Comox Valley Real Estate News Blog

Dec. 1, 2020

Melt Your Worries Away When Making a Comox Valley Winter Move

 

 

Many people believe it’s not a good idea to make a move during the winter season, but there are actually some great perks to holding off your move to Courtenay or the surrounding area until the colder temperatures set in. Let’s explore some of the advantages, along with a few top tips to help your winter move be the most manageable.

 

BENEFITS OF A WINTER MOVE

 

You May Save Money

With less homebuyers eager to move in the winter months, you’ll face reduced competition in the Comox Valley housing market, and therefore it’s less likely you’ll be facing a multiple offer situation when you find your dream home. Generally winter listings average a longer number of days on the market, which may provide you the ability to be more reasonable with your offer price, rather than the price being over-inflated due to aggressive real estate rivalry.

 

Greater Flexibility for Moving Companies

Since the winter season is traditionally viewed as somewhat of an “off season” for moving companies, you are much more likely to have the luxury of choice and flexibility in terms of your moving day and time. If the move has to be rescheduled because of bad weather, it’s easier to book an immediate alternative because moving companies typically don’t have a jam-packed calendar during the winter months. In addition, some moving companies may even offer a reduced off-season rate; ensure you receive an accurate and up-to-date quote prior to committing to your moving company of choice.

 

MAKING YOUR MOVE MORE MANAGABLE

 

Clear the Way

Arrive ahead of time to make sure the driveway and sidewalks are clear in front of your new home. The last thing you need are people slipping and sliding while they’re lugging heavy furniture and boxes. Arm yourself with a snow shovel, road salt, and warm winter apparel so you’re ready to tackle the task of clearing the way for everyone to have a safe and smooth moving experience.

 

Protect Your Flooring

Lay down some inexpensive plastic tarps, carpet runners or cardboard to keep your floors from getting damaged with all the foot traffic and outdoor elements that will be tracked throughout the house. If necessary, you can also use painters’ tape to keep the coverings secured to the floor to avoid tripping hazards.

 

Turn Off the Heat

While the house will likely be freezing cold, it’s rather pointless to have all the heat escape through doors that will be opening all day long, so save yourself the money on heating costs. Consider adding a small space heater in the bathroom to at least have a warm safe haven for those brief pit stops you and your helpers are bound to need.

 

Insulate & Double Pack Delicates

Fragile items and electronics are more susceptible to damage when it’s cold, so make sure you take further care to properly pack these costly – and in some cases, irreplaceable – objects. Contemplate on whether you may want to keep heirlooms within your own possession for the move, so you can be extra mindful of their delicacy. 

 

Now that you know your move doesn’t have to wait until spring when the Comox Valley real estate market heats up, let’s chat about finding you a new space to call home and ensure your winter move is as seamless as possible. Email me at bryce@brycehansenteam.com or call my direct line at 250.702.6493 to get moving!

Nov. 20, 2020

Recent Mortgage Impacts on the Comox Valley Market

 

 

It’s safe to say that this year has offered its fair share of unexpected events and challenges for BC residents - and many others around the world! What may come as somewhat of a surprise during these trying times is that this global pandemic merely postponed the rapid-paced real estate market we typically see in the Comox Valley within the spring, rather than collapsing the market as one may have predicted. In fact, the volume of activity that usually occurs during the March to May monthly spread, simply shifted into the summer months and has continued into the fall season as well.

 

This brings up the question of how? How was BC able to keep trending forward on a positive note within the real estate market, and how have Courtenay residents been able to remain at an opportunity to invest in real estate? The answer may come down to these two key factors, which are explored below.

 

The Bank of Canada

Upon reflection, we avoided being impacted at a higher level because the Bank of Canada (and its global counterparts) learned something from the major credit crisis that occurred during the “flash crash” back in 2010. The banks acted quickly at the onset of COVID-19 and managed this situation with much more experience from the circumstances that unfolded a decade prior. Many variable rate mortgages saw a reduction in monthly payments, while new homebuyers were able to capture and lock in incredibly low interest rate offerings.

