Stephanie Peat DFH Real Estate - Sidney

Office 250-656-0131 | EMAIL info@stephaniepeat.ca |

 

A total of 774 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this April, 12.5 per cent fewer than the 885 properties sold in April last year, but a 12.5 per cent increase from the month previous. The sales of condominiums were down 21.6 per cent from last year in April with 225 units sold. Single family homes were 8.1 per cent down from the year previous with 420 sold this April.

 

“We’re now into the spring real estate market, which is traditionally the busiest time of the year for buying and selling homes,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. “Last year, the months of May and June were the busiest, so we may see this pattern again but on a slightly smaller scale than last year, since our sales for the year thus far are down about 18 per cent when compared to 2017. Although January to March was quite far behind last year’s pace, we may see that margin get smaller as we progress through the spring months and people adjust to the new mortgage qualifying rules.”

 

There were a total of 2,002 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of April 2018, an increase of 13.4 per cent compared to the month of March and 18.5 per cent more than the 1,690 active listings for sale at the end of April 2017.

 

“We continue to see low inventory in our market, and good homes in desirable locations are still seeing multiple bids,” adds President Kerr. “One interesting development we are tracking is the increase of prices in a market of fewer sales. Part of the reason for this is that there is strong pressure on lower-priced properties. After the new mortgage rule changes this year, many consumers have seen a reduction in their buying power, so more are competing for lower-priced properties and in multiple offer situations, pricing is pushed up. Our area just doesn’t have the supply or mix of homes needed to meet the demand. We are working with government at all levels to identify ways to meet this demand in the CRD.”

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in April 2017 was $800,100, while the benchmark value for the same home in April 2018 increased by 8.3 per cent to $866,700, higher than March’s value of $859,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in April 2017 was $418,200, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in April 2018 increased by 18.4 per cent to $495,100, which is higher than March’s value of $490,000.

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Buying a new pair of shoes is relatively easy. Once you find the style you like, all you need to do is try them on and see if they fit. If they do, you go to the cash register and pay.


When it comes to size, buying a new home can be trickier! Whether your intention is to upsize or downsize, figuring out the right size can be especially challenging.


Say for example, you’re downsizing from a large two-story home to a smaller bungalow. You don’t want to underestimate the space you need and end up in a place that feels tight. If you’re going the other way and upsizing, you don’t want to end up sinking extra money into a property that’s larger than you really need.


So how do you avoid these scenarios?


One of the best ways is to start by considering your current home. Do you use all the rooms in your home regularly? Is there a bedroom that’s rarely occupied? Has the recreation room become simply a storage area? If you’re downsizing, subtracting rooms you scarcely use can give you a better idea of what you need in a new home.


Upsizing is a bit more challenging because you have to anticipate what you will need in the future. For example, if you have young children, and your place is feeling cramped, then a home with a recreation room or separate family and living rooms may be a good idea. You may also need a bigger kitchen with a spacious eating area (in addition to a separate dining room.) Think about the extra room you’ll need and how you’ll use that space.


When I work with a client, I typically sit down with them and discuss the type of home they want in detail — and, based on needs and circumstance, I make expert recommendations. Bottom line, I help clients find the perfect fit in a new home. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.

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According to law enforcement experts, a video-based home security system is significantly more effective than a simple alarm system. The reason is obvious. Burglars don’t want their crimes captured on video, which can then be used as evidence in court.


So it’s no wonder that many homeowners have, or are considering, video-based security.


These days, most video-based home security systems are wireless. The cameras either record to your DVR (just like recording your favourite TV show), or to a cloud-based server provided by the manufacturer.


There are many do-it-yourself systems on the market. You simply place the cameras around your property and do some initial setup. Most of these have motion-detection that records automatically when someone comes into the frame of the camera. These are typically installed at your front door, patio door, main floor windows, and garage door.


Some systems will even alert you when a camera turns on, and let you see the action on your smartphone or computer. If it’s a burglary attempt, you have the opportunity to call the police.


