kitchen updates to sell your home

5 small yet impactful kitchen updates to sell your home that you can complete in a weekend!

Every now and then, you may look at your kitchen and feel that it needs a facelift. You may want to bring it up to speed with current design trends. Thankfully, upgrading your home doesn’t have to break the bank. It doesn’t have to mean a major construction overhaul. Even small updates like switching out cabinet hardware or applying a new coat of paint can make your kitchen feel brand new.

Here are five small yet powerful ways to update your kitchen without spending thousands of dollars.

Introduce open shelving

Adding open shelving to your kitchen not only creates an additional means of storage. It also gives an eye-catching display area to showcase your personal style.

Open shelving: incorporate a single shelf, or two to three levels of shelving. It can instantly make your kitchen feel more spacious. It also provides easy access to everyday items like dishes, cups and seasonings. There are many shelving options to choose from. You may prefer traditional painted shelves with crown moulding or rustic wooden mantels with metal hardware for a more industrial look.

Open shelving in the kitchen doesn’t need to be reserved for simply practical uses, like storing glassware and plates, either. Get creative with your shelf styling and introduce plants, framed artwork, pottery, decorative ceramics, recipe books and more.

Upgrade your hardware

Just like your backsplash or countertops, your hardware can have a powerful effect on your kitchen’s persona. Updating your cabinet handles, sink faucet, light switch plates and drawer knobs can give your space a whole new vibe. Whether you prefer fixtures that are modern and sleek, or timeless and classic there are many to choose from.

When it comes to picking out new cabinet hardware, think about how you use each cupboard or drawer. Decide if handles, knobs or a combination of the two are best for everyday utility. For drawer pulls, the rule of thumb for determining the best size of handle is to choose a pull that is one-third of the length of the drawer. If you are shopping for a new kitchen faucet, consider how your spout’s height and reach will measure in comparison to your sink. For consistency, your faucet should match your cabinet hardware with a similar style and finish.

Kitchen Updates to Sell your Home: Switch out your lighting

Lighting shouldn’t take a backseat in your kitchen’s design. Swap out one light fixture for a new one. Adding a series of new lights can really change up the feel of your space.

The key to great kitchen lighting is a layered approach. Use a combination of task, ambient and accent lighting. Save bright task lights like puck or hanging lights for work areas where ample visibility is important, such as over the sink, stove and countertops. Ambient lighting – softer overhead lighting that provides general illumination for the room – can take the form of wall scones, track lighting or chandeliers. For a decorative touch, accent lighting should highlight specific areas of the kitchen. These include such areas as backlighting in glass-door cabinets.

Freshen up your window treatments

Whether you prefer curtains or blinds, window treatments can help to pull together the final look of your kitchen.

Window treatments allow you to control the amount of light in your space. They will also provide an extra layer of privacy from the outside. When choosing a window treatment, consider the ease of which you can lift and lower the shades. You’ll want to think about how to clean odours and oils from the curtains.

If you prefer to stay away from fabrics in your kitchen, opt for vinyl shutters or blinds instead.

Amp up your accessory game for kitchen updates to sell your home

It may not increase the market value of your property. Refreshing your kitchen accessories can make the space more enjoyable for you and your family.

Updating accessories could be as simple as swapping out your hand towels, table linens and floor runners. You could hang some kitchen-appropriate artwork on the walls. Introduce a burst of green with plants. A potted herb garden means some fresh flavours to add to your dishes. You can also update your small appliances, such as your toaster, kettle, countertop microwave or coffee maker. Add a pop of colour or an eye-catching addition to your stovetop or counters. If you’re feeling extra crafty, consider reupholstering the chair cushions in your dining room.

Get in touch with me for more advice on updates that will help to sell your home!

zoning changes british columbia

Zoning Changes Coming to British Columbia

In 2023 the British Columbia government announced there will be changes to zoning laws. It was decided municipalities will have to revise their bylaws by June 2024. These changes are intended to create more options for both homeowners and prospective buyers.

The looming changes mandate that every municipality of over 5,000 people throughout BC allow at minimum, four plexes up to three stories tall on lots currently zoned for single-family or duplex use. For larger lots or those within 400 meters of a frequent transit network, six units can be built. The province
estimates that these changes could result in over 130,000 new small-scale multi-homes over the next decade. The zoning changes are expected to prioritize the development of affordable housing units. This could involve incentives for developers to include affordable housing in their projects. It could involve requirements for a certain percentage of units in new developments to be affordable for low- and medium-income earners.

Mandating affordability measures or overstepping?

By mandating affordability measures, the government is hoping to ensure that housing remains accessible to more people, particularly in high-demand areas. Another aspect of the zoning changes is the promotion of transit-oriented development. This involves concentrating new housing and commercial spaces around public transit hubs, such as subway stations or bus terminals. By encouraging dense development near transit, the goal is to reduce car dependence, ease traffic congestion, and promote sustainable urban growth. This approach not only benefits residents by providing them with convenient access to transportation options. It also contributes to environmental sustainability goals.

Overall, these zoning changes represent a significant shift in how land use is regulated in British Columbia. By prioritizing mixed-use development, affordable housing, and transit-oriented planning, the government aims to create more vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable communities across the province. It remains to be seen how successful these initiatives will be.

The question is, is the government becoming too involved in the personal property rights of BC owners and investors?

Reach out to me to learn more!

comox real estate market

Great News! Fly Direct Between Kelowna and Comox!


Exciting news is on the horizon for both buyers and sellers in the picturesque town of Comox, British Columbia! Pacific Coastal Airlines has recently unveiled plans to introduce direct flights between Kelowna and Comox, starting June 25. This development enhances regional connectivity and also presents a myriad of benefits for people in the real estate market.


For prospective Comox Valley homebuyers, the introduction of direct flights provides newfound convenience and accessibility. Kelowna serves as a bustling hub in the heart of the Okanagan Valley. It is renowned for its vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and thriving real estate market. With seamless air travel now available between Kelowna and Comox, those exploring real estate for sale in Comox can easily hop on a short flight to visit the area. This expedites their search process and facilitates informed decision-making.


Comox real estate market to benefit from direct flights to Kelowna

The addition of direct flights signifies heightened exposure and potential buyer interest for sellers in the Comox real estate market. Some Kelowna residents seek out Vancouver Island as a preferred destination for both business and leisure. Now accessibility to explore real estate opportunities in Comox will be increased greatly. This increased accessibility translates into a broader pool of potential buyers. Ultimately this could benefit both buyers and sellers by increasing real estate sales.


The sentiments echoed by Kelowna’s Sam Samaddar, YLW’s chief executive officer, underscore the significance of this development. Sam Samaddar highlights the enduring appeal of Vancouver Island for Okanagan residents. This further emphasizes the symbiotic relationship between these two picturesque locales.


Pacific Coastal Airlines, a respected regional airline in British Columbia, adds another feather to its cap with this expansion. With a commitment to providing efficient and seamless travel options, the airline continues to improve connectivity across the province. The benefit to residents, visitors, and businesses alike is apparent.


The introduction of direct flights between Kelowna and Comox marks a significant milestone. One that buyers and sellers in the Comox real estate market will appreciate and reap the rewards of. As accessibility improves and regional connectivity strengthens, the stage is set for a flourishing real estate market. This will help to increase opportunities and enrich community engagement.


If you’re visiting us from Kelowna, and are interested in learning more about the local Vancouver Island real estate market, please get in touch with me today!

waterfront homes for sale in comox bc

 All About Buying Waterfront Property for Sale BC

Buying waterfront property for sale BC in the beautiful Comox Valley is an investment you won’t regret. Properties in the province that are located on a body of water come with numerous perks that other real estate simply cannot offer. From higher ROIs to health benefits, living on the water is where it’s at! No matter if you are a homeowner or an eager investor, buying real estate on the BC waterfront is sure to be a sound investment. To help you understand why purchasing a waterfront home in the Comox Valley is so desirable, I put together a list of reasons. Follow along below to learn more!

Why Invest in Waterfront Property for Sale BC in the Comox Valley?

One of the most invaluable aspects of owning a waterfront property is the desirability that your real estate holds. There are finite numbers of waterfront homes available in British Columbia and across the world. Moreover, waterfront homes are globally recognized as one-of-a-kind investments. With more cities placing strict zoning requirements in effect to protect waterfront areas, the availability of homes on the water is scarce. This fact alone is enough to maintain home value in the most challenging market conditions. If/when the day arrives that you decide to put your home on the market, you can feel confident in knowing that there exists a buyer eager to pounce on your listing. This is even more true for those who have kept up with regular home maintenance or turned their property into a lucrative business. 

Besides great ROI and demand, a waterfront home comes with lots of opportunities for its use. Given their heightened desirability, a property on the water makes a perfect candidate for a rental home or vacation residence. Additionally, depending on the zoning of the land, you may be able to operate a business out of your home that plays into the epic oceanfront backdrop. 

If you’re not convinced that a waterfront property is a good investment, we invite you to take a look at some of the health benefits that stem from living on the water. For example, increased lifespan, reduction in stress, and improved sleep quality. Living near or on the water also encourages individuals to be more active and spend more time outdoors. In addition to this, the air quality when living near large bodies of water is generally better due to fewer air pollutants. 

Contact me Today!

If you are curious about investing in a waterfront property in BC, I encourage you to contact me today! Moreover, if you have any questions about real estate for sale in the area, be sure to reach out to me! I am excited to get your aspirations on track. A waterfront home in the Comox Valley is a great asset to have. Be sure to check out my social media, and return next month for more real estate-related content! I look forward to working with you in the near future.

house hunting checklist

House Hunting 101 and Why You Need a Checklist!

Starting on the journey to find your dream home can be both exciting and overwhelming. With so many options and factors to consider, it’s easy to feel lost. That’s where a trusty house-hunting checklist comes in! It’s your ultimate companion to keep you organized and focused every step of the way.

  • Stay Focused on What Matters: Your checklist is your roadmap, guiding you through the maze of available properties while keeping your priorities front and center. Whether it’s location, number of bedrooms, or budget constraints, jotting down your must-haves and nice-to-haves helps you avoid getting sidetracked by flashy features that might not align with your needs.
  • Communication Made Easy: Your checklist isn’t just for your eyes only – it’s a valuable tool for keeping everyone involved in the house-hunting process on the same page. Share it with your partner, real estate agent, or family members to ensure everyone understands your preferences and priorities, making collaboration smoother and more effective.
  • Remember the Details: Ever visited multiple properties in a day only to mix up which one had the cozy fireplace or the spacious backyard? Say goodbye to confusion with your trusty checklist in hand. By recording key details and observations for each property, you’ll have a handy reference to jog your memory and make informed decisions later on.
  • Stay Proactive and Accountable: House hunting can be a whirlwind, but your checklist keeps you grounded. Use it as a tool to stay proactive and accountable, setting goals for each viewing and tracking your progress along the way. With your checklist as your guide, you’ll feel empowered to take charge of your house-hunting journey and make confident decisions.

A house-hunting checklist isn’t just a piece of paper – it’s your secret weapon for navigating the real estate market in Comox with clarity and confidence. So, grab your pen and start jotting down those must-haves – your dream home is waiting to be discovered! Get in touch with me today if you want to put this checklist to good use!

Get the House Hunting checklist here now!

points of interest in courtenay

Points of Interest Near Real Estate in Courtenay

If you’re considering making the move to real estate in Courtenay, knowing some of the town’s main attractions can be helpful. This is because it will give you a better idea of the lifestyle and what kind of people live there. When considering a new property investment it’s not always about the physical structure itself; it’s also important to get familiar with the surrounding area. In Courtenay, you’ll discover a wide variety of activities—many of which revolve around the great outdoors. In this article, I will go over some of the resident-favourite attractions in Courtenay. Follow along below to learn more!

What is There to Do Near Real Estate in Courtenay?

  1. Have a Lazy Day on The Puntledge River

During the hot summer months, you’ll likely catch some Courtenay residents floating around on the Puntledge River. This relaxing and equally exciting experience is the perfect way to spend a summer day. If you want to give this a try, grab your favourite tube and park in the Puntledge River Fish Hatchery to begin your adventure. Alternatively, if you don’t have a tube you can rent one for $10-15. 

  1. Go Shopping in Courtenay

Courtenay is home to numerous quaint shops and boutiques. From second-hand stores to crafters, there is something for everyone! I’d recommend beginning your day of shopping with a stroll on 5th Street. Here, you’ll discover numerous local restaurants, cafes and retailers. Don’t forget to bring your camera—downtown Courtenay boasts numerous vibrant murals perfect for photographing. 

  1. Check out the Oyster River Potholes

Vancouver Island has a few different locations where you can find natural potholes. Courtenay is lucky enough to be a resident of one of the locations called the Oyster River Potholes. Here, you’ll find crystal-clear water that’s perfect for cooling off. Relax and listen to the river flow as you take in the gorgeous scenery! 

Contact me Today!

If you are interested in learning more about attractions near real estate in Courtenay, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you get to know the area and all of its best features! For more information about real estate in Courtenay, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon. 

purchase and sale agreement

Understanding the terminology: 5 important terms in your Comox purchase and sale agreement that you should know!

Buying a home in the Comox Valley is an exciting time. It can also be stressful and even confusing. There is legal documentation, bank information, and administrative procedures to coordinate when buying a property. With all of that, you are likely to come across a few words you may not understand.

Before you sign on the dotted line, review these five important terms that every buyer and seller should know.


Note: Purchase and sale agreement terminology and practices may vary by region.


Closing date:

The closing date is also referred to as the completion date. It is the day the buyer officially becomes the new owner of a property. At this time all necessary legal and financial parts of the transaction are completed. Typically a couple of days before the closing date, there are a couple of things that take place. The buyer will sign their mortgage loan and property title documents. The buyer will also provide the balance of funds to their lawyer to complete the purchase. The closing date is often the day before the possession date. Sometimes the closing and possession dates are the same, but that will vary depending on circumstances. The possession date is the day the new owner (buyer) receives the keys to the home.

Deposit:

When a buyer submits an offer, they include a deposit. The deposit is taken at the time of the offer or within a certain number of days after an accepted offer. The amount varies in different areas. A deposit demonstrates that the offer is made in good faith by the buyer. The deposit is provided to the buyer’s real estate brokerage upon acceptance of the offer and is held in trust until the closing date. The deposit is applied toward the total purchase price.

Irrevocable date and time:

When submitting an offer to purchase, there is a limited amount of time for which that offer remains open. This is known as the irrevocable date and time. By this specific day and time, both the buying and selling parties are required to agree to the terms and conditions of the offer or sign off on it. If this does not happen, the offer becomes null and void. An irrevocable date can vary depending on the urgency of the transaction. As well, it is often dependent on the availability of all parties and how much time is deemed appropriate for the contents of the offer to be reviewed. Usually, it can vary from a short couple of hours or up to 48 to 72 hours from the time the agreement is submitted.

Chattels and fixtures:

When buying a home, how do you know if the curtain rods, stove, or garage door opener is included in the sale? The chattels and fixtures section of the purchase and sale agreement will tell
you. Chattels are any items that are considered removable from the property, such as kitchen appliances, curtains and the washer and dryer. A fixture, on the other hand, is permanently attached to the property, such as a built-in microwave, cabinets, a security system or a built-in dishwasher. When the buying party has an offer drafted by their realtor, it’s important to clearly state what they wish to have included in the sale. If items are not included and agreed upon, it’s presumed that the previous owner will take any and all chattels with them.

Anything the sellers do not want to include should be specified in the listing. Some things, such as built-ins, outdoor plants and special light fixtures, can fall into a gray area. It can be time-consuming and stressful if there are disputes between buyers and sellers over what stays and what goes. The best way to avoid this is to get it in writing.

Clauses and conditions:

Each purchase and sale agreement includes a list of assurances that the seller and/or buyer sign off on, which are known as clauses. Some clauses are not as important as others, such as acknowledgment that square footage is approximate. Conditions, however, are very important and must be completed within a specific time frame for the home to be officially sold. For instance, a conditional sale can rely on a professional inspection of the property within a certain number of days of the offer’s acceptance. This means the inspection would need to be completed, approved, and signed off on by the buyer for the sale to go ahead.


