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The home purchasing process is complicated and overwhelming, even the most prepared buyers can overlook something that may affect their new home or lifestyle later.


Below you’ll find a list of the top things buyers wish they hadn’t overlooked when purchasing their new home:

Future Development

If you purchase a new home in a developing area, you can expect to hear construction nose for years to come. This also applies if you live near a highway or in an older neighbourhood that’s on the verge of regentrification.


Always review the Official Community Plan for your area, this will give you a good idea of what’s expected over the next 10+ years.

Skipping the Final Walk-through

While most purchasers will leave their homes in excellent condition for the buyers, there are a few that may not. This is extremely important if you’re purchasing a home that was being rented and disgruntled tenants are being forced to move out sooner than they had hoped.


Your final walk-through is a great way to see the home near empty, ensure no last-minute damage was done, and start planning any updates you’d like to complete prior to move-in.

Commute

If you’ve viewed the home on a quiet Sunday afternoon, you may find yourself extremely surprised on Monday morning stuck in traffic while trying to get to work.


Be sure to research the route and be aware of any regular problems which may cause holdups or traffic jams that may take away from your valuable time with your time. 


Size

Nearly 20% of buyers have regrets about the size of the home they purchased.

Generation X and Millennials often regret not buying a larger home. As their families grow, they wish they had more space, bedrooms, and a larger yard.


Whereas the older generations tend to wish they had purchased something smaller. Their children have left home and they don’t require the extra space any longer, nor do they want or require the huge yards that take up so much time and effort. 


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Real Estate investing is much more than simply buying a home and renting it to a tenant. There are countless factors that need to be taken into account that may affect your finances and investment in the short and long term. 


While each investment is different, there are a few simple guidelines that you can follow to ensure you are making a sound investment that will be profitable to you in the future. 


Comparable Sales


The best way to find the market value of a property is to compare the recent sales of comparable properties in the neighbourhood. 


Comparables can tell you what properties were selling for one year ago and what they are selling for now, giving you a clear understanding of how much prices have risen and what you can expect when you plan to sell. 


Associated Costs


You need to be aware of all costs associated with owning the property, this included operating expenses, loan payments, vacancy costs, taxes, immediate and future repair costs, etc. 


Knowing the financials inside and out will help you decide if this is a worthy investment and how much you can expect to pay if/when the property is not fully tenanted. 


Find Your Speciality


Do you enjoy flipping houses, fixer-uppers, small apartments, or single-tenant units? Focus on one type of specialty until you've mastered this and are ready to take on another investment type. If it's your first investment property, you may want to look at a single-tenant unit where rents will cover the mortgage and all associated costs, however, if you've got extra time and love doing renovations then a fixer-upper might be your niche. 


Tenants


Where are your tenants coming from and how do you get the best ones? If you're not planning to hire a property manager, this is information that you need to know. You also need to be aware of allowances for background and credit checks. Researching where tenants are coming from and what type of tenants are looking to rent homes will ensure you a smooth tenancy application process. 


Taxes


Educate yourself on the current tax laws surrounding investment properties and how they may affect you. Also try to stay abreast of any upcoming changes, as these may affect your finances and tax returns.


Insurance


Research insurance coverages ahead of time to guarantee you get the best coverage and at an excellent rate. Don't be afraid to shop around and ask for quotes from numerous providers. You want to ensure your investment is covered for all possible situations that may arise. 


Utilities


Contact your local utility companies to obtain estimates of utility costs. You will also need to decide if utilities will be included in the rent or if your tenants will be responsible for these costs themselves. 


Property Inspection


Having a property inspection done will give you peace of mind that money can't buy. it will give you an idea of any problems the home is having now and it can also predict issues that may arise in the near future. For example, if the roof hasn't been replaced in 25 years, the inspector will make note of this and advise you that it may need to be replaced in the foreseeable future. 


Whether you're a long-time investor with numerous properties or looking to purchase your first investment property, there's plenty of information to be aware of and lots of research to be done. 


What are you waiting for? Let's start building your investment portfolio today! 

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Thinking about doing some home renovations to increase the value of your home? We’ve researched the most profitable home renovations that will provide you the best return on your dollar invested. 


Several renovations will actually pay for themselves when it comes to resale value. They might seem like intangibles, but painting, updating fixtures, and putting in a garden can all add up when it comes to a home’s final sale price.


Bigger ticket items can also deliver payback to homeowners, but it’s important to stick to a budget to try to recover these costs when selling.


Below are a few quick fixes that will increase your home's value: 


Painting


This low-cost improvement will significantly add to the appeal of your home.


Research shows that painting the kitchen and kitchen cabinets will provide the highest return on investment.


A cost of approximately $500-$1,000 can easily be turned into a profit of $5,000 - $10,000 while instantly brightening your home and updating the interior.  


Landscaping

Landscaping is considered one of the best investments you can make.


By spending $500 to $2000 on landscaping, the value of your home can increase an estimated $5,000 to $15,000.


Not only will your updated yard appeal to the masses, but it will also be a wonderful place for you to enjoy prior to selling. 


Updating Bathroom Fixtures

A simple change of hardware in the bathroom can improve its look from old and dated to new and modern.


Replacing the taps, towel racks, showerheads, etc. can cost around $500 to $750 but will add about $5,000 in value to your home. 


A few of the larger fixes you may want to budget for and carefully think over are:

Hardwood Flooring

New floors have a massive impact on how your home is perceived, instantly upping the wow factor.


Installing new floors is a large project and will be expensive, however, the return on investment is usually 100-150% depending on the type of flooring you choose.


While hardwood floors will be at the top of the ROI, a beautiful laminate that’s been professionally installed will also provide you with an excellent profit.