Although most of these products are weatherproof, check and confirm before purchasing. The packaging will say something like, “Suitable for outdoor use” or “Suitable for all-weather conditions”.


Also look for night vision capability. Not all security cameras have that feature.

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For some homeowners, the process of listing, showing and selling their home can be stressful. Fortunately, there is plenty you can do to make it much less nerve-racking—and even exciting and enjoyable.


Here are some ideas:


1. Make a plan. Decide when you’re going to show your property, search for a new home, view listings, etc. Block out these times in an agenda book or calendar. That way, you and your family can see what’s coming up.


2. Be flexible. Few things go exactly as planned! So, it’s important to build in flexibility. For example, you may plan to see homes for sale on Saturdays, but if an opportunity comes up on a weeknight, give yourself room in your schedule to jump on it.


3. Eat well. There are numerous studies that connect poor nutrition with increased stress. When people are selling and moving, there’s a tendency to rely on quick fixes, such as hot dogs and pizza! Try to plan more nutritious meals that will keep everyone healthy and energized.


4. Get stuff done early. Doing things last minute, such as finding a real estate lawyer or getting rid of clutter, can quickly lead to stress and frustration. Whenever possible, get tasks done early. That way, you won’t have to worry about them.


5. Hire the right professionals. By far, the surest way to a stress-free move is to get the right professionals working for you: everyone from contractors to mortgage brokers to movers.


By the way, a big part of what I do for clients is help make every aspect of buying, selling and moving go smoothly. Contact me to learn how I can help you.

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Is your home office the dining room table? Is it anywhere you can sit down undisturbed with your laptop? If so, you might be interested in converting a room or nook into a dedicated home office. Depending on what you do for a living, there could be a tax advantage to creating this space too.


The first step is to pick a spot. Ideally, you want an area where you can work without too many distractions.


Next, make sure the spot you’ve chosen can accommodate a desk and any other furnishings you’ll need. Think about what you want within easy reach of your work area. Will you need a place for books and other papers? An extra chair for client meetings? A flipchart? A filing cabinet? Think about all of the options in advance.


Then, you’ll want to make sure the spot you picked has the electrical outlets you need, especially if you’re going to have a printer, special lighting, a computer and other items that need power.


Finally, you’ll want your home office to be a place where you can enjoy working. So decorate it with that in mind. If you like plants, get plants. If you enjoy golf, have your golf trip pictures hanging on the wall.


With a little work, you can quickly create a home office space that is comfortable, functional and enjoyable. It sure beats the dining room!

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A total of 688 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this March, 25.9 per cent fewer than the 929 properties sold in March last year, but a 26.2 per cent increase from the month previous. The sales of condominiums were down 28.2 per cent from last year in March with 211 units sold. Single family homes were 30.8 per cent down from the year previous, with 337 sold this March.

 

“As we expected, March sales are tracking lower than in 2017,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. “This is likely due to a number of factors that have created hesitation in consumers, including recent heavy measures by the provincial government to reduce the value of home prices and the federal government’s new mortgage qualification rules. Combine these factors with rising interest rates and you’ve got a housing market that is in transition due to outside influences. Every time there is intervention into a market, it takes a few months for the market to rebalance. With the continual changes of late from different levels of government, our market is experiencing a new cycle of ongoing uncertainty.”

 

There were a total of 1,766 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of March 2018, an increase of 14.3 per cent compared to the month of February and 13.5 per cent more than the 1,556 active listings for sale at the end of March 2017.

 

“Despite all of the above, we continue to see benchmark price increases across our market and demand persists - partly due to low inventory - but also because of our highly desirable location,” adds President Kerr. "Specific areas and price points are experiencing varying pressure on price and demand – which creates micro-markets. We are still seeing multiple offers and above asking price sales in some segments. Active buyers in our market may see some relief as inventory is slowly growing. This showcases why it is important to work with your local REALTOR® in this transitioning market to ensure you have the most up-to-date information to make purchasing and selling decisions.” 

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in March 2017 was $785,600, while the benchmark value for the same home in March 2018 increased by 9.4 per cent to $859,400, higher than February’s value of $840,300. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in March 2017 was $409,700, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in March 2018 increased by 19.6 per cent to $490,000, which is higher than February’s value of $472,600.

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An Open House is an event. And, like many events, it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement and energy. In fact, when you visit an Open House, you might even end up rubbing elbows with other buyers who are there at the same time. It can feel like a party!


In an environment like that, it’s not unusual to forget to ask important questions about the property. Here are some of the most common:


• How old is the roof?
• How old is the furnace, air conditioner and other HVAC equipment?
• How does the price compare to similar properties in the neighbourhood? (You don’t want to make an offer that’s too high.)
• What are the characteristics of the neighbourhood? (Amenities, safety, traffic, access to public transit, property turnover, etc.)
• What doesn’t come with the home? (Ask specifically about kitchen appliances, gas-connected BBQs, chandeliers, window coverings.)
• Are there any potential impediments to the sale? (Tenants, outstanding liens, etc.)
• Are there any outstanding maintenance issues, or repairs that need to be done? (For example, cracked ceramics on the foyer floor.)
• Are there any issues that impact the full use of the property? (Ask specifically about shared driveways or walkways, public “right of way” through the property, water drainage rights from neighbouring homes, etc.)


Yes, an Open House can feel like a frenzy, and if it’s a home you love, you might feel pressured to make an offer. But, it’s important to take the time to ask the right questions and consider your decision carefully. You don’t want to find out, too late, that there were questions you should have asked.


Want more tips on finding the home of your dreams? Call today.

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Next to your home and car, home furnishings represent the most expensive product purchases homeowners make. A mid-quality livingroom set, with sofa and two side chairs, can cost thousands of dollars. That’s why most furniture retailers offer “interest free” and “pay much later” deals to soften the blow.


These are basically financing options.


Say, for example, you want to purchase furniture for the rec room. The cost is $7,200. The furniture retailer may offer you a deal where you “don’t pay a cent” for six months. As long as you pay the balance within that time, no interest is charged.


That sounds like a sweet deal. And it is.


But, personal finance experts will advise you to tread carefully. If you pay off the balance within the “no interest” timeframe, you’ll benefit from the sweet deal, by having deferred the payment. However, if you fall behind on payments, you’ll be hit with a high interest charge. It’s often 20% or more. That can add hundreds of dollars to what you would have originally paid for the purchase.


And, even if you paid down most of the balance within the no interest period, you can still get hit hard. Some “no interest” deals charge interest on the original financed amount — not just the remaining balance.


The best advice, according to personal finance experts, is to read the fine print carefully and pay off the balance as promptly as you can.

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March 1, 2018 - A total of 545 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this February, 19.3 per cent fewer than the 675 properties sold in February last year. The sales of condominiums were down 15.5 per cent from last year in February with 174 units sold. Single family homes were 24.4 per cent down from the year previous, with 260 sold this February.

 

“We certainly anticipated that we would see some lower numbers this year compared to last,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. “Right now prospective home buyers are met with many hurdles as they start shopping for their new home. They’re in a market that’s experienced long-term low inventory, which means more price pressure and competition on homes. Buyers are navigating increasing interest rates and the new mortgage stress test. These factors all combine to constrain our market. Like any changes to consumer experience, there is a period of response before consumers adapt to the new rules. We saw an increase in buyers in November and December who bought early to avoid the mortgage stress test, and this likely means less buyers in the current market. However, with continued historical low inventory levels, demand is still outpacing supply.”

 

There were a total of 1,545 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of February 2018, an increase of 3.6 per cent compared to the month of January and 0.5 per cent more than the 1,537 active listings for sale at the end of February 2017.

