Stephanie Peat DFH Real Estate - Sidney

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


A total of 402 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this December, 7.2 per cent more than the 375 properties sold in December 2018 and a 30.3 per cent decrease from November 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 17.5 per cent from December 2018 with 121 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 13.8 per cent from December 2018 with 198 sold. A grand total of 7,255 properties sold over the course of 2019, 1.47 percent more than the 7,150 that sold in 2018. 2019 sales came in at slightly under the ten-year average of 7,413 properties sold.


“Overall, our market throughout 2019 can be characterized as still active, slow to grow and low in supply,” says 2019 Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “Last year we saw many prospective buyers sit on the sidelines waiting for inventory to be added. As a result of this unmet demand, there was and continues to be a push from consumers to create townhomes and condos at accessible price points. We began 2019 discussing the potential impact of various taxes and lending rules introduced by the federal and provincial governments that were designed to calm housing market activity - although this activity had already begun to slow following our hyper-active market in 2016/17. The most impactful government change we saw was the tighter mortgage lending rules, which lowered consumer borrowing power and made many unable to qualify for the value of mortgages they had in the past, therefore compressing more demand into our mid- and lower-priced property market.”


There were 1,952 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of December 2019, a decrease of 18.6 per cent compared to the month of November and a 1.8 per cent decrease from the 1,988 active listings for sale at the end of December 2018.


“Constant demand on this middle housing segment has put a moderate amount of pressure on pricing,” adds Woolley. “And although we did not see huge price increases though 2019 like we did in the run up through 2016, we do see buyers entering into multiple offer situations and competing for properties. The high end of the market – over $1.5 million – has been softer, which is nice for a very small percentage of buyers in our area, but difficult on sellers who have seen some equity erode. The theme heading into 2020 does for now appear to be the limited selection of single-family homes and growth in pressure for more condos and townhomes. What remains consistent is that in this complex market, buyers and sellers value the assistance of their REALTOR® to navigate one of the biggest purchases most will make in their lifetime."


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in December 2018 was $860,400. The benchmark value for the same home in December 2019 decreased by 0.6 per cent to $855,000, slightly less than November’s value of $855,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in December 2018 was $503,000, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in December 2019 increased by 3.5 per cent to $520,700, slightly more than the November value of $517,000.

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As you can probably guess, when you're preparing to move, you'll need boxes and tape — and, perhaps some bubble-wrap or old newspapers to use as protective wrapping for delicate items.


But that may not be all you need. Take a look at this list and see if you'll want any of these on hand while you’re packing or on moving day.


• Colour markers for labelling boxes. (Tip: Colour coding boxes by room will make unpacking much easier.)

• Stretch wrap to protect larger items that can't fit into a box.

• Small plastic bags to store dis-assembled parts, such as sofa legs, cabinet hardware, etc. (You don't want to lose them!)

• Moving blankets to protect floors.

• A dolly or hand truck to move heavy items. (You can rent these.)

• Mattress moving bag. This helps prevent stains and tears during your move. You can also buy specialty bags for sofas and tables.

• Reusable foam furniture sliders, to protect floors when furniture needs to be pushed into place.

• Foam corner protectors. This prevents furniture with sharp corners from banging and damaging other items during a move.


Planning ahead and having the right packing materials on hand will makeyour move less stressful and, hopefully, damage-free!

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When buyers come to see your home, the first thing they notice is how your property looks from the curb. That first impression is powerful and lingering. If buyers don't like what they see, it can influence how they judge the rest of your property, regardless of how great it looks on the inside. You definitely want to do whatever you can to boost curb appeal. Here are six affordable ideas to consider:


1. Driveway sealing. This makes the pavement look darker and less faded. It also helps cover up some of the cracks. Sealing won't give you the "brand new" look of repaving, but it's close — and significantly less expensive.


2. Exterior window washing. Washing the front windows makes them look clean and bright. In fact, the effect can be stunning. There are window washing products that connect to your hose to make this job easier. Check your home improvement retailer.