Basement updates

Updating the basement is much more than just painting and making it look nice, it often includes a good subflooring product to lift the floor off the concrete, creating an air pocket that will both insulate and protect the floor from moisture and mold issues, additional insulation, updated electrical and internet connections.


This may be one of the more expensive updates, however, the expanded living space will be extremely appealing to all buyers and prove to be a worthy investment at the time of resale. 


When updating your home, be sure to research the latest trends and always try to choose bright neutral colors to attract the most buyers.


We also suggest preparing a budget and sticking to it, this will ensure you the most profit on your investment at the time of resale. 




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Buying a home is a very exciting experience, we start thinking of how we will decorate, entertaining friends and family, and all the memories to be made.


With all this excitement, it’s easy to have our judgment clouded and miss some important things that we otherwise wouldn’t have. 


Every seller knows the flaws of their home and we can only hope and trust that they are being completely honest with us about the condition of their home, however, that’s not always the case.


And rather than find yourself in a lengthy legal battle with the sellers, it’s best to keep an eye out for any red flags before you make an offer.


A few things buyers should be on the lookout for when purchasing a home are:  


The Trim Doesn’t Match Up


If the trim doesn’t match up this can be a sign that due care wasn’t taken when updating the home.


This may also mean that renovations were done without a permit or that the owner didn’t hire a licensed professional to complete them.


If a homeowner is cutting corners with visible parts of the home, you need to think about areas you can’t easily see such as electrical, insulation, plumbing, and much more. 


All curtains are closed

When selling a home you want to open the windows and coverings to allow as much light in as possible to showcase each room. Bright natural light also makes rooms appear larger.


If you see a home where the sellers have kept all window coverings closed, you need to open them and see what’s behind.


The seller could be hiding mold or mildew around the windows, leaky windows that are allowing water to seep into the home or between the panes, or simply a poor view.


Sold “As Is”

A home that is being sold ‘as is’ often means there’s work to be done that the seller does not want to complete before selling.


This may or may not be a bad thing. If they simply don’t want to repaint the walls or redo the floors and you were already planning to do that then it’s no problem.


However, if it’s something major such as structural damage or a leaking roof you may find yourself in over your head with repairs and renovations.


In cases of purchasing a home “as is” always have a property inspection done to properly assess the condition of the home. 


It has “great bones”

Unless you’re looking for a project and planning to do major renovations, avoid any home that is listed with the term “great bones”.


This often means the structure and foundation are in good condition but the home requires extensive updates.


These can range from simple updates such as repainting or updating the hardware to full renovations with electrical and plumbing upgrades. 


It may seem near impossible to be on the lookout for everything when purchasing a home and for that reason, you need to hire an agent you trust who has your best interests in mind at all times.


A trustworthy agent will notice the above-mentioned possible flaws as well as any others and bring them to your attention immediately. 

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To say technology is not a huge part of our lives would be a great understatement. We use technology in our workplace, our homes, and our daily lives.


Keeping your home up-to-date with the latest technology will greatly improve your home's value and make it much more appealing to buyers. 


There are plenty of different innovative ways to bring your home into the future, some of which are very affordable and simple to install.


These top innovations will bring your home into the future without breaking the bank: 


Control4 System


While this one is on the pricier side, it literally does it all!


A Control4 System manages your heating, security, lighting, televisions, sound systems, and much more, all with the click of a button! Additionally, you can sync this system to your phone, so you will have control of everything in your home, even when you’re away! 


Frame TV

The new Samsung Frame TV is perfect for disguising your television as artwork.


You have the option of choosing from thousands of artists, including portraits from Van Gogh to artists featured by Saatchi Art


Portraits can be changed easily depending on the season, your décor, or even your mood. 


Sophisticated Lighting

Smart light switches are a great place to start. They have advanced control options on the switches themselves but can also be controlled from your phone.


They can be scheduled to go on and off at specific times and you can even turn them off remotely from your phone if you realize you may have left the kitchen light on while you’re out shopping!


We suggest swapping the older trims on recessed ceiling lights to smaller gimbal LED lights. These new lights create a beautiful gallery feel throughout the home, highlighting details in a softer way.


There are also options to change the colour of the lighting with some brands, which is perfect for movie nights or creating a relaxing ambiance. 


Bifold Doors and Windows

Your yard is an extension of your home and should be utilized as such, especially with the warmer months upon us.


What was once a wall is now a door or window that leads into your extended living space will give the feeling of more space, as well provide exceptional natural light into your home. 


Filtration Systems

Installing systems that will improve your health are a benefit to everyone in your home and any potential future buyers.


Air purifiers are extremely popular, especially for those who struggle with allergens, pet dander, or dust.


They will come in especially handy in the late summer months when there tends to be more forest fires in the area and the air becomes extremely smokey.


Water filtration systems are also very popular and a great way to ensure lead has been removed from your drinking water.


Yes, we know that here on the island we have some of the best drinking water in the world, but a little extra care never hurts! 


Whether you're hoping to sell your home in the near future or planning to stay in it for years to come, these innovations will improve your quality of life in various ways. Now we just need to figure out a self-cleaning option! 

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Every purchaser has their own specific must-haves when they begin searching for a home such as location, size, number of bedrooms, etc. all of which will vary with each buyer and their needs.


On the opposite side, all buyers will also a list of deal-breakers, maybe they don’t want a home that requires renovations or a lot of yard maintenance. 


However, there are a few things that the majority of buyers do agree on and would like to see in their new homes.


Below are the top 3 most enticing features that buyers want to see when they are purchasing a new home: 


Hardwood Floors


Hardwood floors look phenomenal in nearly any home!


