9 Tips for Buying and Selling Your Home at the Same Time

Selling your home when you still need to shop for a new one can feel daunting to even the most seasoned homeowner––especially when the demand for new homes keeps rising, but the supply feels like it’s dwindling.¹ You’re not alone either if you’re already feeling drained by the complex logistics of trying to sell and buy a new home all at once.

Searching for a new home can be exciting, but many homebuyers admit that it can also be stressful, especially if you live in an unpredictable market with plenty of competitors. Unfortunately, waiting out a competitive housing market isn’t always the best idea either since homes are in notoriously short supply across Canada, and listings are expected to remain limited in the most coveted neighbourhoods for some time.²

That doesn’t mean, though, that you should just throw up your hands and give up on moving altogether. In fact, as a current homeowner, you could be in a better position than most to capitalize on a seller’s market and make a smooth transition from your old home to a new one.

We can help you prepare for the road ahead and answer any questions you have about the real estate market.  For example, here are some of the most frequent concerns we hear from clients who are trying to buy and sell at the same time.

“WHAT WILL I DO IF I SELL MY HOUSE BEFORE I CAN BUY A NEW ONE?”

This is an understandable concern for many sellers since the competitive real estate market makes it tough to plan ahead and predict when you’ll be able to move into your next home. But chances are, you will still have plenty of options if you do sell your home quickly. It may just take some creativity and compromise.

Here are some ideas to make sure you’re in the best possible position when you decide to list your home:

Tip #1: Flex your muscles as a seller.

In a competitive market, buyers may be willing to make significant concessions in order to get the home they want. In some cases, a buyer may agree to a sell and lease back agreement (also known as a “sell house and rent back” option) that allows the seller to continue living in the home after closing for a set period of time and negotiated fee.

This can be a great option for sellers who need to tap into their home equity for a downpayment or who aren’t logistically ready to move into their next home. If you’re dealing with an investor rather than a traditional buyer, you may even be able to negotiate a lengthy lease and lower rent payment than your current mortgage.³

However, leaseback agreements can be complex, with important legal, financial and tax issues to consider.⁴ At minimum, a carefully-worded contract and security deposit should be in place in case of any property damage or unexpected repairs that may be needed during the leaseback period.

Tip #2: Open your mind to short-term housing options.

While it can be a hassle to move out of your old home before you’re ready to move into your new one, it’s a common scenario. If you’re lucky enough to have family or generous friends who offer to take you in, that may be ideal. If not, you’ll need to find temporary housing. Check out furnished apartments, vacation rentals and month-to-month leases. If space is an issue, consider putting some of your furniture and possessions in storage.

You may even find that a short-term rental arrangement can offer you an opportunity to get to know your new neighbourhood better—and lead to a more informed decision about your upcoming purchase.

Tip #3: Embrace the idea of selling now and buying later.

Instead of stressing about timing your home sale and purchase perfectly, consider making a plan to focus on one at a time. Selling before you’re ready to buy your next home can offer a lot of advantages.

For one, you’ll have cash on hand from the sale of your current home. This will put you in a much better position when it comes to buying your next home. From budgeting to mortgage approval to submitting a competitive offer, cash is king. And by focusing on one step at a time, you can alleviate some of the pressure and uncertainty.

“WHAT IF I GET STUCK WITH TWO MORTGAGES AT THE SAME TIME?”

This is one of the most common concerns that we hear from buyers who are selling a home while shopping for a new one, and it’s realistic to expect at least some overlap in mortgage payments. But unless you have a large enough income to comfortably carry two mortgages, you may not pass Canada’s beefed up mortgage stress test until you have a contract on your first home. (You can use the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s Mortgage Qualifier Tool to check your odds.⁵) 

Assuming you can secure financing, however, it’s still a good idea to examine your budget and calculate the maximum number of months you can afford to pay two mortgages before you jump on a new home. Potential stopgap solutions, such as bridge financing, can also help tide you over if you qualify.

If you simply can’t afford to carry both mortgages for any amount of time, or if you are concerned about passing the mortgage stress test, then selling before you buy may be your best option. (See Tip #3 above.) But if you have some flexibility in your budget, it is possible to manage both a home sale and purchase simultaneously. Here are some steps you can take to help streamline the process:

Tip #4: As you get ready to sell, simplify.

You can condense your sales timeline if you only focus on the home renovations and tasks that matter most for selling your home quickly. For example, clean and declutter all of your common areas, refresh your outdoor paint and curb appeal and fix any outstanding maintenance issues as quickly as possible.

But don’t drain unnecessary time and money into pricey renovations and major home projects that could quickly bog you down for an unpredictable amount of time. We can advise you on the repairs and upgrades that are worth your time and investment.

Tip #5: Prep your paperwork.

You’ll also save valuable time by filing as much paperwork as possible early in the process. For example, if you know you’ll need a mortgage to buy your next home, get pre-approved right away so that you can shorten the amount of time it takes to process your loan.⁶

Similarly, set your home sale up for a fast and smooth transition by pulling together any relevant documentation about your current home, including appliance warranties, renovation permits, and repair records. That way, you’re ready to provide quick answers to buyers’ questions should they arise.

Tip #6: Ask us about other conditions that can be included in your contracts.

Part of our job as agents is to negotiate on your behalf and help you win favourable terms. For example, it’s possible to add a contract condition known as a “subject to sale” or “sale of property” (SOP) condition to your purchase offer that lets you cancel the contract if you haven’t sold your previous home.⁷ This tactic could backfire, though, if you’re competing with other buyers. We can discuss the pros and cons of these types of tactics and what’s realistic given the current market dynamics.

“WHAT IF I MESS UP MY TIMING OR BURN OUT FROM ALL THE STRESS?”

When you’re in the pressure cooker of a home sale or have been shopping for a home for a while in a competitive market, it’s easy to get carried away by stress and emotions. To make sure you’re in the right headspace for your homebuying and selling journey, take the time to slow down, breathe and delegate as much as possible. In addition:

Tip #7: Relax and accept that compromise is inevitable.

Rather than worry about getting every detail right with your housing search and home sale, trust that things will work out eventually––even if it doesn’t look like your Plan A or even your Plan B or Plan C. Perfecting every detail with your home decor or timing your home sale perfectly isn’t necessary for a successful home sale and compromise will almost always be necessary. Luckily, if you’ve got a good team of professionals, you can relax knowing that others have your back and are monitoring the details behind the scenes.

Tip #8: Don’t worry too much if your path is straying from convention.

Remember that rules-of-thumb and home-buying trends are just that: they are estimates, not facts. So if your home search or sale isn’t going exactly like your neighbours’ experience, it doesn’t mean that you are doomed to fail.

It’s possible, for example, that seasonality trends may affect sales in your neighbourhood. So a delayed sale in the summer or fall could affect your journey––but not necessarily. According to the Canadian Real Estate Association, the housing market used to be more competitive during the fall and spring and less competitive during the winter. But it’s not a hard and fast rule and real estate markets across Canada have seen major shifts in recent years.⁸ Every real estate transaction is different. That’s why it’s important to talk to a local agent about your specific situation.

Tip #9: Enlist help early.

