Victoria Real Estate and Community News

Nov. 30, 2018

What Does an Artist’s Home Look Like?

Jessica Freedman is one of my favorite local artists. I recently sat down with her for a great discussion in her beautiful home, and I’m excited to share it with you today.

 

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Welcome back to our “Meet the Artist” series. Today I’m extremely excited to be joined by the lovely Jessica Freedman at her fantastic condo to see the artist in her natural habitat. We went through her lovely home and were able to see exactly what she’s done with it and how she has incorporated her art into the process. Here’s an outline of our discussion, with timestamps so you can skip around to the part(s) that interest you most:

 

0:50- Jessica’s journey to find the right home in Victoria.

1:40- What I love the most about what Jessica has done with the space she has in her home.

2:45- How the right vision led to Jessica and her family purchasing their downtown condo.

3:30- Jessica’s favorite parts of her home.

4:23- A closer look at Jessica’s artwork and how she’s been able to create and use it in her home.

6:15- Jessica’s favorite piece of art that she’s created.

7:40- A word of caution about renovating a space like Jessica’s.

 

Thanks so much to Jessica for joining us today. If you’d like to learn more about Jessica or check out some of her art, head on over to her website. In the meantime, if you have any real estate questions or needs that I can assist with, don’t hesitate to reach out and give me a call or send me an email today. I would love to hear from you.

Posted in Meet the Artist
Sept. 11, 2018

Thank You for Making Taco Day a Blast

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Taco Day was incredible! Funny photos were taken, smiling faces were painted, and being in your presence reinvigorated me! I am feeling freshly inspired and ready for the fall season to begin. Thank you so much for taking the time to join me. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

I wish you an amazing fall season filled with success and happiness. See you next time!

Posted in Community News
Aug. 14, 2018

3 Home Renovations to Avoid

Not all home renovations are wise. Here are a few that you need to avoid before selling your home.

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Today I want to talk about the “don'ts” of home renovations and what you should avoid when upgrading your home.

 

In the past, I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about the best renovations to make to your home, but today we’re going in the opposite direction. Here is my list of “don’ts”:

 

1. Over-the-top improvements. Before your minor upgrade turns into a home improvement bender, ask yourself whether potential buyers in your area are likely to pony up the cash for posh upgrades. Unless you plan on staying in your home for a long time, or you know that your neighbourhood is in a location where prospective buyers can easily afford it, stay away from the steam shower and the carved marble countertops.

 

"You want to appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers."

 

2. Home office overhauls. Home offices generally don’t pay off during resales. Nobody understands more than I do that if you’re working from home, they’re an absolute must. However, you want to keep the structure of the space that you’re using so you can easily stage it or put the room back to its original purpose when it’s time to re-sell.

 

3. Specialized spaces. They can be so hit-or-miss. Not everyone is going to live in your space the same way you do. There is a limit to the audience that certain upgrades (wine cellars, butler’s kitchens, a rock wall, etc.) can make. Trust me, I have seen some very, very particular designs and it’s fun to be creative with your space, but when selling it's important that you appeal to the greatest number of potential buyers out there.

 

If your space is really unique and you’re not sure how it will look on the open market, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email and we’ll help you get it ready and accent it in the perfect way.

 

If you have any other questions in the meantime, don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Selling Your Home
July 25, 2018

3 Steps to Buying and Selling at the Same Time

If you want to buy and sell a house at the same time, there are three steps you need to take. 

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How can you buy a new home and sell your current one without ending up temporarily homeless?

 

Many people want to take advantage of the equity in their homes by either moving up or downsizing in our market. Just like you, though, they are worried that their current home will sell and they will have nowhere to move. 

 

Here are three killer steps you need to take in order to sell your current home and buy a new one at the same time:

 

1. Have a real estate agent give you a value estimate for what your home is truly worth. This will lay the foundation for what kind of equity you have to work with and help you determine whether you can buy your next home before you sell the one you are living in. 

 

"These steps will help you pull off a polished move that really pays off."

 

2. Talk to a trusted mortgage advisor to determine your financing options. Can you bridge financing or does your closing date need to be the exact same on the buy side as it is on the sell side? 

 

3. Examine your options. Is buying first OK with your bank? If so, you can start shopping. If not, you will need to sell your existing place first and then consider running a long possession to give you enough time to find your next home. 

 

These steps may seem simple, but when they are done right with all of the correct information, you will have a polished move that really pays off. 