The days of wall-to-wall carpeting are gone, buyers want flooring that looks great and is easy to clean. Wood flooring is simple to maintain and doesn’t collect dust or bacteria, meaning the home offers more breathable air and cleanliness. 


Granite Countertops


Granite countertops are a win in any home!


Not only do they look absolutely fantastic, but they are also easy to clean, durable, and resistant to dirt and bacteria. Granite countertops are an earth-friendly material that is perfectly flat and easy to repair, making them the ideal countertop for any home.


While they may be the most expensive countertops they will outlast all other fixtures and appliances in your home, making them more of an investment than an expense. 


Stainless Steel Appliances


Stainless steel appliances are extremely popular with buyers in all styles of homes.


These appliances are not only long-lasting and durable, but they are also extremely easy to clean and resistant to germs and bacteria.


Stainless steel appliances will match with any décor and are extremely easy to coordinate with. You can easily find smaller stainless steel appliances such as coffee makers, kettles, and toaster ovens to match your large ones.


Additionally, you can now find stainless steel appliances in a variety of shades from the ‘original’ light steel shade all the way to a dark, near-black shade. 


If you’re planning to sell your home in the future and want to ensure it appeals to the majority of buyers, you may want to make a few of these updates. Not only will they increase the value of your home, but they will also make it much more enjoyable for you prior to listing it for sale. 

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Prices are high, inventory is low, and there are multiple offers for over asking price for nearly every home that sells. We are, without a doubt, in a seller’s market.


This is a challenging market to be in for any buyer, whether you’re a long-term investor or a first-time home buyer, the complications are the same. 


The Canadian real estate market is hot, in particular, the Vancouver Island and Greater Victoria area.


If you’re looking to purchase a home in this area you need to be prepared well in advance.


Here are a few tips on how to buy a home in a seller’s market: 


Pre-Approval


Pre-approval is a must-have when purchasing a home in a seller’s market.


Knowing the amount which you can afford to spend on a home will allow you to make offers accordingly and stay within your budget.


Also, many sellers will turn down an offer that doesn’t include pre-approval. They see this as a risk that the deal may not close as scheduled and they would prefer to have a ‘done-deal' regardless of the amount offered. 


Be Prepared for Bidding Wars

A seller may receive numerous offers which in turn, gives them the negotiating power. In this case, be prepared with your counteroffer if you really like a home and don’t want to miss your opportunity.


Searching for homes below your max budget will ensure you have room to increase your offer and give you more opportunities to get the home of your dreams in the case of a bidding war.  

Make Strong Offers from the start

Putting in a strong offer from the start will give you a better chance than you’ll have in a bidding war.

Wasting your time with low-ball offers in this market will only work against you.


Come in strong from the start and remember, unconditional offers are a seller’s preference. If you’re able to make a strong offer with no conditions, your chances will increase substantially. 


Write an offer letter


A handwritten letter submitted with your offer may not win you your dream home. However, if it comes down to 2 or 3 offers that are close in price, your chances will increase greatly with the added personal touch.


Tell the seller why you like the home so much, what your plans for the home are, and how you envision you and your family making memories here.


If you’re a first-time buyer, advise the seller of the struggles you’ve faced in your attempts to buy a home in such a hot market, also let them know why you’ve fallen in love with their home.


While all sellers do want the best price for their home, not all of them are so focused on the almighty dollar. Many sellers want to know the home is going to be taken care of and enjoyed by the new owners.


A letter doesn’t guarantee you anything, but it definitely won’t hurt your offer! 


Expand Your Search Area


Expanding your search will give you access to different styles of homes, neighbourhoods, and opportunities.

Looking into new builds on the outskirts of the city or other property types is another way to expand your home search in a hot market.


If you’ve been looking for a detached home, but everything in your area is receiving dozens of offers, a large townhouse might be something you’d be open to considering.


Your dream home may just be sitting an extra 10-minute drive away!


Work with a Trusted Real Estate Agent


A trusted agent can help you in difficult situations. They have the experience, knowledge, and know-how to handle a Seller’s Market and will advise you accordingly when it’s time to back away from a home or to increase your offer.


Working with an agent you trust also means you won’t be touring homes that aren’t in your budget or to your liking. They may also be able to present properties to you that are not yet listed or new neighbourhoods that are in the planning stages and not publicly marketed. 

Buying a home in a seller’s market can be extremely challenging, however, these tips should help to ensure your offer gets noticed and that have the best opportunity to close the deal. 
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You’ve likely been told that making a few extra mortgage payments each month is beneficial as you’ll pay your mortgage off faster and save thousands in interest.


However, instead of making extra principal payments, a savvier choice could be to put that money to use elsewhere — it all depends on your unique financial situation.


Yes, having a mortgage does mean you’re in debt, but it is often considered “good debt” because it’s backed by a tangible asset with real, growing value.


This means, if sell your house tomorrow you will immediately pay off your mortgage, however, this is not the case with other types of debt, such as credit card, student loan, or car debt.


Here are the top 5 reasons why you shouldn’t make extra mortgage payments: 


High-Interest Debt


Rather than paying down your mortgage which has an extremely low-interest rate, use the funds to pay down your high-interest rate debt.


While the amounts may be smaller, the interest rates are surely higher than your mortgage rates and due to compounding, high-interest debt just snowballs into a bigger and bigger number the longer you wait to pay it off.


Retirement Savings


If you haven’t started saving for retirement yet, or you’re not maxing out your annual retirement contributions, you may want to prioritize that over making extra mortgage payments.


Saving for retirement also includes compounding interest, however, unlike debt, savings compounding will assist in growing your money.


