Imagine you’re shopping for a car. You find one that’s a suitable model, a recent year, and hasn’t been driven a lot. The price is right, too.

But, there’s a caveat.

The paint is worn off in several places. The driver’s seat upholstery is torn and requires repair. And, the tires needed to be replaced… a long time ago.

Would you still buy it? You might. However, unless you enjoy fixing up cars, you’d probably hesitate to make the purchase.

After all, in addition to seeing the car itself, you’re noticing the work that needs to be done to fix it.

The same holds true when selling your home.

The more “move-in” ready you make the property the more likely buyers are to become interested in buying it. Like when viewing a car, you want buyers to focus on all your home’s wonderful features, not on the repairs and updates that need to be done.

That being said, how important is it that your home be “move-in ready” when you sell?

That depends, in large part, on the market. If it’s currently a seller’s market in the neighbourhood — lots of buyers but comparatively few properties for sale — getting your home move-in ready is less important. There is already high demand for your property. (However, getting all repairs done and staging your property effectively will still provide a significant advantage.)

In a buyer’s market, where there are more homes for sale than buyers, you’re in a competitive situation. So, anything you can do to give your listing an advantage is worth the effort. That includes making it as “move-in” ready as possible.

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September 1, 2022

A total of 478 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this August, 42.5 per cent fewer than the 831 properties sold in August 2021 and a 6.3 per cent decrease from July 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 57.1 per cent from August 2021 with 148 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 30.3 per cent from August 2021 with 249 sold.

“August is typically one of the slower months for real estate in the Greater Victoria area and this year was no exception,” says Victoria Real Estate Board President Karen Dinnie-Smyth. “After two years of market conditions that favoured home sellers, sales have diminished in the past few months and inventory levels have been slowly increasing.”

There were 2,137 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of August 2022, a decrease of 1.2 per cent compared to the previous month of July but a 90.8 per cent increase from the 1,120 active listings for sale at the end of August 2021.

“One of the metrics we watch when we look at the market is the sales to active listings ratio – this is the percentage of available listings that have sold over the course of the month, which helps indicate the balance of supply and demand,” adds President Dinnie-Smyth. “A high percentage means more of the available listings have sold, which shows a high buyer demand and that’s generally a favourable market for sellers. The lower the percentage, the more properties available. In general, we look at the 15 to 20 per cent range as a balanced market. Right now, the ratio is 28.14 per cent, while at this time in 2021 we were at 94.91 per cent. We continue to trend towards a more balanced market. As conditions change, connect with your trusted REALTOR® to understand how your selling and buying plans fit into the current market.”

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in August 2021 was $1,201,400. The benchmark value for the same home in August 2022 increased by 15.8 per cent to $1,391,700 but was down 2.9 per cent from July's value of $1,433,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in August 2021 was $509,000, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in August 2022 increased by 22.2 per cent to $621,900, down by 2.8 per cent from the July value of $639,900.

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Until a couple of years ago, internet access was a nice-to-have for most homeowners. But these days, it’s fast becoming a necessity. Kids need good internet to do homework assignments. You may need reliable internet to work from home and attend online meetings.

So, when shopping for a new home, it’s wise to check if the property which you’re interested in making an offer on has good internet available. The last thing you want is to move into a home only to discover that the internet service is slow and faster options are unavailable.

There are many ways to do find out.

For example, most internet services websites have a feature where you can type on the address and find out what type of internet services are available. Pay attention to how the service is delivered to your home, as well as the upload and download speeds.

Traditionally, cable and fiber offer the highest speeds with the most stable connections. However, satellite and DSL can be very good, too, depending on the service provider.

For online meetings (i.e., ZOOM) you’ll need an internet service with 4Mbps upload and 3Mbps download. (Most internet service plan descriptions show those download and upload numbers.) Keep in mind that if you have several internet users in your home — watching a movie, playing a game, etc., — you’ll need higher upload and download speeds.

Your best bet is to call the internet service company and explain your requirements. Learn what service options are available for the home you’re thinking of buying.

Want more tips on finding and buying your next dream home? Call today.

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A total of 510 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this July, 38.9 per cent fewer than the 835 properties sold in July 2021 and a 16.7 per cent decrease from June 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 39.4 per cent from July 2021 with 172 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 35.9 per cent from July 2021 with 254 sold.

"We’d previously indicated a shift in the local housing market,” said 2022 VREB President Karen Dinnie-Smyth. “This continued be the case in July as sales dipped, and we saw fewer listings come to the market, with more of the existing inventory remaining for sale. This slowdown means a calmer and more friendly environment with time for decision-making, which benefits sellers and buyers and will be a relief to many.”