 

If you have any more questions about buying and selling at the same time or you have any other real estate needs, please feel free to reach out to me. I would be happy to help you. 

Posted in Buying a Home
July 2, 2018

Are You a House Person or a Condo Person?

Are you a house person or a condo person? If you are unsure, we have a quiz to help you decide.

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Today I have one question for you: Should you move into a house or a condo? Even though these two home styles are so obviously different, it is not always clear which one is right for you. If you're uncertain, yourself, I've got a quiz to share that may help you decide.

 

The two largest factors when you are trying to make this decision are budget and location. 

 

I am sure you can tell from all the cranes in the downtown skyline that condos are king in the centre of Victoria, and houses become more affordable the further you move away from the core. That is because land is more expensive in the core of the city and gets more affordable the further out you go. 

 

"Land is more affordable in the core of the city, and less expensive as you move outward."

 

To figure out if you are a true blue city dweller or if you need wide open spaces to blossom, just answer the questions below and all will become clear. I promise.

 

If you have any questions after completing the quiz, please feel free to reach out. We will be happy to decipher the results with you. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

Quiz: Condo or House?

 

Answer each question below, and use our answer key and tally up your points to find out what is better for you: condo or house.

 

Question 1: Can you afford to spend $500,000 or more on your first home?

a) Yes.

b) No.

 

Question 2: Do you work from home?

a) Yes, most or all of the time.

b) No.

c) I may occasionally bring light work home.

 

Question 3: Are members of your household very busy with outside activities, or do you tend to be homebodies?

a) We’re very busy and spend a lot of time outside.

b) Most of our hobbies are home-based.

c) It’s a mix in our household.

 

Question 4: Do you enjoy outdoor chores like yard work, gardening and home maintenance?

a) Yes, I love working on my home and garden.

b) No way!

c) I’m not sure, but I’d consider it.

 

Question 5: Do you like to entertain friends and family in your home?

a) Absolutely! We love hosting big family dinners and dinner parties.

b) Sometimes, but we’re more into parties than sit-down meals.

c) Yes, but we prefer intimate get-togethers, like having a couple of dinner guests over at a time.

d) No, we prefer to host guests in a restaurant.

 

Question 6: What best describes your household composition?

a) Living solo and loving it!

b) We’re a couple, with no immediate plans for kids.

c) We’re a couple, getting ready to start our family.

d) We’re a full house of four or more, looking for room to grow!

 

Question 7: Minimalist living: yay or nay?

a) Yay: I am the queen (or king) of clutter-free living!

b) Nope: I like personalizing my space with my objects.

 

ANSWER KEY:

 

Q1:

If you selected A, add 10 points.

If you selected B, add 5 points.

Q2:

If you selected A, add 15 points.

If you selected B, add 5 points.

If you selected C, add 10 points.

Q3:

If you selected A, add 15 points.

If you selected B, add 5 points.

If you selected C, add 10 points.

Q4:

If you selected A, add 15 points.

If you selected B, add 5 points.

If you selected C, add 10 points.

Q5:

If you selected A, add 15 points.

If you selected B, add 5 points.

If you selected C, add 5 points.

If you selected D, add 5 points.

Q6:

If you selected A, add 5 points.

If you selected B, add 5 points.

If you selected C, add 10 points.

If you selected D, add 15 points.

Q7:

If you selected A, add 5 points.

If you selected B, add 10 points.

 

Results: Tally up your points and find out whether a condo or house is better suited to your lifestyle.

 

35-55: Confirmed Condo-ista

Between price and lifestyle considerations, urban condo living is ideal for you. You’ll love the convenient, maintenance-free condo lifestyle and, of course, being in the heart of the city’s action.

 

60-80: Ambivalent Shopper

Aspects of condo living (convenience, price point) hold strong appeal for you, but you’re also considering a house you can grow into. It wouldn’t hurt to explore both options and adding townhouses to your criteria. 

 

PRO TIP- I also recommend adding duplexes to this particular search.  They’re often overlooked when looking for a “house” but if you love certain neighbourhoods they’re a great hybrid between strata and house.  They have no monthly maintenance fees or strata councils/rules and with the right design, many of them live like freestanding houses for a fraction of the cost .

 

85-95: Hard-Core House Hunter

You’re looking to live large in a home that does your lifestyle justice – and you’re willing to pay a premium and put in sweat equity to do it. You’ll love turning your house into a home, with room for the creature comforts you cherish.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 4, 2018

Keep Up With Your Strata Minutes

Why is it important to be familiar with the strata minutes in a particular condo? Find out here.