Your money will grow by leaps and bounds in these retirement accounts while, at the same time, your house will be appreciating in value, a financial win-win situation! 


Annual Tax Bill

If you’re not making monthly payments towards your taxes, you may want to save these funds for your annual tax bill.


Property values are increasing every year and with that comes tax increases. You want to be prepared to pay any higher tax bills each year. 


Emergency Fund


If you’re like most people, your savings fund was depleted when you purchased this home.


Rather than make an extra mortgage payment, build up that savings account again. If your furnace breaks in the middle of winter or your roof starts leaking in the fall, you’ll be extremely grateful that you have these extra funds to cover the costs.


Moving Soon


Moving is expensive, even if you’re making a large profit on the sale of your home.


You’ll need to pay, in advance, for inspections, repairs, maintenance, and much more before listing your home.

Having a nest egg of savings to cover these costs or to make your next down payment will be a lifesaver when the time comes. 


Paying your mortgage off as fast as possible is something we all strive for, although, ensuring you’ve taken care of all other financial aspects in your life first may make more financial sense in terms of interest rates, savings, emergencies, and such. 






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Real Estate commissions can be a little unclear and confusing and we want to clear that up.


Many buyers and sellers are unsure what they are actually paying for, so we’ve put together this list to review the main costs, covered by the realtor, to explain what your funds are going towards.


Brokerage fees


The majority of brokerages charge a 50% fee on all commissions.


This covers administrative costs, some marketing, advertising, and some signage.


As each brokerage is different, so will be the fees and services included, but for the most part, you can expect that your agent is paying the brokerage 50% of the commissions they’ve earned.

Photos and videos

Professional photos, video tours, and drone videos are at the sole cost of the agent. This often also includes costs associated with staging your home.


Hiring a professional photographer will ensure your home shows its best and is marketed first-rate, gaining the interest of as many buyers as possible.

MLS, Real Estate Board, Licensing, etc.

Realtors using the MLS system are required to pay an annual fee. MLS is the most well-known home searching website and your agent will need access to this to ensure a quick sale.


Realtors are also required to pay licensing and insurance fees, which are renewed every 2 years.


Additionally, agents need to pay annual dues to their local real estate board and are required to complete numerous educational courses, at their own cost, each year to ensure their license remains in good standing.


Advertising


Any additional advertising by your agent will be at their costs. If your agent offers to advertise on their social media pages, they are likely paying a social media manager or using plenty of their free time to ensure your listing is shared as widely as possible.


Signage


While some brokerages offer signage, not all of them do. And if your agent wants personalized signage, this will come at their cost.


A simple sign can cost upwards of $150, this would not include any additional text, logos, or photos. 


Additional costs


Many realtors will create flyers or brochures to hand out at open houses or around the neighbourhood, the time spent to create these, printing, and distribution are all at the sole cost of your agent. 



While it may seem that agents are making extremely large commissions, they are also extremely high expenses, and we haven’t even touched on paying taxes, employment insurance, etc.


There are countless costs that your agent will need to pay on a per listing, monthly or annual basis that you may not be aware of. It’s always best to have a conversation with your agent about the costs in advance so that you’re aware of everything upfront. 

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Saving money for a down payment on a home can be one of the most difficult things to do. It takes an immense amount of discipline and often includes making numerous sacrifices.


If you are already paying a mortgage on another home or paying rent, the process can be even harder. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways to save, some that you may find quite surprising, and others where you may need to make some lifestyle changes.


Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or a long-term investor, these tips can help you to save for a down payment. 


Subscriptions


Automatic payments can be easily overlooked or forgotten about.


Sit down and go through all your recent credit card and bank statements to get an in-depth look at where your money is going.


Cancel monthly subscriptions that you do not use or need and change your monthly plans to more affordable options, if possible.


A few dollars of savings on each canceled account can add up quickly and you’ll be surprised with how much you can save each month.


Affordability


Knowing how much you can borrow to purchase a home will help you determine how much you need for a down payment.


Seek a financial advisor, lender, or mortgage broker to review all your finances and assist you with the pre-approval process.


This process will also give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay each month when you do purchase a home, inclusive of mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, and any condo/homeowner fees.


Start a Down Payment Fund


Set up a TFSA or RRSP account with your bank where the funds will be saved and you can easily make monthly contributions.


Resist Temptation


Set a timeline to save your down payment and stick to it.


It may be very tempting to see the funds growing in your bank account and you feel the urge to treat yourself to something, but this will only set you back and extend your deadline.


Stay focused on your end goal and know that buying a home will be the ultimate gift to yourself.


Less luxuries


With saving always comes the sacrifice of a few less luxuries.


Instead of going out for dinner every weekend, start cooking at home, this can save hundreds of dollars each month. 


Pack a lunch to take to work and you can save about $15 per day. Make your own coffee and skip the daily trip to Starbuck and you can save upwards of $150 per month.


Be aware of the small luxuries that you’re spending money on and try to find ways to work around them. You don’t want to give up all the things you love in life, you simply need to find a new and affordable way to enjoy them! 

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You’ve likely heard the term “Bully Offer” numerous times but what is a bully offer? How does it work? And who does it benefit?


In a seller's market, which we are experiencing now, there are more buyers than there are homes listed for sale. This means sellers have a strong negotiating position with often more than one buyer showing interest or offering on their home.


Bully offers, also referred to as pre-emptive offers, occur when a Buyer tries to short-circuit the process set out by the Seller and re-take control.


What is a bully offer?


A bully offer is an offer from a buyer to the seller to purchase a home and the offer is submitted before the date that the sellers have indicated they will look at any offers.


