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We received a lot of feedback on our recent emails and posts about the 13 municipalities in Greater Victoria and quite a few questions on how this came about and we wanted to give you some background information on this topic in hopes of answering your questions.


It’s extremely rare to see an area like Greater Victoria divided into 13 different municipalities and it brings about a lot of confusion and questions for its residents.


This is the history of how Greater Victoria became 13 municipalities: 


1862 - The City of Victoria was incorporated


1905-1911 - Sidney was incorporated, however, this area is now known as North Saanich. This municipality dissolved in 1911 as it was not viable.


1906 - Oak Bay and Saanich were incorporated. Before this time, these municipalities wanted to join the City of Victoria, however, Victoria was resistant due to fears of additional costs.


1912 - Esquimalt had a defined core and a different history with the creation of the Canadian Navy in 1910 and the transfer of the base from Great Britain to Canada. From 1912 to 1950 the region had four municipalities.


1950 - Central Saanich is incorporated. Formerly known as Ward 6, this farming community felt they were not being properly represented by Saanich and chose to become incorporated as their own municipality.


1952 - Sidney becomes incorporated again due to population growth resulting from the airport.


1956 - North Saanich comes into existence as a Fire Prevention District.


1965 - North Saanich is incorporated as a municipality.


1984 - Metchosin becomes incorporated as a municipality.


1985 - Colwood becomes incorporated as a municipality.


1988 - View Royal, sandwiched between Esquimalt, Saanich and Colwood is incorporated to become its own municipality.


1992 - After at least 3 separate votes before 1985, Lanford is finally incorporated.


1993 - With great resistance to Langford’s land development, the Highlands was incorporated.


1999 - Surprisingly, Sooke was the final municipality to be incorporated. While they could have incorporated sooner, due to the number of roads in this area, the incorporation may have been quite costly, hence the delay. 


All 13 municipalities fall under the regional governance of the Capital Regional District, in addition to 3 electoral areas; Salt Spring Island, Juan de Fuca, and the Southern Gulf Islands. 

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With the sky-rocketing price of homes these days, you may be wondering how property value is calculated.


Unfortunately, there’s no simple math calculation that you can punch into your calculator and find out. There’s a lot of factors and market research behind a home's valuation.


However, if you’re thinking “location, location, location”, you’re on the right path! When determining a properties value, the following are taken into consideration:

LOCATION

Location, as expected, is the number one factor in determining a property's value.


The location will be valued with regards to the property within the country, province, city, neighbourhood, and right down to the exact street it sits on. It factors in views, the surrounding area, proximity to amenities, schools, parks, beaches, and more.


For example, BC has some of the highest-priced homes in the county, as does the Greater Victoria area. However, a home in Oak Bay, which is a highly desired area in the Capital will have a much higher value than a similar property in Port Renfew, which is also near the ocean but quite far from the city and all amenities. 


CURRENT MARKET

As you know, Victoria and the majority of Vancouver Island are experiencing a red-hot real estate market right now and have been for some time.


Interest rates are low, buyers are in extremely high-demand, and our inventory is experiencing record lows. All these combined drives the price of homes up as buyers are willing to pay more simply to get into the market.

AGE & CONDITION

The age and condition of your property will have a great impact on the value.


An older home in need of substantial repairs will be valued at much less than one in immaculate condition. That said, the condition of your home may have a greater effect on the value than the age…depending on the location.


For example, a character home in a great location may have a much higher value than a new-build in a less desirable location.

IMPROVEMENTS

A new roof, landscaped yard, and upgraded HVAC will all have an effect on the value of your property.


Keep in mind, when making improvements to your property, that potential buyers want a home that is move-in ready and suits their needs, not your preferences. For example, a third bathroom or extra closet space may be much more desirable to the masses than a huge ensuite that takes up a substantial amount of space.


When determining the value of your home, it’s always best to utilize the expertise of a professional who is familiar with the current market in your area. 

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When preparing your home for sale, you may find yourself with a long to-do list of painting, touch-ups, and small repairs that will improve the immediate look of your home, however, some of the larger, less glamourous projects are where you will find the best return on your investment.


If you are planning to do some major home upgrades, these 3 home projects, that you can do this winter, will bring you up to 1000% ROI:

FLOORING

Hardwood flooring is number one on most buyers' wish lists and can offer a huge ROI. 