There were 2,162 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of July 2022, an increase of 5 per cent compared to the previous month of June and a 70.2 per cent increase from the 1,270 active listings for sale at the end of July 2021.

“As a result of the higher interest rates and inflation occurring right now, we see fluctuations in price and availability,” adds President Dinnie-Smyth. “Values will rise and fall over time, and historically local real estate values slowly increase over time, which means despite month-to-month variations, if you are buying a home, you have a sound, long-term investment. We need to remember that people don’t buy and sell on a month-to-month basis and that in the larger scheme of things, housing is more than numbers. A property is a place where people live their daily lives, raise their families, etc. It is more than a commodity, and for many it is the most important purchase they make in their lifetime. The government’s recent focus has been on demand-side mechanisms and other market modifiers such as a mandatory three-day cooling off period to start in 2023. A better long-term approach to housing affordability for our future is to address housing supply constraints which will be central to the next round of upward pressure on home prices. Consult with your REALTOR® to keep informed regarding current values and market conditions if you are in the market to buy or sell.”

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in July 2021 was $1,204,900. The benchmark value for the same home in July 2022 increased by 19 per cent to $1,433,800 but was down 2.1 per cent from June's value of $1,464,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in July 2021 was $502,600, while the benchmark value for the same condominium in July 2022 increased by 27.3 per cent to $639,600, down by 0.5 per cent from the June value of $643,100.

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There are many reasons why a homeowner might want to move. Examples include upsizing, downsizing, work relocation, or simply desiring a change. However, another popular reason for pulling up stakes is noticing that the neighbourhood is changing in a way that no longer fits your lifestyle goals.

For example, say there’s a shopping mall in development nearby. It may not be impacting you now, but in a couple of years, the increase in traffic and noise could nudge above your tolerance level especially if you prefer quiet!

That’s why it’s important to occasionally take a peek into your crystal ball and see what changes to your neighbourhood you can anticipate over the next two to three years.

Of course, there’s no actual crystal ball. But there are ways to determine where your neighbourhood is headed. For example, information is available on:

• Proposed and planned construction projects, such as a new condo building or school.
• Scheduled urban development, such as highway widening.
• Changes in city services, such as a new transit route in the area or a new park.
• Area demographics, such as an increase in young families or those who rent.

You might discover that some changes are positive — from your point of view — and that you will look forward to them. However, if you find that there are changes that will alter the neighbourhood in a way that decreases the enjoyment of your home, then moving is an option.

There are plenty of opportunities on the market right now for getting into a great home in a neighbourhood you’ll love.

I can help. Call today.

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When you’re selling your home, you want to promote those features that will be of highest interest to prospective buyers. After all, the more reasons a buyer has to love your property, the more likely they are to make a great offer.

Increasingly, one category of features that buyers are looking for is energy efficiency. So, if there are specific energy-saving characteristics of your home, make sure those are highlighted when selling.

When considering the energy-efficient characteristics of your property, consider the following:

• Appliances: Fridge, stove, washer, dryer.
• HVAC: Furnace, air conditioner.
• Insulation. (Especially in the attic.)
• Home technology. For example, a system that automates heating, cooling, lighting, etc., to keep energy usage to a minimum.
• Lighting. Have you switched to LED bulbs or fixtures?
• Windows and doors. For example, did you replace windows in recent years to help lower heating and cooling costs?

If something stands out as particularly energy-efficient, it will be of interest to many buyers.

And, obviously, if your home has a unique energy-efficient feature, such as solar panels, you’ll definitely want to point that out in the listing description.

Want more tips on maximizing the appeal of your property? Call today.

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Chances are, you’ve heard the expression, “Your home is your biggest investment.” For most homeowners, that’s true. So, when you’re shopping for a new home, it’s important to consider the financial ramifications of any purchase. Ideally, you want a home that is likely to increase in value over time.

In other words, you want a home with a strong potential return on investment.

But dollars aren’t the only type of return you should look for in a new home. Real estate is unique in that the “emotional” return is just as important as the financial return — and, in some cases, even more so.

Say, for example, you’re thinking of moving to a neighbourhood that is closer to work. In fact, you’ll cut your commuting time by an hour each day. Financially, that return on investment means little beyond some savings on gas. However, the emotional payoff can be very high, especially when you consider what you can do with that extra hour each day. Imagine what it would mean to spend more time with your kids or workout out at the gym more often.

So, considering the emotional return on investment when you’re moving is essential. It has a huge impact on your lifestyle and your enjoyment of the property.