3. Maintaining shrubs, hedges and flower beds. Trimming the hedges, shrubs and other evergreens can make a big difference in how your property looks from the street. It's like giving them all a haircut! Flowering plants can also brighten up the look.


4. Front door painting. From the curb, a buyer's eye is naturally drawn to your front door. If your entry system looks old and worn, consider a fresh coat of paint. It can make the entrance look almost new.


5. Garage door painting. This is a bigger project that can take a day or two, but the effort might be worth it. For many homes, the garage door is the biggest item in the curb appeal panorama. Making it look better will have a big impact.


6. Removing unsightly items. Look at your home from the street. Are there items in your field of vision that take away from the curb appeal? For example, are there garbage cans and other items stowed along the side of the property and visible from the road? If so, move them.


If you're selling your home, making the best first impression is crucial. You don't want buyers to drive by simply because they don't like what they see from the outside. Use these tips to boost your home's curb appeal.

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A total of 577 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this November, 15.9 per cent more than the 498 properties sold in November 2018 and a 6.8 per cent decrease from October 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 5.9 per cent from November 2018 with 161 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 15.4 per cent from November 2018 with 308 sold.


“We continue to see low inventory and strong demand for low to mid priced properties in our area, which is pushing pricing up on condos and single family homes that fall within that segment," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “It is a challenging time for those shopping for properties in that price range as they can often find themselves in a competing offer situation.”


There were 2,397 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of November 2019, a decrease of 9.3 per cent compared to the month of October, but a 2.3 per cent increase from the 2,343 active listings for sale at the end of November 2018.


“The market this year is behaving as we’d expected, in the wake of tighter mortgage requirements and after the rapid pace of price increases we saw two years ago,” adds Woolley. “Appropriate pricing and awareness of market trends are essential right now if you want to buy or sell a home in our area. That is why it is important to have a Realtor guide you through the process. It’s worth getting this professional help, for what likely will be the biggest purchase or sale of your lifetime."


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in November 2018 was $865,800. The benchmark value for the same home in November 2019 decreased by 1.2 per cent to $855,400, slightly less than October’s value of $857,700. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in November 2018 was $501,300, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in November 2019 increased by 3.1 per cent to $517,000, slightly more than the October value of $511,600.

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If you have a home that is overdue for a renovation, you might be worried that it will be difficult to sell as a "fixer-upper". In fact, you might delay listing your property for that reason.


The good news is, you don’t need to fix up everything in your home to prepare it for sale. You can be selective and choose only those projects that are most likely to help your home show well and sell quickly.


Here are some projects to consider:


• Repairs. Few things stand out more during a viewing than something in obvious need of repair. That includes minor issues, like a dripping bathroom faucet, as well as major concerns, such as the central air

conditioning unit not working. Get these repairs done.


• Painting. Painting is one of the easiest and most affordable DIY projects you can do. Yet the impact it can have on your home is stunning. Some rooms are completely transformed by a fresh coat of paint.


• Kitchens & Bathrooms. Buyers love to see great looking kitchens and bathrooms. In fact, there are even magazines devoted just to those rooms! You don't necessarily need to do a major renovation of these spaces, but a makeover can be a good idea. Consider replacing sinks, countertops, and/or cabinet hardware.


• Floors. If the floors in any of your rooms have become worn and unsightly, look at options for refreshing them. Consider replacing carpeting, refinishing hardwood, and/or getting tiles professionally cleaned and polished.


• Outdoors. Sometimes you can compensate (a little) for a less-than-ideal interior by sprucing up the outdoor space. Explore ways to improve your deck or patio, walkways, and landscaping. Even if your home is older, you can make it more attractive to buyers with any one of these projects.


Want more ideas for finding eager buyers for your home? Call today.

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There are many storage options for your household items. For example, receipts and other paper records can be stored in a file box. Seasonal items, such as winter clothing, can be put in the basement. You can even rent a local storage unit to help with decluttering.


But what about stuff that exists electronically?


These days, many important records -- vacation pictures, tax receipts, home videos, school documents, etc. -- are in the form of PDFs, JPEGs, and other electronic formats. Having those reside entirely on your computer is risky. What if your computer crashes?