 

So, what does this look like in terms of numbers for moving forward? Well, as noted in the Mortgage Rate Forecast report released by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA), the Bank of Canada has confirmed it has no plans to raise its overnight policy rate from 0.25% until slack in the economy is absorbed and inflation returns to its more sustainable 2% target. With this in mind, the average Canadian 5-year fixed interest rate offering currently sits below 2%.

 

In addition, while overall projections are difficult to make with the unpredictability of the short and long terms affects COVID-19 may have on the economy, the good news for people wanting to get into the real estate market is that the simulated scenarios BCREA has run project that the earliest the Bank of Canada may begin raising interest rates would most likely be 2023. 

 

Government Assistance

Many government assistance programs also aided in maintaining strength within the economy, especially as we navigated the early effects of COVID-19. Many Canadians were able to pay their mortgage and maintain their homeownership responsibilities during the spring and summer months because of the introduction of financial support for both individuals and businesses. These assistance programs and the potential to defer mortgage payments helped to keep homes out of foreclosure. What has remained important is that we continue to invest locally in our favourite businesses and service providers. Head over to The Government of Canada's Emergency Response Portal for ongoing programs.

 

To put a neat little bow on everything for you, here’s the message: Now may be the time to take advantage of some of the lowest mortgage rates BC has ever offered – and to potentially maximize the relatively modest increase in average housing prices in comparison to some of Canada’s other key markets. Each person’s situation is so different, so let’s connect today and I can share more about how this unique market we’re experiencing here in the Comox Valley can help you build future wealth for you and your family.

Nov. 18, 2020

New Listing hits the Market today: 1285 Hurford Ave, Courtenay

Be sure to see it first here. This 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom home is one you will want to see. This home located at 1285 Hurford Ave in East Courtenay is hitting the market today. 

Posted in New Lsitings
Nov. 4, 2020

Helpful Hints for 2020 Holiday Hosting in the Comox Valley

 

 

The holidays are just around the corner and although they may look a little different this year, never fear; there are still ways you can safely host your holiday events in the Comox Valley. Traditions can continue, even if there are some conscious modifications to be made. Here are some helpful hints to cheerfully deck your halls and get prepared for the upcoming festivities:

 

CONSIDER YOUR COMFORT

Holiday hosting for 2020 is all about your personal comfort level. If you’d like to see friendly faces, but cannot open up your home to guests, consider a virtual party! This online option allows everyone to hang out in the comfort of their own home and still catch up with what’s going on in each other’s lives. Share in the holiday spirit with one of the many popular platforms such as Zoom or Skype. There’s also a plethora of fun game apps you can all download on your phones ahead of time and play together within your favorite virtual meeting platforms.

 

DETERMINE OUTDOOR OPTIONS

If you do opt to host a party in person, how fantastic would it be to have your family or friends bundle up outside and gather together to literally roast chestnuts on an open fire - or toast marshmallows for classic smores. Depending on the weather, you could even put a winter Olympics spin on things and offer silly prizes for a variety of activities; like the most creative jump into the leaf pile or throwing a snowball closest to the target. 

 

SERVE INDIVIDUAL SNACKS

Limit the possibility of cross-contamination from snack sharing by creating individual appetizers that are easy to grab and carry around. For example, offering festively decorated cupcakes, rather than a slab cake or you could place some dip in the bottom of a small paper cup and add some sliced carrot and celery sticks – this helps avoid the controversial double-dipping and decreases the likelihood of guests touching the same food.

 

CREATE A COSTUME THEME

It’s always entertaining when there’s a theme involved that unites guests and gives them a chance to get creative. One of the most traditional holiday themes is an “ugly sweater” party, where everyone wears the ugliest festive sweater they can find – or make! It’s a great way to kick off the countdown to the holidays.

 

ENSURE A SAFE EXIT

As a host, you need be aware about your guests consuming too much alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of a vehicle. The Canadian Safety Council recommends that party hosts monitor and supervise the service and consumption of alcohol. If partaking in some “spiked” holiday beverages is on the docket, have the number of a cab company handy, or download an app like Uber, so you can ensure your guests get home safely. 