If possible, call us early in the process. We’ll not only provide you with key guidance on what you should do ahead of time to prepare your current home for sale, we’ll also help you narrow down your list of must-haves and wants for your next one. That way, you’ll be prepared to act quickly and confidently when you spot a great house and are ready to make an offer.

It’s our job to guide you and advocate on your behalf. So don’t be afraid to lean on us throughout the process. We’re here to ease your burden and make your move as seamless and stress-free as possible.

BOTTOMLINE: COLLABORATE WITH A REAL ESTATE PROFESSIONAL TO GET TAILORED ADVICE THAT WORKS FOR YOU

Buying and selling a home at the same time is challenging. But it doesn’t have to be a nightmare, and it can even be fun. The key is to educate yourself about the market and prepare yourself for multiple scenarios. One of the best and easiest ways to do so is to partner with a knowledgeable and trustworthy agent.

A good agent will not only help you evaluate your situation, we will also provide you with honest and individually tailored advice that addresses your unique needs and challenges. Depending on your circumstances, now may be a great time to sell your home and buy a new one. But a thorough assessment may instead show you that you’re better off pausing your search for a while longer.

Contact us for a free consultation so that we can help you review your options and decide the best way forward.

Sources:

  1. Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) National Statistics –
    https://creastats.crea.ca/en-CA/
  2. Scotiabank Global Economics Housing Note – https://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/about/economics/economics-publications/post.other-publications.housing.housing-note.housing-note–may-12-2021-.html
  3. CBC News –
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/housing-real-estate-toronto-market-sell-stay-rent-1.4075093
  4. Appraisal Institute of Canada – https://www.aicanada.ca/article/possible-valuation-issues-with-life-lease-housing/
  5. Financial Consumer Agency of Canada –
    https://itools-ioutils.fcac-acfc.gc.ca/MQ-HQ/MQ-EAPH-eng.aspx
  6. Government of Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/mortgages/preapproval-qualify-mortgage.htm
  7. RBC Bank –
    https://www.rbcroyalbank.com/mortgages/selling-buying-home.html
  8. Canadian Real Estate Association –  https://www.realtor.ca/blog/are-spring-and-fall-housing-markets-a-thing-of-the-past/20405/1361

5 Factors That Reveal Where The Real Estate Market Is Really Headed

In a July release, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported that home sales had fallen for three months in a row after reaching an all-time high in March.1 So could one of the world’s hottest real estate markets finally be headed for a downturn?

We wouldn’t bet on it. That’s because even though sales have slowed, it was still the strongest June on record—and 13% higher than last year.1

“Don’t be fooled — this is still an extremely strong level of demand,” Bank of Montreal Economist Robert Kavcic told CBC News. “Home sales have backed off extreme levels seen in recent months, but demand is still historically strong and driving strong price growth. We believe that sales activity will continue to gradually cool in the year ahead, but it’s going to take higher interest rates to soften the market in a meaningful way.”1

So what can we expect from Canadian real estate? Here are five factors that illustrate where the housing market is today and is likely heading tomorrow.

HOME PRICE INCREASES MAY LEVEL OFF NEXT YEAR

The Canadian Real Estate Association predicts the national average home price will reach $677,774 by the end of 2021, which would be a 19.3% increase over last year. “While market conditions have eased a little in recent months, they nonetheless continue to favour sellers to some extent in virtually all local markets,” the association says.2

But for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022, the association anticipates pricing trends will head toward more normal territory. “Limited supply and higher prices are expected to tap the brakes on activity in 2022 compared to 2021,” according to the association.2

That translates into the association’s forecast of only a 0.6% uptick, to $681,500, in the national average home price for 2022.2 If that happens, it could prompt some buyers who had been reluctant to make purchases this year to enter the market next year.

What does it mean for you?

If you’re a homeowner, now might be the time to look at selling. That’s because the number of available homes continues to be relatively low, and price appreciation has begun to slow. We can help you prepare and market your home to take advantage of the current seller’s market.

HOME SALES ARE TAPERING OFF

If the 2021 home market in Canada is a wildfire, then 2022 could be more like a campfire. The Canadian Real Estate Association anticipates a slowdown in home sales activity in 2022 following an extremely busy 2021.3

An estimated 682,900 properties are expected to trade hands through Canadian Multiple Listing Service systems in 2021, which would be an increase of 23.8% from 2020, the association says.3

Next year is shaping up to be much less active, with national home sales forecast to decline 13% to around 594,000 properties in 2022.3

“This easing trend is expected to play out across Canada,” the association says, “with buyers facing both higher prices and a lack of available supply, while at the same time the urgency to purchase a home base to ride out the pandemic continues to fade alongside the virus itself.”3

The “easing trend” is already happening. Across the country, a record-high 69,702 homes were sold in March. But just a month later, the national number of homes sold slipped 12.5% to 60,967.⁴ Home sales volume dropped another 7.4% in May to 56,156.⁵

“One of the world’s [most active] housing markets appears to be slowing down,” the Bloomberg news service proclaimed in June in a report about the Canadian home market.⁶

What does it mean for you?

Are you struggling to buy a home in today’s highly competitive market? If so, 2022 might be a good time to pursue a purchase because you may face less competition. However, one drawback of waiting is that mortgage rates are expected to go up. We can help put you on the right path toward homeownership, whether you want to buy now or next year.

SUPPLY OF HOMES REMAINS LOW

The housing shortage in Canada persists.

Before the pandemic, the number of available homes nationally sat at a 14-year low and the number of months of inventory had fallen below four months, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.3

Inventory below four months puts the supply in “seller’s market territory,” the association says.3 Inventory refers to the number of months it would take for the current supply of homes on the market to be sold at the existing pace.⁷

In June, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported the national inventory of available homes was close to two months, reflecting an “unprecedented imbalance of supply and demand.”3 National inventory hit a record low of 1.7 months in March, compared with the long-term average of more than five months.⁷

“At a time where so many markets are struggling with historically low inventory, sales activity depends on a steady stream of new listings each month,” the association says.⁷

What does it mean for you?

A tight supply of available homes puts sellers in a strong position as long as demand stays high. So, if you’re a homeowner, placing your home on the market when demand exceeds supply could bring you a higher price. We can help you figure out when to sell so that you extract the maximum value from your home.

HOME CONSTRUCTION ON THE VERGE OF STABILIZING

Newly built homes add, of course, to the supply of homes available to buyers. And it appears that home construction in Canada is on the upswing.⁸

For all of 2021, construction is projected to begin on as many as 230,000 new homes in Canada, up from a little over 217,800 in 2020, according to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. (CMHC). Even more homes could get underway in 2022 (as many as 234,500) and 2023 (231,900).⁸

“Housing starts will stabilize at levels consistent with household formation by the end of 2023,” according to CMHC.⁹

What does it mean for you?

More newly built homes coming on the market could mean an opportunity for buyers, as construction boosts the supply of available properties and eases the strain on demand. Bottom line: An influx of new homes may open more doors to homeownership. We can give you a hand in locating a new or existing home that fits your budget and your needs.

MORTGAGE RATES ARE SET TO RISE

Low mortgage interest rates help entice buyers to make a home purchase. That’s certainly been the case in Canada in recent months. However, mortgage rates are poised to creep up this year and next year, and even into 2023.10

An analysis from Mortgage Sandbox indicates five-year Canadian mortgage rates are expected to remain low by historical standards, but they are expected to continue rising in 2022 and 2023. The analysis indicates the fixed rate for a five-year mortgage could climb to 3% in the third quarter of 2022.¹¹

Low mortgage rates typically make it easier for homebuyers to qualify for a mortgage, as well. But on June 1, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions raised the mortgage “stress test” qualifying rate from 4.79% to 5.25%.12

According to the Toronto Sun, “It was intended in part to slow down the overheated housing market and likely in part because inflation (and higher interest rates) are on the horizon.”12

In a recent report, the British Columbia Real Estate Association forecast, “rising Canadian inflation — and the extent to which that inflation is a temporary phenomenon — is set to shape how rates evolve over the next year.”13

What does it mean for you?

Given the prospect that Canadian mortgage rates may go up during the rest of this year and into 2022, now might be the right time to think about borrowing money to buy a home. When interest rates rise, you pay more to borrow money. Whether you’re buying a new home or up for a renewal, you can lower your risk by locking in a fixed-rate rather than variable-rate mortgage.

ARE YOU THINKING OF BUYING OR SELLING?

It can be tough to sort out the Canadian housing market—where are home prices heading, are mortgage rates going up, is it the right time to buy or sell? We can help you answer all of those questions, and more. We then can work with you to come up with a plan tailored to your unique situation. Let us be your partner in the homebuying or home-selling journey.

Sources:

  1. CBC –
    https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/crea-june-stats-1.6103715
  2. Canadian Real Estate Association –
    https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/quarterly-forecasts/
  3. Canadian Real Estate Association – https://www.creacafe.ca/quarterly-forecast-housing-activity-to-continue-easing-over-second-half-of-2021-and-into-2022/
  4. Global News –
    https://globalnews.ca/news/7868251/canada-home-sales-down-april/
  5. Global News –
    https://globalnews.ca/news/7950863/canada-home-sales-may-crea/
  6. Bloomberg – https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-06-15/canada-housing-worlds-second-bubbliest-market-starts-to-look-fatigued
  7. Canadian Real Estate Association –
    https://creastats.crea.ca/en-CA/
  8. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. – https://assets.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/sites/cmhc/professional/housing-markets-data-and-research/market-reports/housing-market/housing-market-outlook/2021/housing-market-outlook-61500-spring-2021-en.pdf
  9. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. – https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/blog/2021/housing-markets-expected-moderate-risks-remain
  10. Global News –
    https://globalnews.ca/news/7962282/rising-interest-rates-canadas-housing-market/
  11. Mortgage Sandbox –
    https://www.mortgagesandbox.com/mortgage-interest-rate-forecast
  12. Toronto Sun –
    https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/wild-new-stress-test-rate-makes-it-more-difficult-for-home-buyers-to-qualify-for-mortgage
  13. British Columbia Real Estate Association – https://www.bcrea.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/mortgagerateforecast.pdf

Bank of Canada Interest Rate Announcement – July 14, 2021

The Bank of Canada maintained its overnight rate at 0.25 per cent this morning, a level it considers its effective lower bound. The Bank reiterated what it calls “extraordinary forward guidance” in committing to leaving the overnight rate at 0.25 per cent until slack in the economy is absorbed and inflation sustainably returns to its 2 per cent target. The Bank projects that will not occur until the second half of 2022. The Bank announced that it is adjusting its quantitative easing (QE) program down to purchasing $2 billion per week Government of Canada bonds per week. In the statement accompanying the decision, the Bank noted that it expects a strong pick-up in economic growth over the second half of the year as vaccinations progress and restrictions are lifted. The Bank expects growth of close to 6 per cent this year, followed by 4.5 per cent growth in 2022.

As we hopefully approach the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, the issue of inflation has arisen as the most hotly debated topic among economists and analysts. Specifically, whether current elevated inflation of around 3.5 per cent is a sign of accelerating prices or merely the transitory effect of supply constraints brought on by the pandemic. The Bank of Canada is firmly on the side of believing higher than normal inflation is a temporary phenomenon. In today’s announcement, the Bank noted that base-year effects, meaning we are comparing prices in a recovered economy now to one in which prices were falling amidst a severe recession one year ago, rising gasoline prices and pandemic related bottlenecks in supply chains account for most of the increase in inflation. The Bank expects inflation to remain above 3 per cent through the remainder of this year before easing back toward its 2 per cent target in 2022. Given that outlook, and uncertainty surrounding timing of when the economy may be fully back to normal, the Bank seems to be on a path to raising its policy rate between the end of 2022 and early 2023.

How to Bridge the Appraisal Gap in Today’s Real Estate Market

If you’re searching for drama, don’t limit yourself to Netflix. Instead, tune in to the real estate market, where the competition among buyers has never been fiercer. And with homes selling for record highs,1 the appraisal process—historically a standard part of a home purchase—is receiving more attention than ever.

That’s because some sellers are finding out the hard way that a strong offer can fizzle quickly when an appraisal comes in below the sales price. Thus, many sellers favour buyers who can guarantee their full offer price—even if the property appraises for less. For the buyer, that could mean a large down payment or extra cash on hand to cover the gap.

Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, it’s never been more important to understand the appraisal process and how it can be impacted by a quickly appreciating and highly competitive housing market. It’s also crucial to work with a skilled real estate agent who can guide you to a successful closing without overpaying (if you’re a buyer) or overcompensating (if you’re a seller). Find out how appraisals work—and in some cases, don’t work—in today’s unique real estate environment.

APPRAISAL REQUIREMENTS

An appraisal is an objective assessment of a property’s market value performed by an independent licensed appraiser. Mortgage lenders use appraisals to lower their risk of loss in the event a buyer stops paying their loan. It provides assurance that the home’s value meets or exceeds the amount being lent for its purchase.

In certain circumstances, an appraisal can be avoided. For example, when a buyer purchases mortgage insurance because they have a down payment of less than 20%. In that instance, the mortgage insurance would cover the lender’s loss in a case of default. Or, if a buyer makes a large down payment, a lender may waive their right of appraisal.2

Additionally, sometimes a lender will use an automated valuation model (AVM) to estimate a property’s value. According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada, “AVMs are computer programs that provide real estate market analysis and estimates of value.” If the sales price falls comfortably within the AVM’s range of value, a lender may skip the formal appraisal.3

However, in the event a formal appraisal is required, it will need to be conducted by a licensed and authorized appraiser. In most cases, the appraiser will analyze the property’s condition and review the value of comparable properties that have recently sold. Using this information, they will determine the home’s current market value.Mortgage borrowers are usually expected to pay the cost of an appraisal.2

APPRAISALS IN A RAPIDLY SHIFTING MARKET

Problems can arise when the appraisal comes in lower than the sales price. And while low appraisals are not common, they are more likely to happen in a rapidly appreciating market, like the one we’re experiencing now.4 That’s because appraisers use comparable sales (commonly referred to as comps) to determine a property’s value. These could include homes that went under contract weeks or even months ago. With home prices rising so quickly, today’s comps may be lagging behind the market’s current reality. Thus, the appraiser may be basing their assessment on stale data, resulting in a low valuation.5

According to Kevin Lonsdale, Executive Director of the Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers, the best valuations should be based on “data, not emotion. This emotional process where people are outbidding each other creates a disconnect and that then becomes a comparable six months down the road. It’s very difficult to value properties based on what the market wants to pay for them.”6

HOW ARE BUYERS AND SELLERS IMPACTED BY A LOW APPRAISAL?