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Today I want to get you the skinny on strata minutes.

Strata minutes are as close as you can get to knowing a strata without actually being at the meetings. We’ve read a lot of strata documents in our day, and there’s no better way to know if, say, Bob in unit 207 is still smoking on his patio (even though it’s banned) or if Sally in unit 718 is trying to remove a wall without strata approval.

Done right, the minutes can feel like you’re spying on your neighbors, but they’ll give you insight into the character of the building. You won’t get that particular kind of flavor from the other documents, like the budgets or the depreciation report. You’ll find out if people have a hard time getting along, how they deal with repairs and maintenance, or if there are any security issues in the building.

On the flip side of that, if the building or the complex is well-run and has good initiatives coming up, you’ll see that in the minutes, too. The meeting minutes will help you decide if a particular strata is right for you; and yes, they are long.

"Minutes are a very important part of understanding the whole picture of the strata."

When working on strata sales, we order the last 24 months of regular meeting minutes as well as the SGMs and the AGMs.

Set some time aside on a night you’re free, put on a pot of coffee, and strap in—the minutes are a very important part of understanding the whole picture of the strata. You could also come see us; we’d gladly help you through it. 

Hopefully this helps you be able to better identify the condo that’s right for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.

 

Posted in Community News
April 19, 2018

There Is New, Clearer Language on the Speculation Tax Law

The last version of the law regarding speculation tax was fairly vague, but a new version has been released that is a bit clearer.

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Since the speculation tax was first announced last month, there has been a lot of feedback from various groups. I mentioned in my last video that the first draft of the proposal was very vague and left a lot of uncertain terms, but now there’s a second draft that gives us much more clarity. Today, I’ll let you in on what we now know.

"The last version of the law regarding speculation tax was fairly vague, but a new version has been released that is a bit clearer."

What’s new:

  1. The definition of “long-term rental.” It’s three months’ rental for the 2018 tax year and six months’ rental with minimum one-month increments starting in the 2019 tax year. 
  2. More areas are exempt from the tax. Before, only Whistler and Tofino were exempt. Now, Bowen Island, the Gulf Islands, and Juan de Fuca Protection Island are excluded from the tax. For a complete map of which areas are exempt, click here
  3. The tax rate has come down for some. It’s still 2% for foreign investors and satellite families, but it’s now 1% for Canadian citizens and permanent residents who don’t live in British Columbia and 0.5% for British Columbians who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  4. Possible tax credit. If you’re a BC resident who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, then you’ll also be eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,000 if your second property is $400,000 or less. On more expensive vacant properties, that tax only applies to the value of the property above $400,000.

 

This still isn’t the final draft of the law, but at least it gives us a sense of where some of the revisions are headed. If you have a situation that isn’t covered in the exemptions or you feel that you might not be covered by some of these revisions, I strongly recommend talking to one of your public officials. This law is still in its proposal stage, and the feedback loop is still going. Now is the time to voice your opinion on the speculation tax. You can also visit this site for more details.

 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be glad to help you however I can.

 

Posted in Real Estate News
March 26, 2018

4 Natural Deodorizers for Your Home

If you are preparing your home for showings, I recommend using these four natural deodorizers to freshen things up.

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There are a lot of natural ways that you can deodorize the air in your home. Not everyone likes strong, chemically induced smells from things like scented plug-ins or diffusers. I’ve even had buyers ask me during showings if I thought the seller was trying to hide something because they used overpowering smells. 

This is the last thing you want when you are trying to sell your home, so here are a few natural alternatives: 

1. Get a good quality candle. Invest in a candle with quality wax and a quality wick. Quality candles will release a nice scent throughout your home without being overpowering. On the flip side, these candles are expensive. I have one that was $50. It’s not the worst investment you can make when selling your home—just make sure that you are getting a good quality candle. 

2. Use 100% vanilla extract. Douse a couple of cotton balls in that and hide them throughout the house. You can also take that doused cotton ball and rub your cold lightbulbs down. Then, when you turn the lights on, the lightbulbs heat up and you have a nice smell throughout the house. 

"A high-quality candle can be a good investment for home sellers."

3. Use some Crockpot hacks. You can also use a regular pot on your stove. Just throw in some orange peels, cinnamon sticks, apples, and water and leave it to simmer on low. You can also use orange peels, cranberries, cinnamon sticks, and pine needles for more of a holiday scent. Anything with citrus and cinnamon does an amazing job of deodorizing the air and providing a subtle, natural scent. 

4. Use some good old-fashioned coffee. Leave out small bowls of unbrewed coffee beans around your home to eliminate regular household odors and tough odors, like stale cigarettes. I’ve been amazed how well leaving coffee beans out works after smokers leave the home. Those coffee beans really freshen the air.

Some people can be very sensitive to overpowering smells, and they can be a turn-off to potential buyers. These alternatives will provide a fresh, natural scent without being too overwhelming, and buyers will have a nice memory or feeling about your home.

If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 13, 2018

What We Know About the New BC Budget

How will the new budget affect British Columbians on a provincial and local level? Here’s what we know so far.

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Today, I’ll be discussing the new budget that’s been rolled out and some of the ways that will impact real estate.

 

  1. Extension of the foreign buyer tax. Not only will the tax apply to all of British Columbia, as opposed to just the Vancouver area, it will also be raised from 15% to 20%
  2. The speculation tax. This tax will apply to all areas of BC, except for Whistler and Tofino. This tax is aimed at all absentee owners or those who pay little or no tax in BC. You can look over the full details of the tax here.

What impacts should we expect to see specifically in our local Victoria market? There are three main categories of people who will be affected: those who are tax exempt, those qualifying for a tax credit, and those who are liable for full tax.

 

    1. Tax exemption. The tax exemption is for BC residents, and applies to primary residences or long-term rental properties.
    2. Tax credit. The tax credit is also for residents who own more than property in different cities in BC. 
    3. Full tax payable. The fully taxable are the satellite families and short-term vacation rentals. The tax is aimed at curbing vacation properties, short-term rentals, and those who pay little to no tax in BC.

"As we get more clarity, it will be more apparent how the taxes will affect different groups of people."

What we do know about the tax is still not extremely clear; there are still a few things that we're not sure how they'll play out. There are two things, however, that I’m very curious about.

First, how are they defining a long-term rental? Is it a one-month, month-to-month, six-month, or one-year term? It’s critical to know exactly how they define a long-term rental so that people can better understand how the new taxes will apply to them.

The other thing I’d like to know is how are the taxes applied when the property moves from one pool to another? For example, if you’ve got a vacation rental right now, then it would be subject to the full tax. However, if you sell that property to someone who wants to use it as their primary residence (in which case they’d be exempt from the tax), how will the new buyer be taxed? From what we know so far, the tax rides with the property.

There’s been a lot of feedback from the real estate industry and the public. As we get more clarity, it will be more apparent how the taxes will affect different groups of people—people like retirees, who may have more than one property in the province; or even those from outside of BC, such as those who come to buy properties for their children while they attend post-secondary school.

We’ll stay informed as the information rolls out and keep it coming your way. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me or check out www.kiteke.ca. I'd be happy to help you.

Posted in Community News
Jan. 25, 2018

Can You Take Advantage of the Winter Market By Selling Now?

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What makes winter a good time to sell your home?

I did a video a couple weeks ago that provided an economic outlook for 2018’s first quarter, and all signs pointed to a strong start for the Victoria market. We can expect more exponential growth for real estate values during the first quarter this winter.

That’s the “why,” but what are the specific advantages and disadvantages to listing your home right now?

Starting with the disadvantages, the biggest concern people have is that their yard and outdoor spaces won’t show as well during the winter months as they do in the spring when everything is in full bloom. While it’s true that your yard and outdoor spaces might not show as well, the advantages of selling in winter far outweigh this particular concern. 

"During the winter, you can sell your home while the competition is low."

The majority of homes that are listed in any given year go on the market between March and June. Typically, people gear up so that their house is sold by the end of summer. This means inventory will be lower once winter arrives and there won’t be as many homes for buyers to choose from. Additionally, many sellers pull their homes off the market during the holiday season with the intention of relisting in the spring, dropping inventory even further. 

If you list your house at a time when the competition is at its lowest, you’ll attract more buyers than you would in the spring and summer when inventory is at its peak. 

Now, here’s where things get interesting—if you’re selling and planning on buying another property, you can sell in winter when you have less competition and buy in spring when you’ll have a much larger selection of homes available. Essentially, you can sell high and buy low.

If you’re still concerned with how your yard or garden will show right now, we can just use your home’s photos from last year when we market it. 

If you have any more questions about selling in winter or you have any other real estate needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you! 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home