 

Ultimately, you’ll want to make sure you’re following our provincial guidelines for COVID-19 while you plan for a safe and happy holiday hosting experience. 

 

Do you have room to prep your snacks, dance to your favorite holiday music, and give guests some space to spread out? If your current home feels a little cramped to celebrate the holidays, there’s still time to find the perfect Courtenay or surrounding area home if you reach out to me today!

Posted in Home Tips
Oct. 15, 2020

Questions to Ask Your Potential REALTOR®

 

 

When it’s time to list your Comox Valley home, you want to make sure you choose the right REALTOR® for your needs. It’s likely that you know someone who sells real estate – maybe a friend of a friend or a contact from a past networking event – but are they who you’re going to decide to work with? Here are some questions you can ask to clarify which real estate agent may best suit your unique selling needs:

 

What is their training and background for selling homes?

Depending on your personal preference and comfort level, you may want to enlist the help of a newer sales representative who may have more dedicated time to immediately assist with all your selling needs. Alternatively, you might opt for a more seasoned REALTOR® with a proven track record and years of experience under their belt. Great seasoned real estate professionals continue their education and training to ensure they provide up-to-date information, marketing strategies, and education to their clients. It’s important you know you’ll receive the support you need, so voice your expectations and see who is best suited to rise to the occasion.

 

Are they prepared and organized?

You’re going to want to choose a sales representative that isn’t just flying by the seat of their pants. The real estate industry is fast-paced and involves legal contracts, so you’ll need a person who can stay organized within the chaos. Some further factors to know if they’re well structured or not is whether they show up to your appointment on time, if they provide you with helpful information for you to make an informed decision, and whether they have access to all the necessary documentation with them in case you choose to move forward.

 

Do they know your neighborhood?

It’s important to have a listing agent that’s familiar with your unique neighborhood. Here, in the Comox Valley, there are many great areas to live. The bulk of retail and big box stores, industrial & commercial can be found in Courtenay, while Comox and Cumberland consist primarily of residential homes. A knowledgeable representative will come prepared with a comparable market analysis (CMA) of homes in your area that are similar to yours and have sold recently; typically, within the last six months or less. They should also be aware of the features within your neighborhood that may help draw the attention of potential buyers.

 

How do they plan on marketing your home for sale?

Every good REALTOR® should be able to explain how they’ll advertise your listing to generate the most amount of interest as possible to receive a solid offer. Make sure you ask for their plan of action for both online and offline marketing strategies. For example; Facebook ads, Instagram features, open houses, and networking with other agents and their professional contacts are tactics that can be effective.

 

Do you like them?

This question might seem funny, but your gut reaction to someone can tell you a lot. Do you feel comfortable around them? Do you have a good flow of conversation? Do you enjoy their personality? If you answered ‘yes’, then they’ll likely a good person to partner with to sell your home.

 

At the end of the day, you want to choose someone you can trust with one of the biggest transactions in your life. If you’re ready to get your house on the Comox Valley real estate market, contact me today to see if we’re the right fit to work together and get the listing process started!

Oct. 2, 2020

Prepare Your Pre-Listing Checklist

 

 

If you’re considering listing your house on the Comox Valley real estate market, but you’re not quite sure where to start when it comes to getting your home market-ready; no worries! We’re here to help you with some pre-listing projects that can help bring you a higher offer to the negotiation table! 

 

Initially, it’s important to thoroughly review the interior and exterior of your home to see if there are any chores that need attention right away. We recommend grabbing a clipboard and pen to document any worn pieces of trim, weathered paint areas, burnt-out lightbulbs, etc. In addition, these following four pre-listing tasks can bring you comfort in knowing you’ve covered the key areas of your property that can help drive value in the local real estate market.

 

A Breath of Fresh Air

If it’s been quite a while since you’ve refreshed your walls, consider a fresh coat of neutral coloured paint, so potential buyers aren’t sidetracked with being less than impressed with the idea of having to re-paint the entire home. Choosing neutral shades helps appeal to a wider variety of purchasers in the home buying process – and makes it much easier to bring in classy pops of colour within the course of home staging too.

 

Raise the Roof

Okay, don’t literally raise the roof; but your roof, siding, and brickwork are key components you’ll want to examine to ensure they don’t raise any red flags with potential buyers. During the home inspection, if issues are found with these big-ticket items, it can have the buyers immediately looking for a price reduction in their offer. You’ll want to fix these problems in advance, or you’ll likely end up paying for them in the negotiation process anyway, prior to the new buyers firming up the deal.

 

Perfect the Foundations

It may sound strange, but potential buyers may test the plumbing and check the electrical while they’re at the open house or during a private showing. They’ll want to check the water pressure and also ensure the light switches and sockets are working well, so they’re not left with an unexpected repair bill after the deal closes. It’s imperative to fix any drips coming from loose taps and ensure your electrical is up to standards by certified professionals. In addition to heating and plumbing, a potential buyer would be put at ease knowing that the Furnace/AC unit has been serviced over the course of the last 12 months.

 

Kick Up Your Curb Appeal

Even in the fall and winter, your curb appeal needs to be on point. First impressions count no matter what season it is! When a potential buyer pulls up to your home for a showing, they’ll want to see that the house is well cared for and that you’ve given some love to your landscaping. This update could be as simple as clearing away clutter around the exterior of your home or tidying up your front porch. Set the stage to welcome buyers to their new home and help them envision themselves living there.

 

These four pre-listing projects can help propel you forward into securing a solid offer on your house when it goes on the Courtenay or surrounding area market. Connect with me today for help on listing your home and learning more about other jobs you may want to have on your own pre-listing checklist.

Sept. 16, 2020

5 Tools to Have at Home

 

 

When it comes to tackling DIY projects within your home, there are some basic tools you can keep on hand to help speed up the process. But with so many options being available to you, how do you know which tools are actually practical to invest in, and which tools will be used once only to sit around after and collect dust?

 

The majority of simple household repairs can typically be taken care of with a collection of good quality tools that will stand up to standard home maintenance. Here’s a list of the basic tools you can gather that is a great place to start when building your own toolbox:

 

Measuring Tools

You know the old saying, “measure twice, cut once” – well, it never hurts to measure even three times! Having the proper measuring tools is imperative to the task going smoothly. A measuring tape, a carpenter’s square, and a level should cover the fundamentals for your measurement needs. These tools will come in extra handy for any projects involving hanging photos and décor as well as cutting and building plans.

 

Screwdrivers

Get a set of varying-tipped screwdrivers because, despite common belief, you’ll need more than just the traditional flat head or Phillips head screwdrivers, since square screws and star screws are common too. You don’t want to end up stripping your screws because you don’t have the right tool for the job.

 

Hammers

For this category, you’re in luck! The bulk of repair jobs around your home which require a hammer will likely be satisfied with a standard claw hammer. Tackle many DIY projects with your trusty hammer; hanging a family photo collage, creating decorative signs, or building your very own shelving and furniture.

 

Pliers

You should be able to get away with having a basic set of needle-nose pliers and channel-lock pliers in your tool collection. Needle-nose pliers let you bend, shape, and cut smaller items (like wire), and allow you to reach into tight spaces. While channel-lock pliers are better for gripping and pinching or opening a stubborn connection.

 

Wrenches & Sockets

This toolset is best used when you’ve encountered a chore with bolts involved. For example, swapping out your winter and summer tires. Most wrenches are sold in a corresponding set with the varying sized sockets included, so this makes the purchase quick and easy.

 

When it comes to more heavy-duty tools, likes miter saws or power washers, consider how often they’ll be used, their financial investment, and the efficiencies related to prior to purchase. If you suspect it may be a one-time tool project, you may be better off borrowing from a friend or neighbor – or even renting them from your favorite Courtenay hardware store.

 

Set yourself up for a safe and successful project. Having some safety gear is a must; considering picking up some utility gloves, safety glasses, and even some steel-toed boots, depending on the project at hand. 

 

If you’re crossing these tasks off your to-do list because you’re looking to get your house on the Comox Valley real estate market, get in touch with me today and we’ll the process started together. 

Posted in Home Tips
Sept. 2, 2020

7 Questions for Potential Tenants

Having an income property in the Comox Valley real estate market can be incredibly rewarding. As a tenant assists with paying down your mortgage, you reap the benefit of building the asset of the equity itself – and the opportunity to use that equity to purchase another home for further investment advantages too.

 

Here are seven smart questions you should be asking every potential renter of your income property to ensure you’ve vetted for quality and respectful tenants:

 

What’s influencing your decision to move?

This gives you a glimpse into factors influencing their move, so you can make sure the house is a good match for them. It also provides insight into the potential length of time they plan on renting from you. For example, if they are relocating to be closer to family or want their children to go to the school nearby, they may be in it for the long haul.

 

Who will be living here with you?

The answer to this question allows you to determine if they have a partner, any pets, or if they expect any regular visitors; such as shared custody of their children, who may be staying at the home every other weekend. It also gives guidance on who should be on the lease agreement, as it’s a good idea to have all permanent residents listed.

 

This property is non-smoking; does that pose a problem for you?

By stating the question this way, you’re not directly asking if they’re a smoker (that’s against the human rights code); however, their answer will typically provide that information voluntarily. For instance, they may reply, “that’s not a problem; I don’t smoke” or perhaps, “that’s okay, I can smoke outside.”

 

Are you able to provide a current credit report?

A good rule of thumb is to have the potential tenant submit a current credit report with their rental application. This gives historical evidence of their payment patterns and ensures they don’t have a large amount of debt where paying rent may become a problem.

 

Have you ever previously missed a payment or broken a lease?

Naturally, as common sense, it’s a big red flag if the potential renter’s answer is yes unless there was some kind of extenuating circumstance to be noted.

 

Would I be able to call your current landlord as a reference?

Validating their current relationship as a tenant is an important component of the tenant screening process. If permission is given, this question assists in determining the relationship they have – which may translate into a similar experience for you.

 

Are there any questions you’d like to ask me?

Asking this question shows open communication and offers the opportunity to learn more about the potential renter. It also opens the door for friendly conversation, so mutual respect can be built, which can help lead to the tenant taking better care of your property while they’re living there.

 

It’s a good idea to chat with a trusted real estate professional to confirm any potential questions you may have before you rent out your Comox Valley income property. Connect with me today regarding more insight into best practices for renting and for further assistance to help you find the perfect property to a tenant.

Posted in Income Properties
Aug. 21, 2020

Incredible 6 bedroom family home in Comox

Talk about the perfect family home with all the extras....

If you have been searching for the perfect family home here in the beautiful Comox Valley look no further than 1302 Ocean View Avenue. This 3870 square foot home boasts 6 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. From the minute you pull up you will notice the excellent curb appeal of this home situated on a quiet cul-de-sac, in a very desirable, family oriented neighborhood in Comox, close to some of the best schools. Once you walk in the front door, you will be greeted with Italian tile floors, and hardwood throughout. Everyone says the kitchen is the heart of the home, this kitchen is complete with ample cabinetry, travertine backsplash with metallic inlays, island with a prep sink, high-end appliances, including a gas range, convection oven, and an additional convection oven. Lots of room for those amazing Sunday night family dinners. There is lots of storage with a corner pantry as well. This home has a cozy west coast feel we all love here in the Comox Valley with timber accents both inside and out. Four of the bedrooms are upstairs and three have en-suites and walk-in closets. There are beautiful mature gardens throughout the yard and the back yard has an extra large exposed aggregate patio for entertaining. There is a sprinkler system, new heat pump, two gas fireplaces, and an extra long garage. The list of extras in this home is long as well and it is a definite must see. 

Check out the Virtual Tour here!

 

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

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Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price, and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

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You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active, and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates