and pay off all debts against it.) You can also lose equity if the market takes a dive but be patient and it should recover in time.


Equity also grows if you make improvements on your home that increase its value. Let’s say you add a swimming pool and all new appliances. You have increased the value of the home. Your equity doesn’t increase by the amount your spent on the improvements, but on the value you get upon resale. This is an important point when considering making improvements prior to putting your home on the market, and one that is often misunderstood.


Let’s say Joe spends $50,000 on upgrades to his home. He might tell his neighbor, “I have $50,000 in my home,” but when he goes to sell, the current market dictates how much he will actually get in return. If Joe ends up selling for $40,000 more than he originally paid, his $50,000 investment got him $40,000 in home equity.


Some things you can do to increase your home equity include:


1) Make a large down payment when you purchase your home. The more cash you put down, the more equity you begin with.


2) Make increased or extra payments on your mortgage principal. Adding to the principal portion only on your monthly payments, or making extra payments when you are able, helps chip away at your outstanding debt.


3) Be smart when making home improvements. Not all improvements build equity. Some improvements may be personal preferences that don’t necessarily add value for resale. Improvements such as a new HVAC system, new appliances, or a new roof are usually more reliable investments than a fountain in the front yard or surround sound speakers throughout the house.


4) Don’t borrow against your home equity unless you must. Home equity is often a homeowner’s biggest asset, and can help to build your retirement nest egg, but it can also come in handy if life throws you a curve ball and you need to borrow against it for an unforeseen emergency. Be careful not to borrow against your equity for frivolous purposes, so it will be there if you really need it.


5) Sell when the market is favorable. If you are counting on your home equity to help finance your next home, pay for your children’s education, or add to your retirement funds, try to sell during a seller’s market when inventory is needed in your area.

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Market Update: August 2021

Across the board we saw an increase in the benchmark price in all categories with homes up 33% year over year, condos up 27% year over year, and townhomes up 31% year over year.

Inventory was down 50% and sales were down 18% compared to the same time last year. Sales would no doubt be much higher if there was adequate inventory.

We expect prices to continue their upward trend unless demand drops or the number of listings increase.
 
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 Spring Cleaning Bingo Sheet


Spring is here! That means it’s time to stop hemmin' and hawin' and get after some home maintenance projects. A few ideas to get you started:⁣

Indoors: ⁣

• Get down and dirty by scrubbing those baseboards, trim, doors, walls, and handles.⁣
• Scared to look at those air filters after the long winter? Take a deep breath and swap them out with fresh new ones.⁣
• Clean the blinds slate-by-slate (yes, it’s a PAIN) and wash, or easier yet, dry-clean window treatments.⁣
• Get the grime and slime off kitchen cabinets with a top-to-bottom wipe down.⁣
• Flip mattresses and, while you’re at it, wash ALL your bed linens (mattress pads and pillow shams included).⁣

Outdoors:⁣

• Have a look at your gutters and downspouts for winter damage and debris. (You'll def want a buddy to hold the ladder.)⁣
• Inspect wooden decks, railings, windowsills, and steps for damage or rot.⁣
• Pressure wash patios, decks, driveway, and outdoor furniture. (Pressure washing is awesome. Seriously. You’ve gotta try it.)⁣
• Tune-up any lawn maintenance equipment.⁣
• Clear the front entryway of bugs and cobwebs. Go on and throw up a colorful spring wreath and welcome mat, too!⁣

Whip your home into shape ASAP so you’ll be ready to kick up your feet when that to-die-for spring weather comes a' knockin'!

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Buyer demand continues to outweigh supply in the VIREB market and competition for those few precious listings is fierce. Buyers continue to be frustrated with thier home search as inventory numbers reached an all-time low. The BCREA does not see the inventory situation improving until more supply comes on the market later this year. The BCREA and local real estate boards are advocating with policy makers to encourage streamlining the development process so that municipalities can expand supply more quickly to meet the growing demand. 


It is an exciting time to sell your home as the robust market is impacting prices. Single family homes as a 15% increase over February 2020. Last month, we saw a 56% increase in the sales of single family homes since the same period last year with 417 units sold. 