Someone smart once said, "A computer file isn't a file until it's in two places." So, the solution is to store your important electronic documents in a second place.


Here are the most common options:


• Portable storage. These are data storage devices that fit in the palm of your hand. For most homes, 1T (terabyte) of memory is plenty.


• Cloud storage. Box, DropBox, and iCloud are the biggest players here. The advantage of storing your documents "in the cloud" is that, unlike portable storage, you can't damage or lose it.


• Large backup units. These larger units continuously backup your files so you don't even have to think about it.


Whatever option you choose, the important thing is to have a duplicate or backup of your important files, so you never have to worry about losing them.

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Ideally, when you sell your home, you want the process to go smoothly and relatively stress-free. While things may happen that are outside your control, there is a lot you can do to ensure that the selling experience is a good one.


Consider these four steps to reduce worry and stress when listing your home:


Step 1: Learn the selling process.
Find out what to expect when the FOR SALE sign goes up. How will viewings be scheduled? Will an Open House be needed? What happens when there is an offer? The more you know, the less mysterious—and, therefore, less stressful—the experience will be.


Step 2: Schedule wisely.

Use a calendar to block out times for viewings and other selling-related activities. Be sure to schedule plenty of time to clean and declutter your home before a viewing or Open House. Try not to have a tight schedule during the sales period.


Step 3: Anticipate issues.
The more problems you can foresee, the better you'll be prepared to deal with them as they arise. For example, if you know you're going to have a busy week at work, start making plans now to deal with viewings and related matters during those days.


Step 4: Make decisions.
Things can move quickly in the real estate market. There might be a few days when there are no enquiries at all, and then suddenly two offers will come in. Be prepared to make some quick decisions. Fortunately, with sound advice from me as your real estate agent, making those decisions will be a lot easier.


So, follow these simple steps. They'll help make your sale less worrisome and even enjoyable!

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A total of 619 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this October, 3.5 per cent more than the 598 properties sold in October 2018 and a 0.5 per cent increase from September 2019. Sales of condominiums were down 1.1 per cent from October 2018 with 178 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 10 per cent from October 2018 with 318 sold.


“This month’s overall numbers are very similar to the numbers we saw last year," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “It’s interesting that last month we saw a large uptick in condo sales, but this month is fairly flat when compared to last year. This shows that we are not yet seeing a trend in property types.”


There were 2,643 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of October 2019, a decrease of 6.4 per cent compared to the month of September, but a 5.3 per cent increase from the 2,510 active listings for sale at the end of October 2018.


“There has been a slight increase in our inventory from October last year,” adds Woolley. “The current inventory is likely not enough for home buyers to feel they have a lot more to choose from - which in turn puts pressure on pricing for homes in desirable locations and price points. It’s not uncommon to see multiple offers in many of our market segments. Your local Realtor will be able to help you understand the intricacies of our current market and what you can expect at the time you decide to buy or sell a home."


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in October 2018 was $878,900. The benchmark value for the same home in October 2019 decreased by 2.4 per cent to $857,700, slightly more than September’s value of $846,500. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in October 2018 was $503,200, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in October 2019 increased by 1.7 per cent to $511,600, the same as September’s value.

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Want to make your bathroom look fantastic without having to do a major renovation?


There are a lot of projects you can do yourself. In fact, there are some improvements you can get done in less than a day that will transform the look and feel of your bathroom. Check out these ideas:

Update the sink. 

If you have some basic plumbing knowledge, this is a project you should be able to do on your own. A new sink can make the entire vanity look like new.

Buy new decor.

New shower curtains, towels, window coverings, mats, etc. can transform the look of a bathroom.

Install new hardware.

Replacing cabinet hardware may not seem like much of a change. However, it can have a surprisingly big impact. Shiny new hardware is like jewelry. It stands out.

Replace the vanity mirror.

Even if there are no scratches, an older mirror is like an old pair of glasses. It can become foggy. No amount of cleaning will make it any clearer. When ordering a replacement mirror, be sure that your measurements are exact.

Paint.

There's no doubt about it. A fresh coat of paint makes any room look better.


These bathroom improvement projects can make a huge impact on the look of your bathroom. And, they can all be done affordably and in just a day or two.





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You've heard of the term "curb appeal". It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing.


How do you boost curb appeal? Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so:


• Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You'll be amazed at the difference that can make.
• Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door.
• If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there!
• Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds.
• Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead.
• Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house.
• If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think.
• Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you're showing your home in the evening.
• Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically.
• Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it.
• If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive.


These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort.

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Outdoor lighting has come a long way from the days of patio lanterns and
strings of lightbulbs. These days, there's an exhaustive array of options
available to illuminate your outdoor space, and make it more appealing and
comfortable, particularly in the evenings.


Here are just a few ideas:


• Solar garden lights. These lights are on stakes that can be easily inserted throughout the garden. Powered by the sun, they generate enough energy to cast a soft, pleasant glow along walkways or in flower beds in the evenings.


• Deck post lights. These are easy to install because they're designed to sit on top of a standard 4x4 wood deck post. Most are solar powered.


• Street-style lamps. As the name implies, these look similar to old fashioned street lamps. Installation is a little more complex, but still DIY-friendly. They're eye-catching and have a dramatic impact on the look of your outdoor space.


• Portable lantern lights. These are outdoor lights that are portable and often made to look like a decorative fixture for a coffee table or side table. They can be placed anywhere.


• LED walkway lights. These are small lights that fit neatly and almost invisibly under stairs and around walkways. Walkway lights not only look good but also improve safety. Most are battery powered.


• Planter lights. This is one of the most interesting options. Each one is both a flower pot and a light in one! The pot itself is translucent which allows the light inside to shine through.


Design experts say you should treat your outdoor space as you would any
room in your home. Lighting it up for evening comfort and enjoyment is a
good place to start.

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A total of 616 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this September, 15.6 per cent more than the 533 properties sold in September 2018 but a 6.8 per cent decrease from August 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 48.3 per cent from September 2018 with 221 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 1.1 per cent from September 2018 with 282 sold.


“September's statistics clearly demonstrate that Victoria continues to have a stable real estate sector and is a desirable place to live," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “While sales are up compared to the same month last year, our inventory remains low, which may create challenges for people trying to get into the market in certain categories.”


There were 2,823 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of September 2019, a decrease of 0.5 per cent compared to the month of August but a 6.7 per cent increase from the 2,646 active listings for sale at the end of September 2018.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in September 2018 was $878,500. The benchmark value for the same home in September 2019 decreased by 3.6 per cent to $846,500, slightly less than August’s value of $847,300.


The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in September 2018 was $503,600, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in September 2019 increased by 1.6 per cent to $511,600, lower than August's value of $518,100.


“We saw increased activity in the condo and townhouse market with an almost 50 per cent year-over year sales increase in condos,” adds President Woolley. “It may be too early to call this a trend towards condo purchases, but this is a number to watch through the fall to see if buyers continue opting for condos and townhomes as more new developments are added to the market in highly desirable locations, with price points often lower than a single family home.”

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If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you'll need to spend on your next home. That's an important question to answer, even if you're just at the "thinking about it" stage and haven't decided whether or not you'll look for a new property.


After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.


How should you determine your budget?


The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you'll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.


Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn't mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.


Make a "must-have list". That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.


The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you'd sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.


Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?


Once you've gone through these steps, you'll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what's available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.

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A total of 661 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 11.3 per cent more than the 594 properties sold in August 2018 but a 6.4 per cent decrease from July 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 4.1 per cent from August 2018 with 203 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 15.5 per cent from August 2018 with 351 sold.


“August could be considered a status quo month for real estate in greater Victoria with entry-level homes selling quickly when priced appropriately, and higher-end properties moving at a slower pace," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “As expected, we’ve seen relatively stable pricing, with an uptick in sales – particularly single family homes. Unfortunately, summer has been accompanied with a slowing of new inventory coming onto the market, which suggests it is a good time for prospective sellers to consult with their REALTOR® about selling in the fall market.”