Not only are hardwood floors less expensive than tile, but they are also durable, elegant, and affordable. These floors are easy to clean, do not collect dust or bacteria and look great with all furnishings and décor.


One thing to keep in mind with hardwood floors is that they are prone to scratching and require special care to keep clean. For an affordable and durable alternative, you may want to consider installing laminate or vinyl lookalikes.

HVAC

HVAC systems are one of the longest-lasting appliances in your home, with many lasting up to 25 years.


An upgraded HVAC system will offer the following benefits to you, and any potential buyers:


  • Decreased electricity bills
  • Reduced carbon footprint
  • Upgraded safety
  • Improved comfort
  • Proficient airflow
  • Quiet operation
  • Programmable thermostats

WATER HEATER

There are a few options when it comes to upgrading your hot water heating system.


Replacing a hot water tank will immediately save you up to one-third in electrical costs. The average lifespan of a hot water tank is 8—12 years, however, upgrading early can save you money and problems in the future.


Installing tankless hot water heaters, which will last twice as long as a hot water tank, will save you money each month on your energy bill and offer you endless hot water. The tankless hot water systems require less maintenance and save ample amounts of space in your home. They can be installed under the counter, in the shower, or anywhere you see fit.


While not as popular in Canada yet, tankless water heaters are seen more frequently than hot water thanks throughout many parts of Europe and Asia. 


When preparing your home for sale, think of the upgrades that will appeal to potential buyers. While almost all upgrades will increase the value of your home, some will provide a much higher ROI than others. 

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If you’re purchasing a rural home, you may find yourself inheriting a septic system.


While most people understand how a conventional septic system works, depending on how new your home is and the lay of the land the system may be different and require more maintenance than expected.


Our first, and most important, tip when buying a hope with a septic system is to have it inspected to ensure it’s in good working order and learn to use the system properly while being on the lookout for any warning signs or possible problems.

Every Septic System has a Tank

Do make note that the manhole cover must always be accessible so do not build a deck or lay concrete over this area. We suggest covering the manhole with turf as it’s easy to cut away and replace after the tank is pumped. You may even want to put a potted plant or another type of moveable landscape over the manhole, which will also serve as a great reminder of its location.


If you’re purchasing an older home with a wood or metal septic tank, be aware that this must be replaced. Fiberglass, polyethylene, and concrete are the only allowable materials for these tanks now. We suggest speaking to your agent about negotiating the costs of this replacement with the sellers prior to finalizing the deal.

Tank to the Field Drain

In a gravity-fed system, the liquid is released through an outlet port on the opposite side of the tank to a drain field. The drain field is also known as an absorption field because it absorbs pollutants and decontaminates the water through natural soil percolation.


If the tank is at a lower elevation than the drain field, the system must include a lift pump. This pump may be located in the septic tank or in a separate chamber on the outflow side of the tank.


It is imperative to maintain this piece of equipment to avoid soil contamination.

Maintenance

With regular use, you should only need to pump your septic tank once every 3-5 years.


Fortunately, the drain field doesn't require a lot of maintenance. However, you do need to keep an eye on it and what may be growing on it. The roots of trees and large bushes can infiltrate the drain pipes and cause a clog, therefore must be removed as soon as possible. If you happen to notice an accumulation of surface water on the drain field during periods of heavy rain, you might have to install a drainage system to divert water away.

Proper Use

For the most part, you won’t have many worries as most septic systems are anaerobic, meaning they process waste without oxygen, but to ensure its best used, follow these tips:

  • Flush only bodily waste in the toilet — no chemicals, food waste, diapers, or paper products other than toilet paper should be flushed into the system.
  • Do not install or use a garbage disposal system in the home as ground-up food waste can disturb the ecological balance inside the tank.
  • Do not pour oil or grease down the drain.
  • Limit your water use.
  • Turn off faucets when you're soaping up in the shower or washing dishes.
  • Take shorter showers
  • Equip your home with leak-free, low-flow toilets.
  • Don't use septic system cleaning additives. A septic system works best when it only has to digest waste from the human body.
  • Use septic-safe drain-cleaning chemicals.
  • Use phosphate-free laundry soap and dish soap.

System Backups

Never open the tank and try to find the problem yourself, always hire a professional.


The gasses within the tank are highly toxic and can be lethal.


Immediately stop using all water and contact a professional. Be sure to check your drain field as well, it may be too saturated and require you to establish a new one. 

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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.