More than ever, it's important for buyers and sellers alike to work with a realtor to help them navigate the ever-changing envorinment. 

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We all want people to love our home as much as we do, but especially when you are trying to sell it! While it’s impossible to please every buyers’ taste, there are several easy things you can do to make your home more appealing without spending a lot of money. Try some of these tricks and see if your showings cause buyers to swoon.


1. Check your curb appeal. Take an honest look from the curbside. What are buyers seeing first? If your home needs to be painted or pressure washed, consider making that investment. Clean up landscaping by trimming trees and bushes, planting some fresh annuals and laying new mulch. Clean windows, repair sagging soffit, or porch railings, and have any trip hazards on your driveway or front walk repaired. Finally, consider some attractive, yet subtle decorations for your front porch.


2. Create an inviting entryway. When buyers step inside your front door, you want them to feel welcomed. If you have a foyer or front hall, it is easier to make an attractive entryway, but even if your front door opens right into your living room, you can create the feel of an entryway with a couple of simple tricks. Clear the area of clutter things that tend to pile up at the front door, like backpacks, dog leashes, or shoes. Place a small table or bench beside the door with plants, candles, or other simple décor. A small area rug can help define the space as the entryway.


3. Let the light shine in. Take advantage of natural light as much as you can. Trimming any bushes or trees outside your windows can help immensely. Wash your windows inside and out and replace or remove any worn screens. Make sure to open blinds or curtains before all showings.


4. Add some fresh color. Painting is an easy and inexpensive way to make an older home look new and is especially important if your current wall color is dark or outdated. Choose a light neutral color like a warm grey or light beige and use the same color throughout the house. If your home tends to be dark, this will help brighten it up.


5. Let storage spaces speak for themselves. Many sellers make the mistake of waiting until they have a contract to start cleaning out closets. Cleaning out clutter is part of getting ready to show, not just getting ready to move. You want buyers to perceive that there is ample storage in the home, and this doesn’t work if every drawer, cabinet, and closet is stuffed to the gills.


6. Eliminate distractions. Streamline your decorating so your buyers see the house and not your personal belongings. Go ahead and pack up collectibles and family photos and keep decorative touches to the minimum. Too many plants, magazines, or toys distract the buyers from seeing the home as their own.


7. Entice them with outdoor space. The back yard shouldn’t be an empty space of infinite possibility, nor should it be a storage area for neglected toys. Get rid of any eyesores you’ve been avoiding dealing with, spruce up your landscaping, repair irrigation or pool issues, and create an entertaining space with a patio set, or a backyard oasis with some potted plants and a hammock.


8. Make it easy for them. Taking care of minor repairs is another step you can take to help buyers see your home as an easy and comfortable move. You want them to be mentally arranging their furniture as they walk through, not making a list of nicked woodwork, torn window screens, and leaky faucets. The less work involved, the easier it is to fall in love.

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Most people cringe at the thought of buying a home in December. Only the Grinch would want to pack up and moving during the holiday season! But hold on Cindy Lou Hoo, there are several reasons December can be a great time to buy.


1. Sellers are highly motivated. People who are listing their homes in December are usually on a timeline. They may be relocating for work, wanting to move over the school break, or need to sell their home before the end of the year.

2. You have less competition. Listings do go down in December, but many buyers also take a break during the holiday season. So while the overall number of homes available might be lower, you also have less competition looking.

3. You can get a better price. Motivated sellers and fewer lookers means you can make a better deal. If your seller needs to make a move before the end of the year, they will be willing to work with you on all other terms besides closing date.

4. Rates are staying low. Mortgage rates are forecast to remain low through the end of this year, and into 2021, so it’s a good time to buy.

5. Take advantage of tax benefitsIf you close on your home purchase by December 31st, you can take tax deductions for mortgage interest, loan points, and property taxes.

6. Schedules are more flexible. You might think December is too busy a month for moving, but most people tend to have more flexible schedules in December. Children’s activities are suspended, work schedules are more lax, for both you, your sellers, as well as your lender, home inspector, and moving companies, so scheduling all the parts of your transaction and move may actually become easier.


I’d love to help you find your next home. Let’s make your holiday wishes come true!