It is best to review any terminology that you do not understand in the Contract of Purchase and Sale with your REALTOR – Get in touch with Janice to learn more!

Note: Purchase and sale agreement terminology and practices may vary by region.

comox realtor how to price homes for sale

How a Comox Valley REALTOR® Prices Your Home

You’ve loved your home but are ready to move on. How much should you list it for? A casual observer might believe a listing price is an arbitrary number. Realtors consider many factors when pricing, including market conditions, historical data, location and amenities. Overprice a property and it could linger, unsold, for months. Undervalue it, and you’re leaving money on the table. While getting a home appraisal can give you an idea of your property’s worth, pricing a home is part science and part art.

When asked to price a property, there are many aspects involved and lots of fine-tuning.

Some considerations include:

Current local market conditions


Pricing a home should include looking at the current market conditions and trends in your area. How many properties with similar features are up for sale? How fast are they selling? Knowing these things can help determine how a property should be priced. Comparable current and sold listings are an invaluable source of information to look at when pricing. This takes into account the ability of active buyers and their buying power. Sold property prices are often relayed to any buyer or seller by their REALTOR®. Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market? When there’s low inventory in a neighbourhood, this can create a seller’s market with more competitive listing prices. If there are a lot of homes for sale, it may require lower asking prices and indicate it’s more of a buyer’s market.

Location


Sought-after neighbourhoods near well-respected schools and other amenities will typically demand a higher price tag. Remember: even homes on the same street can differ in price. If one side of the street backs onto a body of water, for example, those homes could be priced higher. Similarly, a busy street or lots of noise nearby may suggest a lower asking price.

Size and layout


A home’s layout can also factor into its pricing. Many families look for three or more bedrooms on one level. The square footage of a home and land size also influences the value of a property. Depending on the area and the buyer, aspects like privacy or usable land play a role.

Age and condition of the house


How old a property is, and whether it has or needs major updates, also factor into pricing. These can include windows, roof, kitchen, bathrooms, and mechanical systems. When the major components of a home have been updated or replaced, many buyers see that as a benefit. It is part of the long-term investment they will not need to spend money on. DIY projects gone wrong can be detrimental in obtaining top dollar. Work that is not done professionally and is substandard will decrease your home’s appeal. This, therefore, will also decrease the price.

Bonus spaces


A home with an in-law suite or additional income potential can be important as it gives the buyer flexibility with their financing and buying capability. Within urban communities, it may be hard for a buyer who wants a detached workshop or a studio. This is considered special and not easy to find, so it must be taken into consideration when pricing.

Seller’s motivation


Comox REALTORS® also take a seller’s motivation into account when pricing a property. If a seller has an accepted offer on another property, or they’re being transferred out of town, they may ask a compelling listing price to attract more buyers.

What is the MLS® Home Price Index and how does
it work?


REALTORS® have a powerful tool at their disposal. This is the MLS® Home Price Index (MLS® HPI). It provides a more precise picture of home price trends by gauging prices for the market as a whole. It also provides prices for specific housing categories. This information allows them to do a comparable market analysis. They learn what other similar homes have recently sold for and gives solid indicators on how to price your property. Because this data can change from month to month, it’s important to use an accurate tool that tracks prices to get the latest information. Ultimately, the pricing of a home is the seller’s decision. Their REALTOR® helps with that decision by employing their expertise and knowledge of the market. One goal is to price the property to attract serious buyers. Another goal is to prevent an extended period of time on the market that may ultimately come at a cost. Working with a Comox Valley REALTOR® to price your home gives you peace of mind that you’re setting yourself up for success with the advice and expertise of a professional.

before you go

Sold your Comox Valley home? Don’t forget these 4 important steps before you leave!

After staging your property, hosting showings and entertaining offers, selling your home feels like a huge accomplishment. Even after you’ve found the perfect buyers, there’s still plenty to do on the countdown to moving day. Your focus will likely be on packing and making arrangements for your new home. Important tasks should not go overlooked, however.

Before you officially hand over keys and say goodbye to your former abode, consider completing these four important tasks.

Update your utilities, accounts and subscriptions

Don’t forget to disconnect before you leave!

Call your cable, internet and phone providers. Notify them of your move and disable service when you depart. On closing day, have your hydro and gas metres read. This will ensure that you will pay your share of utilities. The new occupants will take over those expenses once they take possession..

If you have any newspaper deliveries or maintenance services for your yard or pool, be sure to give them a heads up too. Talk to your local post office to have your mail forwarded to your new address. You don’t want to miss any important packages, bills or letters.

When it comes to insurance, don’t cancel your policy until the sale has closed. If you are leaving your home vacant for a period of time before the new owners move in, let your insurer know. Maintain your policy as long as you own the property. Ensure you are covered in the event anything happens while the property is empty.

Leave behind important items for the new owners

Figuring out how to work a new appliance can be a hassle. Make life a little easier for the new homebuyers by leaving instruction manuals out in plain sight for them to find. This should include any pamphlets for heating and cooling systems, the fridge, stove, washing machine and dryer, plus any warranties.

Gather all keys to sheds, gates, storage cabinets and mailboxes. Leave them in a spot that is easy to find, such as the kitchen counter. Along with the keys, leave behind any remote controls, the garage door opener and any fobs.

Be mindful of items you are obligated to leave behind for the new owners that may not seem obvious. Light fixtures and curtain rods are considered to be “fixed”. If you’re removing them or other items attached to the wall, they should be replaced unless other arrangements have been agreed upon. Consult your realtor and your purchase agreement to confirm what has been included as part of the sale.

Give the home a wipe-down

After a long moving day, your buyers will appreciate coming into a home that has been prepared for their arrival.

Most purchase agreements require that the home be left in a ‘broom swept condition,’ at the very least . Loosely this translates to a surface-level clean. It would include removing all personal possessions, vacuuming the floors and disposing of all garbage.

Some buyers expect the seller to have a professional cleaning performed. If necessary, have this clarified in advance. While cleaning out your home, don’t forget about your attic, crawlspace, closets, outdoor shed, garden beds, fridge, freezer and other easily overlooked areas.

Do a final walk-through

We’ve all had that moment of leaving home and feeling like we’ve forgotten something important. On moving day, erase any possible doubts by doing one last walk around. Include the inside and outside of the property to ensure you haven’t missed anything important.

Before you lock up, set the temperature appropriately for the time of year. It may be wise to shut off the main water valve. The home may be empty for a prolonged period of time.

While doing your final tour, be sure the home is fully secure. Check that all windows and doors are closed and locked, including garden sheds, garages and patio doors.

Comox Valley Real Estate For Sale

Comox Valley Real Estate For Sale: New Transportation Paths

Comox Valley real estate for sale is about to experience a boost in value! The Comox Valley Regional District (CVRD) is planning on building two new active transportation paths to connect communities in the Comox Valley. This new development could alter property values, neighbourhood dynamics and more! In a place like Comox Valley, transportation paths can help increase accessibility and connectivity for both residents and businesses. In this article, I will go over this new infrastructure anticipated to be put into place in the near future. Follow along below to learn more!

All About the New Transportation Paths in Comox Valley

The new transportation paths announced to be built in Comox Valley will A)  link the Village of Cumberland to the City of Courtenay. And, B) extend the existing path from Royston Road so that it runs up from the Waterfront Seaside Trail, where it will turn onto Livingston Road in the direction of the elementary school. 

Both of these projects are still being planned and officials are waiting on a grant from the provincial government. The total cost of the Royston Road project is estimated to be somewhere between $600,000 and $2.2 million to complete. Whereas, the Cumberland project is estimated to cost roughly $5.2 million to $7.8 million. The goal of undertaking these projects is to help improve methods of active transportation in the valley. 

Active transportation is any self-propelled mode of transportation like biking, walking or jogging. Both the Cumberland and Royston Road projects intend to be suitable for everything from bikes to wheelchairs and rollerblades. The CVRD is focused on ensuring that these pathways are centred around commuting as opposed to recreation. 

If grant applications are successful, the CVRD plans to begin construction later this year. 

Contact me About Comox Valley Real Estate for Sale!

If you are interested in learning more about new infrastructure near Comox Valley real estate for sale, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you stay informed about local developments! For more information about real estate in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon.

kids and moving in comox

How to support your kids during a move to Comox

Moving can be a very exciting time for a family. The anticipation of new surroundings, opportunities and a fresh start can be quite enticing. It can also be quite daunting. It is a major life event that affects all children differently.

If you are a parent who is looking for ways to help your child handle the moving process and adjust to their new environment, read the following tips. These could help them cope with the transition.

Communicate

Communicating with your child about the move will help them feel supported. Share with them the reasons behind the move and how you’re feeling about it. Hear their thoughts about moving, good or bad, and empathize with their feelings. An open channel of communication can be one of the most impactful ways to help your child navigate through the changes surrounding a move.

Get the kids involved

Involve kids in the moving process with age-appropriate tasks. It will help them accept the permanent nature of moving out of their current home and into a new one. Having them help out also gives them a sense of responsibility and pride. Any positive emotion associated with moving is a plus.

Here are a few fun tasks to try:

● Gather special items and take photos around the old home for a
keepsake treasure box
● Start a Pinterest board to gather inspiration for their new room
● Have your little ones assist with decluttering by going through their
clothing and toys. Let them decide what to keep and what to pass
on to other children who need them
● Make packing fun by having them fill up a box of their things and
decorate it with stickers, markers, etc.

Create a plan to stay in touch with friends

For children, one of the hardest parts of moving away is leaving their friends and classmates behind. If this is the case for your child, create a plan to help them stay in touch with their closest friends. Technology makes it easier to keep in contact with video calling and messaging apps. You can take it a step further by planning to write letters back and forth. Plan a visit if you’re not too far away. Create a keepsake book full of pictures and memories of your child and their friends.

Explore the new neighbourhood together

To eliminate some of the apprehension that comes with living in a new place, it can help to explore the neighbourhood together beforehand. If possible, take your kids with you on a walk-through of your new home. This could help with knowing what to expect on the big day. You can also check out your child’s new school. Add to that local playgrounds and restaurants to get the kids excited and familiarized with their new environment. If physically traveling to your new neighbourhood isn’t possible, look for maps, videos, and pictures online. Encourage conversation like what they are excited about. When you do arrive in your new community, take breaks from unpacking to enjoy your new space together.

Check-in with yourself

Children can often sense when their parents are going through something difficult. Moving can be stressful. This is why it’s important to check in with yourself. Are you taking time to rest and nourish your body? Have you allotted sufficient time to complete moving tasks like preparing the home and packing?

Care for yourself and work through your emotions surrounding the move. It will put you in a better headspace to support your kids when they need you.

home staging in comox

The dos and don’ts of staging your Comox home for sale

When it comes to selling your home, making a positive first impression on a potential buyer is a crucial part of the process. Many sellers opt to stage their home, either through professional services or their own efforts. The goal is to make their space look more appealing to buyers, both in person and online. Staging is a popular real estate marketing strategy. It is effective at attracting purchaser interest, garnering offers at higher prices and selling homes quicker. If you’re preparing to list your property on the market soon, here are the dos and don’ts of staging your home for sale.

DO – Depersonalize your space


Buyers want to visualize themselves living in their potential new home. This can be hard to conceptualize in a space that is decked out with the seller’s belongings. To help buyers build an attachment to a property, it’s important to depersonalize. This means removing family photos, collectables, diplomas and other personal items. Consider depersonalizing your walls and furniture too. Busy accent walls, bold wallpaper and quirky fixtures speak to the specific tastes of the owner. Softening your home with neutral colours and fabrics can help make a potential buyer feel more at home. It is important though not to strip your space completely of personality. When staging, stick with basic accent pieces, such as a vase of flowers or simple throw pillows, to liven up the room.

DON’T – Overlook unfavourable smells

When buyers enter your home, they aren’t just judging your property with their eyes. All senses are engaged, including smell. Unappealing odours due to mould, pets and garbage can quickly turn off a potential purchaser. Be sure to tackle them before you welcome any showings. Take out the trash and scoop the litter box regularly. If the smell of mildew is present, give your showers and tubs a thorough clean. You could also schedule a visit from a contractor to rule out any mould-spawning water leaks. Don’t fill the room with artificial air fresheners either. Add subtle natural scents such as fresh linen, baked goods or potted herbs to entice the senses.

DO – Improve the lighting


Dark interiors can make spaces feel cramped and uninviting. Introduce an abundance of light into your home. When staging for photographs or showings, open all of the blinds and drapes, turn on lights. Move obstructions away from windows to let in as much natural light as possible. You can also boost the amount of lighting in the home with a layered approach. In addition to ceiling lights, use a mix of floor lamps, wall sconces, undermount lighting, and table lamps. This will brighten your space for potential purchasers.

DON’T – Forget about curb appeal


Buyers can easily make a snap judgment about your property from the minute they arrive on the street. Get things off to a good start by staging your home’s exterior too. Begin with a simple clean up. Mow the grass, power wash the siding and walkways, and free the lawn and eavestroughs of any fallen leaves or branches. Be sure to repair any broken porch lights or wonky house numbers. Complete your property’s refreshed façade with a clean doormat and some inviting potted plants or hanging baskets on the front porch. And don’t underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint on the front door!

DO – Rearrange your furniture


It is possible to have too much furniture. Overstuffed rooms can give the illusion that there is a lack of spaciousness. When staging your home for sale, don’t be afraid to put some items in storage. You could swap furniture out to achieve an appealing layout that buyer’s can easily walk through. If space permits, pull furniture away from the walls to allow for more movement and reduce any dead space in the centre of the room.

condo storage space in comox

How to maximize storage space in your Comox condo

Condo living in Comox can have its perks. There are often on-site amenities to enjoy and building maintenance is taken care of. With those perks looked after, you can experience the full benefits of a bustling urban lifestyle. However, one of the common complaints of condominium and apartment living is limited storage options. That can make it tricky to store your things. Luckily, there are a few solutions you can try to make the most out of your space. Wanting to tuck away your holiday decorations, suitcases or off-season clothing?

Try some of these storage solutions in your condo today.

Opt for furniture with integrated storage


Double up on your storage options by investing in multi-functional furniture that has built-in storage space. There are a variety of ottomans, coffee tables, sofas and beds out there that provide hidden storage units and drawers. This can make storing your belongings easy and discreet. Similarly, you could opt to use bins and containers that can fit underneath your furniture. In this way, extra items can be stored out of sight.

Bonus tip: Opt for furniture pieces that are lightweight or have wheels on the base. They can be easily moved around depending on the needs of your space. You can also invest in convertible furniture like a sofa that turns into a bed or a work desk that can be folded up against a wall. This allows for more efficient use of your limited square footage.


Make the most of vertical space


When it comes to condo storage, blank and tall walls are your best friend. If your unit has limited floor space, utilize your walls. This can be as simple as installing a few extra wall hooks for hanging coats, bags, and kitchen utensils. Or you could invest in some bookshelves for displaying your favourite collectibles, artwork, and framed photos. Think of unconventional vertical space too, such as doors or the insides of cupboards. Caddies and over-door organizers can be hung there.

Introduce built-ins on the wall

Sometimes adding a wall hook or two isn’t enough to offer the extra storage space that you really need. Opting for a more customized approach through the use of built-in wall compartments and shelves can provide storage options. These would be specific to your condo’s unique size and layout, while improving overall functionality. Think wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling built-ins in your living room, entryway and bedroom. Take full advantage of useful wall space in this way. It will introduce seamless and integrated storage options into any room.


Use smart containers

When every inch of storage space counts, there’s literally no room to carelessly tidy away your things. Strategically choosing the right containers or bins allows you to get the most storage space you can out of your condo. For example, stackable containers can more effectively utilize vertical space in your kitchen cupboards and bathroom vanities. Vacuum sealed bags are great for storing coats, bedding and other bulky linens in small spaces. Clear containers are also convenient for easily finding your supplies without having to open every lid or box. If the bins are not transparent, stick labels on the outside.


Bonus Tip: When in doubt, consider off-site storage


Maybe you’ve decluttered and reorganized to your heart’s content, but still can’t find enough space for everything in your condo. Don’t underestimate off-site storage as an option. Sometimes we simply can’t find a solution to storing awkwardly-sized or heavy items. On-site condo lockers or paid storage units are a great alternative. Lock away large belongings that aren’t used on a regular basis, such as off-season sports gear, balcony furniture, large tools and bicycles.

comox valley realtor

Why Hire a Comox Valley REALTOR® in 2024?

Hiring a Comox Valley REALTOR® to help you during the purchase or sale of real estate is highly recommended. Especially, if you have minimal experience with buying/selling homes. A REALTOR® provides you with industry expertise, a Rolodex of useful contacts, and insights about the local market. When deciding to buy or sell, you want to ensure that everything goes smoothly. After all, these are the two largest transactions that most people make in their lifetime. In this article, I will be going over some of the main reasons why you should consider hiring an agent to represent you on either side of the transaction. Follow along below to learn more!

Get Help From a Comox Valley REALTOR® When You Buy/Sell in 2024

  • Why Hire an Agent During the Buying Process?

Buying a property is no easy feat. There are several moving parts when it comes to purchasing any sort of home. One of the biggest challenges that buyers face when buying without an agent, is the lack of available listings. Real estate agents have access to the MLS®, which is a database of homes for sale that are only accessible to agents. During market conditions when inventory is low, this can limit your options. Thus, preventing you from uncovering your dream home! Furthermore, if you’re a first-time buyer or you have little experience buying/selling real estate, hiring an agent is in your best interest. Without the help of a REALTOR®, you could be missing out on key market knowledge. Real estate agents have a strong grasp of the local market. This expertise is critical when it comes to spotting opportunities, negotiating and finding your dream home. 

  • Why Hire an Agent During the Selling Process?

In today’s climate, having a trusted REALTOR® to rely on when selling your home is ideal. As marketing your listing becomes increasingly more important, a real estate agent can help ensure that your property doesn’t go stale on the market. A seller’s agent has all of the tools and resources to make your home stand out amongst others. Not only this, but, they will handle the often stressful planning of open houses, scheduling showings, providing tours and answering questions about the property. When a prospective buyer makes an offer, they’ll be able to negotiate the terms and advise you on the merit of their offer. Once the deal is ready to be finalized, a seller’s agent will be there to help with paperwork and ensure a smooth closing process. 

Contact me Today!

If you are interested in learning more about why you should hire a Comox Valley REALTOR®, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that you buy/sell in accordance with your real estate goals! For more information about real estate in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon. 

moving day in courtenay comox

Tips for a Seamless Moving Day in Comox Valley!

Moving into a new home should be an exciting time. Without proper planning and organization, the whole experience can quickly turn into an overwhelming ordeal.


To help ease the anxieties of moving day, here’s a handy to-do list to keep you organized and on-track:

Plan ahead

This may seem obvious, but many people find themselves rushing to hire movers and pack their belongings in the final frantic days leading up to

their big move. To avoid the stress this can cause, and to ensure moving day flows smoothly, be sure to start packing at least one month in advance. Focus on one room or closet at a time, and use this as an opportunity to purge items you no longer need. Moving into a new place means starting fresh. Donate, rehome or recycle those belongings that won’t serve a purpose in your new home. Remember, the first and last days of the month are popular moving days. Don’t put off booking your professional movers in advance.

Optimize your packing process


For safe travels and storage, pack your belongings in durable moving boxes, ideally new or ones that have little wear-and-tear. There’s also the option to rent reusable moving crates that can be returned once your move is complete. You can even hire professional packers to do it for you! To avoid sensitive items getting wet or damaged, use plastic, sealable bags and bins to protect clothing, books and important documents. Be sure to bubble wrap glassware and fragile items to keep them from shattering in transit.

Label and organize your boxes


Label each moving box with the room it belongs in (ie. kitchen, bathroom, bedroom #1). Take it a step further by numbering each box and creating a tracking document to specify which boxes should go in each room. This not only makes it easier for your movers to know where to place your items, but it also helps you to keep track of all your boxes.

Make those small repairs before moving in


If time allows, paint the walls, deep clean the appliances, and complete any minor repairs before moving into your new place. Unsurprisingly, it is a lot better to have a fully-functioning home before you start to unpack and assemble furniture. If this is not an option for you there are a couple of other things you could do. Consider placing all your items in the garage or basement at first, or simply in the centre of a room. This will allow you a few days to clean thoroughly and complete any small jobs necessary before settling into your new space.

Update your services and accounts


It can take time for some utilities to get up and running. Set a reminder to take your name off your current utility bills and set up accounts for services at your new place in advance of moving in. Remember to also change the mailing address on your subscriptions, delivery services. Most importantly, don’t forget to make changes for government and banking documents.

Make a plan for your first night


Moving day can be a long and tiring process, so you’ll want to plan ahead for that first night. You may not have the time or energy to set up your bedroom right away. Perhaps you are having a new mattress delivered in the coming week. Book a hotel or arrange to stay with family or friends until you are ready to sleep comfortably in your new home.

kitchen packing tips comox valley

Advice on Packing your Comox Valley Kitchen!

Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen might be the most daunting one to pack up. When it’s time to move, follow these four important steps to make packing your kitchen easy and stress-free!

Get organized.

Before you start packing mugs and bowls into boxes, take inventory of each cupboard and drawer in your kitchen. Use this opportunity to purge or donate any items you do not intend to take with you. Next, gather all the packing materials you will need. Packing paper or bubble wrap, strong tape, boxes in various sizes, and a marker should all be on hand.

Set aside your essentials.

You can’t leave everything to the last minute. You’ll want to pack up the vast majority of your kitchen ahead of time. Leave out only a few essential items to be used in the final days and weeks leading up to your move. Keep out one dish, bowl, mug, glass and set of cutlery per person, along with any small appliances used daily (i.e. a coffee maker). You may also need to hold back one multi-purpose pot or pan. On moving day, carefully pack all these items into one box and label it ‘essentials’.

Pack it in.

Place similar items together. Organize your kitchen contents by size and fragility. For example, all flat plates should be packed together with a few sheets of packing paper in between each one. The same goes for bowls. Remember, most of these items are heavy and breakable. Be sure to use strong boxes or bins with snap-tight lids, and fill in any empty space with extra paper or bubble wrap.

Tips for boxing breakables:


○ Double-tape the bottom of any cardboard boxes to support heavy items. Place a dish towel or some scrunched up packing paper at the bottom of each box. It will provide extra support for heavy dishes.
○ Clearly label each box or bin. Identify not only the room it belongs to (kitchen), but also the contents of the box (pots and pans, mixing bowls, cutlery, etc.). You’ll be glad you did when you’re looking for your favourite coffee mug.
○ Use special glass dividers that can be inserted into packing boxes to transport your stemware safely.

○ Fill the empty space inside the boxes with dish towels and other linens. This will keep items from shifting and potentially getting damaged. They have to be packed anyway!
○ Wrap your entire cutlery tray in packing paper or a table cloth and place it flat inside a box.
○ Always wrap knives separately in paper or bubble wrap first and then in a dish towel. Place them on their side inside the box, never pointing up. And, be sure to clearly label this box.

Reduce food waste.

Before you move, take stock of the contents of your fridge, freezer and pantry. In an effort to minimize waste, try to think of easy recipes you can make to use up as many of these items as possible. On moving day, put the remaining items in a cooler with cold packs. These items should be packed last before you leave, and unpacked first when you get to your new place.

real estate in comox

Navigating Comox Valley Real Estate in 2024

Happy New Year! If you’re looking to invest in Comox Valley real estate, 2024 is looking ripe with opportunities. National trends and new assessment data from BC Assessments are showing signs of a shift toward a buyer’s market in many of Canada’s major cities. In this article, I will be going over some of the 2024 market insights to pay mind to in the months to come.

Follow along below to learn more about what to expect from Comox Valley real estate in the New Year!

What to Know About Buying Comox Valley Real Estate in 2024

The first thing that buyers should be aware of going into 2024, is the current status of interest rates. The Bank of Canada has been steadily increasing the policy rate since 2022 in an effort to curb economic growth, discourage spending, and minimize demand. Over the past few months, the BOC has not raised the key lending rate any further. Many experts predict that rates will remain stable for the first half of 2024. After this, Canadians can expect to see modest cuts made. 

According to BC Assessments, property values on Vancouver Island have increased from $385 billion to over $386 billion. Despite this, most cities/towns on the Island experienced slight decreases in value. For instance, in the North Island region, Courtenay and Comox property values diminished by 4%. Additionally, in Cumberland, the average home worth plummeted 7%. 

Homeowners should keep in mind that although values dropped in 2023, they are predicted to rebound in the new year. Experts are hopeful that the national average property value will go up by 4.7% in most primary markets. 

Contact me Today!

If you are interested in learning more about buying Comox Valley real estate, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that you buy the right home for your family! For more information about real estate in the area, stay tuned to my real estate blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more.

I look forward to working with you in 2024!

creating a welcome entry selling comox valley homes

Creating a Welcoming Environment when Selling your Courtenay Home

When buyers view your home, you want them to feel welcomed, of course! You do not want them to feel like they’re intruders or a nuisance. How do you create that impression? Here are a few proven ideas to create a welcoming environment.

The foyer


This is where buyers first set foot in your home. It’s where they form their first impressions. Make sure the foyer is tidy and feels spacious. Ensure the doormat (if you have one) is clean or new. If you anticipate wet weather during a showing, have a convenient place for buyers to put their footwear.

Lighting


Does a dark space or poorly lit room make you feel welcomed? Likely not! So, go through your home and check that the lighting is sufficient and pleasant. If possible, have three light sources in each room, including passive light from windows.

Interior doors


Nothing says “You’re not welcome” more than a closed door. Wherever possible, have interior doors open. You want buyers to feel comfortable exploring your home without questioning whether they can enter a particular space. There may be exceptions, of course, such as the door to a storage room.

Personal items


In most cases, buyers are walking through a stranger’s house. (Yours!) For some, that means there may be a sense of discomfort. For example, if buyers see a family portrait on the wall, they might feel like intruders. To put buyers at ease, remove as many personal items as possible. By creating a “blank slate”, you’ll help them visualize themselves living there.


The more welcomed you can make buyers feel when they view your home, the more interest you’ll get.

home appraisals comox

Comox Valley Home Appraisals Explained

Have you ever wondered how much your property’s value has changed since you purchased it?


Home appraisals can play a big role. Following is a breakdown of the appraisal process – what it means, when it happens, and other important factors you need to know.

What is a home appraisal?


An appraisal is a process to determine how much money a property is worth. It sounds simple in theory, but a lot goes into determining the appraised value of a piece of real estate. Valid appraisals must be conducted by a licensed appraiser. This is a third-party professional who is unbiased towards the sale. Typically, the appraisal is ordered by your bank or mortgage lender.


The first step of any appraisal process is making an appointment for an inspection. The appraiser will look at several factors including the property, current real estate market, and location of the home.


The property itself


Your appraiser will want to look inside and outside your home to determine what amenities are available and the condition of the property. They’ll note the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas. They will look at what kind of appliances are in the home, as well as the finishes and materials used to build the home. They’ll also consider the exterior of the home. For this they will note the size and condition of front and back yards, the number of parking spaces, and the health of the windows, siding, and roofing.


The current real estate market

The value of properties fluctuates over time, so overall market conditions also play a role in real estate appraisal. Your appraiser will look at the value of similar properties nearby to get a better idea of trends more specific to your local market.


Your home’s location

The value of a home isn’t just about the structure itself. It is also influenced by what’s around the home and how the property fits with the surrounding structures. For example, nearby parks, schools, retailers, and other amenities can affect property value.

When do I need an appraisal?


You can hire an appraiser to look at your property any time if you’re curious about its value. However, there are two main reasons someone would want their home to be appraised.

  1. When buying or selling a home
    Purchasing a home is one of the top reasons appraisals happen. The value of your home will affect your property tax and mortgage. Banks and mortgage lenders often require appraisals as part of their due diligence. They are taking a risk by lending you money so they want to verify the value of a home before approving a mortgage. If you purchase a home for a price much higher than what the home appraisal comes in at, lenders are unlikely to finance it or may require you to make a larger down payment. Typically they will only lend on the appraised value of the home, not on the purchase price. While it’s often the bank or lender that orders an appraisal, the cost may fall on the buyers. Typically, the cost of a home appraisal in Canada is between $300 and $600. The price of an appraisal depends on how large the property is, where it’s located and whether it’s considered a luxury home. Luxury homes are typically very large homes with high-quality finishes.If your appraiser has to spend more time travelling to your home or assessing its value on location, that can add to the cost.

Pro tip: Larger banks and brokers sometimes cover appraisal costs, so don’t be afraid to ask about this possibility!


If you’re looking to sell your home, it’s best to speak with your REALTOR®. She/he can provide you with insights into the current market conditions that may affect the value of your home.

  1. When refinancing your mortgage
    Refinancing your mortgage can be beneficial if you would like to secure a better interest rate. Some refinances require a home appraisal to determine if the current balance of your mortgage is more than the property’s value. Your bank or lender may call for an appraisal in order to ensure its worth is enough to secure your new loan. Not all refinances require an appraisal, so make sure to talk to your bank or lender to see if it’s necessary.

What’s the difference between appraised value and market value?


Market value is typically determined through a comparative market analysis (CMA). It is the estimated value of a home. It is based on an analysis of comparable recent sales in your market and what buyers are willing to pay for the property. A home appraisal is based strictly on the physical features of your home or property. CMAs usually happen at the beginning of the selling process and are conducted by your REALTOR®. As well as looking at current listings and sales, your REALTOR will look at many of the other details as the appraiser. An appraisal usually happens as part of the closing process and is conducted by a licensed appraiser.


Remember, these values are not always the property listing price. The appraised value is based on the objective assessment of a licensed professional. The market value is what buyers are willing to pay and sellers are willing to sell for. If you are selling, your REALTOR® can provide you with a CMA to help you determine a listing price. They also have access to the MLS Home Price Index (HPI). This is the most advanced and accurate tool available to gauge a neighbourhood’s home price levels and trends. It is exclusive to REALTORS®.


The information discussed in this article should not be taken as financial or legal advice. This article is for informational purposes only.

janice leffler comox valley real estate market update 2023

Comox Valley Real Estate Market Update – 2023

In the past year, there have been many changes in real estate and the Comox Valley real estate market itself. It was, well you could say, an interesting year overall. High inflation, rising interest rates, prices in flux, and still more buyers than sellers were contributing factors. The year started off reasonably strong and that continued, to the surprise of some, into the fall market.

The last quarter of the year saw a marked reduction in sales. Buyers were worried about the federal government continuing down the path of elevating the cost of borrowing. On top of that, the provincial government was in the process of making changes to various things real estate-related. For example, rental and age restrictions in all strata developments were outlawed. Any strata bylaws that did not allow rentals were out the window. The only age restriction that held up was for strata complexes that had a minimum age of 55 years.

New taxes and Legislation affecting the Real Estate Market in Comox Valley

Add to this a speculation and vacancy tax, an extension to the foreign buyer ban, and other measures, some good, some not. Home Buyer Rescission Period and Federal Housing Tax Changes, including a tax credit for multigenerational home renovations and taxes imposed on homes purchased and sold in a short period of time (house flipping) were also instituted. All changed the landscape for real estate. Investors began thinking about getting out of the landlord game and that is an ongoing concern. Yes, there is a lack of housing, but if people are not willing to own property and rent to tenants, how does that benefit people who rent and do not want, or are not able, to buy?

Housing was and remains to be a top priority even though some of the proposed and implemented solutions are not panning out the way they were intended.

Residential sales in 2023 peaked in May and declined for the remainder of the year.

The number of homes on the market did not improve either though, and this affected prices. Of note, at the end of December 2023, there were just 121 single-family homes on the market. That is less than the 135 on the market in December 2022. However, the average sale price at the end of 2023 was just under $825,000 as compared to $786,000 in December 2022.

  • A total of 635 sales occurred in 2023 which isn’t far off the 674 that changed hands overall in 2022
  • The strata property market wasn’t much different with just 59 active listings of apartment-style condominiums at the end of 2023 instead of 50 in 2022
  • There were just 35 townhouses for sale in December 2023. December 2022 saw 50 offered for sale
  • Land only, with no buildings, shows similar trends with a mere 49 lots on the market in December 2023 as opposed to 64 in 2022
  • Interesting to note that the lower-priced strata apartments were selling in 2023 at an average sale price of $245,000, down from $416,600 the previous year, but in the townhouse segment of the market, the price in 2023 was up to $557,000 from $512,000 in 2022

Comox Valley Neighbourhoods In Demand

Another thing buyers and sellers may be interested in knowing is that, when it comes to areas, there are consistent preferences. Comox easily leads the way annually with Courtenay City and Courtenay East following in that order.

The next choice is Cumberland, though it trails by quite a bit. The balance of the Comox Valley follows well behind these top choices and includes Comox Peninsula, Courtenay North, Courtenay South, Courtenay West, Crown Isle, Merville/Black Creek, Mt. Washington, and Union Bay/Fanny Bay.

New Construction in the Comox Valley Real Estate Market

There has been a lot of construction going on in the Comox Valley over the past several years. Single-family and condominiums, both townhouses and apartments, have led the way. Now there seems to be, in addition to houses and strata buildings, a lot of rental apartments being built to assist with the housing shortage. Builders are taking advantage of some of the incentives the federal government has put in place. Keep in mind that plans for new construction begin long before it is approved and actually available. The permit process is a slow one. Land availability has an impact on that as well.

So far in 2024, pricing, interest rates, and property available to buyers seem to be following the trends we have seen taking shape over the past couple of years. It sounds as though we may start seeing interest rate relief sometime this year, but that remains to be seen.

In all segments of the market, there is information that can be deduced. It is not the same from one type of property to another, nor from one price range to another. If you would like further insight, please feel free to contact Janice. She is always available to help!

saving money for a home

Savings Strategies to Help Achieve Homeownership in Courtenay

Affordability has been a major concern for many potential homebuyers this year thanks to rising interest rates, high inflation and housing supply issues. Fortunately there are several savings accounts, incentives and rebate programs available. These will help you save for a down payment and other housing costs by building a homeownership strategy.

This is a guide to help you prepare for the biggest financial transaction(s) of your life.

Three savings accounts available for Canadians to help with down payment and other homeownership costs include:

● Registered retirement savings plan (RRSP), Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP)
● Tax-free savings account (TFSA)
● First home savings account (FHSA)

Established more than 30 years ago, the Home Buyers’ Plan enables first-time homebuyers to access funds accumulated in their RRSPs. These funds can be used to help finance the purchase of your first home tax-free. The borrowed funds must be repaid.

The Tax Free Savings Account was first introduced in 2009. This registered investment account represents a flexible, all-purpose savings tool. It allows account holders to contribute and withdraw from a tax-sheltered account easily and without penalty. Tax-free withdrawals can be made at any time for any purpose. There are no withdrawal limits, and there’s no payback requirement. The account holder can use savings as needed and replenish as desired (within the annual contribution amount). Contributions are not tax deductible.

The First Home Savings Account is brand new for 2023. It combines the benefits of both an RRSP and TFSA. It is tax-deductible, and withdrawals are non-taxable. Since the savings are meant specifically for buying a first home, any amount withdrawn for another purpose will be taxed. The FHSA must be closed within a year from when the first withdrawal is made. If the funds aren’t used for a first home purchase within 15 years of opening an account, it must be closed. At this time the funds must then be transferred to an RRSP/registered retirement income fund or withdrawn as taxable income.

Start early, start now

Early saving and investing for the future is key for you when looking to become a homeowner. It is equally as important as making sure you have a full team of experts on your side. In addition to a Realtor, you should have a mortgage broker/agent, financial advisor/planner and real estate lawyer or notary. Your Realtor may also want to be in contact with these other professionals to help during the process. This will allow everyone to save time, and will also streamline the entire real estate process. It will lead to an easier, more seamless transaction.

Plans you set up today will help down the road.

Don’t rely on your parents to learn about the homebuying and mortgage processes. They may be a good sounding board, but everything has changed. Even if they bought within the past five to 10 years, the qualifying rate and required documentation are different. It’s important to have conversations about financing essentials, including credit, qualification and down payment. This information at the onset can save you a lot of future stress. Since an FHSA can be opened as early as age 18, it’s a great way for Canadians to start planning for homeownership early.

Getting clear on financial goals

It is also important for you to speak to someone about financing long before moving forward with a purchase. In this way you can be more confident about how to achieve your financial goals.

Homeownership really needs to be a top priority if it’s going to happen. Some sacrifices may be necessary. In some cases drastic changes, such as a career change, may be in order. Just don’t decide to change your job or career within two years of trying to qualify for a mortgage. You have to have two years of employment history on your income to qualify. It demonstrates stability and reliability to your lender.

Four recommended financial strategies include:

  1. Clearly track all expenses. This raises awareness, which enables you to compare your actions with your goals.
  2. Avoid unnecessary bank fees. Research banks that don’t charge fees.
  3. Automate savings. Start small and ramp up. Every little bit helps.
  4. Automate investments. If you have the time horizon (at least two years) and the risk tolerance, this works well. The more you can take willpower out of the equation, the better.

The goal of homeownership has become much longer for many Canadians. Meet with the right professionals early. It can make a world of difference if you do this as soon as you have started saving for your first home. Set yourself up for success!

mortgage application

THE 5 C’S OF CREDIT – These 5 factors are used to evaluate your mortgage application.

THE 5 C’S OF CREDIT

These 5 factors are used to evaluate your mortgage application.

Lenders analyze five different factors when reviewing your mortgage application. They are often referred to as the 5 C’s of credit. When applied to your application, the lender determines their risk level in providing you the funds. It helps them in their decision to approve or decline your request.

CAPACITY

Can you afford the payments along with other living and credit expenses? The lender wants to know if you can handle the debt and be able to repay the mortgage loan. Your income is reviewed and the lender will crunch some numbers to determine your Total Debt Service Ratio.

CHARACTER

As past behaviours predict future tendencies, lenders put weight on your past payment responsibilities. They will look at how long you have been employed, and how long you have lived at your present address. The lender is looking for clients who show stability and reliability.

COLLATERAL

It is a pledge of property or other assets you are borrowing against. How marketable is the property you are financing? How much money are you putting down? The property provides a means of at least partial recovery if you were to default on a mortgage loan. If the lender finds a weakness in one of the C’s of credit but everything else is fine, they may ask for more money to be put down on the property. That strengthens their collateral.

CREDIT

This is where your credit report is reviewed including your beacon or credit score. Have you had difficulty meeting payments in the past? Are your credit trades at the credit limit or do you pay them in full each month? How long have you managed credit? All of these are factors in determining if you are likely to pay your mortgage payments as agreed.

CAPITAL

This is your net worth: assets minus liabilities. Are you in a positive position? Will you have access to any funds should you incur any unforeseen circumstances.

Not all the five C’s have to be perfect. Not many are. Lenders will mitigate a weaker C’s with emphasis on a strong one if possible. As an example, your capital or net worth may be in a negative position. This could be due to student loans and a new degree in your field of study. This would be emphasized to the lender.

Another example may be bruised credit when you were ill or going through a divorce. However, everything has been paid as agreed for the last year. You have good job stability (character) and are putting 10% down (collateral). These factors may mitigate the bruised credit.

Perhaps your capacity or affordability is right at the maximum ratios and you are fairly new on your job but your credit is A1. We would rationalize that you always prioritize your debt repayment each month.

There are the 5 C’s that lenders analyze when reviewing a mortgage application.

Are you looking for more information about mortgages or the best people to consult in this regard? I can help you with that. Call on me for assistance.

credit reports

CREDIT REPORTS: GDS AND TDS – What does it mean to be “qualified”?

The word “qualified” gets tossed around a lot when people talk about financing. What exactly does it mean to be qualified in a financial sense? How do lenders make that
determination?

The primary calculations that lenders use are Gross Debt Service Ratio (GDS) and Total Debt Service Ratio (TDS).

These are calculations that determine what percentage of your annual income you will be devoting to paying (or “servicing”) your debts. This includes the debt you’re applying for. These are useful and surprisingly simple budgeting tools that you can use for yourself. They will help keep your financial obligations at a reasonable level.

The calculations look like this:

GDSR = Annual mortgage payments + property taxes + heat / gross family income


TDSR = Annual mortgage payments + property taxes + heat + other debt payments /
gross family income

Most lenders will allow these ratios to go up to 39% GDS and 44% TDS. If you have recorded credit trouble on your credit report (for example, if your score is below 680), they may look for lower percentages, ie 5% GDS and 42% TDS.

In order to determine these numbers the lender needs more information. This is where the credit check comes in. The score is only one component. What also matters are the other payments you are obligated to make each month. A person can have income that results in a reasonable GDS. If there is also a line of credit, car loan, and large credit card balance this could push the TDS way out of line.

Another factor that lenders look at on a credit report is your repayment history.

Most credit sources are “revolving,” meaning the balance can increase or decrease with use.

On the credit report these appear with an R next to them and a number from 1-9 indicating the repayment history. 1 is the best rating, while 9 refers to a debt that’s gone to a collection agency.

Unless your account has been sent to collection, things like cell phone or cable bills will not show up on your credit report and so will not be included in the debt servicing calculation.

It is possible to go into a lot more detail about how credit scores are generated and what all the information on the report means. This is not intended to go into more detail. It is to show how important it is for you and your broker to have a look at your credit even at the pre-approval stage. The information is essential to the process of qualifying you for a purchase since it’s used to calculate your debt servicing ratios.

You will find more information about credit scoring on the Government of Canada’s Office of Consumer Affairs website.

Janice can help put you in touch with a reliable, experienced mortgage broker or you can contact your current financial institution or advisor.

2023 Fall Economic Statement

Federal Government pledges more funding for affordable housing. What does it mean for the average Canadian?

The Canadian government unveiled its 2023 Fall Economic Statement on November 21. It is an annual fiscal report that provides an update on the state of the Canadian economy. It also outlines the government’s plans for future spending. The report focused on Canada’s housing affordability and supply crisis. In it, the government announced new funding for the creation of more affordable housing and purpose-built rental units. New rules regarding the mortgage stress test were also unveiled.

The initiatives will lead to the creation of more housing in some of the country’s most expensive regions. It is aimed toward those who plan to buy a home or rent a property in the near future. Here’s what you need to know about the 2023 Fall Economic Statement: The Canadian Mortgage Charter Since interest rates started to rise in early 2022, many variable-rate mortgage holders have faced fast-rising monthly payments. In some cases, negative amortization is the result as interest payments outpace mortgage principal. Thousands will also have to renew their mortgage at much higher interest rates in the next two years compared to the ultra-low rates offered during the pandemic. To provide Canadians with mortgage relief options, the federal government has adopted new measures for financial institutions.

These include:

  • Permitting temporary extensions of mortgage amortizations
  • Waiving fees that would have previously applied for relief measures
  • Dropping the requirement for insured mortgage holders to requalify under the insured minimum qualifying rate (stress test) when switching lenders at the time of their mortgage renewal
  • Requiring lenders to contact homeowners four to six months prior to their mortgage renewal to inform them of their financial options
  • Giving homeowners at risk the ability to make lump sum payments to avoid negative amortization, or sell their principal residence without any prepayment penalties
  • Waiving interest on interest in the event that mortgage relief measures result in a temporary period of negative amortization

New funds for affordable housing


In an effort to encourage more homes built faster, billions of dollars in spending have been pledged towards the creation of affordable and purpose-built rental housing. For non-profit, co-op, and public housing providers an additional $1 billion will be allocated over three years.

Through the Affordable Housing Fund this is intended to have more than 7,000 new homes built by 2028. The Co-operative Housing Development Program will also receive nearly $310 million in new funding.

Incentives for apartment builders


To encourage the creation of much-needed rental housing, the Economic Statement outlines new funding for home builders. Starting in 2025-2026, the federal government says it has committed an additional $15 billion in funding for the Apartment Construction Loan Program. This provides low-cost financing to builders and developers. This top-up will support the creation of more than 30,000 additional new homes across the country. It will bring the government’s total goal to 101,000 new homes by 2031-2032.

Tax limitations on short-term rentals

With the demand for long-term housing options so high across Canada, the federal government is placing stricter measures on short-term rentals. It is hoped this will encourage property owners to list their homes for sale or to lease for longer periods. The Economic Statement introduced $50 million in funding over three years to support municipal enforcement of restrictions on short-term rentals. In addition, for provinces and municipalities that ban short-term rentals, there will be another change. Income tax deductions for expenses incurred on short-term rental income will be denied. This will also apply to short-term rental owners who are not compliant with provincial or municipal licensing, permitting, or registration requirements.

If you want to know more about the 2023 Fall Economic Statement, read the full report here.

As always, if you have any questions about real estate in Courtenay and the Comox Valley, be sure to contact me directly.

Real Estate in Comox Valley

Blog Recap of Real Estate in Comox Valley!

2023 is quickly coming to an end. As the New Year approaches, I thought that now would be a good time to do a year-end blog recap. This way all of my readers have the opportunity to catch up on missed posts and see this year’s real estate blog highlights. In this article, I will be going over a recap of my favourite posts from each month.

Follow along below to see what was written about real estate in Comox Valley in 2023! Don’t forget to stay tuned to this space in 2024! I’ll bringing more valuable content your way, so that you can make the most informed real estate decisions!

What Was Happening With Real Estate in Comox Valley During the Winter & Spring?

home renovation roi janice leffler real estate comox

Jan – Moving from a Property in Comox!

Moving can be one of the most stressful parts of selling your home. On this page, you’ll find tips and resources to ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible.

Feb – Up Your Chances of Selling Homes for Sale in Courtenay

Before you sell your home, there are a couple of things you can do to attract buyers and return a better profit. In this article, I went over some of the best tips and tricks for sellers! These tried and tested methods are certain to help you as you work towards selling your home. 

Mar – How to Find Possible Issues With Houses for Sale in Comox?

When it comes time to purchase houses for sale in Comox, it’s important to be wary of potential issues with the property. With housing prices and interest rates the way they are, the last thing you want is to spend thousands of dollars on home repairs. To avoid this, I put together a list of ways to help you uncover potential problems in a home. 

Apr – Make Your Kitchen Stand Out in Courtenay Homes for Sale!

Your kitchen is one of the most valuable areas in your home. In this article, I show you how to prepare your kitchen so that it looks its best for potential buyers! 

May – Should I Get a Home Inspection When Buying Courtenay Real Estate?

Getting a home inspection before you purchase a new home may seem like a no-brainer. However, given the right market conditions, you’d be surprised how many buyers neglect to have one done. In this post, I go over all of the reasons why you should get a home inspection before sealing the deal! 

Looking Back at Summer & Fall on My Blog

Courtenay Real estate

Jun – Signs That You Should Buy Comox Houses for Sale

Knowing when to look at purchasing a home is almost as important as having the finances to do it. In this article, I wrote about all of the reasons that you should invest in Comox houses for sale. 

Jul – How to Reduce Humidity in Houses in Courtenay During The Summer?

During the summer, our homes can become a lot more humid than in cooler seasons like winter and fall. To help you keep humidity within a normal range, I shared my top tips for keeping your home less humid. 

Aug – Prepping Courtenay Houses for Sale for an Open House!

Open houses are a great way to attract buyers to your listing. In this article, I go through some of my top tips for preparing Courtenay houses for sale for an open house.

Sept –  Buying New Comox Valley Houses: Pros and Cons

Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases that most Canadians will make in their lifetime. Because of this, buyers must make the right decision about what kind of house to purchase. To help you decide, I went over the benefits and drawbacks of buying new. 

Oct – Simple Ways to Update Your Home for Sale in Courtenay

One of the best ways to update your home on a budget is by taking on a small DIY project. In this article, I go over some of my favourite ways that homeowners can modernize outdated living areas.

Nov – Pros and Cons of Hosting an Open House in Comox Valley

Open houses remain heavily debated in the real estate industry. To decide what the best choice is for you, I put together a list of the advantages and disadvantages of open houses. 

Contact me Today!

Contact me today if you have any questions about buying or selling real estate in Comox Valley. Thanks to everyone for another awesome year! I look forward to working with you again in 2024. Be sure to check back in January for more blog content. Happy holidays everybody!

home inspection courtenay

Common Reasons Courtenay Home Sales Fall Through

Wouldn’t it be great if every home sale breezed through without a hitch? The offer is made, and accepted, and you’re moved in within 30 days—perfect! Well, that’s sometimes not the case.

Home sales can fall through for a number of reasons, which is why having a REALTOR® on your side is crucial to help you navigate them. Following are five common reasons home sales can fall through.

The Home Inspection exposes major issues


Whether you’re purchasing a brand new build or an older property, getting a home inspection helps uncover defects or repairs that need doing. Minor issues can usually be solved between the buyer and seller. If an inspector finds large cracks in the foundation or a leaky roof, that could be problematic. That can definitely kill a deal or bring it back to the table for further negotiations. It may also require more exploratory work involving what was discovered.

    Sellers can potentially avoid those problems by having their home pre-inspected before putting it on the market. In this way, you can fix minor issues. If you come across a major one, it will give you time to think about how to tackle it when it comes up later.

    The seller’s REALTOR® might suggest disclosing a major issue in the listing and pricing the home accordingly, for example.

    Documents reveal red flags


    If you’re purchasing a condominium, you and your REALTOR® should first review documents pertaining to the building(s). Documents include depreciation reports, meeting minutes, engineering reports, and financial summaries. For example, if you’re looking at a condo in a 10-unit building, you could find out the roof soon needs replacing at a cost of $100,000. You could also find the building’s funding reserve is low. That means to get the roof replaced, everybody would owe $10,000. Depreciation reports can show other expensive items that need replacing, like windows or elevators. This can kill a deal if the costs become too onerous and the strata corporation has not planned for them.

    Financing isn’t approved or a Home Appraisal doesn’t match the sale price

    If you’re not pre-approved for a mortgage, you may not get financing in place which could tank the sale. Even if you’ve been pre-approved, your bank will need to appraise the home you’re buying before finalizing your mortgage. In competitive offer situations, people’s emotions might get the best of them. The price gets higher and the bank might disagree with the value. That means there may be a shortfall from the agreed purchase/sale price. You can still finance a large portion of it, but to make this sale work now, you’d have to bring more money to the table.

      Buyers unable to afford a larger down payment would not be able to secure financing so may back out of the deal.

      Small Details can cause big problems

      Sometimes, buyers and sellers agree on a purchase price but then get bogged down on other points. They can’t agree on occupancy dates or what’s included with the home, for example. A buyer may want to move into the home quickly, but the seller needs more time.

      Usually there’s a creative solution to make it work. The seller could do a rent back for a month or longer, say. It can still spill over to other facets of the negotiation and sour the whole deal though. Sometimes buyers want the seller to include a lot of items. It is usually best to leave that alone and reach terms everyone can agree upon. Then, after the deal is done, the buyers can make them an offer for extras, but keep it separate from the real estate (the home).

        Buyers get Cold Feet


        Until all conditions are met a deal is not done and buyers can walk away if they have a reason for doing so. Conditions to be met may include a home appraisal, inspection, and approval of financing. There could be other conditions as well. It is important for the buyers to pay their deposit too.

          In order for a successful sale to occur, all of the foregoing must be satisfied and signed off on in a timely manner. Get peace of mind by working with a REALTOR® With so many steps involved, working with a REALTOR® is extremely beneficial.

          If you’re working on your own, you don’t have representation to protect and guide you. A REALTOR® looks out for your best interests. I will follow through on all due diligence. This allows buyers and sellers to understand exactly what they are getting involved in. It also lays out the costs and the process so you can feel 100% comfortable with every decision you’re making.

          If you’re buying or selling your home soon, connect with Janice, a local REALTOR® in Courtenay, BC. She will ensure you’re taken care of through the entire process from the expected highs to the unexpected lows.

          Open House in Comox Valley

          Pros and Cons of Hosting an Open House in Comox Valley

          Are you planning on selling your house in Comox Valley? If you are, you may be considering whether or not you should host an open house. Open houses remain heavily debated in the real estate industry. This age-old debate has brought forward a number of pros and cons. In order to decide what the best choice is for you, we have put together a list of the advantages and disadvantages of open houses. Follow along below to learn more!

          • Pros:

          One of the benefits of hosting an open house is that you attract unexpected buyers. Oftentimes, open houses will draw in potential buyers who happen to pass by the event or those who are just beginning the buying process. In addition, hosting an open house can mean increased awareness from those in your area. Thus, generating a buzz around your property which can in turn attract more serious buyers! Finally, an open house provides you with the unique opportunity to get immediate feedback about your home. This can be extremely beneficial when it comes to assessing the market’s response to your property. 

          • Cons

          For some sellers, hosting an open house can bring up concerns about security and privacy. Since numerous guests can walk through the property, it’s hard to eliminate all of the risks. For instance, theft or visitors accessing off-limits areas. Additionally, many sellers worry that open houses will only attract unqualified buyers or nosy neighbours. Another cause for concern is that the property may become damaged in hosting an open house. Whether accidental or intentional, the risk remains. 

          Contact me Today About Selling Your House in Comox Valley!

          If you are interested in learning more about how to market your house in Comox Valley, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that you sell your home in a timely manner! For more information about real estate in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon.

          courtenay mortgage

          Ways to Pay Off Your Courtenay Mortgage Faster

          When it comes to homeownership, many of us dream of the day we will be mortgage-free. While most mortgages operate on a 25-year amortization schedule, there are some ways you can pay off your mortgage more quickly!

          Review Your Payment Schedule:

          An easy way to start paying down your mortgage faster could be to look at your payment schedule. You may want to move to an accelerated bi-weekly payment schedule. While this will lead to slightly higher monthly payments, the overall result is approximately one extra payment on your mortgage per calendar year. This can reduce the total amortization by multiple years, which is an effective way to whittle down your amortization faster.

          Increase Your Mortgage Payments*:

          This is another fairly simple change you can execute today to start having more of an impact on your mortgage. Most lenders offer some sort of pre-payment privilege that allows you to increase your payment amount without penalty. This payment increase allowance can range from 10% to 20% increase from the original payment amount. If you have earned a raise at work, or have come into some money, consider putting those funds right onto your mortgage. That will help reduce your mortgage balance feeling like you have to change your spending habits.

          Extra Payments*:

          For those of you who have pre-payment privileges on your mortgage, this is a great option for paying it down faster. The extra payment option allows you to do an annual lump-sum payment of 10-20% of the original loan amount to help reduce your loan! Some mortgages will allow you to increase your payment by this pre-payment privilege percentage amount as well. This is another great way to utilize any extra money you may have earned, such as from a bonus at work or an inheritance.

          Negotiate a Better Rate:

          Depending on whether you have a variable or a fixed-rate mortgage, you may want to consider looking into getting a better rate. This would reduce your overall mortgage payments and the amount that goes to interest. This is ideally done when your mortgage term is up for renewal. When rates start to come back down, it could be a great opportunity to adjust your mortgage and save! This may be done with your existing lender OR by moving to a new lender who is offering a lower rate (known as a switch and transfer).

            Refinance to a Shorter Amortization Period:

            Last, consider the term of your mortgage. If your mortgage is coming up for renewal, this is a great time to look at refinancing to a shorter amortization period. While this will lead to higher monthly payments, you will be paying less interest over the life of the loan. Knowing what you can afford and how quickly you want to be mortgage-free can help you determine the best new amortization schedule.

            *These options are only available for some mortgage products. Check your mortgage package or reach out to your lender. He or she will be able to ensure these options are available to you and that you avoid any potential penalties. If you’re looking to pay your mortgage off quicker, don’t hesitate to reach out to your mortgage broker or banker today! He or she can help you review the above options and assist in choosing the most effective course of action for your situation.

            house in courtenay bc

            A Pet-Friendly Home in Courtenay, BC

            When renovating a Courtenay home, the major concerns are often making the space more functional, stylish, and cozy. When you have a pet or are planning to get one, some of those design considerations may change to best suit your four-legged family member’s needs.

            Here are a few tips to help make your home in Courtenay more pet-friendly:


            Avoid carpet flooring

            Carpets can gather dirt and stains like no other. Many pets shed, and some may feel the occasional need to relieve themselves in the wrong place. Plus, animals can easily tip over glasses and plates with their tails while exploring tabletops. Avoid a time-consuming and potentially expensive clean-up. Opt for durable and easy-to-clean flooring like laminate, vinyl, stone, or ceramic.

            Get washable, wipeable furnishings for your home in Courtenay


            When it comes to your couch and other furniture, choose fabrics and textures that are less of a magnet for pet fur. If necessary, somewhat claw-resistant fabrics are a good idea as well. Consider certain types of synthetic fibres that can be more resistant to damage. You may also want to apply a protective layer of wipeable paint… just in case you end up with paw prints on your walls.

            Design a ‘pet pad’


            As a way to minimize mess and not give the impression that you have a Tasmanian devil for a pet, consider setting up a designated play area for your furry friend. Retrofit a small portion of your home with a comfy bed, bowls for food and water, a storage bin for toys, and scratch pads. If they feel like they have their own space, it may keep your pets from spreading toys around the house and taking things from other rooms. This can also help contain any potential messes in one area of your home… preferably one that has durable floors.

            Safety-proof your yard


            Outside of your home in Courtenay, plant only pet-friendly flowers and plants in your garden. Avoid toxic vegetation like tulips, lilies, and certain kinds of mulch. Provide your pet with an outdoor shelter and some shade for hot summer days. Ensure you build a sturdy fence around the yard to help keep them from running away. This should also prevent skunks, raccoons, and other critters, including your neighbors’ pets, from setting up shop on your property and harming or disturbing your four-legged friend.

            Get in touch with me if you’re looking for more real estate-related advice in Courtenay, BC!

            courtenay real estate agent

            Should you buy or sell your home first? Here’s help from a Courtenay Real Estate Agent to decide.

            If you’re a homeowner who’s thinking about moving, then you’ve probably pondered the age-old question. Should I sell my home before I buy a new one, or buy my next property first?

            Whichever option you choose, it’s an intensely personal decision. It should take into account individual finances, risk tolerance, and current market conditions. Some homeowners who have a strict timeline or budget may take comfort in selling their current residence first. Others who have more flexibility will opt to buy their next home before selling.

            If you’re on the fence about which option works best for you, here are a few insights that can help you make this crucial decision.

            Buying your new home first

            For homebuyers who are looking for a specific property and want certainty on their moving timeline, buying their new home first may be the best option. Buying your next home before selling your current one allows you to take your time searching for a property. This is especially beneficial to buyers who want to be in a particular neighbourhood, or school district, or desire specific features in a home. Once you’ve bought your new home, you’ll know exactly when your closing date will be. This will help with coordinating the sale of your existing residence.

            While the major advantage of buying first is a pre-determined timeline, this can force a short period for preparing your current home for sale. That means updating, staging, and marketing your property will need to happen within a defined time frame. It quite possibly may be a short one. The risk: if you are unsuccessful in selling your property quickly, you could be stuck with paying two concurrent mortgages. Bridge financing can be used as a temporary solution to cover the payments of your new and current home. However, it is expensive and is not applicable in cases where your property hasn’t sold yet.

            Buying a new property first is best suited to a seller’s market, where demand is higher than the number of homes available. Your property then has a better chance of selling quickly. Purchasing before selling is not recommended for anyone who is working with a strict budget and is relying on the sale of their existing home to determine how much they can afford to buy. Carefully weigh this option with advice from your Courtenay Real Estate Agent.

            Selling your current home first

            If you are someone who prefers certainty, selling your home before buying a new one may be best. This is best suited for those who want to be sure of their finances and the sale of their home before making any big real estate decisions.

            The obvious benefit to selling your home first is gaining a clear financial picture before your next property purchase. Once you sell your home, you’ll know how much you can afford to spend on a new place. You will also know exactly when your closing date is.

            If you’re relying on the capital from the sale of your current property, or you’re not in a position to financially bridge the gap between the two homes, then selling first may be the best choice for you.

            On the flip side, selling first can create pressure to quickly buy a new home. This can be especially tough in markets with low inventory. Homeowners may feel rushed to snap up whatever property is available.

            For those who are looking for a very specific property that may require more time to find, selling their current home before buying may not be the best. However, if you feel more comfortable selling first, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place in the event that you can’t find a new home quickly. Consider living with family or friends temporarily, securing a short-term rental, or taking a vacation.

            How your Courtenay Real Estate Agent can help

            Whether you decide to buy or sell first, your real estate agent is a great resource. I will be able to help you make this important decision by outlining each scenario. In this way, you can determine which option is right for you based on the current market and your unique situation. My expertise in local Courtenay market trends will help you determine whether buying or selling first is best for you.

            Want to speak with me, a Royal LePage agent in your Courtenay, BC community? Reach out. “Helping you is what we do!

            fall decor tips janice leffler courtenay homes for sale

            Four home decor trends for Courtenay Real Estate

            The season of pumpkin spice is once again upon us, and so are fall decorating traditions. The transition from summer to fall is a nostalgic time to break out the spooky decor. If dressing up the house with orange pumpkins and burlap year after year is getting stale, there’s no harm in shaking up your fall decorating choices this season.

            Here are four new 2023 fall decor trends you can try in your home:

            Earthy tones


            Fall colours are traditionally defined by shades of orange, red and brown. This year, more earth-like tones are making their way into home, including varieties of sage green, warm beige and caramel, rustic brick red and earthy terracotta. There are many ways you can achieve this softer, more muted fall look. Think coloured glassware, cushion covers, ceramics, blankets and other housewares. They are easy to swap out when the seasons change. If you want to add a contrasting statement piece to your interior this fall, try introducing an eye-catching accent colour with a hint of black, indigo or copper.


            Rustic touches

            Rustic furniture is a staple in fall design this year. Building off the theme of warm and earth-inspired interiors, distressed or vintage finds will bring a touch of charm to your home. The most economical and environmentally-friendly way to pull off this look is with the help of your local thrift store or online marketplaces. You’re likely to find an array of second-hand furniture, rugs and trinkets. You don’t need to spend a lot to add a ton of character to your space.


            Layered textures

            As the temperature drops, we tend to layer up with different fabrics to keep our bodies warm; it’s no different for our homes. This fall, mix and match different layers of textures and fabrics for an extra cozy feel. Whether it’s your bedding, accent cushions or rugs, get creative with different textiles, such as wool, knit, velvet, satin and cashmere. If your interior tastes are more neutral, you can still achieve this trend with a monochromatic colour palette to elevate your home.

            Fruits and flowers

            Move aside pumpkins, fruits are all the rage this year. Instead of opting for your typical array of white and orange gourds, fruits are taking centre stage in 2023. Seasonal fruits, such as apples, figs and pears can be repurposed as place cards. Or arrange them in bowls for a less expected fall centrepiece. Alternatively, you can showcase fruits through decorative flatware and table textiles, such as fabric napkins. If fruits aren’t really your thing, opt for dried florals instead. Pampas grass, sunflowers or wheat stalks will add a touch of ‘cottage’ to your living space.

            Bonus tip: Give attention to outdoor spaces

            Mild weather is known to last well into fall in this part of the country. This means we can use our beloved outdoor spaces for longer periods of time. Show your balcony, patio or backyard some fall decor love too by dressing it up with lanterns, wreaths and seasonal flowers, such as chrysanthemums or hydrangeas. Add a touch of coziness around your outdoor fireplace or sitting area with water-resistant pillows and blankets in your favourite fall colours and patterns. Property for sale in Courtenay, BC is available year-round because of our temperate climate. Be sure to check back to see what other advice my articles contain.

            comox valley condos for sale

            Simple Ways to Update Your Home for Sale in Courtenay

            No matter where you live, there will likely be an area of your home that you want to update. However, it’s not always possible to tear down the walls and splurge on renovations. Sometimes, you need to rely on your own skillset to turn the space into a room you love. One of the best ways to do this is by taking on a small DIY project. Updating your space on your own is a great way to save money while still achieving your renovation goals. In this article, I will be going over some of my favourite ways that homeowners can modernize outdated living areas. Follow along below to learn more!

            3 Projects to Breathe New Life in Your Home for Sale in Courtenay!

            1. Update Hardware

            Updating the hardware of your cabinets and tables is a great way to refresh the space you’re living in. While the change may seem subtle, it can actually make a big difference. This is also a good tip for those who want to make their rented space feel more like their own. Besides, it only takes a few minutes to complete! Try switching out your hardware for a quick DIY renovation.

            1. Repaint

            Repainting is one of the easiest ways to completely transform a space. The colour/shade you choose can drastically impact the feel of the room. Grab a few cans of paint and watch your once-outdated space become a thing of the past. Be sure to use drop sheets so as to prevent wrecking your floors and furniture.  

            1. Create a Gallery Wall

            Another simple project that you can take on to update a space, is creating a gallery wall. Gallery walls are a great way to spice up a boring room with images you love. Show off your favourite artwork, posters, family photos, jerseys, or whatever makes you smile. Before you start hanging your gallery wall, make sure you work out what layout you’d like. You can do this by laying your pictures on the ground and taking a photo of the arrangement you like best. Then, simply hang the images according to that layout. 

            Contact me Today

            If you are interested in learning more about how to update your home for sale in Courtenay, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that you love the space where you live! For more information about real estate in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon.

            buying new home in comox

            Buying New Comox Valley Houses: Pros and Cons

            Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases that most Canadians will make in their lifetime. Because of this, it is important that buyers make the right decision about what kind of house to purchase. Choosing whether to buy new or old Comox Valley houses can seriously impact your satisfaction. By understanding the pros and cons of both options, you can make the most informed choice about what kind of house you want to buy. In this article, we will be going over the benefits and drawbacks of buying new. Follow along below to learn more!

            Pros and Cons of Buying a New Home

            Buying a new home comes with a number of benefits. For instance, buying a new home can sometimes afford you the option to customize certain features. This is true in many cases for those who are purchasing, pre-sale homes. In addition to this, newer houses tend to be more energy efficient which can result in more savings over time. They also often come with modern amenities and they are lower maintenance. 

            Despite these benefits, newer homes do come at a higher cost compared to older properties. In addition, if you are buying a pre-sale home, there can be construction delays due to weather, supply chain issues, permitting, or other reasons. Furthermore, most new homes are located in unestablished neighbourhoods. This can mean dealing with ongoing construction or moving into a neighbourhood that doesn’t have a good sense of community. Finally, when moving into a new house you may need to pay for finishing costs. For example, completing the landscaping, finishing your basement, or paving your driveway. 

            Contact me Today About Comox Valley Houses!

            If you are interested in learning more about the pros and cons of buying new Comox Valley houses, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that you invest in the right property! For more information about real estate in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon. 

            property in Comox Valley

            Live in Your Home Before Renovating It

            Buying a new home is exciting. Depending on where you are on the property ladder, you may not be getting a move-in-ready property. Although it can be tempting to jump right in to transform your space, it’s not always a good idea to rip down walls as soon as you close the sale. Here are some reasons you should put down that sledgehammer and take your time instead.

            You’ll learn about your home and its pain points

            Whether you buy a total fixer-upper, an older home that needs minor updates, or a newly built place you want to personalize, it’s smart to play the waiting game before embarking on major renovations. It’s a good idea to live in the house for 12 months before starting renovations. This way you get to know the house and the property inside-out. It’s like buying a car: you always test drive a car to see if you like it. After living in your home and seeing how it functions during all four seasons, you’ll figure out your priorities. Maybe you’ll notice you need more lighting or realize you have plenty of storage and don’t need custom-made built-ins.

            You’ll have more time to plan your project

            The key to making smart home improvements is in the planning. Allow yourself the chance to meet with several architects, designers, and contractors without the rush to complete a project before you move in.
            More planning also helps you stick to a budget. You can ask questions, compare quotes, speak to references, and figure out what you really need. Working too quickly can lead to poor decision-making and doing things over. That can also mean you end up paying more.

            You’ll have a better grasp on your finances

            Living in your house before ripping it apart also lets you see what you can afford and what you can’t. You’ve been paying your mortgage and expenses for a while and getting used to homeownership. After paying out cash for your down payment, closing costs and moving expenses, it’s wise to get back on your feet financially before committing to anything else.

            Getting all the work done before you move in comes with huge costs. You could end up having to rent somewhere if there are delays in your renovations. Doing things slowly gives you and your savings account some breathing room.

            You’ll probably change your mind (a few times)

            You may have thought gutting the kitchen was your top priority when you first bought the house. Once you’ve lived in it, you might end up liking the older wood cabinets and decide to paint them instead of demolishing them. Or, you might see that having a finished basement with a family room and guest suite has become more important to you than redoing the bathroom. Your perspective will shift once you move into your home. Until you actually live there, it’s hard to know how your family will use each space. While test-driving your house, take note of which rooms you spend the most time in. See whether there’s something you want to do but can’t, such as entertaining outside or working out in a home gym.

            You’ll need a break

            Buying a home can take its toll. You’ve just gone from qualifying for a mortgage to house
            hunting, negotiating with sellers, and managing closing costs. The journey can be a stressful,
            exhausting one. You’ve also just finished packing and moving. You don’t need the headaches that can
            accompany a major remodelling project. Taking time to revive yourselves after purchasing your property can help you think more clearly. Then, when you’re ready, you can make the next set of big decisions such as picking what to renovate. Your REALTOR® can help guide you through these decisions and more, as you enjoy your new home.

            comox valley homes for sale

            Understanding Heating and Cooling Systems

            For most, the extent of our heating and cooling system knowledge is pretty basic. When it’s cold out, turn on the heat and when it’s hot, turn on the air conditioning. However, as homeowners, it’s important to know how these systems work, what maintenance is required, and when it’s time to look at updating your system.

            The basics of HVAC systems

            Your home’s temperature control system typically includes three basic components:

            1. a source of warm or cool air such as an air conditioner or furnace;
            2. a means of distributing the air throughout your home such as ducts or vents and
            3. a way to regulate the temperature, such as a thermostat. Fuel or energy is used to make the system run, everything from electricity to natural gas to propane. The whole system, including the air conditioner, heat pump, furnace, ductwork, filter, air quality products, etc., is also known as a Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system.

            How HVAC systems work

            With most heating systems, fuel or energy, such as electricity, gas, oil, or wood, is used to produce heat. This heat is distributed through your home via ducts or pipes depending on your system. Some systems (like a ductless heat pump) distribute the heated (or cooled) air directly. Traditional air conditioners have two components: an indoor coil and an outdoor condenser. These components absorb heat and humidity from within your home and move it outside to an outdoor unit. Refrigerant in your cooling system is key to this process. The refrigerant undergoes a transition from a gas to a liquid state, cooling warm when it comes into contact with the coils. Ventilation refers to things like air distribution (ductwork), exhaust, filtering, energy recovery, and the like. Most systems fall into one of these categories:

            1. Split systems: These are the most common systems – where there is one unit to heat air and another to cool it. The heating system is housed inside (usually in a basement) and the cooling system is placed outside. Hot and cold air is distributed throughout the home by ducts.
            1. Ductless systems: These systems have individual units that produce both hot and cold
              air for a specific room or zone. A unit is mounted indoors and is connected to an outdoor
              compressor.
            2. Hybrid systems: These systems are set up and function similarly to a split system. The
              the difference is they can switch between fuel sources (typically gas and electricity) to help
              maximize efficiency.

            Common heating and cooling systems

            1. Forced-air systems: These systems blow heated or cooled air through your home. A forced air system distributes heat produced by the furnace or the coolness produced by a central air conditioner through an electrically powered fan, called a blower. The blower forces the air through a system of ducts throughout your home. As the warm air from the furnace flows into the rooms, colder air in the rooms flows down through another set of ducts (the cold air return system), to the furnace to be warmed. Central air conditioning systems use the same forced-air system, including the blower, to distribute cool air and bring warmer air back to be cooled.
            2. Heat Pumps: A fuel-burning furnace is different from a heat pump in that it requires fuel to produce heat. A heat pump takes heat out of the air (even when it’s really cold), compresses it, and moves it to another location. In the winter, that means moving heat inside, and the reverse in the summer. Heat pumps can be used in a split system (and ducted) or there are ductless options.
            3. Geothermal heat pump: Where a traditional heat pump uses the outside air, a geothermal system uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth to transfer heat to and from your home through buried pipes (ground loops) to a heat pump.
            4. Boilers: A boiler heats water which is then distributed through the home through pipes via radiators or a coil in your ductwork. That is then distributed by an air handler. Boilers send cold water, hot water, or steam through pipes that run throughout your home.
            5. Radiant systems: Radiant systems are run by a boiler and distribute heat using a radiator. Water is heated up by the furnace and heat is distributed through pipes that are embedded in the walls, floors, or ceilings. Radiant systems can only be used for heating.

            HVAC Maintenance

            No matter what HVAC system you have, like most things in your home, they require regular maintenance. taking care of your system can reduce your energy bills, resulting in the need for fewer costly repairs, better air quality, and fewer system breakdowns. While it’s best to leave the maintenance of these systems to the pros, there are some things you can do to help extend their life:

            Maintenance checklist:

            ● replace air filters regularly (every 30 to 90 days);
            ● check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly
            ● inspect ducts for dust, mould, or debris and consider having them cleaned (especially if you have pets or after a reno);
            ● during and after a heavy snowfall, make sure your furnace’s exhaust vent isn’t obstructed;
            ● remove any debris from around your outside HVAC unit and clutter from the indoor unit;
            ● ensure your outdoor HVAC unit is level;
            ● ensure your thermostat is calibrated to your comfort preferences and monitor your energy bills accordingly;
            ● check the batteries in your thermostat at least once a year; and
            ● Schedule regular HVAC maintenance with a trusted professional.

            Signs your heating or cooling system needs to be replaced

            The average lifespan of an HVAC system varies – typically anywhere from 10 to 25 years. Some
            symptoms that may suggest it’s time for a replacement include:

            • It’s unreliable and needs frequent repairs;
            • it’s old;
            • it runs constantly;
            • some rooms or zones in your home are not heating or cooling properly;
            • air quality in your home is noticeably poor, such as excessive dust, high humidity, or the presence of a mouldy odour; and/or your energy bills have been increasing unexpectedly;

            An outdated heating or cooling system won’t be as effective or energy efficient and can cost you more money compared to the cost of a new system. The cost of a new HVAC system depends on many factors, including the type of unit you’re installing if new ducts are required, labour requirements, the size of your home, the number of floors and bedrooms and bathrooms, and weather. Understanding the heating and cooling system you have, as well as how to maintain it, is a key component of homeownership. After all, an HVAC system that runs smoothly means comfort no matter the season!

            courtenay-houses-for-sale

            Prepping Courtenay Houses for Sale for an Open House

            Open houses are a great way to attract buyers to your listing. Many agents use an open house as part of their selling strategy to draw attention to your property. But, before you host an open house, it is essential to prepare your home. In today’s market, buyers expect that Courtenay houses for sale are as close to perfect as sellers can make them. Unfortunately, prepping for an open house is not an overnight task. Instead, you’ll want to begin at least one month in advance to ensure the best results and the least amount of stress. In this article, I will be going over some of my top tips for preparing Courtenay houses for sale. 

            How to Get Courtenay Houses for Sale Open House Ready?

            1. Fix the Red Flags

            In order to have the most successful open house, it is important that your home is in working order. A broken HVAC unit, leaky faucets, mould problems and other red flags can quickly deter potential buyers. In addition to fixing your home’s problems, you will want to ensure that your home is ready to be toured. This means adding a fresh coat of paint where needed, fixing holes in the wall, cutting the grass, tidying the yard, etc. 

            1. Clean + Declutter

            Just like preparing for listing photos or showing it is crucial that you clean and declutter before hosting an open house. Make sure your counters are empty, try and minimize what’s in your closet, and deep clean every crack and crevice in your home.  

            1. Stay Away From the Property (Pets Too)

            Come open house day, it is very important that you stay away from the property. The last thing buyers want is to meet the seller when they are trying to get an objective opinion on the house. You’ll also want to ensure that you take your pets with you. Not everyone likes animals and having them can be a red flag for some folks.  

            If you are looking for more ways to prepare Courtenay houses for sale for an open house, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that your home is as ready as can be! For more information about properties in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon. 

            home for sale in Comox Valley

            Credit Scores: What Are They and What Affects Them?

            Much like your income and down payment, your individual credit score is a major financial component of qualifying for a mortgage.

            Your credit score will be one of the main criteria lenders will examine when you apply for a mortgage. It’s important to ensure your score is in good standing before embarking on the home purchase process. But what exactly is a credit score, and what sets a good score apart from a bad one?

            Frances Hinojosa, CEO, co-founder, and principal mortgage broker at Tribe Financial Group, explains what you should know about credit scores and what factors influence them.

            What is a credit score, and why is it important?

            In simple terms, a credit score is an evaluation of how you maintain and utilize credit. This includes how you handle credit cards, loans, mortgages, and other credit facilities.

            Hinojosa says many people don’t realize their credit score is one of the biggest indicators when it comes to the mortgage qualification process. It could impact the interest rate you receive for your mortgage.

            “That’s one of the very first things a bank or a mortgage broker would consider or would look at,”
            she explains. “It’s equally as important as your income or affordability of paying a mortgage.”

            A score of 680 and above is the sweet spot that will give you access to most products. Anything
            less than this might limit your options. If you have a score of 600 or less, you may be looking at higher risk-based pricing on your mortgage and interest rate offerings. Your credit score is determined by a number of factors: your credit payment history, the amount of credit you have available, and how long you’ve had it. Having a healthy credit score demonstrates to a lender you can meet your payment commitments over time.

            “It shows the consumer is responsible and has a track record of owning up to their obligations
            and paying as agreed,” said Hinojosa. “That also plays into risk-based pricing on the actual
            mortgages, as well.”

            What factors determine my credit score?

            There are a handful of indicators that play a role in shaping your credit score, according to Hinojosa. One of the most influential factors is your payment history, which includes making sure you pay your debts on time. Thirty-five percent of your credit score is based on payment history. If you can’t pay off your credit card in full, Hinojosa recommends making at least the minimum payment by the due date to keep your score in good shape. Having a public record of being in collections or bankruptcy may also impact your credit score.

            Another factor is how you use your credit. You’ll want to avoid charging up to the maximum amount or upper limits of your credit card. Hinojosa suggests keeping your credit charges to around 30% of your limit each month.

            Thirdly, your credit score is influenced by how much credit you have available. Occasionally,
            Hinojosa sees consumers who don’t have any credit, or those who believe using credit is a bad
            thing. However, having a history of varied credit use, such as a couple of credit cards and a car
            loan, proves you have a history of making payments. How long you’ve had access to credit is also important. The more time you’ve had a credit history, the better. Hinojosa compared this to car insurance.

            “Usually when you’re a new driver, it’s a bit more expensive. Whereas if you have a good driving
            history, the longer the good driving history, the lower your insurance premium,” she explained. “It’s very much the same when it comes to credit. The longer you show a history of repeating
            good credit, the better it will be for your credit score.”

            Finally, making an inquiry on your credit accounts for 10% of your overall score. Some
            consumers tend to get concerned when they’re shopping for a mortgage that they’re going to
            take a hit on their credit score. Hinojosa says consumers shouldn’t be overly concerned if a
            lender is making an inquiry as part of the mortgage process. On the other hand, you may not want to apply for many types of credit all at once, as this will result in multiple back-to-back inquiries.

            “If you already have excellent credit, let’s say 720, [at] 10% of that, it’s only going to impact your
            score by seven points,” she said. “It’s not going to put you from an excellent category to a bad
            category. It’s probably the least of the indicators to worry about in the overall impact of your
            credit score.”

            How can I improve my credit score?

            If you’re planning to buy a home in the future, but aren’t sure how your credit score stacks up, making inquiries in advance with a mortgage professional can be helpful. This way you can find solutions for tweaking your credit score. Home buyers may need to address items in collections, pay down their credit limits, or make other changes to bump up their scores. There are always solutions to every situation. If you’re thinking about financing a home, don’t be afraid to have a conversation and start the process. It’s all about sitting down with a mortgage professional who can map it out for you. It can take time to improve your credit.

            Hinojosa explains credit is reported on a month-by-month basis. It may take a few cycles or more to get your score where you want it to be. In cases where a home buyer needs to secure a mortgage quickly with their current credit score, a mortgage professional can explore different options. If you don’t have time to tweak that credit score, you may have to look at an alternative type of lender which might come with a slightly higher interest rate. It would still be affordable with your cash flow. It’s a stepping stone that will get you over to a traditional bank in a year or two.

            suite in Comox Valley

            Oh, So Suite

            Housing prices are near record levels and interest rates are on the rise. It is hardly surprising many buyers have and will continue to turn to “mortgage helpers” or secondary suites. This is a way to supplement their income or increase their purchasing power.

            According to a May 2023 article from Statistics Canada1, British Columbia has, by far, the most “investor-occupants” in comparison with other provinces. This is a term which refers to a homeowner
            who rents out a unit on a property that is also their primary residence. Many buyers will include a mortgage helper on their must-have list alongside an open-concept kitchen.

            Properties with income potential likely enjoy a distinct advantage in the marketplace. REALTORS® and their clients should keep in mind that the legality of any secondary suite can present unique challenges and risks for both.

            Legal or Not Legal, That Is The Question

            A secondary suite is a self-contained dwelling unit with its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping accommodation. Typically it is within a larger single-family home. Sometimes it is an auxiliary self-contained building, such as a carriage house.

            While bylaws differ from municipality to municipality, a secondary suite is only “legal” if it was created with a building permit. It must meet all zoning, health and safety, electrical, and fire standards.

            The Serious Implications of Legality

            There is a shortage of official statistics as to what percentage of all secondary suites in British Columbia are legal. The reality is that illegal suites are common and are often tenanted without serious
            incident.

            And while enforcement policies against illegal suites vary, many municipalities take a largely complaint-driven approach. They do not actively seek out illegal suites. Yet, if a municipality receives a complaint and discovers the operation of an illegal suite they may act on it.

            The potential consequences can be both expensive and time-consuming for homeowners. In addition to hefty fines, municipalities can require homeowners to bring the secondary suite into compliance with all applicable bylaws and standards. They can also require the owner to remove the secondary suite altogether.

            Municipalities also have the power to file a Notice on Title for an illegal secondary suite. This would alert potential buyers of a breach of government by-laws or regulations.

            Claims Against REALTORS®

            With such significant potential consequences for homeowners, it is not surprising that the legality of secondary suites is a consistent hotspot. Indeed, there are many regulatory and court decisions
            regarding illegal secondary suites.

            Buyers, sellers and realtors should be careful when dealing with suites. An illegal suite can help reduce mortgage payments for a buyer but could create a host of other issues in some instances. A buyer may be relying on that unauthorized accommodation for income.

            Sellers should not imply a secondary suite is legal and can be rented legally unless they know it is. This means it has permits and meets all other requirements.

            Do not make assumptions. If there is any doubt, confirm with the relevant municipality the legality of any secondary suite.

            The risks are equally present for REALTORS®. A buyer relying on unauthorized accommodation for rental income could be extremely problematic. The buyer should know the potential consequences. Along with the loss of income in discontinuing the rental, this could affect the ability to make mortgage payments.

            A special note regarding co-ownership

            According to Statistics Canada, there is a high prevalence of buyers who seek to purchase real property in groups of three or more in British Columbia.

            Buyers wishing to enter into a collective-housing arrangement should get independent legal and financing advice.

            When it comes to secondary suites, however, if a group of buyers intend to occupy an illegal suite as part of a collective-housing arrangement, they should know of the associated risks. This includes the risk that the municipality may require the illegal suite to be removed. Similarly, they should know some municipalities may have bylaws restricting the number of maximum occupants in any given property.

            Where necessary, it may be prudent to confirm with the appropriate authorities that their intended living arrangements comply with the applicable bylaws and regulations.

            comox valley property

            7 WAYS TO SET UP YOUR YARD FOR SENSATIONAL SUMMER FUN

            Your family backyard is the ideal location to create a summer full of memories for you, your family, and your community. Easy to access? Check. Affordable? You bet. Able to accommodate all sorts of activities? Absolutely.

            Your backyard’s potential is really only limited by your imagination and willingness to roll up your sleeves to create a sensational space for summer enjoyment. We’ve all been taking our indoor lives out into the green space around us over the past few years. Now is a great time to turn your yard into the ideal outdoor summer room. Many homeowners who have a yard say the family yard space is one of the most important parts of their home.

            Here are seven ideas to turn an ordinary yard into a summer oasis for fun and relaxation:

            ● Give your yard a facelift.

            The first step to establishing a summer fun zone is to work with what you have. Clean out flower beds, clear the yard of debris, spread a fresh layer of mulch around trees and bushes, and keep the grass mowed. See what trees, shrubs and plants might be good to add. Use outdoor power equipment to make even big jobs easier. Use a pole trimmer for pruning trees, a leaf blower to tidy your flower beds, a riding mower for big lawns, or a hedge trimmer for your bushes.

            ● List all the fun you want to have outside.

            Identify activity zones for games, entertainment and relaxation. Can your lawn lure your kids away from their screens and into the great outdoors? Consider things like soccer, bocce ball, croquet, or a giant checkers board game. Do you have a patio table or deck where family game nights can be held? Have a swimming pool where you can plan a “dive in” movie night? Invite your neighbours to bring their favourite pool float. You can even plan a memorable family staycation in your own backyard with camping, parties and more. Get your children to buy in by involving them in the planning.

            ● Bring learning outdoors.

            Just because school is out doesn’t mean learning should end. Avoid the “summer slide” by setting up an area for outdoor learning. Create a space under a shade tree where your kids can read. Create games and do experiments outdoors. Teach kids that the activities can be so fun they will never know they’re learning.

            ● Don’t forget Fido.

            Pets are part of the family, too. Think about what backyard improvements you can make to ensure they fully enjoy the dog days of summer. Add a water feature for them to cool off. Plant some bushes for napping in the shade. Use a row of hedges to separate their “business” spot from the rest of the backyard activity areas. Just remember when planting to check a list of toxic and non-toxic plants.

            ● Make the outdoors as inviting as the indoors.

            Think about ways to make your outdoor living area just as comfortable as your indoor spaces. String lights add a warm glow. A fire pit is great for toasting marshmallows. A new deck or hardscaping could be just the thing to take your backyard oasis from boring to brilliant.

            ● Consider the good you’re doing.

            Whether putting in a vegetable garden, planting pollinator-supporting shrubs and flowers, or creating activity zones, your family yard can do a lot. A grassy area is not only a field for play. It’s also an excellent carbon-capturing and oxygen-producing space. Planting shrubs and flowering plants feeds our birds, bees, and butterflies. A leafy tree is a perfect perch for a relaxing swing in a hammock. It provides shade to combat the heat, produces oxygen and captures carbon. A garden where you can grow some of the food your family will enjoy this summer gets you digging in the dirt. This is proven to be good for our immune systems and happiness.

            ● Put safety first.

            When working outdoors, always remember not to have children or pets around while operating outdoor power equipment.

            real estate in Comox Valley

            The Difference Between Being Pre-Qualified and Pre-Approved

            After eight successive rate hikes, the Bank of Canada held its benchmark policy rate steady to 4.5% in March 2023. Since then there has been another increase and might be more. As a result, some Canadians may be ready to reassess their home-buying plans. This might require some mortgage shopping.

            Pre-qualification and pre-approval are common terms you’ll hear in the mortgage space. Both options can be a helpful first step toward securing a mortgage loan. There are some distinctions between mortgage pre-qualification and mortgage pre-approval that are critical for borrowers to note.

            What is a mortgage pre-qualification?

            Pre-qualification can be a preemptive step in the home-buying process. It is meant to help borrowers get a feel for the loan amount they might be able to secure. It’s typically a brief process that involves going over the borrower’s financial situation.

            Pre-qualification is a very casual calculation. It is usually verbal. There is no application, and no third party is checking it. The lender may perform what’s called a “soft credit inquiry”, which does not affect the borrower’s credit score. Since it’s simply a rough estimate, pre-qualification doesn’t guarantee the borrower will be approved for the loan amount quoted down the line.

            What is a mortgage pre-approval?

            Pre-approval is a much more formal and lengthy process. It requires a comprehensive review of income, debts, and assets. Unlike pre-qualification, it calls for a “hard credit inquiry,” so it can temporarily lower your credit score. It’s a full-fledged mortgage application. You will be taking in to your bank all your documentation, ie pay stubs, and savings account statements. The bank will pre-approve you for a loan amount. The approval is usually good for three or four months.

            Which option is right for you?

            Generally speaking, it’s best to go the pre-approval route if you are serious about your home-buying plans. Getting pre-approved can give buyers an advantage in a competitive housing market. As well, it allows borrowers to lock in a more desirable loan amount in an uncertain rate environment. That said, there are circumstances in which pre-qualification is the better option:

            ● If the borrower is simply sizing up their options
            ● If the borrower isn’t planning to purchase for a number of months, or
            ● If the borrower has concerns about their credit score.

            In any case, whether you opt for pre-qualification or pre-approval, prospective home buyers should work with an expert to assess which option—pre-qualification or pre-approval—is right for them. On a cautionary note, borrowers shouldn’t hold information back when dealing with a mortgage broker. Buying a home is a big transaction. It is important to give as much information as you can to your lender. In the end, it will give you a better result.

            comox valley houses

            Ready to Sell? My Home is Priceless

            After years of taking care of your home, you are ready to sell. You may have made some minor home improvements. Maybe you even completed a major renovation. The trouble is, you think your home is worth more than the experts are saying. According to a company that establishes residential and commercial property values, many homeowners overestimate its value. RPS Real Property Solutions says a full 26% of homeowners think their property is worth more than it really is. In addition, they expect to achieve more than 10% of the actual appraised value. It is understandable. You may be watching home prices go up in your neighbourhood. Everyone wants to get the most for their largest asset. Something else that happens is you have an emotional bias toward your own property. Many homeowners think their house is worth more than it is.

            Why is the appraised value lower than expected?

            Many of us convert the sentimental value of cherished memories in our homes into monetary value. The pride we feel for our homes does not translate to actual dollar value. The charm of a cozy kitchen spent sharing meals with loved ones can be seen as too small or too dark for prospective homebuyers.

            What is the post-renovation value of my home?

            Another reason for overestimating a home’s price point is the value homeowners attribute to renovations they have made. You may have watched the end of a home makeover show on TV. The homeowner often
            finds that their home is worth more than the pre-renovation value and the cost of the renovation combined. That is not always the case. It’s true that your investment does increase the value of your home, but it may not be as much as you think.

            Where does that leave home sellers?

            Caution and preparation are recommended approaches to take for anyone looking to sell and buy. Often, home sellers rely on the value of the home they are selling to support financing the home they are looking to buy. In such cases, if the home you are selling will not sell for the amount you thought, you will have a financing gap. Before you are left scrambling, work closely with your real estate agent and your lender or mortgage professional. Explore different scenarios and your options to achieve the desired outcome.

            houses-in-courtenay

            How to Reduce Humidity in Houses in Courtenay During The Summer?

            During the summer, our homes can become a lot more humid than in cooler seasons like winter and fall. This is because hot air holds more moisture. If your home has high humidity, you can start to notice all sorts of problems. For instance, trouble sleeping, musty odours, sticky surfaces, and in the worst-case scenario, mould. In order to keep humidity within a normal range, there are a few things you can do. In this article, I will be sharing my top tips for keeping your home less humid. Follow along below to learn more!

            Combat Humdity in Houses in Courtenay With These Tips!

            1. Use Your A/C

            Although air conditioners can be expensive to use, they work wonders for getting rid of humidity. Air conditioning units help reduce humid air indoors by replacing the warm air with cooler air. You can keep your home less humid by turning on your air conditioner every now and then during the summer. 

            1. Don’t Forget to Turn on the Fan!

            There is a reason why bathrooms and kitchens have ventilation fans. If you want to keep your home from getting overly moist, it is important that you use these fans when showering or cooking. You can even keep them on a little longer to help reduce indoor humidity. 

            1. Invest in a Dehumidifier

            Another great way to say goodbye to humid air is by using a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are specially designed to fight moisture. They are also a great way to help reduce cooling costs during the summer since they do such a good job of keeping humidity levels low. 

            Contact me Today

            Keeping cool during the summer is a must. Especially when you are living in a place that is naturally humid. If you are looking for more ways to reduce humidity in houses in Courtenay, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you make sure that your home is as comfortable as can be! For more information about properties in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon. 

            comox interest rate hikes

            Effect of Latest Interest Rate Hike: Housing market activity will soften, but home prices are not likely to go down

            Canadians continue to grapple with the increased cost of living. The Bank
            of Canada’s latest hike to interest rates on July 12 will add more pressure to
            variable rate mortgage holders. It will also make it more difficult for those
            looking to qualify for lending.

            Buyers who have secured a rate hold are anxious to make a purchase
            before it expires.

            Some sellers have hit the pause button on listing their
            homes until economic conditions stabilize. This will further contribute to a
            lack of available inventory. Additional demand pressures will ensure that
            home prices remain stable through an expected decline in sales activity in
            the coming months.

            “The Canadian real estate market has been in a steady state of recovery
            since the start of the year. While these additional interest rate hikes, and
            those potentially to come, will likely put a damper on activity and sales
            volumes, demand for housing remains very strong,” said Phil Soper,
            president and CEO of Royal LePage. ”We expect the rate of appreciation to
            moderate through the second half of 2023, causing home prices to level
            off or increase marginally.”

            What do the experts say?

            Royal LePage is forecasting that the aggregate price of a home in Canada
            will increase 8.5% in the fourth quarter of 2023, compared to the same
            quarter last year. The previous forecast has been revised upward to reflect
            strong activity and price appreciation in the first half of the year.

            According to the Royal LePage House Price Survey released in mid July,
            the aggregate price of a home in Canada decreased modestly by 0.7%
            year-over-year to $809,200 in the second quarter of 2023. The indication
            here is that nationally, the real estate market is close to the point where it
            will have recovered fully from 2022’s post-pandemic market correction.

            Aggregate price of a home in Canada rose 4.0% in Q2

            On a quarter-over-quarter basis, the aggregate price of a home in Canada
            rose 4.0% in Q2. This was the second consecutive quarter to show
            positive growth. As a result of the Bank of Canada’s aggressive interest
            rate hike campaign, there has been a decline in prices over the last year.
            Interest rates began rising in March of 2022.

            “The Bank of Canada’s prolonged series of interest rate hikes has changed
            where and how people live. It has pushed some buyer hopefuls to choose
            less expensive housing types or neighbourhoods. Others have chosen to
            relocate to more affordable markets across their province or across the
            country.

            And, some buyers have been pushed to the sidelines indefinitely,”
            Soper continued. “Economic uncertainty has caused some potential
            sellers to reevaluate their plans as well. The worry that they will be unable
            to find the move-up home they need in today’s tight market is a major concern.

            Further, there are those who secured fixed-rate mortgages at
            generational lows of two percent or even less, who are understandably
            reluctant to wade back into a market with substantially higher borrowing
            costs. Fewer sellers mean fewer listings, which adds further pressure to
            our chronic shortage of inventory. Access to affordable housing in Canada
            will continue to be a major social issue.”