There were 2,838 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2019, a decrease of 3.8 per cent compared to the month of July but a 12.7 per cent increase from the 2,519 active listings for sale at the end of August 2018.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2018 was $888,100. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2019 decreased by 4.6 per cent to $847,300, slightly less than July’s value of $858,800. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in August 2018 was $503,600, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in August 2019 increased by 2.9 per cent to $518,100, lower than July's value of $523,400.


“This month the federal government opened its First Time Home Buyer Incentive program,” adds President Woolley. “We’re pleased the government is looking at creative ways to get first time buyers into homes as this program will help some buyers in Canada's smaller markets. We look forward to hearing how the federal government plans to help first time buyers in larger markets like Victoria, perhaps by adjusting the mortgage stress test parameters and extending the length of mortgage amortizations.”

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As you probably know, it's easy to lower the costs of a renovation. Just hire
an inexpensive, fly-by-night contractor — and hope for the best!


Chances are, you won't want to take that risk. So how do you ensure you get
quality work while keeping your budget in check?


Here are some tips:


• Get estimates from at least three contractors. Often prices can vary
widely, even amongst contractors with similar reputations and
experience.


• Narrow the project focus. If you're getting a bathroom renovated, for
example, decide whether you need the contractor to paint the new
walls. Can you do that yourself?


• Shop around for the building materials. Yes, contractors often have
access to wholesale prices. Still, you might be able to find a bathtub
and vanity at a lower cost or at least avoid any markup the contractor
may charge.


• Negotiate. Sometimes a contractor is willing to lower the price for
concessions, such as quick payments or more time to complete the job.


• Schedule the renovation during a low-demand season. For example,
deck contractors charge more in the spring than the fall. It's supply and
demand. More people want their decks done in the spring.


Keep in mind that spending a little more for a skilled and reputable contractor
can save you money in the long run. The renovation will have fewer, if any,
"issues" (that may require an expensive fix) and will last longer.

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A total of 706 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 8.4 per cent more than the 651 properties sold in July 2018 but a 4.6 per cent decrease from June 2019. Sales of condominiums were up 14.4 per cent from July 2018 with 215 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 2.1 per cent from July 2018 with 347 sold.


“It’s not surprising to see the numbers trending slightly upwards compared to last year as the market slowly adjusts to government changes like the B20 mortgage stress test and the continuing low mortgage interest rates," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “Activity feels more normal now - more like before the real estate market in Greater Victoria saw the huge uptick in 2016 and 2017. It is a good time to buy and sell as consumers have more time to work with their REALTORS® and make decisions. We’ve seen a little more inventory added to the market compared to last year, which means more choice for buyers.”


There were 2,949 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2019, a decrease of 3 per cent compared to the month of June but a 13.1 per cent increase from the 2,607 active listings for sale at the end of July 2018.


The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July 2018 was $889,200. The benchmark value for the same home in July 2019 decreased by 3.4 per cent to $858,800, slightly less than June’s value of $859,600. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in July 2018 was $508,300, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in July 2019 increased by 3 per cent to $523,400, lower than June's value of $524,100.


“July's statistics show that our region’s housing market continues to be fairly active, despite many people being in summer vacation mode,” adds President Woolley. “Realtors continue to report strong interest in entry level homes as well as properties that are competitively priced. High end home pricing is softer, but $1.5 million dollar plus homes account for only 4.6 per cent of the total market.”

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When you sell, you’ll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table – sometimes thousands of dollars.


How do you avoid that possibility? Just remember the 4 Ps:


Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to 5% more than comparable unstaged properties.


• Price. Set the right asking price. That’s crucial. If it's too low, you'll attract only deal-hunters — and you might end up getting less than you should. If the asking price is too high, however, you'll discourage those buyers who might otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!


• Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing — directed to the right buyers.


Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.


These four Ps are easy to remember, but sometimes not so easy to implement! That's why working with a great real estate agent is so important.


Contact me to get the conversation started.

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Imagine your coffee maker switching on by itself, staying on for hours, overheating and becoming a fire hazard. That's not science fiction. As more and more appliances incorporate WIFI, the opportunities for hackers to play havoc with your home gadgets increase.


How do you prevent that from happening? Here are some safety tips:


• If your gadget uses a password to access the settings, change that password frequently. Ideally, change it once every 3 months.


• Some gadgets, such as alarm systems, come with their own connection to the internet. Learn how to turn that connection off if it becomes necessary to do so.


• Don't leave an internet-connected appliance or other gadget on constantly unless it’s necessary. For example, you don't need your home speaker system connected to your digital music providers all the time.


• Baby monitors with video are a common target for hackers. Use a password unique to that device and change it often. Never leave the monitor on when not in use.


• Never share passwords with anyone unless it is absolutely necessary. Most home WIFI systems have a "guest" feature with a separate password and limited access. Use it.


In this age of internet connectivity — from coffee makers to stereos and even washing machines — it's smart to play it safe. Know what's connected and protect yourself.

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Do you have only a few weeks to search for your next dream home? Don't panic. There are things you can do to find the perfect (or, at least, almost perfect) property — without getting too stressed out!


Consider these tips:


Pre-arrange your mortgage. You want to be able to make a good offer on a home right away, without worrying about financing. So, talk to your mortgage advisor or lender about getting a mortgage preapproval. Sellers will take your offer more seriously if you have financing in hand.


• Decide what you want. What type of home are you looking for? What type of neighbourhood do you want to live in? The narrower your focus, the less time you’ll waste looking at properties that don’t fit your needs.


Be open to possibilities. There are probably terrific homes on the market — right now — that are close to what you're looking for. So be prepared to consider properties that are less-than-perfect. Remember, what a home lacks today may be remedied with a renovation later on.


• Be flexible with your schedule. When you see a home you like, schedule a viewing immediately, even if it's at an inconvenient day/time, such as a weekday after work. Finding a great home, quickly, is worth some inconvenience.


Get alerted to new listings. As they say, the early-bird gets the worm. So arrange to be alerted to new listings the moment they come on the market. That way, you can see these properties right away.


Want more tips on finding a home, quickly? Give me a call.

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A total of 740 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this June, 4.5 per cent more than the 708 properties sold in June 2018 but a 12.7 per cent decrease from May 2019. Sales of condominiums were down 6.1 per cent from June 2018 with 216 units sold. Sales of single family homes increased 10.4 per cent from June 2018 with 394 sold.


“June has trended lower than May for the past few years and tends to signal the end of the active spring market," says Victoria Real Estate Board President Cheryl Woolley. “The summer months of July and August generally see less activity than the spring, as people’s attention shifts to vacation and away from real estate. This year, we have seen slightly more sales compared to June of last year. We have also seen one hundred fewer new listings enter the market this year, which continues to make a challenging market for buyers who are hoping for more options.”


There were 3,040 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of June 2019, an increase of less than one per cent compared to the month of May and a 17.1 per cent increase from the 2,595 active listings for sale at the end of June 2018. The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in June 2018 was $898,500. The benchmark value for the same home in June 2019 decreased by 4.3 per cent to $859,600, slightly less than May’s value of $860,800. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in June 2018 was $509,000, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in June 2019 increased by 2.97 per cent to $524,100, higher than May's value of $519,300.


“It is possible that some buyers are waiting for the federal government’s new first-time home buyer incentive to roll out this September,” adds President Woolley. “The program is intended to assist first time buyers with their down payment. It’s hard to estimate how many local buyers may take advantage of the incentive, but because of the low threshold for maximum purchase price, the program may only help those in our area who seek to buy condos. This could mean a slight uplift in lower priced properties in the fall, if more buyers are enabled to enter the market. If you are interested in exploring options and strategies for either buying or selling, it would be a good time to connect with a local REALTOR®, who has the expertise necessary to navigate today's market conditions, neighbourhoods and property types.”

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