Comox Valley Real Estate News Blog

March 1, 2021

5 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Professional

 

 

Ready to begin the search for your perfect piece of Comox Valley real estate? Before you dive into hours of scrolling through homes for sale in the area, make sure you’ve obtained a mortgage pre-approval, so you have a realistic budget on hand to base your search off of.

 

Beginning your mortgage pre-approval can be a relatively quick process – sometimes as simple as filling out a form online. The ease of the application may depend on your financial history and the details needed to determine whether you can afford a property you’re interested in, as well as the level of risk of lending money to you. I won’t go too deep into the process, as it’s best to chat with a trusted mortgage professional, so instead, I’ll offer you these questions that you can ask your mortgage professional to ensure you’re doing your due diligence in educating yourself.

 

Which lender is best for my financial situation?

A mortgage broker is a licensed professional who has access to a diverse pool of lenders to find you an advantageous mortgage product. This means they’ll be able to shop the current market for you and negotiate the best mortgage for your individual needs. Alternatively, mortgage lenders work with a specific bank or financial institution which may be a benefit to you if you’d like to work with a branch or location that you know and trust.

 

Should I secure a fixed or variable loan?

Historically, variable interest rate mortgages have been lower than fixed rates. But with us currently experiencing unprecedented times, you’ll want to thoroughly review all your rate options with your mortgage broker.

 

How much should my down payment be?

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t necessarily need 20% as a down payment. Your mortgage professional will help you determine the best plan of action for the down payment amount that makes the most sense for your financial circumstances. Be aware that if your down payment is less than 20%, you will be subject to Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation fees.

 

Do the mortgage services cost me anything?

Typically, there is no fee for you to use a mortgage broker, as the broker gets paid by the lender or financial institution who ends up providing you with the mortgage product you choose. However, you will still want to ask this question, just to make sure there is no other arrangement you would be responsible for paying.

 

Is there a penalty for pre-payment?

Sometimes there are “hidden” fees if you attempt to make additional payments on your mortgage, so 

make sure you read all the fine print and ask your mortgage professional any additional questions that you need clarity on. If there is a penalty or additional fees, determine how much the penalty will be, what the terms are for the prepayment, as well as whether you’ll be charged a penalty if you choose to refinanced your mortgage in the future.

 

Once your pre-approval is in hand, we can begin the exciting journey of finding you the home that checks all the boxes on your list of must-have features! Give me a call at 250.702.6493 or shoot over an email to bryce@brycehansenteam.com for us to get started together.

Posted in Buying a Home
Feb. 16, 2021

Your Moving Day Checklist: Pet Edition How to Keep Your Pets Safe During a Move Pet Safety During Moving Day

 

 

Moving day is definitely an exciting time – but it can also be pretty stressful. And not just for you, but for your pet as well. Between the chaos of strangers in your home, the front door being open the majority of the time, and the loud noises of last minute boxes being taped and shuffled around, it can cause a lot of anxiety for animals.

 

Whether you have furry, feathered, and scaly friends, there are some things to consider before the big move. It takes some patience and understanding on your part to help protect them, so use these tips as a way to prepare ahead of time, so your pets stay safe and content on moving day.

 

Crates and Confinement

 

If your furry friend will need to be crated or stay in a particular room of the home during your move, make sure you get them used to that space beforehand. A couple weeks before moving day, start preparing them. For example, if they’ll be in a crate, add their favourite toy or blanket for added comfort – both physically and mentally – and praise them for the time spent in the crate, so they get excited to be in there. You can do the same thing if they’ll be staying in a spare room; but to get them more used to the area behind a closed door, sit with them in the room at first, then eventually allow them to be in the room on their own. Reward them for being calm (this is when your patience comes in handy). The more relaxed they are, the less likely there will be any injuries or accidents the day of the move.

 

Conversations with Your Vet

 

If your pet is prone to being anxious, there are a variety of options that can help keep them safe and composed. Depending on your vet’s recommendation, there is everything available from highly cognitive toys that can work as a distraction, to behavioural training, to medication that can assist with calming them down. You want to make sure you’re doing what’s best – and healthy – for your pet, so ensure you’ve checked with your vet before administering any kind of medicinal treatments.

 

Consider Stretching It Out

 

If you don’t have to move everything all in one day, breaking it down into chunks of time can help alleviate some of the stress on the animals. It actually might even be easier for you too if it’s stretched out over a week or so; smaller boxes could be moved first, then leading up to the larger items. If you’re hiring a moving company, moving some of the little things ahead of time could actually save you some money in the long run.  

 

Of course, one of the best ways to help ease your peace of mind in knowing that your pet will be safe during the entire process of your move is to have a trusted pet sitter to take them to a comfortable and fun environment until you’re settled and ready to let them roam free in your new home!

 

Are you considering making a move into a home that suits you better? Give the Bryce Hansen Team a call today at 250.702.6493; from helping you find your perfect Comox Valley home, to recommending services to keep your pets safe, we’ll work together to make your move as smooth as it can be!