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Christmas looks a little different this year but there are still a few family-friendly events around town this month that’ll help keep everyone sane AND socially-distanced? Good news! I’ve got just the list.⁣ ⁣

Here are several not-to-miss happenings:⁣ ⁣

  • Ladysmith Light Up: Although the parade and festivities didn't happen this year, you can still take a drive through town and enjoy the festive lights.
  • Lantzville Santa Drive-By: Happening TONIGHT, Santa and the Lantzville Fire Rescue Team will be playing Christmas carols as they drive through town. Check out the official schedule here:  https://www.lantzville.ca/cms/wpattachments/wpID430atID5445.pdf
  • U-Cut Christmas Trees: Nothing says Christmas like searching for that perfect tree. Check out Gogo's or Lantzville .
Did I miss one of your family’s fave things to do this time of year? Share the details in the comments.
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The cold season has already arrived in many parts of the country. Here in Nanaimo, it's not only cold...it's wet!


It’s important to prepare your home for the colder weather coming. Taking a little bit of time to winterize your home can save you a lot of time, and money, later on. Check out these tips for preparing your home for the fall and winter.


1. Check window and door weather stripping for damage.

2. Disconnect water hoses and turn off outdoor water supply lines and irrigation system.

3. Wrap exterior water pipes or hose bibs with heating tape.

4. Clean your gutters.

5. Check your roof for damage or leaks.

6. Fill cracks in your driveway and foundation.

7. Check attic insulation for pest damage.

8. Have your furnace serviced.

9. Check your chimney for obstructions and make sure your damper is working.

10. Clean and store your lawnmower.

11. Aerate and fertilize your lawn.

12. Change the air filters in your HVAC system.

13. Change smoke detector batteries.

14. Clean and store outdoor furniture.

15. Have landscaping pruned and put fresh mulch down.

16. Bring potted plants inside.

17. Change your ceiling fan direction.

18. Clean humidifiers before using.

19. Check the condition of your pool cover.

20. Make sure snow equipment is working.

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Have a large wall space that needs some décor but worried it will cost you hundreds of dollars in art? Not necessarily! Here are some ideas for filling a large wall without emptying your bank account.

  1. Take individual pictures of your family members and have large prints made in black and white. Add to the size of each photo by adding a photo mat, then frame them in inexpensive black frames and hang them in a row across the wall.
  2. Let your kids be the artists. Purchase large canvases and let your children paint their masterpieces. Or take artwork they have already done at school or at home and mat and frame them.
  3. Use floating shelves hung at various heights and topped with photos, vases, ornaments, books, candles, or mementos.
  4. Use plants to fill in empty spaces. You can place potted plants or succulents on floating shelves, use planters or hanging baskets made to attach directly to the wall, or make a DIY vertical garden out of an old wooden pallet.
  5. Use mixed media such as large woven or wooden trays, tapestries, or metal sculptures.
  6. Hang a collection of quirky clocks, different sized mirrors, graphic signs, old album covers, vintage prints, painted empty frames, or crosses.
  7. Stencil your wall with a graphic design, a tree, vines, or a floral pattern, or favorite inspirational quote.
  8. Reduce the wall space and soften the room by framing the wall with false drapery panels hung on either end of a sofa or pair of chairs.
  9. Light it up by attaching LED string lights in a pattern or hanging pretty wall sconces at various heights.
  10. Reduce the wall space by placing a potted tree or folding decorative screen in front of part of the wall.
  11. Search antique malls for vintage architectural pieces that can be hung on the wall, such as old window frames, an antique door, intricate fireplace screen.
  12. Create your own graphic by covering large frames or canvases with patterned fabric remnants and hanging them in a row or collage.
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There's nothing like moving into a home that is truly new, with no smells, smudges or dust left behind by a previous owner. Even better is when you get to make your own custom selections. But buying from a builder is a different ball game and it’s important you know how to play. Consider these questions if you are considering new construction.


Should you use a real estate agent? I think so! The builder may have sales agents or an assistant that helps buyer’s through the process, but those people work for the builder. It’s always a good idea to have a professional advocating for you, and most builders will pay agents a commission for bringing the buyer. It’s important that your agent accompany you to the first visit to the model center or builders’ office so that representation is established.


Does the builder have a good reputation? We’ve all heard stories of builders who fail to deliver on their promises, using lower grade materials than quoted, or even disappearing before the work was completed. Check out your builder before signing anything. Find out if there are any complaints registered against them and ask for references from other homeowners. Find out if you can tour a model or a recently completed home, and bring someone who can judge the quality of the workmanship.


Should you use the builders’ lender? Many builders work with a preferred lender that offers attractive discounts on closing costs when you finance through them. It’s important to know if the lender is working as a referral or if the mortgage company is owned by the same company that is building your home. If your lender and builder both work for the same company, it’s a good idea to have an attorney review your contracts as an independent set of eyes.


Can the builder charge extra for unexpected cost increases? Look over the builder’s contract carefully, or have an attorney do so, and note if there is an escalation clause that would allow the builder to pass cost increases onto you in the event that materials or labor costs increase during construction.


What warranties are provided? Normally a builder offers a warranty lasting from six month to two years, possibly longer for some items. You should know what is covered under the builder’s warranty and for how long. All the major structural items and mechanical systems are usually covered. Appliances are not, but they should come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Damage from weather, shrinkage or expansion of the home or foundation, and anything resulting from the homeowner’s failure to provide maintenance or from work done on the home after construction is not covered.


What is the timeline for completion? This will depend on whether the build is a production home, meaning the builder is building select models throughout a development, or if you have hired the builder to build a custom home. Production homes can be completed in three to four months, where custom homes usually take a minimum of six months. Regardless, the builder should be able to give you a timeline outlining each phase of construction. Factors affecting the timeline include weather, delays receiving building supplies, or the number of changes you make along the way.


Can you choose different finishes or colors? Again, it depends on the type of build. Certainly, if you are building a custom home, you can make as many changes as you are willing to pay for. But if the home is part of a development and the builder has color palettes and finishes chosen, there may be a limit to how much you can change. Often the builder will allow you to change paint colors, flooring, fixtures, tile or appliances, as long as what you choose is in line with the budget he set, and those items have not already been ordered.


Are appliances included? More-often than not, appliances are not included in the purchase price but the builder but you can choose a package through the builder for an additional cost. Make sure when buying new, to budget for new appliances. 


Is landscaping included? It’s no fun to get to the end of construction and find out there is no budget for landscaping. Find out what the builder plans to put in in terms of grass, trees and shrubbery. You may want to make additions or changes to his landscape plan.

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Every home buyer hopes to find the perfect house. The one that, as soon as you walk through the front door, you know it is the one for you.


It happens, and when it does, I am really happy for my buyers. I always want my buyers to fall in love with the perfect house and live happily ever after.


Just like in relationships, however, emotions often come into play during the home buying journey…Emotions that may result in some not-so-loving feelings.


While I’m not a therapist, I can help you talk through your emotions about the homes we visit and help you identify if you are making decisions with your heart and not your head.


There are six basic emotions; let’s look at how they can affect your decision-making skills.

  1. Fear: We have all learned that fear triggers a “fight or flight” response. In terms of making decisions, fear may cause you to “flee” from making any decision at all, which could make your home buying experience exhausting. If you are afraid you will run out of time, or that if you pass on a house you won’t find another one, you may “fight” by making a rash decision too quickly.
  2. Sadness: Feeling sad can cause you to lower your expectations and settle for less than you truly want. You may decide you don’t need certain features that you previously wanted. Or you may settle for one of the first homes you see instead of persevering with the search.
  3. Disgust: Disgust can cause you to eliminate choices that otherwise might have been in the running. You might find the perfect floorplan, style, or location, but if the home has a bad odor, a filthy floor, or some other off-putting defect, you might not be able to stomach it, even if it is a completely reversible problem.
  4. Surprise: Surprise is an emotion that is fleeting– it happens quickly and then subsides. Surprises can be pleasant, like if you go to see a home you were not expecting to like and find it is much nicer than you expected. But if you are touring the home and a rat runs out of the pantry, you get a negative surprise. While surprise doesn’t last, the memory does, and it can influence how you feel about the event.
  5. Happiness: We all want to feel happy when buying a home but be careful that your excitement doesn’t cause you to make bad decisions. When you are happy or excited, you tend to underestimate risks, assuming everything will work out. People also tend to spend more money than they planned when super excited.
  6. Anger: Anger can also cause you to take bigger risks. Research shows angry people are more likely to make impulsive decisions. Anger can sometimes be helpful. If handled properly, anger can help you to identify your needs and outline action steps to get the information you need to act responsibly.
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In January 2020, sales of single-family-homes dropped by 16% from one year ago, and 26% from the previous month. 


174 single-family-homes sold on the MLS compared to 208 the previous year. Inventory is tightening which is one of the factors impacting sales. Despite interest from buyers, the stress-test has reduced purchasing power and pushed many buyers to the sidelines. There is an increase in demand for mid- and lower-priced properties, but the lack of inventory is limiting many buyers ability to move forward with their home purchase.

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Listing photos are SO important.⁣

You only get one chance to make a first impression, so you wanna get it right — especially when it comes to introducing your home to potential buyers. ⁣

With ninety percent of home buyers relying on the web for home searching, those listing photos matter, folks! ⁣

Make your cozy abode stand out from the rest with these quick tips:⁣

- Select a realtor who understands the importance of clean, and bright listing photos. Hop online and check out a prospective realtor’s listing photos.⁣
- While we’re sure your furry friends are always photo-ready, keep their cuteness (and all their toys) out of your listing photos.⁣
- If you’re not crazy about the photos of your house, say so! Whether it’s one image or all of them, you deserve your listing to have its best face forward.⁣
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One of the most stressful situations in home buying occurs when other buyers are competing for the home you want. To make an offer on the perfect house only to find out you have entered a bidding war is certainly frustrating.


It doesn’t happen often, but if there is a shortage of homes for sale, or you are looking in a particularly sought-after area, it’s a possibility. It’s common to feel helpless as you wait for communications to come back through the agents involved, hoping for some good news.


To that end, I’ve put together some tips for how to make a multiple offer situation as comfortable and successful as possible for my buyers.

  • Pick a real estate agent who is well organized and an exceptional communicator. A lapse in communication could be interpreted as disinterest. Don’t get overlooked because your agent didn’t communicate with the seller’s agent in a timely manner.
  • Have your pre-approval letter or proof of funds in hand. You may have a great offer to submit, but if you can’t back it up with proof you are qualified to purchase the home the seller may just move on. Make a cash offer if you are able. If not, make as large a down payment as possible, and use a lender that communicates effectively with all parties.
  • Offer more than the asking price. Your agent should do a comparative market analysis to give you a good idea on the home value as soon as you decide to make an offer. If it’s not too out of line with the CMA or your budget, offer more than the asking price.
  • Keep your offer clean and simple. Don’t ask for contingencies that aren’t necessary to closing the transaction.
  • Shorten the subject removal period. Asking for a 5 to 7 day inspection period instead of the traditional 14 lets the seller know that you aren’t going to waste anyone’s time. Find a home inspector who has availability to schedule your inspection as soon as your offer is accepted.
  • Have your deposit ready. Offer a deposit that sends the message that you are serious about your offer and have the funds ready to turn in as soon as your offer is accepted.
  • Offer flexibility with your closing date. Convey through your agent that you are willing adjust the closing date to suit the seller’s needs.
  • Include a personal letter with a family photo. Let the seller know who you are, what you like about the home, and that you intend to take good care of their former residence. Let them know what it is about the home that has already made it special to you.
  • Offer an additional deposit after the subject removal period. This is another way to let the seller know you are serious about the house and not just trying to get it off the market while you make up your mind or look further.
  • Consider an escalation clause. Let the seller know that if your offer isn’t the highest you will go up by including a clause stating that you will increase your offer, up to a set price, if the seller shows you a higher offer from another buyer.
  • Be diplomatic with negotiations after your contract is signed. Remember that the seller has other interested parties to fall back on. If you turn ugly after the contract is signed, making additional demands or not following through with your promises, the seller may hand you back your deposit and work with someone else.
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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.