            Second quarter press release highlights:

            ● Aggregate price of a home in Canada in Q2 2023 sits at just 5.6%
            below the peak reached in Q1 of last year
            ● 94% of regions in the report posted quarterly aggregate home price
            appreciation
            ● Chronic shortage of housing supply, due in part to sellers’ hesitancy
            to list, continues to put upward pressure on home prices
            ● Royal LePage urges officials to quickly increase support for more
            development, including affordable, purpose-built rental buildings

            comox valley real estate

            Strata Depreciation Reports

            More than 1.5 million British Columbians currently live in strata housing. There are commercial, industrial and mixed-use stratas in BC. It’s important to understand a tool in assessing the condition of a strata property: the depreciation report.

            What is a Strata Depreciation Report?

            A strata depreciation report is a 30-year projection. It consists of thorough written and illustrated physical assessments of the condition of all components of a strata property. Sometimes called a Reserve Fund Study, it identifies current and future issues that need to be addressed and their associated cost estimates. Even though it is improbable to accurately assess costs in the future, it provides a road map for strata corporations to follow.

            According to provincial regulations, a depreciation report must include an inventory and evaluation of the building:

            ● structure,
            ● exterior (such as roofs, roof decks, doors, windows and
            skylights),
            ● systems (such as electrical, heating, plumbing, fire
            protection and security),
            ● common amenities (such as fitness room, pool, bike lockers
            etc).

            Collectively, the items listed above are known as common property. They are parts of the strata that are shared by all owners of individual units.

            Why is a Strata Depreciation Report important?

            A strata depreciation report helps strata corporations plan for repair, replacement and renewal of common property and assets. It is especially important for those that require a considerable outlay of
            money, such as roofs, windows, elevators, roads or utilities.

            They are also an important part of a buyer’s due diligence. They provide insight into future repair and maintenance needs and associated costs. Buyers should thoroughly review strata depreciation reports. If warranted, they could seek legal or other expert advice before making a buying decision.

            Buyers should also understand that the depreciation report covers common property. It does not cover the owners’ individual units. Buyers should still have an inspection for the specific unit being considered.

            What isn’t covered in a Strata Depreciation Report?

            Depreciation reports don’t normally cover every item in/on the common property or routine repairs and maintenance. Buyers should still do their own due diligence. This can be done by having the property inspected. Other strata documents to request for additional information: bylaws, rules, regulations, meeting minutes, strata plans, and summary of insurance coverages. These are in addition to the depreciation report.

            Are Strata Depreciation Reports mandatory in BC?

            Under British Columbia’s Strata Property Act and Regulations, strata corporations must obtain a depreciation report unless the strata consists of fewer than five strata lots. The Regulations also require the report to be updated every three years.

            Can Strata Corporations opt out?

            Strata corporations in BC can waive the requirement to obtain one or defer the renewal of one. To do this, three-quarters of the owners must pass an annual vote in favour. Voting to waive a depreciation report could be a mistake over time. Long-term costs of unanticipated repairs and maintenance needs can serve to outweigh short-term savings gained from opting out. In addition, prospective buyers may be reluctant to invest in stratas that don’t have a long-range maintenance plan in place. Another possibility is that lenders and insurers may consider stratas without depreciation reports greater risks.

            real estate in Comox Valley

            When to Increase Your Buying Budget

            When you set a budget for a new home, you’re hoping to find the ideal property within that price range. You may even be expecting to be able to purchase within that range. But, it doesn’t always work out that way. In fact, there are many circumstances in which you might have to rethink or possibly increase your budget to get the home you want.

            For example, you might find that properties in neighbourhoods you’re targeting are selling for more than you expected. If that is the case, you might have to look for a home in a different area. You also may have to see if you can bump up your budget. Another scenario that often comes up is a changing wish list. You may view a few homes for sale and realize that a particular feature is more important to you than you initially thought. You might have budgeted for a three-bedroom home. Once you’ve seen a few properties with four, you think you definitely want four bedrooms! To get that fourth bedroom, you may have to increase what you spend.

            Finally, you might find that you view a property and fall in love with the place. It’s perfect. It has everything you need. You’ve got to have that home! The problem is, its price is outside your budget. If this happens, you’ll need to weigh the pros and cons. Is it worth paying a bit more to get a home that will have a significant and positive impact on your lifestyle and happiness? As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when shopping for a home and trying to stay within a budget. Let me help you navigate through the process.

            Painting Tips: Get the Job Done Faster

            Unless painting a room is a passion, you probably want to finish the task as soon as
            possible. You still want to do a quality job though and you want to be efficient.
            Here are some tips for doing just that:

            ● One-coat paints. Having to do a second coat is time-consuming. Fortunately,
            there are several “one coat” paints that can get the job done. They don’t work for
            every type of project. But, if your walls are in good condition and you’re not
            dramatically changing the underlying colour, a one-coat paint is worth
            considering.

            ● Leverage various-sized rollers. Most people use rollers for the main wall surface
            and switch to brushes for the tight areas. Instead of a brush, try a smaller roller.
            That can speed up the painting considerably.

            ● Use quality brushes and rollers. Cheap brushes tend to not hold paint evenly and
            can also shed fibres. Then you have to pick them off the painted surface. Good
            quality brushes and rollers may cost a little more, but the paint will be applied
            more smoothly and evenly. This will save you time.

            ● Wear your painter’s tape. When running painter’s tape to prep a room, wear the
            roll on your wrist. That way, you won’t constantly be reaching for it.

            ● Wrap rollers and brushes in plastic. For longer painting jobs, wrap rollers and
            brushes that are not in use in plastic wrap or baggies. Not a special type of
            plastic, just wrap or a baggy you use every day That will keep the brushes and
            rollers wet while you take a break.

            ● Start in the middle. Most people start at the end of a wall and work their way to
            the center. You’ll paint faster if you do the opposite. In addition, you’ll avoid
            applying too much paint in the corners. People are apt to use too much when
            they start there.

            Want more tips for preparing your home for sale? Call me.

            Courtenay Real estate

            Signs That You Should Buy Comox Houses for Sale

            Knowing when to look at purchasing a home is almost as important as having the finances to do it. Especially, given the current cost of living in Canada. There are so many different reasons that people choose to buy Comox houses for sale—whether you’re a first-time buyer or simply looking to downsize. When it comes to timing, there is no such thing as perfect. However, there are some signs that might tip you off that it’s time to buy a new home. In this article, I will be going over all of the reasons that you should invest in Comox houses for sale. Follow along below to learn more!

            Comox Houses for Sale: Signs to Buy

            1. Say Goodbye to Rent

            If you’re eager to stop paying rent and start putting money towards a mortgage of your own, this is usually a good sign that it is time to buy. Many people begin by renting a home because it is easier, usually cheaper, and requires less time. If you have the financial freedom to buy a home, this is a good sign to start working towards purchasing. 

            1. Growing Pains

            Another reason that people choose to buy a home, is because they have kids on the way. If your starter home is beginning to feel a little cramped, it might be time to upsize to accommodate your growing family. A bigger property and house will provide your family with the space they need to grow. Be sure to factor in how your children will impact your financial stability as you work towards buying a new home.

            1. Your Kids Have Fled the Nest

            Finally, if your children are all moved out and off to college, it might be a good time to start thinking about downsizing. An empty home can be a lot of work without your kids around to help with daily chores and maintenance. Besides, as you grow older the hassle of maintaining your home will likely grow. Because of this, it is ideal to consider buying something smaller like an apartment or condo. 

            Contact me Today!

            Knowing when to buy a home is incredibly important in achieving your real estate goals. After all, it can save you from investing in a home when you aren’t ready yet. If you are looking for more signs to buy Comox houses for sale, contact me today! I’d be happy to help you during the buying process. For more information about properties in the area, stay tuned to my blog. And, check out my social media for the latest updates and more. I look forward to working with you soon. 

            Should You Worry about Competing Listings?

            Imagine, you’ve been waiting for the right moment to sell your home. You’re finally ready
            to pull the trigger and list it. Just as you’re about to put up the sign, you notice that a few
            other FOR SALE signs have unexpectedly popped up in the neighbourhood.

            Oh no! Now there are competing listings. Does that mean you should put your plan to
            sell your property on hold? Not necessarily.

            Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Competing Listings

            Just because comparable homes are for sale in the area doesn’t mean it’s not a good
            time to make your move. In fact, even if there is a sharp increase in local listings, active
            buyers might still outnumber properties available. In that scenario, you’d likely get
            several interested buyers.

            Even in the case of a buyer’s market, now might still be the ideal time to sell. Don’t
            forget, your home might have desirable features that some buyers are eagerly looking
            for. That would give your home an advantage over others on the market.

            In addition, a large part of a successful sale is in how a property is marketed and
            promoted. With effective marketing, your home is more likely to be noticed by the right
            type of buyers. That means buyers who are actively looking for a property like yours.
            You never know when they will come along. If you are not on the market, they will not
            see what you have to offer.

            So waiting for the perfect moment to sell your home rarely makes sense. In most cases,
            the best time to list is when you are ready. That probably means now if you have been
            thinking about it and trying to time it right.

            That being said, it is helpful to find out exactly what to expect should you list your
            property in today’s market. To find that out, call today.

            How to Pack for a Move

            You never thought you owned a lot of stuff before. Now you have to move and you’re
            not sure where to begin. It probably feels like too daunting a task to get everything done
            by your completion date.

            How are you supposed to pack it all up in time?

            Take a deep breath. With the right packing tips, you can have everything out before the
            deadline and keep your sanity.

            This guide will show you how to pack for a move when you don’t have a lot of time to
            spare, so keep reading.

            Rent a Moveable Storage Container

            Packing for a move is much easier if you can take the boxes out of your house and load
            them up in a storage container as you go. This will help you save precious time.
            You won’t have to rent a truck or a moving team to transport all your belongings to a
            self-storage facility. In this way, you’re cutting out travel time to and from the unit. That
            can take up a lot of time.

            A portable storage container will also take all your belongings to your doorstep. This
            means you won’t have to make several more trips to unload everything from storage
            when you get to your new home.

            While this isn’t the right fit for everyone during a move, it can make the entire process
            less overwhelming.

            Don’t Do It Alone

            Trying to pack up your entire house on your own is a massive chore, especially if you’re
            in a time crunch. Everything will be much more manageable if you have help.
            Hiring a moving team is a smart choice for many homeowners. However, you won’t
            have to if you can call on your friends and family and ask them for a favour. Set up a
            packing day where you treat them to a meal after a day of work. You can always return
            the favour when they need it.

            Write a To-Do List (And Stick to It!)

            Thinking about all the chores you have to do to prepare for a move can be
            overwhelming. It’s easy to get distracted and overthink it. Then you may end up not
            able to finish anything on time.

            Don’t let yourself get carried away.

            Instead, write a to-do list that includes everything you need to get done before you
            leave. Focus on one step at a time. Tackling small tasks one at a time will keep you on
            track and speed up the process.

            Sort as You Pack

            Keeping things you don’t need will take up space in your storage container or moving
            truck. This means you’ll have to pay extra money for more space and spend more time
            moving useless boxes.

            You should try to get rid of as many items as possible while you’re packing.
            Don’t let go of anything you’ll regret though.

            Saving space and money is important, but it’s not worth losing precious keepsakes. If
            you’re having trouble deciding whether or not you should let something go, keep it for
            now. You can always get rid of it later when you have more time to think about it.

            Throwing things away too quickly could bring about a lot of heartache. It will defeat the
            purpose if you have to buy new replacements later.

            Label EVERYTHING

            Do your best to write a list of everything you put inside a box. Tape this list to the
            outside so you know where to find things when you’re unpacking. If you can, label every
            box with a room, such as “kitchen,” “bathroom,” “primary bedroom,” “laundry room,” etc.
            This will make it easier to put every box in the right room. It will also reduce your risk of
            losing anything during the move.

            If you need to be out of your house quickly, you might not have time for such organized
            packing. In this case, do your best to just get everything in a box. Though it will be
            harder, you can sort it all out again later.

            Pack a To-Go Bag

            As you pack for a move, you should always load a to-go bag with some basic
            essentials. Keep it with you during your travels. The storage container you rented might
            get delayed (unlikely). The moving team might not show up at your new home on the
            same day as you. A to-go bag will ensure you have enough with you to survive a day or
            two without your belongings.

            Here’s what you should pack in your bag:

            ● Wallet
            ● Keys
            ● Medications
            ● Important paperwork (such as your SSN, birth certificate, passport, etc.)
            ● Phone charger
            ● Toiletries
            ● Change of clothes
            ● Roll of toilet paper
            ● Food and water
            ● Pet supplies (if necessary)
            ● Kid supplies (if necessary)
            ● Bedding (if you have space)
            If you have any expensive jewelry or other belongings, you should keep these with you.
            It’s a good idea to pack valuables in your to-go bag to ensure they don’t get lost or
            damaged during the move.

            How to Pack for a Move When You Have No Time

            There are a lot of steps involved with a move. Figuring out how to pack up your home is
            one of the hardest. It takes up a lot of time. If you aren’t careful you could end up losing
            or breaking things along the way.

            5 Kitchen Items Homebuyers Never Regret

            You’re searching for a new home and would like an amazing kitchen. You are putting together
            a wish list of features you want in the house and in this space.

            You may worry that you are being a bit too particular but don’t. According to some, the two
            rooms most scrutinized by buyers are the kitchen and the ensuite in the primary bedroom.

            This makes sense because the kitchen is usually considered the heart of the home. From
            family dinners to the place where people congregate at a party, this room will get a ton of use.
            It’s not uncommon for people to purchase a home and begin a kitchen renovation right away.
            However, that may not be a project you want to take on. This makes sense. Buying a home is
            expensive and a major kitchen remodel can also be expensive.

            You may be willing to pay extra for a home with a kitchen that already has many of the things
            on your list. Instead of settling for a good kitchen that’s not your dream and having to budget
            and plan for future upgrades, you’d like to move right into pure luxury.

            Here are five items you would like to have in your ideal kitchen and you may not regret adding
            them to your list.

            Smart Refrigerators

            While they can be expensive, smart refrigerators can serve as the ultimate
            convenience.

            These fridges come with features like voice control and sensors that detect when food
            needs to be replaced. They also have temperature monitors so you can make sure your
            food is always stored safely. Smart refrigerators also come with different types of
            storage options, such as deep freezer drawers, adjustable shelves and more.

            Farmhouse Sinks

            Farmhouse sinks are a stylish addition to any kitchen and they come in a variety of
            styles and materials.

            Since they’re larger than traditional sinks, you’re able to fit more dishes into the basin.
            That is a bonus if you don’t want to have to wash each dirty dish immediately.

            They also come with a style that adds character to your kitchen. Not only that, but
            farmhouse sinks are usually deeper than regular sinks and have more rounded corners
            for easier clean-up.

            High-End Appliances

            Refrigerators with dual cooling systems, induction ranges and ovens that have Wi-Fi
            connectivity, these high-end appliances can really bring your kitchen into the 21st
            century. They can also add a sense of luxury and sophistication to the kitchen. This
            makes it the perfect place to entertain guests and family alike.

            Chic and savvy, high-end appliances can essentially upgrade a kitchen without
            remodelling the entire space. It’s possible you’ll find houses with newer high-end kitchen
            appliances though the space is a bit on the older side.

            Built-In Storage

            A great way to maximize your kitchen space, built-in storage is a major win.

            Having shelves and drawers that are integrated into the cabinetry makes it easy to
            organize everything from ingredients to cookware. Not only does built-in storage add
            convenience, but it also looks great. It can really enhance your kitchen’s overall
            aesthetic.

            Kitchen Island

            There’s no such thing as having too much space in a kitchen. An island is something
            worth putting on your must-have list.

            With an island, you can keep all of your ingredients organized in one place. You can
            also have a designated spot for prep work. Kitchen islands come in different styles and
            finishes so you can find one that looks perfect.

            It’s easy to get caught up in an otherwise great home with a mediocre kitchen. Just
            remember, this is a space you’re going to be spending a lot of time in for years to come.

            You won’t regret holding out for a home that has at least some of these five items. They
            will enhance your home. You’ll never wish your kitchen was a little less great. You may
            regret saving a few bucks by settling and then feel you need to upgrade.