 

“The provincial government recently rolled out its budget, which includes an admirable commitment to spend six billion dollars to build 114,000 units in ten years,” adds President Kerr. “These units will take years to come to market, and it is difficult to predict how many we will see in Victoria. The government needs a long-term approach to supply needs in our area, and that initial commitment is a good start. A reasonable way to bolster their commitment and improve current conditions is for the province to work with our municipalities to reduce the timelines and costs associated with bringing new housing to our market.”

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in February 2017 was $771,100, while the benchmark value for the same home in February 2018 increased by 9 per cent to $840,300, slightly higher than January’s value of $831,900. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in February 2017 was $394,400, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in February 2018 increased by 19.85 per cent to $472,600, which is slightly higher than January’s value of $460,500.

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Sometimes the reason for putting your home on the market is crystal clear. For example, you might have a job relocation and need to move. Or, you might have decided to downsize because the kids have left the nest.


However, there are many other motivations to list your home that are not as obvious, and yet are still good reasons to make a move. Here are just a few examples...

 

 • You’re bored with your home and are looking for a change.
• There’s something you’ve always wanted in a home that your current property doesn’t have, such as a wooded backyard.
• You want to be closer to work, or to activities you enjoy, such as golf.
• You want to be closer to family.
• The neighbourhood is changing in a way that no longer fits the lifestyle you want.
• There’s another neighbourhood you’ve always dreamed of living in.
• Your tastes have changed and you want to live in a different type of home.


None of these reasons makes it an absolute necessity to list your property and find a new home. Yet, they’re all worth considering, especially if moving will make you and your family happier, and provide you with a more desirable lifestyle.


Want to talk about the possibilities? Call today.

 

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 Watch any TV cooking show, and you’ll notice that a chef’s kitchen looks quite a bit different than what you’d find in most homes. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have one just like it in your home! With a little remodeling, and splurging on some new items, you too can have a kitchen worthy of Gordon Ramsey, Jamie Oliver, or Rachel Ray.

 

Chefs love counter space. So, when remodeling, plan to create as much as possible. If you have an existing island, for example, you can replace the countertop with a larger one. Just adding eight inches in both directions will make a big difference.


Most chefs have more than one oven. If that’s impractical for you, consider buying a double-oven stove. Also, chefs prefer gas burners for quicker heatup times and exacting control of cooking temperature.


One thing you’ll notice about chefs is they love stainless steel. That’s because it’s easy-to-clean, hygienic and durable (assuming you take care of it).


Finally, because chefs spend so much time in the kitchen, they want the space to be attractive and comfortable. So, when remodeling, keep decor in mind.


Even if you’re just an amateur chef, creating a chef-worthy kitchen will make the foodie in you smile.

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February 2018

 

A total of 431 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this January, 9.8 per cent fewer than the 478 properties sold in January last year. The sales of condominiums were down 30.6 per cent from last year in January – with 118 sold. Single family homes were 4 per cent down from the previous year, with 215 selling in the first month of 2018.

 

“We expected January to be a bit slower after the increase in activity we saw in November and December, which was likely due in part to buyers entering the market early to avoid the new mortgage stress test,” says 2018 Victoria Real Estate Board President Kyle Kerr. “We have yet to see the full effect of the stress test, as many people attained a 90 -120 day pre-approval before the test became required January 1. We won’t know how much that stress test will affect the spring market until we see the numbers, and spring is also the time when sales traditionally pick up.”

 

There were a total of 1,491 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of January 2018, an increase of 7.7 per cent compared to the month of December and 1.6 per cent fewer than the 1,516 active listings for sale at the end of January 2017.