Many home sellers make the decision when they list their home to “hold offers” and wait for a certain date and time to review them.


For example, a seller lists their home for sale on Thursday but has agreed not to review any offers until Monday, giving buyers time to view the home and prepare their offers prior to submission. However on Friday night, after only 1 day on the market, the real estate agent calls to tell the sellers that they have a bully offer and it’s only good until Friday at midnight. This is the meaning of a bully offer in real estate.


What are the benefits of a bully offer?


A bully offer is typically well above the asking price and unconditional.


A buyer submitting a bully offer knows they need to make the offer as irresistible as possible to grab the buyer's attention.


Sellers are not obligated to accept bully offers, however, your agent is obligated to present all offers to you. That said, bully offers are often very attractive and many sellers will accept them for the simple facts of the high purchase price offered and the ease of closing.


Is a bully offer bad?


While it may seem unfair or unethical, there are no written laws stating that they are illegal.


They do, however, push many buyers out of the market and increase the price of homes in the market. Accepting a bully offer is completely up to the seller, there’s no right or wrong answer.


When to avoid a bully offer?


A bully offer should be avoided when:


  • The offer is not well above asking price.


  • The offer has conditions on it, meaning it will be sold conditionally.


  • The property has had a ton of interest, showings, and excellent feedback, meaning you can likely expect a large number of offers on offer day.


  • Your agent doesn’t have enough time to notify all other interested buyers that an offer has been submitted.

Bully offers can be fantastic for buyers, they are usually ridiculously high, unconditional, and work around the seller's desired closing dates.


However, as a competing buyer, they may seem unethical and can drive the prices of homes up. 

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When thinking of marketing your home for sale, the thought of a few updates may cross your mind.


Most updates will be greatly appreciated by buyers and will increase the value of your home.


But not all of them…there are a few updates, that may not appeal to the masses. And when selling your home, you want it to be attractive to as many buyers as possible.


Exterior


Unless all the houses in your area are painted bright, vibrant colours, this is definitely something that should be avoided. A bright red or aqua blue home can look out of place and may leave buyers thinking about repainting it.


With how quickly homes are selling these days, buyers are looking for something they can settle into right away without the added costs and hassle of repainting.


Interior Paint


Brown, drab dining rooms and vibrant red kitchens are also top of the list for colours to avoid on the interior.


If you stick with neutral or warm colours, then you can save the bright, fun colours for drapes, backsplashes, and such.



Inconveniently Placed Appliances


The thought of ‘hiding’ a microwave in a drawer may seem like a great idea, however, most buyers find these a bit inconvenient and far too low for their liking. Stick with the traditional microwave placement above the range or in a space above the countertops.


Backyard


Expanding living space into the backyard is something that many buyers are looking for today. Having extra space to cook, relax, practice hobbies, etc. is ideal for everyone, particularly with so many of us working from home now.


Yes, many buyers will have children or will plan to have children, however, having a backyard that looks more like theme-park than a family space may be a turn off to many buyers.


Try to keep the children’s play area in one section of the yard rather than the entire yard. This will give buyers the ability to envision themselves living here and making memories with their families.


These suggestions may not apply to all homes or all buyers, however, they will appeal to the majority of buyers and that will ensure your home sells as quickly as possible.

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When beginning the renovation process on your home, there are typically two goals that cross your mind; the first is improving your home’s livability and usability, and the second is how this renovation will improve the value of your home. 


With the kitchen being the most focal point in the home almost any updates in this room will provide you the best return on your dollars invested. 


The key to a kitchen renovation is to keep it somewhat simple. Remember, you don’t need to spend $60,000+ to renovate your kitchen, an update with new appliances can be much more affordable if done carefully. 


Replacing appliances can be pricey, however, it can also be very profitable. You do not need the most expensive appliances on the market; modern, stylish, and energy-friendly appliances can be purchased at fair prices and will improve the look of the room drastically. 


Replacing the flooring can also prove an excellent return on your dollar. Be sure to choose flooring that is long-lasting and easy to clean. Hardwood floors are definitely something that should be avoided in the kitchen area as it can easily stain and deform if it gets wet for long periods of time. 


Updated hardware is an easy and extremely affordable fix, these items can be purchased at your local hardware store and often installed by yourself. Be sure to avoid flashy or coloured hardware, these are short-term trends and will look dated within just a year or so. 


If your home has older oak or wood coloured cabinets, you can simply sand these down and paint them in a bright neutral colour, white is often the preferred choice in kitchens. By doing this task yourself or even hiring someone to take care of this will save you thousands in replacing them. 


When looking at your walls, you may want to choose a fun, bright, and lively colour, however, if you’re planning to sell your home in the near future, you’ll want to choose a neutral shade that will appeal to the masses. Remember, you can always choose more colour, design, and style with your backsplash. 


Last but definitely not least, is your countertops. Yes, we all dream of the perfect marble countertops, but these are extremely expensive. Giving granite countertops consideration, which is durable, looks fantastic, and comes in many styles, will save you thousands of dollars and won’t decrease the value of your kitchen in comparison to marble countertops. 


When planning your kitchen reno there is so much to consider; colours, styles, livability, usability, and much more, it’s no wonder that you may have some questions. Please reach out to us at JP Real Estate as we would be more than happy to take a look at your kitchen and give you some ideas of what may work best for your home. 


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Buying a home can be exciting, scary, intimidating, and liberating all at once. It brings about many emotions that are unexpected and also reassuring.


You may feel a sense of comfort knowing that you’re ready to take this leap into homeownership and settle into a place for years to come. Or you may feel nervous, wondering if you can financially manage the responsibilities that come with buying a home.


If you can truly answer “Yes” to each of these questions, then you are ready to jump into homeownership and all the ups and downs that go along with it:

Do you have a stable income?

Having a stable income is extremely important when purchasing a home. A lender will shy away from giving you a loan if you are known to change jobs frequently. They want to see stability and commitment from you with your income and savings. 


Do you want to stay in the area long-term?


If you’re planning to move to a new area or city in the next year or two, it might be best to rent a home. Taking into consideration the closing costs (realtor fees, lawyer, etc.) that you will be spending to purchase and then sell home the home in a couple of years. What might seem like a good idea now, may not look so profitable when you add up the additional costs.


Are you comfortable managing your debt?


Do you pay your credit cards on time? Your phone bill? Managing your debt responsibly and in a timely fashion will not only increase your credit score, but you will also be a favourable mortgage candidate to lenders.


Having no credit can be nearly as negative as have a poor credit score in the eyes of a lender. They have no evidence to review of you paying your debts regularly in a timely fashion. If you don’t have any credit at this time, we suggest applying for some credit with low limits or a secured loan. This will assist your mortgage application process in the future.


If you have poor credit, you should start paying down debt as soon as possible, and always on time! 


Do you have an emergency fund?


After 2020, we all more than aware to expect the unexpected. Having an emergency fund can help you if you find yourself in a situation of a job loss or health emergency.


You’ll also need to have savings for home repairs, as a homeowner you can no longer call your landlord if the fridge stops working or there’s a water leak in your home. These repairs are your financial responsibility and unfortunately, they are rarely cheap.

Have you saved a Down Payment?

A down payment can be extremely hard to save for. With home and living prices increasing, it’s becoming harder for people to save funds, especially tens of thousands of dollars.


If your family is planning on helping you with the down payment, you’ll need to ask them to transfer the funds to you well in advance as your lender will need to see these funds in your account for a period of time before approving your loan. 


Do you know how much you can afford to spend on a home?

Having an idea of the type of home you want is fantastic, but can you afford it? You should work with your lender to obtain pre-approval financing which will let you know the maximum amount of money they will give you. From this amount, you’ll then want to calculate monthly mortgage amounts and decide on an amount that you’re comfortable with. Just because a lender has offered you a certain amount certainly doesn’t mean you need to spend that much.

Having a good handle of your personal finances, expectations, and savings will serve you when purchasing a home. 


Are you willing to make sacrifices to become a homeowner?

As with any large purchase, homeownership comes with sacrifices too.

Are you willing to give up eating dinner out every weekend? Can you give up that beach vacation every year or your annual trip to Vegas?


Buying a home is a large responsibility and while you don’t need to find yourself mortgage poor, you do need to ensure that you can meet your financial commitments and save for emergencies.


If you were able to answer ‘yes’ to all these questions, you are very likely ready to take the leap into homeownership.


However, if you weren’t able to answer yes to all of them, that is OK too. There are ways to work around certain things, ways to improve credit, and much more.


JP Real Estate is here to help every step of the way. We offer advice, assistance, and can help you prepare yourself for buying your first home. 

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Selecting a Real Estate Agent is one of the most important decisions that you can make when buying or selling a home.


Your goal when you’re ready to choose a real estate agent is to find someone who you communicate well with, and who shares your same goals—not just about buying a house, but doing so in a way that prioritizes your needs as a buyer and gets you the best home possible for the best price possible.


Here are a few things to take into consideration when finding the right agent for you:


Know your needs


How urgently do you need to sell or buy a home? What style and size home are you looking for? Do you know are you’d like to be in? Are you looking to sell ASAP or are you willing to put in some extra time and work to maximize the value of your home prior to selling?

When you understand your needs, you can ask the right questions. If agents have a clear idea of what you’re looking for, everyone starts on the same page. Then, you can learn how each agent will adapt their real estate services and process to work for you.


Agents must be tech savvy


A Realtor's success depends on how well they find and market homes. Online advertising and property websites are now a basic requirement in modern home buying.

Take a look at the agent’s social media accounts to ensure they are used regularly. Check to see if they are using professional photographs and drone videos to showcase their listings. Having an agent with a strong understanding of the latest technology and how to market your home digitally will ensure a much more successful sale for you.


All Realtors aren’t equal


While all agents become certified in the same foundational program, this only covers the theory and foundations of the business. Real estate changes daily because of new laws and market trends. Ask Realtors what additional training, experience, and local connections they maintain to make sure their knowledge is always up to date. Ask them about the local real estate market, their predictions, and for advice, this will assure you that your agent is up-to-date and fully qualified.


Communication is key


Having an agent who is available to you when you need them is key. Not all questions can be asked and answered between 9am and 5pm. Also, be sure to discuss your preferred method of communication with your agent in advance, you may want daily emails with updates or a text message after each showing. Ensure that your agent is willing to communicate with you on your terms.


Ask for their strategy


A professional and experienced agent will have a tried and true marketing strategy in place. Review this with your agent in advance, ask questions and discuss any concerns that you may have.


Ask around


The best way to learn about an agent is to ask someone who has worked with them before. An experienced agent will be happy to provide client testimonials. Also, be sure to check their website and social media pages for comments from clients.


Agent support


Ask your agent about their support system, whether it be marketing, research, or administration, knowing your agent has the resources behind them to ensure your successful sale or purchase will give you peace of mind.


Also be sure to ask your agent about their access to community connections such as mortgage brokers, inspectors, appraisers, contractors, etc. that may be needed throughout the process. An excellent agent will have countless contacts that they work with on a regular basis.


Pricing


Don’t select an agent solely based on how high they price your home; make sure to understand their method. An overpriced home can linger on the market and require price reductions in the future, giving buyers the idea that you’re rushing to sell and are willing to accept an even lower price. When a home is priced right, it sells fastest for the most value. An experienced agent will review comparable properties in the neighbourhood and recommend a fair price for your home.


Trust your gut


It’s got you this far! Always follow your gut instinct, if you find an agent that you are comfortable with, genuinely like, trust and feel will represent you best, then choose that agent. Your feelings throughout this rollercoaster process are extremely important and you want to be working with someone you are comfortable with.

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If the 2021 Real Estate market were a card game, it would be stacked with wildcards!  


The global pandemic has caused seismic shifts in the market, creating a high demand for more square footage, thus creating a strong desire for larger suburban homes. 


Interest rates are low, but so is inventory, and there's been an unexpected influx in new-home buyers getting into the market recently. 


When we look at all things combined, there are some surprising changes excepted in the 2021 real estate market, here are a few of this year's predictions:

 

Increase of New-Home Buyers
With interest rates at an extreme low, this is an ideal time for first-time buyers to get into the real estate market.  One of the biggest fears many new buyers have is finding themselves 'mortgage poor' but with today's low-interest rates, many buyers will find their mortgage payments equal to or possibly even lower than their current rental rates. 

 

More Competitive Offers
Properties will likely sell faster than ever before. With such a low inventory, the opportunity for buyers to make an offer will need to done quickly and with little or no conditions. A seller is going to be much more inclined to accept a cash offer over an offer than includes mortgage, inspection, and other clauses. Also be prepared to offer over asking price, with plenty of buyers and not many homes on the market, buyers are likely to find themselves offering higher prices for their offers to even be considered.  

 

Prices may hit a new high
We are, without a doubt, in a seller's market. The low inventory and the high number of buyers will push the home prices up as the need to buy becomes stronger.  This is not all bad news, while you may be paying over asking price and a larger deposit now, the low-interest rates mean that you will be paying less for the home over the term of the mortgage and will keep your payments affordable. 

 

Square footage is key

With more and more people working from home, square footage is top of the list. Our needs for a simple home have changed to a home with space for home offices and home learning for children and students. Working from the dining room table was fine for a few months, but with the ongoing pandemic and a strong turn to a work-from-home culture, buyers are looking to have the extra SF to set up a proper ongoing workspace. 

 

Say hello to the suburbs
Again, due to the pandemic and our new work-from-home lifestyles, buyers are looking for that extra space which they may not find in the city. Think large yards with extended living space, home gardens, and extra space for hobbies.  

 

Intergenerational living
Most of us couldn't wait to move out of our parent's house, however, with the increased price of homes and new-home buyers being a few years older than recent years, we are seeing a turn towards intergenerational living. You may begin to see young couples looking to purchase a home with a mortgage helper, with their parents, or a home that can be easily renovated into two separate living spaces and the entire family living in the home together. 

  

2021 will bring us many unexpected turns and new real estate trends as we learn to adjust to living amidst a global pandemic, increased home prices, and low inventory. 

 

Please keep in mind these trends are nationally based across Canada and therefore may not be seen as widely on Vancouver Island. 

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Buying a home during a seller's market can be extremely tricky, prices are high, inventory is low, and homes are selling faster than we can see them. 


So when is the right time to buy? When you're ready. That's the simple and most honest answer anyone can give you. 


Buying during a Seller's Market may make things a little more complex, however, we've put together a few tips to help you find the right home at the time that's right for you: 

 

Expand your search


The price of homes is always higher in the trendy neighbourhoods, but if you're willing to expand your search area a little, you may find an excellent property on the outskirts of your desired area for a much more affordable price. Another tip is to look at areas that haven't been through the gentrification process yet, you could find an excellent deal here and watch your property value increase over the years as the neighbourhood improves. 

 

Customize your Offer to Purchase


It's not always about the price, some venders want to sell and move out as soon as possible, whereas others may want to have an extended closing date or an opportunity to rent-back the property until they can find a new home. Have your agent speak to the selling agent to find out what the vendor's goals are, aside from price. 

 

Forget the low-ball offers


Unfortunately, a seller's market is not the time to be making low-ball offers. Chances are, the vendor will receive multiple offers, each of which will be asking price or more. Offering below asking price is a great strategy in a buyers market, but when homes are selling in a day or two of coming onto the market, the chances of this working in your favour are extremely low. 

 

Cash purchase


If possible, make a cash offer. Sellers prefer cash offers as they can close faster and they eliminate any chance of the mortgage not being funded. Cash offers also give buyers a little more negotiating power with regards to closing dates, prices, and inclusions. 

 

Get pre-approved by your lender


If other offers coming in are equal or similar, a seller will likely choose a buyer who has been approved as this means a better chance of the loan being funded and the transaction closing in a timely fashion. 

  

A Seller's Market can be very frustrating for a buyer and you may feel pressured to buy a home quickly, however, JP Real Estate is here to help you choose your next home confidently, on your terms, and when you're ready! 

 

If you have any questions or would like some guidance in regards to the real estate market, please feel free to contact me at your convenience, I'm always available.

 

As always, JP Real Estate is looking forward to being of value to you. We are more than a real estate company, we are a community, a friend, and a family. We look forward to connecting you with greatness!

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As the New Year rolls in, so do the new trends and styles! 


2021 predicts some very popular trends fading out as we require more functionality and organization in our homes these days. 


At the end of the day, it's your kitchen and you're free to decorate and style it exactly how you want, however, if you're planning to sell in the next year or so, you may want to avoid these trends:


Cool Gray Paint


While this neutral colour is extremely versatile and looks fresh, it doesn't offer the warm, cosy feel that buyers are looking for these days. Turn your focus to warm, neutral colours that give that 'homey' feeling. 


Open Shelving


This unorganized and cluttered look is definitely fading. Not only do your dishes collect dust, grime, and grease, it can be very unsanitary if not cleaned regularly. Buyers want to see storage space, and that includes cupboards, they do not want all their dishes exposed. 


Farm-House Style 


A well-loved trend by many, this popular style can often come across as cluttered, dated, and unorganized. Think clean, crisp, easy to clean, especially when it comes to cabinets. Predictions for 2021 cabinets are sleek, flat-faced with bold lines. 


Ornate Hardware


Flashy is officially a thing of the past when it comes to kitchen hardware. No more gold, fancy designs, or funky hardware on cabinets, going forward we're looking to simple matte finishes. This new style gives a modern industrial look and is very easy to keep clean and in good condition. 


Basic Backsplashes


Rather than your basic backsplash that only reaches the bottom of the cupboards, think full wall slabs or tiles. If you plan on tiling, try using different shaped tiles instead of the standard rectangle, this will add some texture and a modern look to your kitchen. Also, try to use warm neutral colour palettes which will provide you with extended longevity. 


Navy Cabinets


The navy painted lower cabinet trend is leaving as quickly as it arrived. The darker look on the bottom cabinets is still going to be around but think in terms of forest greens, warm dark greys, or even black. The trend is still here, it's just the navy colour that's fading out. 


There is no hard and fast rule on kitchen trends and you're always encouraged to style your home in a way that works for you, these are simply a few ideas of things to avoid if planning to sell in the near future. 


We understand how frustrating it can be to try to keep up with the trends and it seems we are always one step behind. This list is simply for your information and a guideline of what you may want to avoid if planning to do some renovations and updates in the near future. 

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Buying a new home is an extremely exciting experience, whether it's your first or your 10th. 


There are a few etiquettes when purchasing that should be followed and your real estate agent will likely remind you of them, however, there are also a few trade secrets that you may not be aware of. 


Take these tips into consideration when purchasing your next home:


Commentary


Refrain from commentary when touring a new home, whether it be positive or negative. While buyers may not be home, there are plenty of ways for a buyer to hear what you're saying with smart home technology or nanny cams. If a buyer knows how much you love their home, they may not be willing to negotiate much on the price, whereas if they know how much you dislike about it they may be hurt and offended. 


Neighbours


Speak to the neighbours, find out what the neighbourhood is actually like, and more importantly, what they are like. You don't want to buy your dream home and find out that the neighbours are extremely nosey or practice playing the drums at 2am on a regular basis. Speaking the neighbours will give you peace of mind with regards to the area and them, it's a win-win conversation to have. 


The 85% Rule


If a home meets 85% of your requirements, it's suggested that you put in an offer. The chances of finding a home that is 100% are extremely slim. Depending on what the home is missing, chances are you can do a few small renovations and bring up to that 100% very easily. 


Agent Interviews


Having a friend or family member recommend a real estate agent to you is a great way to find someone reliable. However, it is suggested that you still interview them and ensure that their work ethic, strategies, and accessibility are what you're looking for.


Floors


Always check the floors of a home, this can tell you a lot about how well a home has been cared for. If you notice the majority of the floors are covered with area rugs, simply ask your agent remove them so you can inspect the floors carefully. 



Emotions




Buying a new home can be extremely an exciting and emotional time, however, try not to get too attached to a certain home as it can affect your business negotiations. Try to keep a clear head and think logically about the deal through all stages of the transaction. 


Buying a home can be a tricky, especially when you add in all these "rules" but having a great agent that's willing to go over and above, will help you greatly in all aspects of this process. 

 

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Buying a home is one of the most important, and expensive, purchases many of us will make, and should not be taken lightly. 


You may spend years saving up for the deposit and making sure your credit remains in good standing, then shopping lenders to get the best rates. And yes, you are doing everything correctly, however, there are a few other things that you should and shouldn't be doing during this time that you may be unaware of. 


Here are a few tips on finances and budgeting while trying to purchase a home: 


Additional Credit Cards


If you've been pre-approved for a mortgage, do not apply for additional credit cards, loans, accounts, etc. during this stage. This could negatively affect the approval process and your loan could fall through. 


New Job Offer


Don't change jobs while in the loan application process. This may affect your stability and credit rating in the eyes of the lender and again, your loan could fall through. If you've been offered a new position, ask your new employer if they could wait until your loan is secured or speak with your lender to confirm this job change will not affect your loan. 


A Good Agent


This may not be what you think...a good agent will not only look at your pre-approval amount but will also sit down and ask you how much you're comfortable paying each month. There are plenty of costs, such as strata fees, taxes, homeowners association fees, etc., in addition to your mortgage each month and a good agent will factor these in to make sure you stay within your budget. 


Bidding Wars


Bidding Wars and paying over asking prices seem to be the norm these days so keep this in mind when looking for homes. Searching for homes below your budget will give you plenty of wiggle room when making an offer, and hopefully, leave some funds for updates or renovations. 


Comparables


Nothing can tell you the true value of a home like looking at the comparable properties in the area. A skilled agent can provide you excellent comparables and advise you if a home is priced correctly or not. 


Mortgage Broker


Having a mortgage broker shop your loan around to various lenders to get you the best rates is a no-brainer, especially if you have less-than-perfect credit. A mortgage broker will look at less conventional lenders and find different ways to have your loan funded that you normally wouldn't have access to. 

 

There are so many ins and outs when purchasing a home that having a professional on your side is in your best interest. 

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