Feb. 1, 2021

Spring Maintenance Tips for Your Comox Valley Home

 

 

Spring weather will be here before we know it – what a breath of fresh air to think about! And as the season turns, there are really only two main areas to consider when planning your spring home maintenance; the interior of your home and the exterior of your home. 

 

But let’s get real; as a homeowner, you know it’s not quite as simple as that though, is it? Both of these areas encompass a variety of recommended tasks that should be completed to help manage the overall maintenance of your Comox Valley home. Get yourself organized with these top spring maintenance tips!

 

Inspect the Interior of Your Home

The best way to begin your interior inspection is to do a thorough spring cleaning. Yes, a lot of people dread this part of the season, but it’s important to be able to properly see what you’re examining. For example, it’s pretty hard to check out your plumbing if the pipes have cobwebs hanging off them! This is your time to shine – or at least to make your house shine. Conquer those forgotten chores, like your dusting your baseboards, behind your washer and dryer, and those tough to reach areas that you often overlook.

 

Once your house is spic and span, the interior investigation can commence. You’ll want to review spaces such as your attic and basement – especially to notice if there’s any moisture, drafts or temperature changes in any part of these areas, as this could mean you’re in need of repairs or extra insulation. You’ll also want to check items like your air conditioner, water tank, and plumbing for any leaks or cracks. We recommend taking a notepad or clipboard through the house with you, marking down tasks you notice during your full inspection.

 

Examine the Exterior of Your Home

When it comes to examining your home’s exterior, there are eight key zones you’ll want to keep a close eye on; 1) chimney/vents, 2) roof, 3) gutters, 4) siding, 5) walls, 6) foundation, 7) windows, and 8) doors. Getting a comprehensive analysis of these items will provide you with a good picture of how well your home is holding up to the outdoor Canadian elements. Aside from the physical attributes of your home, it’s also a good idea to scan your lawn, deck, patio furniture, and barbeque in case any issues have popped up during the winter.

 

You may want to call in the professionals to give your home a once-over as well, just to make sure you haven’t missed anything that their trained eye may pick up on. When it comes to the critical inner and outer workings of your property, you can never be too careful!

 

Now that your home is in tip top shape, it may have the wheels turning in your mind about what your house is worth on the Courtenay area real estate market. I’m happy to help you answer that question; contact me today for a free Comparative Market Analysis, where I’ll help you determine a listing price range to capitalize on the fair market value in your neighbourhood.

Posted in Home Tips
Jan. 15, 2021

Making the Most of the Space in Your Home

 

 

With more people spending time indoors these days, it’s been necessary to rethink the space in your Comox Valley home. It’s becoming increasingly popular to utilize those awkward parts of your house, like the nook under your stairs, the corners of large rooms, and even converting spare rooms - all for the benefit of upping your home’s functionality to meet the shifting needs of you and your family.

Ultimately, the first step to transforming any space into something more purposeful is to declutter the area to remove items that aren’t necessary. Once you’ve taken care of the cluttered chaos, think about what kind of storage solutions make the most sense to effectively streamline your real estate. It really depends on what you’ll be converting the space into. Below are some ideas to get you started.

 

The Organized Home Office

As more companies are allowing a work from home option, having an organized work space is key for successful productivity. Would the corner of your living room provide a nice set up if you added a small table, a comfortable chair, and a few stackable baskets to house office supplies and documents? Or if you know you’ll require a room with a door you can close for privacy during phone calls, perhaps in your spare bedroom you can install a simple desk surface that drops down from the wall, while still easily being fastened out of the way if you have guests staying over. If the closet space allows for it, you can even turn that area into an office as well, which can be conveniently tucked away behind closed doors when needed.

 

The Fun Hangout for Kids

Having a dedicated place for your kids to hang out can make all the difference while you’re trying to balance your own virtual meetings with helping them stay on top of their assigned homework. Crafting a fun area utilizing the space under your stairs could be an option or maybe a portion of the basement is available for conversion as well. With the ever-changing needs of online learning, a small craft table that doubles as a workstation is a great addition to your little ones’ new space. Add some big comfy throw pillows and a few shelves – this can even be used as a quiet place for them to study for their schoolwork.

 

The Appealing Home Gym

Let’s face it, working out isn’t something that everyone loves doing! But if you set up the space in a way that’s inviting and appealing, you might get more home workouts in! Does your basement have a utility room, or maybe an area that’s too small to be a bedroom, so it’s become a dumping ground for extra storage? Move some boxes aside and keep your home gym simple with a devoted zone where you can have a small collection of weights, a jump rope, and a mat that’s easy to roll up and tuck out of the way.

 

If you’ve realized that your current Courtenay area home just doesn’t have the space you need to make things work, reach out to me at 250.702.6493 or bryce@brycehansenteam.com and we can discuss your options for upgrading into a house that better suits your family moving forward.