 

“2017 concluded with very constrained inventory levels, which hit record lows early in January. The lack of inventory in our market is maintaining pressure on pricing, especially as high demand continues in many areas of Victoria,” adds President Kerr. “We can also see the effects of headwinds influencing our market in 2018, including attempts to curb demand at all levels of government. The mortgage stress test is the latest to be introduced, and we may learn of further measures later this month when the provincial budget is released. We hope the government takes a balanced approach to our housing market in their budget and offsets any further demand-side measures with initiatives aimed at addressing the ongoing supply shortages for both home buyers and renters. We also encourage our local governments to take some time to assess the effects of demand-side measures like the mortgage stress test and recent interest rate hikes before introducing further restraints on our market.”

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in January 2017 was $761,100. The benchmark value for the same home in January 2018 increased by 9.3per cent to $831,900, slightly higher than December’s value of $823,800. HPI benchmark valuefor a condominium in the Victoria area in January 2017 was $375,300. The benchmark value for the same condo in January 2018 increasedby 20.1 per cent to $450,600, which is slightly higher than December’s value of $445,000.

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Your neighbourhood has a lot of features that can help sell your home faster. Unfortunately, buyers don’t usually notice those features just by driving around. So, you need to make sure they get all the information they need about your neighbourhood.


For example, say homes don’t go on the market often in your area. That’s an indication that the quality of life in the neighbourhood is so good that no one wants to leave! In real estate we measure the area’s “turnover rate”, and it’s handy data to have when listing your home.


Another bit of data that buyers can’t simply see is the local crime rate. But, most police departments keep those statistics. If your neighbourhood has a low crime rate, that’s an obvious plus to sellers.


Demographic data can also be helpful when selling your property. If your neighbourhood has a lot of families, for example, that’s going to be appealing to buyers with kids.


Even local development plans can play a role in making your home more attractive to buyers. If a new ramp to a major highway is in the works nearby, getting to work is going to be easier. That’s a big benefit to commuters.


Other types of data that can help sell your home include:


• Planned local construction.
• Proposals for neighbourhood improvements. (For example, a new playground.)
• Rates at which local property values are increasing.


Any information that shows the advantages of living in your area is going to be useful when selling. By the way, this is the kind of information I put together to provide to prospective buyers when selling your home. Contact me today.

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A total of 462 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 1.9 per cent fewer than the 471 properties sold in December last year.


A grand total of 8,944 properties sold over the course of 2017, 15.8 percent fewer than the record breaking 10,622 that sold in 2016. 2017 sales came in at 21.7 per cent over the ten year average of 7,349 properties sold.


“Early in 2017 we discussed how the Victoria area housing market would be different than the record breaking year we had in 2016 and that over the course of the year we’d probably see a gradual return to a more balanced market. We did see evidence of this change come early in the year, as multiple offers and rapid price increases leveled out,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “However, the ongoing low inventory of properties for sale meant that buyers continued to experience competitive situations in high demand areas, and multiple offers were still a common occurrence as buyers negotiated in a tighter market. What we couldn’t anticipate were outside factors such as changes to mortgage qualifying rules that may have pushed people into the market early. The pending mortgage stress test in particular is likely to have caused much of the increased activity we’ve seen in November and December.”


There were 1,384 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2017, a decrease of 21.5 per cent compared to the month of November and 7.3 per cent fewer than the 1,493 active listings for sale at the end of December 2016. This is the lowest level of inventory for the area in the month of December since the statistic was tracked in 1996.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2016 was $753,900. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2017 has increased by 9.3 per cent to $823,800, and is slightly lower than November’s value of $824,600.


“Overall, the low inventory and the continued interest in Victoria real estate meant that well-priced homes were quick to sell in 2017. Moving forward, we expect to see more inventory come into the market, which will continue to move us toward a more balanced state,” adds President Balabanian. “We also expect housing prices to remain stable, without the increases we tracked in 2016, and anticipate steady slow growth. In markets like these, it’s important to enlist the services of a REALTOR® to help you navigate what may be your largest transaction ever.”

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Have you ever considered renting out a room to a student or renovating your basement into a self-contained rental apartment?


It’s a big decision. There are many pros and cons to consider.


On the pro side, renting can provide you with additional income. An extra few hundred dollars a month can go a long way towards paying down your mortgage or splurging on an exotic summer vacation.


Creating rentable living space in your home — for example, an “in-law suite” featuring a kitchenette and bathroom — may also increase your property’s market value.


On the con side, you’ll have more costs and responsibilities as a landlord. For example, you might need to purchase extra insurance because basic home insurance policies typically do not cover rental units, even if you’re just renting out a room. You’ll also be responsible for dealing with repairs sometimes in the middle of the night.


Also, if you’re not careful about the renter you choose, you might end up with a “problem tenant”. For example, you could have a tenant who is consistently late on rent payments or simply stops paying. That can be stressful.


If you’re deciding whether or not to rent, be sure to check local laws and regulations. Many jurisdictions have very strict rules regarding renting out space in a residential property, and those rules change frequently. Make sure you get the latest information.

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Preparing your home to list in the Spring? Here are some great pre-listing tips to get you started..


As a general rule of thumb all properties will directly benefit from the following pre-listing improvements:


Repairs: Any small repairs that are necessary should be attended to prior to listing the property. Go through the subject property critically and take care of all the things that have not been done. We often get used to little annoyances like a squeaky door or hard to open cabinet doors. We often don't notice rusty house numbers or a wobbly fence, but the buyers will! You can hire a handyman or go at it yourself and do these things before you consider putting your house on the market. Buyers look for homes that have been well maintained inside and out.

 

Paint: Get a good quality paint and go over the inside of the home. It makes a big difference and makes the property look fresh and well cared for. If the exterior needs a touch up, it's worth it to have that painted as well. Choose light neutral colors for paint.

 

Landscaping: Take a critical look at the yard. If you need inspiration, go to a new home development to see what the pros do with landscaping. Also check pintrest or on-line sources. It doesn't have to cost a fortune to pull out shrubs or plants that are not thriving and replace them with nice new ones. Focus on the areas that are immediately around entry points to the home, walkways and entrance areas. These are the areas that will be most noticeable to buyer’s. Use ground cover around the new plants in the flowerbeds and add seasonal flowers to unify the space. Water the lawn and add seed to refresh it if it’s patchy.

 

Clutter: We all have lots of stuff! Remove any and all non-essential items from the house. Pack away, "knick-knacks," collections, family photos and all furniture that is not absolutely necessary. Less is more inside the home and gives buyers a chance to envision themselves living there. This also helps you to get some of the pre-packing done before moving day comes.

 

While the above is general advice about preparing a property for sale, each home does have its own set of unique circumstances. Before listing, my professional home stager and I will create an additional staging plan tailored to your specific property to help it show it off in it’s most favorable light once. We want don’t want you to spend time or money unnecessarily on the preparation. Our plan can help you pinpoint the critical improvement areas that will create high return on investment and improve the overall marketability of the property.

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December 1, 2017 - A total of 671 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 12 per cent more than the 599 properties sold in November last year.

 

“We suggested last month that some buyers may accelerate their purchase timeline to buy a new home in anticipation of the mortgage stress test on uninsured buyers - those with a down payment of 20 per cent or more – that will come into effect on January 1,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Ara Balabanian. “Judging by the sales we saw in November and what I have heard from our REALTOR® members, some buyers have indeed accelerated their purchasing plans to avoid the stress test. This may change the numbers we see in the early months of 2018, as some buyers who had planned to buy next year have bought a bit earlier.”


There were 1,764 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2017, a decrease of 7.4 per cent compared to the month of October and 2.8 per cent fewer than the 1,815 active listings for sale at the end of November 2016.

 

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2016 was $748,500. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2017 has increased by 10.2 per cent to $824,600, which is slightly higher than October’s value of $821,900.

 

“So was this November a record breaker?” asksPresident Balabanian. “While not a record, it is the highest November sales count we’ve tracked since 1996. It is also rare that we see November numbers beat October numbers.The fact that we’ve had an unusual month does not necessarily mean that this is the start of a new trend, it is however, a good example of how outside forces can impact a housing market. It’s likely there will be more government-led change in the new year and we’ll report on the effects of those changes on the market. Our hope is that the different levels of government coordinate their efforts to avoid a negative compounding effect on the market.”

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Imagine you were selling your car, and a prospective buyer was on the way over to see it. What would you do? You would probably make your vehicle look as clean and shiny as possible, inside and out.


The same holds true if you’re selling your home and there’s a potential buyer on the way. You want the buyer to be wow’d by your property. Here’s a handy checklist to follow:


• Clean every room. Make your entire house look as “guest ready” as possible.
• As much as is feasible given the time, reduce clutter. Consider packing some items into boxes and storing them in the basement or garage.
• Get pets out of the house. You can take them for a walk, have a neighbour watch them, or take them to a good kennel.
• Turn on the lights, even during the day. You want each room to look bright.
• If there are any maintenance issues, such as a dripping faucet, let your Realtor know. Often, it’s best for buyers to be told rather than discover such issues themselves.
• Open the curtains, except in those rooms where the sun will be uncomfortably strong during the viewing.
• Move your vehicles from the driveway so the buyer can park there. (That can help them imagine living there, which is what you want!)
• Make sure your foyer is especially clean and uncluttered. It’s the first “room” the buyer visits.
• Avoid cooking just before a viewing. Even if the meal is wonderful, the aroma may linger. (Some people don’t like the smell of certain dishes, such as fish.)
• Freshen up the outdoor space. Mow the lawn. Sweep the walkway.


This viewing checklist will help you prepare your home quickly, so when the buyer comes in your front door, there’s a much better chance he or she will be impressed.

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Hopefully, this will never happen to you. But, there are circumstances – a fire, for example – when you and your family would need to exit through a window.


It pays to be prepared for that eventuality.

 

Your first step is to determine which windows are safe to use as an exit. There should be at least one on each level.

 

The windows you select will need to provide enough space for a person to climb through (at least a 20 inch opening). Make sure everyone knows which windows are “safe exit” windows, and how to open them. Keep in mind that windows may have screens, so ensure everyone knows how to remove those as well.


For a second floor window, consider purchasing a portable escape ladder. These are compact and easily stowed in a closet or under a bed. When you need it, it hangs off the sill and expands into a ladder all the way to the ground. It’s not designed for everyday use, but it will get you and your family out!


Rehearsal is a good idea. You want everyone to know how to get to the nearest “safe exit” window – especially in the dark.


Finally, keep your windows in a good state of repair. According to the fire safety experts, windows should open easily for everyone, and should not have anything in front of them that will prevent or delay a quick exit.

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Buyers are using the internet to search for properties more than ever before. In some cases, they can even go on a “virtual” tour of a home using their smartphone or desktop computer. So, you might be wondering if the old-fashioned Open House still works these days?


The answer is yes. Otherwise, you wouldn’t see them advertised. If Open Houses didn’t work, no one would be doing them!


No matter how good the internet gets, it can’t compete with a buyer being able to visit a property in person, walk through the rooms, stand in the backyard and imagine himself BBQ-ing with his family, stroll the area, and meet neighbours.


An Open House makes it easy for buyers to do just that.


It’s an open invitation for them to come by at a specific date and time, to see the property and chat with the REALTOR®. It’s a casual environment, which many buyers prefer. Some buyers, in fact, are more comfortable going to an Open House before scheduling a private viewing.


Will you need an Open House to sell your home?


That depends on a lot of factors. When I work with clients, I put together a marketing plan designed to sell the property quickly and for the best price possible. Depending on the circumstances, that may or may not include an Open House.


If you have questions about what would be involved in a quick and successful sale of your home, contact me. I’d be happy to chat and answer your questions.

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