How do you factor that in when selling your property and searching for your next dream home?

When you see a listed home you like, make a list of all the emotional benefits of living there. That list might include having a park nearby, living closer to friends or family, having a home office that isn’t the kitchen table, having more space to accommodate a growing family, and so forth.

Then, factor that list into your decision of whether or not to buy.

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When you buy a new home and moving day is looming, it can be tempting to consider doing the move yourself. After all, by not hiring a moving company, you’re saving money.

It is true, the DIY approach can lower your moving costs, which is money you can put towards needed fixes and upgrades to your new property.

But, you’re also adding a lot of work! You’ll need to think about boxes, packing, truck rental, gas, lifting and lugging, friends who offer to help but bail last minute, and more.

So, if you’re going to move yourself, plan carefully. Ensure you have all the boxes and packing supplies (tape, bubble wrap, etc.) you need. Most importantly, put together a reliable crew who can stick with you the entire day. In addition to family and friends, it might make sense to hire a worker for the day.

If that all seems like too much work and hassle, then using a moving company is a time-saving option. Yes, you’ll pay more. But you’ll get professional movers, with a truck, who can do much of the lifting and lugging for you. That will take a lot of the stress out of moving day.

And, keep in mind, you don’t need to get the moving company to do it all.

You can cut costs by having them handle the heavier items, such as appliances and furniture, while you DIY-move other things, such as easier-to handle boxes.

Regardless of which option you choose, make your plans well in advance. When it comes to moving day, you’ll be glad you did!

Want more tips on making buying and selling easier? Call today.

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July 4, 2022  A total of 612 properties sold in the Victoria Real Estate Board region this June, 35 per cent fewer than the 942 properties sold in June 2021 and a 19.6 per cent decrease from May 2022. Sales of condominiums were down 40.2 per cent from June 2021 with 202 units sold. Sales of single family homes decreased 31.4 per cent from June 2021 with 302 sold.

"The market feels a bit more normal right now," says Karen Dinnie-Smyth, 2022 Victoria Real Estate Board President. "We have seen more inventory come onto the market to the extent that we are back to numbers closer to those which we saw in pre-pandemic 2020. This is good news, as more inventory provides more choice and builds in more time for consumers to work with their REALTORS® to make decisions."

There were 2,059 active listings for sale on the Victoria Real Estate Board Multiple Listing Service® at the end of June 2022, an increase of 15.9 per cent compared to the previous month of May and a 49.7 per cent increase from the 1,375 active listings for sale at the end of June 2021.

"It may seem counterintuitive to continue to talk about the need for supply at a time when inventory is rising," adds President Dinnie-Smyth. "We must keep the conversation alive, and we urge all levels of government to continue to aggressively address the housing supply situation. We need more supply of all types of housing. Not only do we remain on the lower side of longer-term historical averages of homes for sale, but there will be future challenges - changing interest rates, supply chain and labour constraints will hamper the ability to create new homes at a pace to meet future growth. New supply will be the key to future housing attainability in our community."

The Multiple Listing Service® Home Price Index benchmark value for a single family home in the Victoria Core in June 2021 was $1,184,700. The benchmark value for the same home in June 2022 increased by 23.6 per cent to $1,464,400, up from May's value of $1,446,400. The MLS® HPI benchmark value for a condominium in the Victoria Core area in June 2021 was $495,900 while the benchmark value for the same condominium in June 2022 increased by 29.7 per cent to $643,100, up from the May value of $633,800.

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Daydreaming about owning something you can’t afford can be fun. Whether it’s a diamond-encrusted watch from Tiffany & Co., or the latest Lamborghini, even the thought of trying one on or going for a test drive can be exciting.

The problem with daydreaming, however, is that it’s all-too-easy to dismiss it as just that – a dream.

But, what if you daydream about owning a beautiful home in a desirable neighbourhood? Before you dismiss that as just fanciful thinking, it’s worth finding out if that dream could actually be achievable.

You might discover that you do qualify to get into the home of your dreams.

It’s relatively easy to figure it out.

First, you need to learn what homes are currently selling for in the neighbourhood you’re targeting. If you’ve been through that exercise already, keep in mind that the market might have changed substantially in the past few months.

The next thing you need to determine is approximately how much you can expect to get for your current property. That’s a fairly easy calculation and is based on what “comparable” homes in your neighbourhood have sold for recently.

Finally, you need to find out how much of a mortgage you may need and what your payments will likely be.

Once you have those numbers, you’ll know if you can afford the home of your dreams in the neighbourhood you’d love to get into.

Then you can stop daydreaming and make it happen!

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MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board and Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification.