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.

Selling Season – 5 Reasons to List Before the Market Picks Up

A common thought in real estate is never list your home in the winter offseason.

pqbhomes winter house sellingPerpetuated by industry experts, agents and repeat sellers alike, this saying encourages many would-be sellers to wait until the spring peak to list and selling their homes. I have many clients who say to me “we want to sell, but we will wait to list in the spring.” However, studies show that homes listed in the winter offseason not only sell faster than those in the spring, but sellers also net more above their asking price at this time.1 While that may not always be true, you do have less completion, and the winter buyers are serious buyers, not shoppers!

Don’t wait until spring to sell. If you’ve been thinking of selling your home, here are five compelling reasons to list now.
  1. Take advantage of low inventory. Since most sellers are waiting until spring to list, local inventory falls during the offseason. However, there are still motivated buyers who are ready to move now and don’t want to wait that long to purchase a home. According to the National Association of Realtors, 55 percent of all buyers purchased their home at the time they did because “it was just the right time.”2 These eager buyers may flock to your home. You may not need to try as hard to make your home stand out in the sea of other similar homes. With less competition, more buyers, who may have otherwise overlooked your home if you listed during the peak, will express an interest to buy. While you’ll likely have fewer showings in the offseason, buyers who do visit will be more serious about writing an offer.
  1. Less need to discount your listing price. Homes selling during the offseason sell at a higher price, on average, than those sold during the spring and summer peak. There are many reasons for this. First, motivated buyers are willing to pay closer to the asking price for a home. Second, homes are more likely to be priced right and reflect the economics of not only the local market, but the neighbourhood as well. (That part is KEY!  You must price realistically for this tactic to work.) Often, homes listed during the peak may be priced to compete with other homes in the area and neighbourhood. Sellers may be pressured to sell for less than the list price in order to encourage buyers to choose their home out of the others on the market.
  1. You’ll receive more attention. Buyers, Buyer agents, and your neighbours who may know someone who wants to move into your home will all be paying more attention to your listing when there is less completion.

Additionally, if you’d like to hire a tradesperson before selling your home for routine maintenance or a minor home renovation, you may be able to take advantage of flexible scheduling and cheaper rates. Many of these professionals experience a winter offseason as well, and can focus their time and attention on you and your project.

  1. Easier to maintain curb appeal. Curb appeal is intended to attract the buyers who are just driving by as well as those who saw your home online and wanted to see it in-person. It sets the stage for what interested buyers can expect when they step foot in the home during a showing or open house. If you list your home during the peak of the selling season, you may exhaust your time your energy maintaining curb appeal. You’ll likely spend most of your free time mowing the lawn, weeding, trimming shrubs and hedges, planting flowers in pots and in flowerbeds, pulling spent blooms and watering it all to ensure it looks lush and healthy on a daily basis. After all, a lush landscape will attract potential buyers and set your home apart from other similar homes in the area.

The offseason eliminates the pressure to maintain a picture-perfect front landscape. Since most grass, shrubs and plants go dormant at this time of year, you’ll have less to maintain. If you live in an area that experiences a traditional winter, your landscape will be covered with snow. Even if you live in a milder climate, you may not have to mow as often, if at all. It’s still important to ensure your exterior appears well-tended, so make sure your walkway and front porch remains free of snow, ice and debris.

  1. Tap into the life changes of buyers. Many buyers receive employee raises and bonuses at the end of the year. If they’ve been saving to buy a home, this extra money may allow them to reach their goal for a down payment and put them on the path to becoming a homeowner. Additionally, companies often hire new employees and relocate current ones during the first quarter of the year, creating a strong demand for housing. If you live in an area that’s home to a large company or has a strong corporate presence, this may be the perfect time to list.
Thinking of Selling in the Offseason? 3 Things to Do Before You List

Get your home ready to list by following these tips.

  1. Schedule maintenance. Buyers, especially first-time buyers, want a home they can move into right away; they don’t want to repair the roof or the furnace or replace windows with blown thermal seals before they move in. Do the scheduled maintenance and make repairs before you list your home for sale.

In some cases, it may help to have an inspector do a pre-inspection of your home. A pre-inspection will make you aware of any major, potentially deal-killing, issues that will have to be addressed before you list. It also gives you an idea of minor issues that a potential buyer may want repaired. This will help you stand out from the crowd, as few sellers take the time, effort, and money to invest in a pre-inspection in our market.  Overall, it helps you to accurately price your home and may protect you from claims a buyer might make later.3.

  1. Create light. Balance out the lack of natural light outdoors by turning the lights on inside. Since people naturally tend to buy emotionally, turning on the lights helps create a sense of warmth and coziness. Light a fire in the fireplace, if you have one, fill your home with the scents of the season, such as vanilla or fresh baked cookies, and put a throw blanket on your sofa.pqbhomes-paint-home-maintenace

If you plan to paint the interior of your home before you list, consider an off-white shade to create consistency throughout your home and make the space feel larger and brighter. If you have photos of your garden or the home’s exterior in the spring or summer, display them so interested buyers can get a glimpse of what the home looks like in other seasons..

  1. Give your home a thorough cleaning. Cleaning puts your home in its best light. Clean and polish all the horizontal surfaces of your home, including countertops, window sills and baseboards; have the curtains dry cleaned or otherwise laundered; wash windows, glass doors and their tracks; vacuum carpeting and polish all wood surfaces, including the floor.

Additionally, this is a great time to pack any personal items and family photos as well as sort through your belongings and donate items you no longer use. This not only eliminates any clutter, but it also gives you less to pack and move when you sell.

If you’re thinking of selling, give me a call! I’d love to help you position your home to sell in our market.

PQBHomes-meghan-walker-sold

 

 

 

 

Sources: 1. Time, October 30, 2015

  1. National Association of REALTORS, 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers
  2. Forbes, August, 27, 2013

 

 

HOUSE CARE CALENDAR

A Seasonal Guide to the Maintenance of Your Home

Be careful, homeowners: neglecting your home’s maintenance could put your personal safety—and one of your largest financial investments—at serious risk. From summer vacations to winter holidays, it seems each season offers the perfect excuse to put off our to-do list.

In no time at all, small problems can lead to extensive and expensive repairs. And even if you avoid a catastrophe, those minor issues can still have a big impact. Properties that are not well maintained can lose 10 percent (or more) of their appraised value.1

The good news is, by dedicating a few hours each season to properly maintaining your home, you can ensure a safe living environment for you and your family … and actually increase the value of your home by one percent annually!1You just need to know where and how to spend your time.

Use the following checklist as a guide to maintaining your home and lawn throughout the year. It’s applicable for all climates, so please share it with friends and family members who you think could benefit, no matter where their home is located.


pqbhomes-springSpring

After a long, cold winter, many of us look forward to a fresh start in the spring. Wash away the winter grime, open the windows, and prepare your home for warmer weather and backyard barbecues.

Inside

  • Conduct Annual Spring Cleaning
    Be sure to tackle those areas that may have gone neglected—such as your blinds, baseboards and fan blades—as well as appliances, including your refrigerator, dishwasher, oven and range hood. Clear out clutter and clothes you no longer wear, and toss old and expired food and medications.
  • Shut Down Heating System
    Depending on the type of heating system you have, you may need to shut your system down when not in use. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for proper procedures.
  • Tune Up A/C
    If your home has central air conditioning, schedule an annual tune-up with your HVAC technician. If you have a portable or window unit, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance.2
  • Check Plumbing
    It’s a good idea to periodically check your plumbing to spot any leaks or maintenance issues. Look for evidence of leaks—such as water stains on the ceiling—and check for dripping faucets or running toilets that need to be addressed. Inspect your hot water heater for sediment build up. Check your sump pump (if you have one) to ensure it’s working properly.3
  • Inspect Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    Check that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are functioning properly. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so change them now and again in the fall. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.4 

Outside

  • Inspect Perimeter of Home
    Walk around your house and look for any signs of damage or wear and tear that should be addressed. Are there cracks in the foundation? Peeling paint? Loose or missing roof shingles? Make a plan to make needed repairs yourself or hire a contractor.
  • Clean Home’s Exterior
    Wash windows and clean and replace screens if they were removed during the winter months. For the home’s facade, it’s generally advisable to use the gentlest method that is effective. A simple garden hose will work in most cases.5
  • Clean Gutters and Downspouts
    Gutters and downspouts should be cleaned at least twice a year. Neglected gutters can cause water damage to a home, so make sure yours are clean and free of debris. If your gutters have screens, you may be able to decrease the frequency of cleanings, but they should still be checked periodically.6
  • Rake Leaves
    Gently rake your lawn to remove leaves and debris. Too many leaves can cause an excessive layer of thatch, which can damage the roots of your lawn. They can also harbor disease-causing organisms and insects.7 However, take care because overly vigorous raking can damage new grass shoots.
  • Seed or Sod Lawn
    If you have bare spots, spring is a good time to seed or lay new sod so you can enjoy a beautiful lawn throughout the remainder of the year. The peak summer heat can be too harsh for a new lawn. If you miss this window, early fall is another good time to plant.8
  • Apply a Pre-Emergent Herbicide
    While a healthy lawn is the best deterrent for weeds, some homeowners choose to use a pre-emergent herbicide in the spring to minimize weeds. When applied at the right time, it can be effective in preventing weeds from germinating. However, a pre-emergent herbicide will also prevent grass seeds from germinating, so only use it if you don’t plan to seed or sod in the spring.
  • Plant Flowers
    After a long winter, planting annuals and spring perennials is a great way to brighten up your garden. It’s also a good time to prune existing flowers and shrubs and remove and compost any dead plants.
  • Mulch Beds
    A layer of fresh mulch helps to suppress weeds, retain moisture and moderate soil temperature. However, be sure to strip away old mulch at least every three years to prevent excessive buildup.9=
  • Fertilize Lawn
    Depending on your grass type, an application of fertilizer in the spring may help promote new leaf and root growth, keep your lawn healthy, and reduce weeds.10
  • Tune Up Lawn Mower
    Send your lawn mower out for a professional tune-up and to have the blades sharpened before the mowing season starts.11
  • Inspect Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, check that it’s working properly and make repairs as needed.
  • Check the Deck
    If you have a deck or patio, inspect it for signs of damage or deterioration that may have occurred over the winter. Then clean it thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of stain if needed.
  • Prepare Pool
    If you own a pool, warmer weather signals the start of pool season. Be sure to follow best practices for your particular pool to ensure proper maintenance and safety.


pqbhomes-summerSummer

Summer is generally the time to relax and enjoy your home, but a little time devoted to maintenance will help ensure it looks great and runs efficiently throughout the season.

Inside

  • Adjust Ceiling Fans
    Make sure they are set to run counter-clockwise in the summer to push air down and create a cooling breeze. Utilizing fans instead of your air conditioner, when possible, will help minimize your utility bills.
  • Clean A/C Filters
    Be sure to clean or replace your filters monthly, particularly if you’re running your air conditioner often.
  • Clear Dryer Vent
    Help cut down on summer utility bills by cleaning your laundry dryer vent at least once a year. Not only will it help cut down on drying times, a neglected dryer poses a serious fire hazard.
  • Check Weather Stripping
    If you’re running your air conditioner in the summer, you’ll want to keep the cold air inside and hot air outside. Check weather stripping around doors and windows to ensure a good seal.

Outside

  • Mow Lawn Regularly
    Your lawn will probably need regular mowing in the summer. Adjust your mower height to the highest setting, as taller grass helps shade the soil to prevent drought and weeds.
  • Water Early in the Morning
    Ensure your lawn and garden get plenty of water during the hot summer months. Experts generally recommend watering in the early morning to minimize evaporation, but be mindful of any watering restrictions in your area, which may limit the time and/or days you are allowed to water.
  • Weed Weekly
    To prevent weeds from taking over your garden and ruining your home’s valuable curb appeal, make a habit of pulling weeds at least once per week.
  • Exterminate Pests
    Remove any standing water and piles of leaves and debris. Inspect your lawn and perimeter of your home for signs of an invasion. If necessary, call a professional exterminator for assistance.


    pqbhomes-fall

Fall

Fall ushers in another busy season of home maintenance as you prepare your home for the winter weather ahead.

Inside

  • Have Heater Serviced
    To ensure safety and efficiency, it’s a good idea to have your heating system serviced and inspected before you run it for the first time.
  • Shut Down A/C for the Winter
    If you have central air conditioning, you can have it serviced at the same time as your furnace. If you have a portable or window unit, ensure it’s properly sealed or remove it and store it for the winter.
  • Inspect Chimney
    Fire safety experts recommend that you have your chimney inspected annually and cleaned periodically. Complete this task before you start using your fireplace or furnace.
  • Seal Windows and Doors
    Check windows and doors for drafts and caulk or add weatherstripping where necessary.
  • Check Smoke Alarm and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    If you checked your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the spring, they are due for another inspection. Batteries should be replaced every six months, so it’s time to replace them again. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to test your individual devices. And even properly functioning devices should be replaced at least every 10 years, or per the manufacturer’s recommendation.3

Outside

  • Plant Fall Flowers, Grass and Shrubs
    Fall is a great time to plant perennials, trees, shrubs, cool-season vegetables and bulbs that will bloom in the spring.12 It’s also a good time to reseed or sod your lawn.
  • Rake or Mow Leaves
    Once the leaves start falling, it’s time to pull out your rake. A thick layer of leaves left on your grass can lead to an unhealthy lawn. Or, rather than raking, use a mulching mower to create a natural fertilizer for your lawn.
  • Apply Fall Fertilizer
    If you choose not to use a mulching mower, a fall fertilizer is usually recommended. For best results, aerate your lawn before applying the fertilizer.13
  • Inspect Gutters and Roof
    Inspect your gutters and downspouts and make needed repairs. Check the roof for any broken or loose tiles. Remove fallen leaves and debris.
  • Shut Down Sprinkler System
    If you have a sprinkler system, drain any remaining water and shut it down to prevent damage from freezing temperatures over the winter.
  • Close Pool
    If you have a pool, it’s time to clean and close it up before the winter.


    pqbhomes-winter

Winter

While it can be tempting to ignore home maintenance issues in the winter, snow and freezing temperatures can do major damage if left untreated. Follow these steps to ensure your house survives the winter months.

Inside

  • Maintain Heating System
    Check and change filters on your heating system, per the manufacturer’s instructions. If you have a boiler, monitor the water level.
  • Tune Up Generator
    If you own a portable generator, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper maintenance. Make sure it’s working before you need it, and stock up on supplies like fuel, oil and filters.
  • Prevent Frozen Pipes
    Make sure pipes are well insulated, and keep your heat set to a minimum of 55 degrees when you’re away. If pipes are prone to freezing, leave faucets dripping slightly overnight or when away from home. You may also want to open cabinet doors beneath sinks to let in heat.

Outside

  • Drain and Shut Off Outdoor Faucets
    Before the first freeze, drain and shut off outdoor faucets. Place an insulated cover over exposed faucets, and store hoses for the winter.
  • Remove Window Screens
    Removing screens from your windows allows more light in to brighten and warm your home during the dark, cold winter months. Snow can also get trapped between screens and windows, causing damage to window frames and sills.
  • Service Snowblower
    Don’t wait until the first snowstorm of the season to make sure your snowblower is in good working order. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance or have it serviced by a professional.
  • Stock Up on Ice Melt
    Keep plenty of ice melt, or rock salt, on hand in preparation for winter weather. Look for brands that will keep kids and pets safe without doing damage to your walkway or yard.
  • Watch Out for Ice Dams
    Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that can build up along the eaves of your house. They can do major damage to gutters, shingles and siding. Heated cables installed prior to the first winter storm can help.14
  • Check for Snow Buildup on Trees
    Snow can cause tree limbs to break, which can be especially dangerous if they are near your home. Use a broom to periodically remove excess snow.15

While this checklist should not be considered a complete list of your home’s maintenance needs, it can serve as a general seasonal guide. Systems, structures and fixtures will need to be repaired and replaced from time-to-time, as well. The good news is, the investment you make in maintaining your home now will pay off dividends over time.

Keep a record of all your maintenance, repairs and upgrades for future reference, along with receipts. Not only will it help jog your memory, it can make a big impact on buyers when it comes time to sell your home … and potentially result in a higher selling price.

Are you looking for help with home maintenance or repairs? I have an extensive network of trusted contractors and service providers and are happy to provide referrals! Call or email me, and I can connect you with one of my preferred vendors.


pqbhomes-calendar

Sources:

  1. com –
    https://www.houselogic.com/organize-maintain/home-maintenance-tips/value-home-maintenance/
  2. Home Advisor –
    https://www.homeadvisor.com/r/servicing-your-air-conditioner/
  3. Keyes & Sons Plumbing and Heating –
    https://keyes-plumbing.com/things-to-check-in-spring/
  4. Allstate Insurance Blog –
    https://blog.allstate.com/test-smoke-detectors/
  5. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/17268616/list/how-to-wash-your-house
  6. Angie’s List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/why-gutter-cleaning-so-important.htm
  7. Angie’s List –
    https://www.angieslist.com/articles/what-thatch-and-how-does-it-impact-my-lawn.htm
  8. HGTV –
    https://www.hgtv.com/design/outdoor-design/landscaping-and-hardscaping/lawns/top-spring-lawn-care-tips-pictures
  9. This Old House –
    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/more/may-mulching
  10. Lowes –
    https://www.lowes.com/projects/lawn-and-garden/fertilize-your-lawn/project
  11. The New York Times –
    https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/home-maintenance-checklist
  12. Better Homes and Gardens Magazine –
    https://www.bhg.com/gardening/yard/garden-care/what-to-plant-in-the-fall/
  13. The Spruce –
    https://www.thespruce.com/late-fall-fertilizing-2152976
  14. This Old House –
    https://www.thisoldhouse.com/how-to/how-to-get-rid-ice-dams
  15. Houzz –
    https://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/55572864/list/your-winter-home-maintenance-checklist

 

Simple Living, Stress Reduction, and Small Spaces

 

small house living makes you happier
1866 MARTINI WAY Qualicum Beach

Want to be Happier?  
Live in a Small House, or a Tiny Home, and Reduce your Clutter!

This Blog is a little less real estate business and a little more personal – but don’t worry, it’s real estate adjacent, and there is a point to it all!

I have been thinking a lot about simplicity lately.  In my life I have always loved “stuff”. I am sentimental and so everything becomes a keepsake. Family heirlooms and family history and family photos are to be saved above all else. I love to read. Once a book is done, I can’t bear to part with it if it was any good. I love clothes, make-up, shoes, jewelry. I collect things – vintage Barbies, Flower Fairies, dog stuff, horse stuff, and probably more I’m not even thinking about just now.

As a result, my house, despite being large and only containing 2 adults and one very small dog, is pretty crowded.  Not hoarder TV show crowded, but more crowded than it should be.  We can’t park in the garage anyways.

Organizing and Simplifying

I hired a professional organizer (Organize to Optimize) who had previously helped me with workflow and productivity in my Real Estate role to come to my home. So far, we have tackled the kitchen. Without getting rid of anything at all, she freed up a ton of space and the work flow is so much better. Up next are keep-sakes and the garage (aka storage locker).

But, before she comes to help me with the rest of my house, I have tackled my make-up/skin care collection in my master bathroom and now my closet on my own.  I didn’t think I would like to get rid of stuff.  But the freedom from clutter and the ease of finding what I want is powerful. Getting ready each day is easier, less stressful, and quicker. Coming into the spaces I have cleared and organized feels less oppressive.  I have (so far) been much more likely to put things back where they belong, since they actually have a place, and a space.

My New Listing could make you Happier

All of this is happening while juggling a busy real estate career.  In my role as REALTOR® I have the good fortune to have an amazing listing just a few minutes from home. It’s a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom rancher that is 768 square feet with mountain views on a low-maintenance fenced lot.

What strikes me about this home each time I go is a sense of peace, and SPACE.  It’s open plan, and the current owner has decorated it beautifully with just the right amount of “stuff” and no more. I find it to be a sanctuary compared to my crowded and busy looking home. It has lots of storage space (a crawl space and 2 outbuildings) so a person could have places for their things, but also I am amazed by the fact that when I look around, I feel like it has everything I would need.

Why do I have all this “extra stuff” when I can see all I would need in ½ the space that I have?

Tiny Homes and Small House Living

There is such a movement towards Tiny Homes and Small Space Living and anti-consumerism on the rise I have to wonder if all of society is feeling a little overwhelmed with their space and their stuff much like me.  A Globe & Mail article this year said: “Smaller spaces are great spaces. They are cheaper to buy, maintain and clean, as well as being more sustainable, requiring less energy to heat and cool (residential energy use increased 6.5 per cent between 1990 and 2013, according to Natural Resources Canada, a time when house sizes were growing)[1].

This new single-story small house I have listed is all those things!  It’s way under the local average home price, in brand new condition, economical to heat, easy to clean and maintain, and detached so you don’t sacrifice your privacy and autonomy like you would moving to a similarly sized townhouse or condominium.

Another article points out  that “as work expands to fill the time allotted, our useless crap expands to fill the space we give it. Our houses are bigger because we need more space to store our junk, and our junk pile grows because, hey, there’s room for it in the garage. You don’t have to go full KonMari to recognize that this isn’t healthy, and it certainly doesn’t make life better or wallets fuller.”[2]

Refections for a new year

As so often happens at the beginning of a new year, reflection and goal setting is a big part of this month for me – from a business and a personal perspective.  I want to reduce consumption, clear my mind and my physical space to allow for the right amount and type of stuff in, and I want to simplify. We all know the phrase “reduce, re-use, recycle” but my focus this year is on this first, most often ignored part, REDUCE.

So, if you want to see this amazing small space living rancher I have listed, click here, and think about how you can live smaller, and probably happier!

[1]  The Globe and Mail,  Smaller homes could make us happier, Matthew Hague, August 24, 2019https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-design/article-smaller-homes-could-make-us-happier/

[2] The Week, Want to be happier? Live in a small house., August 4, 2017, Bonnie Kristian https://theweek.com/articles/716105/want-happier-live-small-house

2020 Outlook: Real Estate Market Forecast

 

After a two year slump, the future’s looking bright again for Canadian real estate. Economists expect positive growth in the national housing market in 2020, supported by low mortgage rates, a solid job market, and a rising population.

In fact, in a recent report, RBC Economics called 2019 a “turning point for Canada’s housing market.”1 To understand why—and where the market is headed— take a closer look at some of the key indicators and summarize expert predictions for the coming year.

More importantly, below I explain what impact these changes will have on buyers, sellers, and homeowners in 2020 and beyond.

SALES VOLUME WILL RISE

After peaking in 2016, Canadian home sales volume fell in 2017 and 2018. Fortunately, we saw a turnaround last year as sales began to recover, and economists expect the trend to continue. In a recent “Housing Market Outlook” report, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) predicts “home sales will increase in 2020 and 2021, offsetting the declines observed since 2016 by the end of the forecast horizon.”2

The Canadian Real Estate Association expects to see a modest rate of growth this year. “Sales are forecast to continue to improve through 2020, albeit slowly. National home sales are forecast to rise by 7.5% to 518,100 units next year, with most of this increase reflecting a weak start to 2019 rather than a significant change in sales trends out to the end of next year.”3

What triggered this rebound in market activity? According to Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics, “The beneficial combination of solid job markets, rising household incomes, healthy population growth, further distance from restrictive government policies and low mortgage rates have given a boost to demand.”4

RBC Economics believes the main impediment to growth will be a lack of supply to meet the reinvigorated demand. “In fact, low inventories in many local markets appear to be holding buyers back who are faced with fewer and fewer options,” noted RBC in its November housing report.5

What does it mean for you? The market is heating up as buyer demand grows. If you’re planning to purchase a home this year, be prepared to compete for the best listings. And if you’re a seller who has been waiting for the market to pick up, now may be a good time to act.

HOME PRICES WILL INCREASE

 Home prices declined in many markets as sales volume fell. This year, however, sales are set to outpace the supply of new listings. That’s causing prices to increase as buyers compete for fewer available homes. “The rise in the sales-to-new listing ratio suggests that house price inflation will surge,” writes Stephen Brown of Capital Economics.6

Nationally, the CMHC expects the average sales price to exceed its peak 2017 level by the end of 2021, led by growth in Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia. “Other regions will generally see modest gains over the forecast horizon,” predicts the agency in its Fall 2019 Housing Market Outlook.2

Rishi Sondhi of TD Economics predicts that affordability challenges will temper price growth in the country’s most expensive markets.4 However, low mortgage rates, rising incomes, and government interventions—like the First Time Home Buyer Incentive program launched in September—could help eager buyers stretch their budgets.

What does it mean for you? If you have the ability and desire to buy a home, act soon before prices go up. Economists expect both home values and rental costs to rise this year, so you’re likely to pay more the longer you wait.

HOUSING STARTS WILL STABILIZE

In 2017, Canadian housing starts reached a 10-year high. But as the real estate market slowed, builders pulled back. The CMHC expects both single-family and multi-unit construction activity to stabilize this year and to rebound by the end of 2021 to levels consistent with historical averages, although well below the 2017 peak.2

Economists at the CMHC speculate that “the support to new residential construction from the expected improvement in economic activity and incomes will be offset by the projected slowing in household formation over the forecast horizon.”

According to PwC’s latest “Emerging Trends in Real Estate” report, condominiums continue to dominate new construction in Canada. Their relative affordability has made them a favourite of both first-time buyers and investors looking to fulfill a growing demand for rental units. However, a narrowing price gap between condos and detached housing could shift builder momentum towards single-family homes.7

What does it mean for you? If you’ve had trouble finding a suitable home in the past, new construction may become an increasingly available option. I can help you assess both current and upcoming developments in our area.

I’M HERE TO GUIDE YOU

While national real estate numbers can provide a “big picture” outlook, real estate is local. As local market experts, I can guide you through the ins and outs of our market and the issues most likely to impact sales and home values in your particular neighbourhood.

 If you’re considering buying or selling a home in 2020, contact me now to schedule a free consultation. I’ll work with you to develop an action plan to meet your real estate goals this year.

START PREPARING TODAY

If you plan to BUY this year:

  1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you plan to finance part of your home purchase, getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a jump-start on the paperwork and provide an advantage over other buyers in a competitive market. The added bonus: you will find out how much you can afford to borrow and budget accordingly.
  2. Create your wish list. How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How far are you willing to commute to work? What’s most important to you in a home? I can set up a customized search that meets your criteria to help you find the perfect home for you.
  3. Come to my office. The buying process can be tricky. I’d love to guide you through it. I can help you find a home that fits your needs and budget, all at no cost to you. Give me a call to schedule an appointment today!

If you plan to SELL this year:

  1. Call me for a FREE Comparative Market Analysis. A CMA not only gives you the current market value of your home, it will also show how your home compares to others in the area. This will help us determine which repairs and upgrades may be required to get top dollar for your property, and it will help us price your home correctly once you’re ready to list.
  2. Prep your home for the market. Most buyers want a home they can move into right away, without having to make extensive repairs and upgrades. I can help you determine which ones are worth the time and expense to deliver maximum results.
  3. Start decluttering. Help your buyers see themselves in your home by packing up personal items and things you don’t use regularly and storing them in an attic or storage locker. This will make your home appear larger, make it easier to stage … and get you one step closer to moving when the time comes!

Sources:

  1. RBC Economics –
    https://royal-bank-of-canada-2124.docs.contently.com/v/november-monthly-housing-update
  2. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation – https://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/data-and-research/publications-and-reports/housing-market-outlook-canada-and-major-centres
  3. Canadian Real Estate Association –
    https://www.crea.ca/housing-market-stats/quarterly-forecasts/
  4. Huffington Post –
    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/home-sales-canada_ca_5d91eefae4b0ac3cddabd25c
  5. RBC Economics –
    https://www.rbc.com/economics/economic-reports/canadian-housing-forecast.html
  6. Huffington Post –
    https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/house-price-forecast-canada_ca_5dde94f2e4b00149f727d91b

PwC – https://www.pwc.com/ca/en/industries/real-estate/emerging-trends-in-real-estate-2020/property-type-outlook.html#single