In a balanced market, a financing condition is a standard inclusion in a home purchase offer. It enables the buyer to make the closing of the transaction dependent on their ability to secure a mortgage. And in many cases, the loan is contingent on a satisfactory appraisal, wherein the value of the property is at or near the purchase price.

But in today’s market, sellers often hold the upper hand because the current demand for homes exceeds the available supply. That’s why many buyers are choosing to exclude the financing condition altogether, as a way to sweeten their offer in a competitive bidding process.5

However, this approach can leave a buyer vulnerable if the appraisal comes back lower than expected. Without a financing condition, the buyer will be obligated to come up with enough cash to bridge the gap between the contract price and the appraised value—or be forced to walk away from the transaction and potentially lose their deposit.

It may seem, then, that a buyer carries the sole risk of a low appraisal. However, the sellers will have wasted time and money with little to show for it. And they run the risk that the market may have cooled or interest in their home may have waned by the time they relist.

Sellers should keep this in mind when evaluating offers. The offer price should never be the sole consideration. We weigh a range of factors when advising our clients, including a buyer’s conditions, mortgage qualifications, financial resources, and deposit size, among others.

According to Lonsdale, overheated blind bidding in Canadian real estate means that there is additional pressure on everyone involved in the transaction. With a tight timeline, there’s not always enough time for proper due diligence, putting stress on the transaction and on the buyer and seller involved.6

MITIGATE YOUR RISK WITH THE BEST REPRESENTATION

There’s never been a market quite like this one before. That’s why you need a master negotiator on your side who has the skills, instincts, and experience to get the deal done…no matter what surprises may pop up along the way. If you’re a buyer, we can help you compete in this unprecedented market—without getting steamrolled. And if you’re a seller, we know how to get top dollar for your home while minimizing hassle and stress. Contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation.

Sources:

  1. Financial Post –
    https://financialpost.com/real-estate/canadian-home-sales-prices-surge-to-new-record-in-march
  2. Mortgages.ca –
    https://mortgages.ca/what-you-should-know-about-home-appraisals
  3. Appraisal Institute of Canada –
    https://professional.sauder.ubc.ca/re_creditprogram/course_resources/courses/content/452/AVMPositionPaper.pdf
  4. Teranet–National Bank House Price Index™ –
    https://housepriceindex.ca/#maps=c11
  5. The Globe and Mail –
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-rapid-increase-in-home-prices-puts-buyers-in-bind-when-appraisals-dont/
  6. Personal Interview: Kevin Lonsdale, Executive Director, Canadian National Association of Real Estate Appraisers. 4 Jun 2021

      Could Rising Home Prices Impact Your Net Worth?

      Learn how to determine your current net worth and how an investment in real estate can help improve your bottom line.

      Among its many impacts, COVID-19 has had a pronounced effect on the housing market. Low home inventory and high buyer demand have driven home prices to an all-time high.1 This has given an unexpected financial boost to many homeowners during a challenging time. However, for some renters, rising home prices are making dreams of homeownership feel further out of reach.

      If you’re a homeowner, it’s important for you to understand how your home’s value contributes to your overall net worth. If you’re a renter, now is the time for you to figure out how homeownership fits into your short-term goals and your long-term financial future. An investment in real estate can help you grow your net worth, build wealth over time, and gain a foothold in the housing market to keep pace with rising prices.

      What is net worth?

      Net worth is the net balance of your total assets minus your total liabilities.Or, basically, it is what you own minus what you owe.2

      Assets include the cash you have on hand in your chequing and savings accounts, investment account balances, salable items like jewelry or a car and, of course, your home and any other real estate you own.

      Liabilities include your total debt obligations like car loans, credit card debt, the amount you owe on your mortgage, and student loans. In addition, liabilities would include any other payment obligations you have, like outstanding bills and taxes.

      How do I calculate my net worth?

      To calculate your net worth, you’ll want to add up all of your assets and all of your liabilities. Then subtract your total liabilities from your total assets. The balance represents your current net worth.

      Total Assets – Total Liabilities = Net Worth

      Ready to calculate your net worth? Contact us to request an easy-to-use worksheet and a free assessment of your home’s current market value!

      Keep in mind that your net worth is a snapshot of your financial position at a single point in time. Your assets and liabilities will fluctuate over both the short term and long term. For example, if you take out a loan to buy a car, you decrease your liability with each payment. Of course, the value of your asset (the car) will depreciate over time, as well. An asset that is invested in stocks or bonds can be even less predictable, as it’s subject to daily fluctuations in the market.

      As a homeowner, you enjoy significant stability through your monthly real estate investment, also known as your home mortgage payment. While the actual value of your home can fluctuate depending on market conditions, your mortgage payment will decrease your liability each month. And unlike a vehicle purchase, the value of your home is likely to appreciate over time, which can help to grow your net worth. Right now, your asset may be worth significantly more than it was this time last year.3

      If you’re a homeowner, contact us for an estimate of your home’s market value so that you can factor it into your net worth calculation. If you’re not a current homeowner, let’s talk about how homes in our area have appreciated over the last several years. That way, you can get an idea of how a home purchase could positively affect your net worth.

      How can real estate increase my net worth?

      When you put your real estate dollars to work, it’s possible to grow your net worth, generate cash flow, and even fund your retirement. We can help you realize the possibilities and maximize the return on your investment.

      Property Appreciation

      Generally, property appreciates in one of two ways: either through changes to the overall market or through value-added modifications to the property itself.

      1. Rising prices

      This type of property appreciation is the one that many homeowners are enjoying right now. Buyer demand is at an all-time high due to a combination of low interest rates and limited housing inventory.At other times, rising home prices have been attributed to different factors. Certain local conditions—like a new commercial development, influx of jobs, or infrastructure project—can encourage rapid growth in a community or region and a corresponding rise in home values. Historically, home prices have been shown to experience an upward trend punctuated by intermittent booms and corrections.5

      1. Strategic home improvements

      Well-planned and executed home improvements can also impact a home’s value and increase homeowner equity at the same time. The type of home improvement should be appropriate for the home and in tune with the desires of local buyers.

      For example, a tasteful exterior remodel that is in keeping with the preferences of local home buyers is likely to add significant value to a home, while remodelling the home to look like the Taj Mahal or a favourite theme park attraction will not. A modern kitchen remodel tends to add value, while a kitchen remodel that is overly expensive or personalized may not provide an adequate return on investment.

      Investment Property

      You may be used to thinking of investments primarily in terms of stocks and bonds. However, the purchase of a real estate investment property offers the opportunity to increase your net worth both upon purchase and year after year through appreciation. In addition, rental payments can have a positive impact on your monthly income and cash flow. If you currently have significant equity in your home, let’s talk about how you could put that equity to work by funding the purchase of an investment property.

      1. Long-term or traditional rental

      A long-term rental property is one that is leased for an extended period and typically used as a primary residence by the renter. This type of real estate investment offers you the opportunity to generate consistent cash flow while building equity and appreciation.6

      As an owner, you don’t usually have to worry about paying the utility bills or furnishing the property—both of which are typically covered by the tenant. Add to this the fact that traditional tenants translate into less time and effort spent on day-to-day property management, and long-term rentals are an attractive option for many investors.

      1. Short-term or vacation rental

      Short-term rentals are often referred to as vacation rentals because they are primarily geared towards recreational travellers. And as more people start to feel comfortable travelling again, the short-term rental market is poised to become a more popular option than ever in certain markets. In fact, with travellers continuing to seek out domestic options in lieu of international travel, this may be the perfect time to consider an investment in a short-term rental property.7

      Investing in a short-term rental offers many benefits. If you purchase an investment property in a top tourist destination, you can expect steady demand from travellers while taking advantage of any non-rented periods to enjoy the home yourself. You can also adjust your rental price around peak demand to maximize your cash flow while building equity and long-term appreciation.

      To reap these benefits, however, you’ll need to understand the local laws and regulations on short-term rentals. We can help you identify suitable markets with investment potential.

      WE’RE HERE TO HELP

      Ready to calculate your personal net worth? Contact us for an easy-to-use worksheet and to find out your home’s current value. And if you want to learn more about growing your net worth through real estate, we can schedule a free consultation to answer your questions and explore your options. Whether you’re hoping to maximize the value of your current home or invest in a new property, we’re here to help you achieve your real estate goals.

      The above references an opinion and is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be financial advice. Consult the appropriate professionals for advice regarding your individual needs.

      Sources:

      1. Financial Post – https://financialpost.com/real-estate/canadian-home-sales-prices-surge-to-new-record-in-march
      2. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/investing/what-is-net-worth/
      3. Global Property Guide – https://www.globalpropertyguide.com/North-America/Canada/Price-History
      4. Canadian Real Estate Association – https://creastats.crea.ca/en-CA/
      5. Trading Economics – https://tradingeconomics.com/canada/housing-index
      6. Canadian Apartment – https://www.reminetwork.com/articles/hopeful-outlook-for-canadas-rental-market/
      7. MoneySense – https://www.moneysense.ca/spend/real-estate/is-now-the-time-to-buy-a-vacation-home/

      Finding a New Home For Your Next Stage of Life

      Imagine the first place you lived as a young adult. Now imagine trying to fit your life today into that space. Not pretty, right?

      For most of us, our housing needs are cyclical. A newly independent adult can find freedom and flexibility in even a tiny apartment. That same space, to a growing family, would feel stifling. For empty nesters, a large home with several unused bedrooms can become impractical to heat and clean. It’s no surprise that life transitions often trigger a home purchase.

      While your home-buying journey may not look like your neighbour’s or friend’s, broad trends can help you understand what to keep in mind as you house hunt. No one wants to regret their home purchase, and taking the time now to think about exactly what you need can save a lot of heartache later.

      The Newly Married or Partnered Couple

      The financial and legal commitment of both traditional and common-law marriage has provided a springboard to homeownership for centuries. And while the average age of first marriage in Canada is around 30, the average age of first home purchase has shifted even later to 36.1,2 No matter your age, there are some key factors that you should consider when you are ready to enter into your first home purchase together.

      Affordability is Key

      There’s no doubt about it—with home prices that just keep climbing, many first-time buyers feel that the deck is stacked against them when it comes to homeownership. But stepping onto the property ladder can be more doable than many realize, especially in today’s low mortgage rate environment.

      While many buyers are holding out for their dream home, embracing the concept of a starter home can open a lot of doors. In fact, that’s a popular approach for first-time homebuyers to take. Fifty percent of first-time Canadian buyers report that they plan to eventually upgrade to a larger home.3 

      Chosen carefully, a starter home can be a great investment as well as a launchpad for your life together. If you focus on buying a home you can afford now with strong potential for appreciation, you can build equity alongside your savings, positioning you to trade up in the future if your needs change.3

      Taking Advantage of Low Mortgage Rates

      Canadian mortgage rates hit record lows in summer 2020, and while they are gradually creeping back up, now is still an ideal time to purchase your first home together.4 A lower interest rate can save you a bundle over the life of your loan, which can significantly increase the quality of home you can get for your money.

      But what if both halves of a couple don’t have good credit? You still have options. First, boosting a credit score can be easier than you think—simply paying your credit cards down below 35% of your limit can go a long way.5 But if that’s not enough to raise your score, you might consider taking out the mortgage in only the better-scoring partner’s name. The downside is that applying for a mortgage with only one income will reduce your qualification amount. And if you take that route, make sure you understand the legal and financial implications for both parties should the relationship end.

      Commute and Lifestyle Considerations

      Whether you’ve lived in a rental together for years or are sharing a home for the first time, you know that living together involves some compromises. But there are certain home features that can make life easier in the future if you identify them now. The number of bathrooms, availability of closet space, and even things like kitchen layout can make a big difference in your day-to-day life and relationship.

      Your home’s location will also have a significant impact on your quality of life, so consider it carefully. What will commuting look like for each of you? And if you have different interests or hobbies—say, museums vs. hiking—you’ll need to find a community that meets both your needs. Need some help identifying the ideal location that fits within your budget? We can match you with some great neighbourhoods that offer the perfect mix of amenities and affordability.

      The Growing Family

      Having kids changes things—fast. With a couple of rowdy preteens and maybe some pets in the mix, that 1,600 square foot home that felt palatial to two adults suddenly becomes a lot more cramped. Whether you’ve just had your first child or are getting to the point where your kids can’t comfortably share a bedroom any longer, there’s plenty to consider when you’re ready to size up to a home that will fit your growing family.

      The Importance of School Districts

      For many parents, the desire to give their kids the best education—especially once they are in middle and high school— surpasses even their desire for more breathing room. In fact, homebuyers report that school district is one of their top concerns.6 Of course, homes in the best-rated districts tend to be more expensive and harder to nab. But when push comes to shove, many buyers with kids prefer to sacrifice a bit of space to find a home in their desired location.

      But when you’re moving to a new community, it can be tough to figure out what the local schools are actually like—and online ratings don’t tell the whole story. That’s why talking to a local real estate agent can be a gamechanger. We don’t just work in this community; we know it inside and out.

      Lifestyle Considerations

      For many families, living space is a key priority. Once you have teenagers who want space to hang out with their friends, a finished basement or a rec room can be a huge bonus (and can help you protect some quieter living space for yourself).

      A good layout can also make family life a lot easier. For example, an open plan is invaluable if you want to cook dinner while keeping an eye on your young kids playing in the living room. And if you think that you might expand your family further in the future, be sure that the home you purchase has enough bedrooms and bathrooms to accommodate that comfortably.

      Functionality

      Try to think about how each room will fit into your day-to-day. Are you anticipating keeping the house stocked to feed hungry teenagers? A pantry might rise to the top of the list. Dreading the loads of laundry that come with both infants and older kids (especially if they play sports)? The task can be much more bearable in a well-designed laundry room. Imagine a typical day or week of chores in the house to identify which features will have the biggest impact.

      Chances are, you won’t find every nice-to-have in one home, which is why identifying the must-haves can be such a boon to the decision-making process. We can help you assess your options and give you a sense of what is realistic within your budget.

      The Empty Nesters

      When we talk about empty nesters, we usually think about downsizing. With kids out of the house, extra bedrooms and living space can quickly become more trouble than they’re worth. While the average buyer with young kids is most likely to trade up to a larger home, older buyers often sell the family home and move into a smaller, less expensive home. In fact, more than half of Canadian Baby Boomers consider the area where they live too expensive for retirement.7

      Maintenance and Livability

      What factors are driving your decision to move? Identifying those early in the process can help you narrow down your search. For example, do you want to have space for a garden, or would you prefer to avoid dealing with lawn care altogether? What about home maintenance? In many cases, a newer home will require less maintenance than an older one and a smaller one will take less time to clean. It’s not surprising that condos are among the most popular types of homes for Baby Boomers given they require less upkeep than single-family homes.7

      Lifestyle Considerations

      Many empty nesters have retired or are nearing retirement age. This could be your chance to finally pursue hobbies and passions that were just too hard to squeeze into a 9-5. If you’re ready to move, consider how you’d like to spend your days and seek out a home that will help make that dream a reality. For some, that might mean living near a golf course or a beach. For others, being able to walk downtown for a nice dinner out is the priority. And with more time to spend as you wish, proximity to a supportive community of friends and family is priceless.

      Ability to Age in Place

      Let’s face it—we can’t escape ageing. If you’re looking for a home to retire in, accessibility should be top-of-mind. This may mean a single-story home or simply having adequate spaces on the first floor to rearrange as needed. While buying a home that you plan to renovate from the start is a viable option, being forced into renovations (because of the realities of ageing) a few years down the road could seriously dig into your nest egg. Location matters, too—if your family will be providing support, are they close by? Can you easily reach necessities like grocery stores and healthcare? While it’s tempting to put it out of our minds, a few careful considerations now can make staying in your home long-term much more feasible.

      Finding the Right Home for Right Now

      One thing is for sure—life never stands still. And your housing needs won’t, either. In fact, the average Canadian homeowner will own 4.5 to 5.5 houses over their lifetime.8 At each milestone, a careful assessment of your housing options will ensure that you are well-positioned to embrace all the changes to come.

      Whatever stage you’re embarking on next, we’re here to help. Our insight into local neighbourhoods, prices, and housing stock will help you hone in on exactly where you want to live and what kind of home is right for you. We’ve worked with home buyers in every stage of life, so we know exactly what questions you need to ask. Buying a home—whether it’s your first or your fifth—is a big decision, but we’re here to support you every step of the way.

      We support the Fair Housing Act and equal opportunity housing.

      Sources:

      1. The Canadian Encyclopedia –
        https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/marriage-and-divorce
      2. Mortgage Broker News –
        https://www.mortgagebrokernews.ca/news/sorry-gen-z-the-average-firsttime-buyer-in-canada-is-36-years-old-335685.aspx
      3. Savvy New Canadians –
        https://www.savvynewcanadians.com/starter-home-vs-permanent-home/
      4. Mortgage Broker News –
        https://www.mortgagebrokernews.ca/news/are-the-days-of-low-interest-rates-coming-to-an-end-for-canadian-homebuyers-338140.aspx
      5. Government of Canada –
        https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-consumer-agency/services/credit-reports-score/improve-credit-score.htm
      6. Housing Sentiments and Trends Report 2017 –
        https://marketing.zoocasa.com/zoocasa-housing-trends-report-2017.pdf
      7. Royal LePage –
        https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/more-than-14-million-boomers-across-canada-expect-to-buy-a-home-in-the-next-five-years-690334391.html
      8. Zolo –
        https://www.zolo.ca/blog/how-many-homes-will-you-buy

      Canning and Preserving our Garden or Farmer’s Market Produce

      Some Canning Background

      When I was little, my mom and grandma did a lot of canning. I saw it as a messy chore that I didn’t like that made them both cranky at the end of the day.  Fast forward to my 30s (now 40s) and I started to think canning might be fun.  I had forgotten all the heat, steam, stress and crankiness apparently. But I did remember being able to open jars of yummy things and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

      So, mom and I embarked on a little canning experiment at her place armed with some Pinterest recipes.  We went to the Qualicum Beach Farmer’s Market and to Springford Farm and armed ourselves with bulk produce of whatever they had.  We had a great time, we ended up tired, hot, cranky, sweaty and stressed.  All that was fixed with a little (a lot?) of wine at the end of the experiment.

      Inspired and Canning Creativity!

      The end of that weekend long experiment led to an increased desire to can even more. Off I went to the book store to find some good canning books. Pinterest was again my friend, and armed with some names I went to Mulberry Bush Books in Qualicum Beach to chat with Tom. I ordered one or two there, and I think another from Amazon, plus got one on a random trip down the book aisle at the grocery store one day.

      Here are my thoughts on a few basic books:

      For a good place to start, The Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving is a great place to get a basic book with a variety of recipes. It’s full of classics and as such, has more sugar than I like to use in a lot of the recipes. But, if you see it at a used book store, pick it up! 

      Another good starter from a reliable source is this Ball Book of Canning and Preserving.  I don’t have this one as I have “The Best of Ball Home Canning and Preserving” which was a magazine rather than a book and probably the one I got at the grocery store.  My version has a great canning 101 section and some recipes we have tried that turned out great!  My cousin Molly made the Curried Tomato Preserves, which she shared with me and they’re delicious. I am excited to try the Balsamic Onion Jam when my onions grow up this year! 

      Both of these are by canning jar producers so you can count on them for having tested the recipes and being pretty easy to replicate.

      Onto some more creative canning and preserving books:

      The next favourite – Put ’em up! –  I will have to re-order, as Mom took it to Saskatchewan one year and gave it to my uncle as Mom, cousin Molly, and Uncle John do the majority of the canning and preserving since I became a REALTOR® and it’s such a great book she wanted to share it.  So, I’ll get another!  I love how this book is organized – by food rather than by type of recipes.  

      Come home with a giant box of strawberries? No problem, go to the strawberry section and see 5+ ways to deal with them – jam, sauce, drinks, freezing and more (I mean, I think… I haven’t seen the book in a while, so maybe it’s only 4 ways, or maybe it’s 8, who knows? You know who knows? The person with the book thats who!).

      Anyway, the point is, you find what produce you are working with, go to that section, then decide which of the variety of ways or recipes she presents appeals to you and make that.  Here is an example in the first page about Rhubarb (who doesn’t need new ways to use up this weed?)

      I love Well-Preserved because it has a canning recipe and then a cooking recipe you can make to use up that preserved item, something I sometimes struggle with. I have made the preserved meyer lemons from this book and they were delicious when used with some roasted chicken (not a recipe in the book though).  It also includes other methods or preservation besides canning – smoking, freezing, and more.  It’s divided into sections like fruits, nuts, meats, so you can flip to the section you want to do and go from there.  For instance, there’s a tomatoes section here. In it, she teaches you how to make canned tomatoes, then a recipe for tomato soup and stewed beef and tomatoes.

      Homemade Living Canning & Preserving is divided into interesting sections as well – especially the seasonal divisions.  There is a section for Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall so you can use the produce of each season appropriately. It also has great chapters on tools, concepts, ingredients, and methods you can apply to all canning.  Then she goes through a recipe or two for each method (jams, butters, jellies, pickles, relish, etc.).

      My favourite out of this book so far is the Rhubarb Amaretto chutney (spring section) – delicious on everything and a tasty different way to use up all that Rhubarb (back to that weed!).  

      We have also tried the Blood Orange Port Sauce, the Lemon Curd (Winter and Spring) and I can’t wait to do the Squash Chutney and Clementine Countreau Curd (both in the Winter section).  There are too many great and unusual recipes to list here, so just buy the book!

      Gardening 

      This year I have finally embarked on having my own garden with veggies in it.  I’ve had an herb garden for several years, but finally took the leap this year and planted some veggies since Mom is home far longer than normal this year … we all know why …

      This year aside from our usual basil, dill, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, cilantro, and chives, we have pots with 4 kinds of tomatoes, a pepper, 4 kinds of squash, and 3 kinds of cucumbers. Now, I have planted a little square-foot garden (I built myself with free scrap wood!) with lettuce, spinach, beans, onions, carrots, radishes, and beets. I’m hoping to get a little out of it and it may start a bigger project soon.

      A local author I met at a library talking about her book wrote this gardening book:

      Her talk was inspiring and prompted me to get started (only a few YEARS later) and also breaks it down manageably.  Gardening doesn’t seem as scary after reviewing this book.

      (Please note that here as elsewhere I have linked to amazon.ca but I vastly prefer if you please check our local library or our local used or new bookstores!)

       

      Small Homesteading

      Another book that I really like that I took out of the library in Qualicum Beach some time ago is The Backyard Homestead.  This book explains how you can produce all the food you need on only a quart acre.  

      We have more space than that, so I’m hoping one day to get enough deer fencing to get a min-homestead going here. The fencing seems daunting (not to mention expensive) at the moment, plus watering it all, and just the work involved seems a lot now. But I keep dreaming.  Once we are closer to that time, I’ll buy the book.

       

      The same author of the one of the canning books (Ashley English) also does books on other homesteading type topics:

                  

      So, I have had chickens, but the rest is beyond me. I’ll leave it to you future farmers and homesteaders to tell me how these other books go. 

      I hope you found some good recommendations here and find something to do with your own excess produce. OR that you will go to the local farms, markets and farm stands to get bulk produce to start canning.  Tell me about your favourite recipe.  Do you garden?  How did you get started?

      Top 5 Home Design Trends for a New Decade

       

      Whether you’re planning a simple refresh or a full-scale renovation, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest home design trends. Sellers who make tasteful updates can generate increased buyer interest and, in some cases, a premium selling price. And buyers should consider which features of a home will need updating immediately (or in the near future) so they can factor renovation costs into their overall budget.

      Even if you have no immediate plans to buy or sell, I advise my clients to be thoughtful about the colors, materials, and finishes they select when planning a remodel, or even redecorating. Choosing over-personalized or unpopular options could hurt a home’s value when it does come time to list your property. And selecting out-of-style or overly-trendy elements could cause your home to feel dated quickly.

      To help, I’ve rounded up five of the hottest home design trends for 2020. Keep in mind, not all of these will work well in every house. If you plan to buy, list, or renovate your property, give me a call. I can help you realize your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.

       
      IN: Sustainability / OUT: Fast Furniture

      Consumers are increasingly eco-conscious. Many are skipping the the mass-produced, “fast furniture” popularized by retailers like IKEA, opting instead for higher-quality pieces that are built to last. One way to do this is to re-purpose old pieces. And the availability of non-toxic, environmentally-friendly furniture and decor options are growing.

      At the same time, there’s been a noticeable shift toward individuality in today’s interior design. Instead of following the latest fad, more homeowners are opting to embrace their personal style and invest in items they believe will “spark joy” (à la Marie Kondo) for years to come.

      Want to know more about Marie Kondo’s famous organization method and how it can increase your home’s value? Contact me for a copy of my article, “Top 6 Home Organization Upgrades That ‘Spark Joy’ for Buyers.”

      To incorporate this trend, designers recommend layering old and new pieces for a curated look that you can build over time. Instead of purchasing a matching furniture set from a big-box retailer, buy one or two sustainably-sourced pieces that complement what you already own. Try searching estate sales and Craigslist for vintage classics or well-built furniture that can be refinished. And to accessorize your room, mix sentimental items with newer finds to create a truly personalized space.

       
      IN: Cozy / OUT: Cold

      Designers are moving away from cool grays, industrial finishes, and stark modernism (thank goodness!). In 2020, there’s a big emphasis on creating warm and cozy spaces through color, texture, and shape.

      Gray has dominated the color palette for the past decade. This year, expect to see a move toward warmer neutrals, earth tones, and nature-inspired shades of blue and green. Warm metals, like gold and brass, will also continue to trend. And hardwood floors are heating up, as cool gray and whitewashed finishes fade in popularity. Expect to see a rise in classic choices like walnut, mahogany, and oak in richer and darker tones.

      Furniture will also get cozier—and curvier—in 2020. From rounded sofas and curved-back chairs to oval dining tables, softened-angles are dominating the furniture scene right now. And designers expect softly-textured fabrics—like velvet, shearling, and mohair—to be big this year, as homeowners strive to add a touch of “hygge” (the Danish concept of calming comfort).

      Want to warm up your home decor? Try one of the top paint colours for 2020: Benjamin Moore’s First Light (soft pink), Sherwin Williams’s Naval (rich blue), or Behr’s Back to Nature (light green).

       
      IN: Bold / OUT: Boring

      Bold is back! After years of neutral overload, vivid colors and prints will take center stage in 2020. Expect to see geometric designs, color blocking, and floral and botanical patterns on everything from pillows to rugs to wallpaper.

      The hottest trend in interior paint right now is bold trim and ceilings. Monochromatic rooms (e.g., walls, ceilings, and millwork painted the same color) will be big this year, as well as high-contrast pairings, like white walls with black trim. Color is coming back to kitchens, too, and two-toned color schemes continue to gain steam. In 2019, 40% of remodelers chose a contrasting color for their kitchen island.1 While white was still the top choice for cabinets, blue and gray are increasingly popular alternatives.

      If you’re ready to “go bold,” separated spaces like laundry and powder rooms are great places to start. It’s easier to incorporate busy wallpaper or a bright wall color in an enclosed area because it doesn’t have to flow with the rest of your decor.

      Of course, clients always want to know how design choices could impact their home’s value. The reality is, neutral finishes are still the safest bet for resale. If you’re prepping your home to go on the market, stick with non-permanent fixtures—like artwork and accessories—to brighten your space.

       
      IN: Nature / OUT: Industrial

      Biophilic (don’t worry, I had to look this word up too) design has been big the past few seasons, and it isn’t going anywhere in 2020. It centers around the health and wellness benefits of connecting with nature, even while indoors, and it’s impacted the latest trends in color, prints, and materials.

      As mentioned previously, floral and botanical patterns are hot right now, along with nature-inspired hues, like blues, greens, and earth tones. We’re also seeing a heightened use of organic shapes and sustainable materials in furniture and furnishings, including wood, wicker, rattan, and jute. This infusion of nature coincides with a decline in the popularity of urban-industrial fixtures. Designers predict that concrete floors and Edison light bulbs are on the way out.

      Want to bring in elements of biophilic design on a budget? Houseplants are a great place to start. But you can also enhance your home’s natural light and create a visual sightline to the outdoors by removing heavy curtains and blinds. And when the weather is nice, open your windows and enjoy the breeze, sounds, and smells of nature. These simple acts are scientifically proven to help reduce stress, boost cognitive performance, and enhance mood!2

       
      IN: Functional / OUT: Fussy

      In 2020, homeowners want design that’s beautiful, but also liveable. With the rise in remote workplaces, online shopping, and virtual exercise classes, many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. Cue the growing appeal of multi-functional spaces, like a combination kitchen/office or gym/playroom. Real life—and rising housing prices—necessitates creative use of limited space.

      Durable, low-maintenance materials will also surge in popularity this year. Engineered quartz—which is more stain, heat, and chip-resistant than natural stone—is now the #1 choice for kitchen countertops.1 Waterproof, wood-look luxury vinyl is the fastest-growing segment in the flooring industry.3 And improvements to water and stain-resistant performance fabric has made it a mainstream option for both indoor and outdoor upholstery.

      Now that functional is hot, what’s not? Designers say that mirrored furniture, open shelving, and all-white kitchens are too impractical for today’s busy families.

      So how can you start enjoying the time and energy-saving benefits of this design trend? Begin by structuring each room so that it best suits your needs. And when purchasing furniture or fixtures, choose options that are durable and easy-to-clean. The truth is, design fads come and go. But a comfortable and relaxed home (that you don’t spend every spare minute maintaining!) can help create memories to last a lifetime.

      DESIGNED TO SELL

      Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Buyer preferences vary greatly by neighbourhood and price range. I can share my insights and offer tips on how to maximize the return on your investment. And if you’re in the market to sell, I can do a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area. Contact me to schedule a free consultation!

      Sources:

      1. Houzz –
        https://www.houzz.com/magazine/2020-us-houzz-kitchen-trends-study-stsetivw-vs~129594531
      2. Terrapin Bright Green – https://www.terrapinbrightgreen.com/reports/14-patterns/
      3. Remodeling Magazine –
        https://www.remodeling.hw.net/products/vinyl-ceramic-and-hardwood-oh-my-todays-popular-flooring-trends_o
      4. Elle Decor –
        https://www.elledecor.com/design-decorate/trends/g29859422/design-trends-2020/?slide=1
      5. Forbes – https://www.forbes.com/sites/amandalauren/2019/12/23/twelve-interior-design-trends-well-see-in-2020/#43f81f044a5f
      6. Wall Street Journal –
        https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-top-6-interior-design-trends-for-2020-11577460357
      7. Good Housekeeping –
        https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/decorating-ideas/g29849170/home-decor-trends-2020/
      8. Architectural Digest –
        https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/top-design-trends-of-2020
      9. Los Angeles Times –
        https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2020-01-11/2020-home-design-trends

      Beginners Guide to the Contract of Purchase and Sale

      The BC Real Estate Association has provided a great video explaining the Contract of Purchase and Sale for properties in BC.

      This is a great first look or review for those of you thinking of purchasing a home in BC.

      Watch this is you are considering buying or selling a home in BC soon.  It will walk you through each section of the Contract, as well as the steps involved in the purchase and sale process.

      Please let me know if you have any questions and I would be happy to assist you!

      Meghan Walker REALTOR® Royal LePage Parksville-Qualicum Beach Realty

      PQBHomes-meghan-walker-sold

      Live Liver Donor Transplant Anniversary

      Ten-Year Transplant Anniversary

      Here we are in Las Vegas Celebrating our Transplant Anniversary

      This blog will probably be more personal than any others. The week of February 16th, I went to Las Vegas with my best friend. Lots of people immediately think of flashy parties, casinos, drinking, shows, concerts, and other forms of debauchery. People flock to Vegas for all kinds of celebrations – birthdays, engagements, bachelor and bachelorette parties, weddings (some with Elvis!), elopements, and more.

      For us, this is also a celebration, but a celebration of a life that has been possible due to organ donation. For several years in the 2000s, my best friend Michelle was very ill with progressively worsening liver failure due to a genetic disease called Wilson’s Disease. It was known from the beginning that she would require a liver transplant. As her health worsened, she was added to the BC Transplant waiting list.  It’s so morbid to wait and hope that someone else’s tragedy will result in your friend’s life being saved. But what choice do you have?

      Waiting for a Liver

      After more than 2 years on the waiting list and no closer to receiving a liver through that traditional transplant program, we researched Living Donor Transplants and discovered that was a possibility for Michelle. Likely her only possibility. Because her liver failure was due to a genetic condition rather than the more common liver failure due to cirrhosis or hepatitis, her MELD scores (the measuring system they use to determine your need for a liver) would never be high enough to get her to the top of the list.

      The evening before the transplant we have a visit in the hospital

      I immediately volunteered to be tested to see if I were a match.  It turns out that I WAS a match! Since I was the only person who came forward to be tested we are so lucky that I was a match.  Then we began the long journey to the surgery — far more than I can cover in this blog post. There was a fight to get this done during the 2010 Olympics, which made CTV News, the newspapers, and more as they didn’t want to do “elective” surgery during the event in case some massive incident occurred and they needed the operating rooms. But Michelle couldn’t wait. She needed the transplant right then, regardless of what was going on.

      Surgery Approved

      After a successful campaign to get Michelle’s surgery done, we checked into Vancouver General Hospital on February 16, 2010.  The surgeons said after they opened Michelle up that she likely had no more than 10 days to live if they hadn’t done the surgery! The surgery is lengthy; my mom tells me I was in there for around 12 hours. My recovery was long, made longer by some post-op complications including a collapsed lung and reactions to medications. BUT, who cares about that, because Michelle came through the surgery just fine, and ALIVE! This was obviously the outcome we had all hoped for.

      After the Surgery

      Me with newborn Rose Meghan my God-daughter

      There is so much to say about my recovery and return to work (which took about 6 months) and Michelle’s health struggles post-op as well. But really, I feel like all of it is irrelevant since the end result was positive.  She is alive, I am fine, and I got to keep my friend! When the surgery took place, Michelle was a mom of a 2-year-old boy.  Since the surgery, she has now had a little girl – whose middle name is Meghan!  What an honour for me to have a little person in this world named for me.

      People always ask me would I do it again? And I guess the answer depends on what they mean.  Do they mean would I do it a second time? In which case the answer thankfully is you can’t do it twice. If they mean am I glad I did it at all? That answer is FOR SURE!  Our “after” story was featured in the March/April issue of Best Health Magazine and I’m so glad that after all this time, Michelle is still here for us to celebrate.

      Me congratulating Michelle on her wedding day – I was her Maid of Honour

      Please sign up yo be an Organ Donor

      Live donor transplants would be less necessary if everyone signed up to be an organ donor, and made their wishes known to their family. Signing up is a good first step, but please make sure your family knows you wish to be an organ donor should the worst happen.