Posted in Home Tips
Jan. 4, 2021

Tips to Organize Your Home this New Year

 

 

An annual tradition for many people is to make some new year resolutions of the goals they have for themselves to kick of a brand new year that offers a “fresh start.” Of course, we all know the running joke that goes along with setting resolutions is that we stick to them for a few weeks, and by March, we’re back in our old habits. But that doesn’t have to happen in 2021!

 

It’s safe to say that 2020 has shaken up our routines, but this year actually offers a great platform to make some changes that are more likely to stick. Remember you can start small with your changes! A lot of us have had our regular day to day practices flipped upside down and have had to get creative with making things work – so let’s take that concept and implement it into getting your space streamlined, so you can declutter your Comox Valley home and have some physical organization in your life. Consider these three tips to get you started on your organizational journey.

 

1. CREATE A GAME PLAN

First off, you’ll want to create a game plan. Do you need to take a look at organizing your entire home, or are there just a few key areas that you want to declutter? To keep your motivation flowing, start with the easiest space and work your way up to the bigger jobs. How long do you think each area will take to tackle? Assign a realistic timeline for the day block the day off from other commitments – because we know if it’s not in your calendar, it’s less likely to happen! Gather existing organizational supplies that you already have in your home such as storage baskets, labelling supplies, bins, etc.

 

2. RECRUIT SOME HELP

Everyone in your household should be participating in the decluttering chores in some capacity, since everyone contributes to the mess. Plus, you can have some fun with it; put on your favourite playlist, turn it into a timed competition, or persuade your kids with their favourite take-out meal when the space is complete. If you live on your own, ask some friends in your bubble to come make a day of it with you – and you can return the favour when they’re in need.

 

3. HAVE DESIGNATED BOXES

Before you begin sorting through a room, have designated boxes set up that are labeled “Keep”, “Sell”, “Donate”, “Recycle”, and “Garbage”. This makes it way more simple to keep everything organized, so you know exactly what to do with it after the room is decluttered. It helps to keep this rule of thumb in mind: if you haven’t used it within the last year, you likely don’t need to keep it.

 

Decluttering your home is a perfect way to get it ready for the Comox Valley real estate market as well, if you’ve been considering selling. When a house is nice and organized, it allows potential buyers to picture themselves in that space much easier, which makes it more likely you’ll get an offer on your home. Let’s chat about your next steps to list your Courtenay area home for sale; give me a call at 250.702.6493 or email bryce@brycehansenteam.com

Posted in Home Tips
Dec. 18, 2020

2021 Interior Design Trends for Your Home

 

 

It’s always interesting to see what kind of interior design trends are being predicted for the coming year. With people spending more time at home these days, it gives the perfect opportunity to tackle those home updates you may have been putting off.

 

It also offers a great chance to get your home ready for the Comox Valley real estate market if you’ve been considering listing your house for sale in the spring. Sprucing up your home by adding some modern design trends could give you a competitive advantage and help your home sell faster, and for more profit. Whether you’re looking for trendy living tips or preparing your home for sale, here are some of the top up and coming design trends for 2021 that have been forecasted by HGTV.

 

Multi-Functional Spaces

Many of us had to re-think our interior space this year; whether it was having more people at home at the same time, or needing to have a makeshift work-from-home office all of sudden. Most of the theory behind multi-functional spaces comes down getting creative with storage solutions. Baskets, hanging bins, and various kinds of boards (white boards, cork boards, peg boards, etc.) offer smart solutions to storing items and having them organized in a few easy to access areas within the room.

 

Earthy Tones

HGTV noted that one of the overarching themes for 2021 is a return to nature and earthy inspiration. This extends into warm, comforting tones around your home; colours like wine reds, golden yellows, and sagey greens. These colours are especially relaxing when inspiring a cozy bedtime retreat.

 

Plenty of Plants

Sticking with the nature theme, incorporating indoor house plants help to freshen the air in your home – and brighten your mood too! You don’t have to get fancy when creating more green space in your Courtenay home; plants that are easy to care for is the way to go. If you want to add more flare, put the plants in decorative pots to enhance your décor.

 

Hidden Hardware

Clean lines and minimalist details are becoming increasingly popular, particularly within your kitchen. Rather than having bulky, protruding hardware, trend-setters are opting for push-style latches, integrated handles with an easy to access bevelled edge, and stylish cut-out cabinet pulls.

 

Walls on the Wild Side

While it’s typically suggested to stick to neutrals in terms of wall colours when you’re looking to sell your Comox Valley home, one of the up and coming trends is adding textured, bold, or unusual finishes to your walls. Floral wallpaper, textured wall covering techniques, and living walls with plants and growing greenery are all the rage.

 

Even if you’re waiting until the spring to list your home for sale, now is the time to chat with a REALTOR® so they can help you get everything aligned over the winter months to be ready to go when the time comes. Reach out to the Bryce Hansen Team today at 250.702.6493 or bryce@brycehansenteam.com to learn more about preparing your Courtenay area home for sale in the spring real estate market.

Posted in Home Tips
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