Comox Valley Real Estate News Blog

Jan. 15, 2023

5 Mistakes that First-Time Home Buyers Make

It’s a new year! Perhaps you’re planning on taking the leap and buying your first home in 2023. Congratulations! Homeownership is exhilarating, but can also be overwhelming.

 

Here are 5 common mistakes to avoid when purchasing your first home:

 

1.    Buying more than you can afford

 

There are things to consider in addition to the down payment of your home. Closing costs, utility bills, property taxes, moving costs, and much more!

 

2.    Not using a real estate team

 

Working with a real estate team is the way to go. Anybody can purchase a home without them, but as a first-time home buyer, it is very helpful to have that professional guidance. They can also protect you if anything were to go wrong.

 

3.    Being underprepared

 

Not checking your credit score, not starting the approval process early, and not saving enough money are just some of the things first-time buyers don’t account for.

 

4.    Waiving the home inspection

 

Having a home inspection may cost you money now, but will save you money later. Inspections are crucial for avoiding any future problems that may come once you’re moved into your home.

 

5.    Mismanaging your budget

 

Not understanding the costs up front is a classic mistake for a lot of first-time buyers. People save up so much for the down payment and then don’t leave any money for the mortgage process and getting their documentation together.

 

 

When it comes down to buying your first home, doing your research is so important as there’s many steps involved. Are you ready to take the next step in your home buying journey? Contact our team today!

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Jan. 1, 2023

When is the best time of year to sell your home?

Selling a home is a big decision and the season you choose to list plays a crucial role. Without the expertise of an experienced real estate team, it can be challenging to identify ideal market conditions.

 

The best time of the year to sell your house can depend on a number of factors such as interest rates, location, market conditions, and what season we’re in.

 

Most real estate professionals will tell you early spring is the most optimal season. Additionally, summer is also a great time as the weather is appealing. Here are the pros of selling at this time of year:

 

 

-Warmer weather and longer days typically bring out more homebuyers.

 

-In the summertime, there’s more flexibility with there being more time after work for touring houses and with people being on vacation.

 

-Families prefer not to move during the school year so they’ll wait until the summer months as it’s an easier transition for their children.

 

-Better curb appeal: blooming flowers, trees, and green grass all contribute to a well-taken care of landscape.

 

-Lighting is better in the summer months due to the longer days.

 

-Many people don’t like to move in the colder months and will wait until better weather so they don’t have to fight cold, icy conditions.

 

 

 

The bottom line is, each season brings its own advantages and disadvantages. Selling in the warmer months may not be for everyone but it’s one of the most popular times of year you’ll see houses go up for sale. If you're unsure on how to determine when to list your home, we can help!

Posted in Selling Your Home
Dec. 15, 2022

Variable vs Fixed Rate Mortgages in 2022

Deciding whether to get a fixed or variable rate mortgage is a big decision for a home owner. Mix in these recent skyrocketing interest rates and inflation that we’ve been experiencing in 2022 and home owners are faced with the difficult decision of deciding which way to go.

 

 

So how does one decide? Firstly, let’s differentiate between the two. A fixed mortgage is a loan where the set rate of interest doesn’t change and the mortgage payments will stay the same. A variable mortgage is a loan with an interest rate that can fluctuate and monthly payments can change frequently. With fixed, it doesn’t matter if interest rates go up and down, you will always be paying the same every month. On the other hand, variable is appealing because the interest rates are typically lower than those on fixed-rate mortgages.

 

As rates are going up, is a variable or fixed-rate mortgage better? Generally speaking, there are many factors at play and it is very client specific. We are anticipating rates to drop in 2024, so if you are in a variable mortgage, you will benefit from that interest rate decrease. If you are currently in a variable or thinking about variable, you can ride out the storm in hopes of getting the interest rate decrease. Alternatively, if you’re in the market for purchasing right now and you’re trying to decide between the two, you could take a one or two year fixed term which allows you to ride out this increasing market and then take a five year variable.

 

Interest rates can change at ANY time so it really is the toss of the coin. There is no right or wrong answer but a simple way to look at it is if you want that peace of mind and to not worry about your mortgage rates changing, go with the fixed mortgage for that consistency. If you believe rates will drop and are comfortable with a little unpredictability, choosing a variable mortgage could be your way to go.

Posted in Home Tips
Dec. 1, 2022

Do’s and Don’ts of Selling your Home During the Holiday Season

One of the most common questions realtors get asked from sellers during the holiday season is: “should we decorate our home or not?”

 

The simple answer is…

 

Yes, but there needs to be balance! You want to focus on bringing out the best features of your home by adding subtle pieces of holiday décor. Here are the do’s and don’ts of holiday real estate marketing.

 

 

Do:

 

-Do get into the holiday spirit: The holidays are the perfect time to make your home cozy and smell great. Turn on the fireplace and play some holiday music. Have some baking in the oven or light a holiday scent.

 

Don’t:

 

-Don’t take your listing photos with your Christmas decorations: Hold off on putting your Christmas decorations out until you have your photos done. Nothing dates your MLS listing like seeing your Christmas décor in the spring. People will wonder why your home hasn’t sold.

 

Do:

 

-Do put up your Christmas tree: Including a tree that complements the space is great! If your tree is tall, that can showcase a room with lots of height.

 

Don’t:

 

-Don’t include a tree if it doesn’t add to the room: If your tree is too big, falling apart, or offsetting the décor, leave it out.

 

 

Do:

 

-Do put up your decorations: The right decorating will trigger your potential buyers’ emotions to make them feel at home in your space.

 

 

Don’t:

 

-Don’t go overboard with décor: Keep it minimal and tasteful. A nice centrepiece and Christmas tree is plenty. You don’t want to overwhelm the potential buyers with clutter.

 

 

 

Follow these do’s and don’ts and you’ll be selling your home this holiday season in no time!

 

 

Posted in Selling Your Home
Nov. 15, 2022

3 Free Activities to do in the Comox Valley this Holiday Season

It’s the most wonderful time of year and festivals and events are finally back! Here are three events going on this holiday season in the Comox Valley:

 

 

1.    Moonlight & Magic ~ Fire and Ice Edition Nov 18, 2022. Join friends and neighbours from across the Comox Valley for Festive Family Fun, Music, Dancing, Merchant Specials, Tree Lighting, Face Painting, Food Trucks, Winter Crafts and a Fiery Finale! Grab some delicious eats from local shops and restaurants and stop by and visit the folks from Mount Washington Alpine Resort and enter to win sweet prizes. Connect with local charities and arts organizations and check out the dynamic and creative businesses that call Downtown Courtenay home. Free Admission.

 

 

2.    Comox Valley Christmas Parade – Dec 4, 2022. The longstanding tradition of the Comox Valley Christmas Parade continues to bring Christmas Spirit with a "Gingerbread" themed event. Floats and walking entries from local community groups and businesses entertain throughout the 5th Street parade route and bring their best themed entries to be judged by a panel of local dignitaries. $500 prizes are up for grabs in each category for "Most Entertaining Entry", "Best Non-Profit Entry", "Best Children's Entry", "Best New Entry", "Best Corporate Entry", "Best Overall Entry" and "Three Mayor's Choice". Free Admission.

 

 

3.    Touch of Class Christmas Market - Dec 10, 2022 - Dec 11, 2022. Touch of Class is a European style artisan market with a live beautifully decorated Christmas tree and warm venue of The Little Red Church. All the art is intermingled amongst fresh greenery and fairy lights and is continuously being replenished. You will find glass next to jewelry next to weaving next to pottery next to paintings next to baking. Free Admission.

 

Posted in Vancouver Island
Nov. 1, 2022

5 Common Real Estate Terms Every Homeowner Should Know

If you plan to buy or sell, chances are you will run into real estate terminology. If you aren’t the most familiar with real estate definitions, you aren’t alone!

 

Here are a few common real estate terms to improve your real estate purchasing experience so that you can feel confident when the time comes.

 

 

 

Closing Costs: Additional fees that you need to pay on the closing date of your new home. This includes legal fees, Property Transfer Tax, and disbursements that are payable on completion day.

 

Counteroffer: This is when you make an offer on a home, and the seller doesn’t accept but makes a counteroffer instead. This meaning that the original offer was rejected and replaced with another one and changes are made to its terms. A specific time limit will be given in which the counteroffer is accepted or rejected.

 

Equity: Equity is the difference between the market value of your home and how much you owe on your mortgage or is owed to the lender.

 

Subject Removal: A period in which all conditions, otherwise known as subject clauses, must be satisfied in order for the deal to become official. These subjects might include an inspection, subject to financing, approving strata documents, just to name a few.

 

Variable-Rate Mortgage vs Fixed-Rate Mortgage: A fixed mortgage is a loan where the set rate of interest doesn’t change and the mortgage payments will stay the same. A variable mortgage is a loan with an interest rate that can change and monthly payments can change frequently.

 

 

Posted in Buying a Home
Oct. 15, 2022

3 Things to Do in the Comox Valley this Fall

The Comox Valley offers incredible experiences during all four seasons for visitors and locals to enjoy; Fall being one of the best seasons to visit. Here are three activities to participate in this Fall:

 

 

1.    The Fall Harvest Market – The Fall Harvest Market is open for the season at Shamrock Farm from October 1st-30th, 10am-5pm every day except Mondays. There is a decorated barn, pumpkins, Fall decor and more! Their website boasts that they grow everything they sell!

 

2.    The Lost Faucet Sauna House – If you’re looking for a relaxing experience, try out The Lost Faucet Sauna House for a private sauna session to get your circulation pumping. Hot, cold, relax, repeat!

 

3.    Craft Beer - October is Craft Beer Month! The Comox Valley is home to 5 award-winning breweries. It’s a great month to enjoy a pint with friends and support the local craft breweries.

 

 

 

Make sure you check out these activities before the end of the month! There is something for everyone in the Comox Valley.

 

 

Posted in Community News
Oct. 1, 2022

Is it worth it to professionally stage your home?

To put it simply, staging a home means rearranging and preparing your home for a potential buyer.

The goal is to make the home as appealing as possible and presenting it in a way so that the buyer can picture themselves living there. Think of those gorgeous homes you see in a magazine or online. Those homes have been professionally staged with the intention to paint it in a light so that a buyer will aspire to live there. When the market is hot, buyers tend to buy off of first impression and emotion. That’s where staging comes in handy.

According to the National Association of Realtors, “31% of buyers increased their offer on a home 1-5% because the home was staged. 77% of buyers felt more able to see themselves moving into a staged home, and 40% were more willing to get in the car and visit a staged online find.”

 

Ways to stage your home:

 

·      Rearranging furniture to a better layout.

·      Clean and declutter the room to give the illusion of more space.

·      Depersonalizing the space: getting rid of family photos, trophies etc.

·      Updating decor: painting, swapping out pillows, changing floors etc.

·      Repairs: fixing a lightbulb, other maintenance, etc.

 

 

Benefits of staging:

 

·      Increases the selling price.

·      Makes the home stand out.

·      Makes the house look livable as opposed to selling a vacant house.

·      Focuses on the potential of the home.

·      Makes the home seem newer and move-in ready.

·      Offers a new perspective on the home.

·      Minimizes the negatives of the home and accentuates the positives.

·      Creates an emotional connection with the buyer.

 

 

Staging is not required as it is an investment but, in most cases, will pay off when selling your home. It helps create a blank canvas for the buyer and tug on their heart strings to create an emotional connection. At the end of the day, staging is up to the seller but has proven itself to be a beneficial marketing strategy for all parties.

Posted in Selling Your Home
Sept. 15, 2022

What makes a luxury home?

When looking through real estate, you’ll often see the term “luxury home” pop up. Many people assume a luxury home is categorized by the price of it, however, there are many important factors as to what describes a luxury home. A luxury home typically takes longer to build as there is a lot that goes behind the scenes to design it, build it, and give it that ‘lux’ feel.

 

Aspects of a luxury home:

Prime Location – You can have the most beautiful home but if the location isn’t in a luxury setting, you lose the luxurious feel. Where you live has an impact on your quality of life. A luxury home will be in a desirable neighbourhood, have lots of privacy, and be located in a quieter community.

Views – A luxury home will have a spectacular view of some kind. This could be a view of vineyards, lakes, mountains, or on the waterfront.

Kitchen – The kitchen is one of the most important spaces as it is the heart of the home. A luxury home will typically have a high-end kitchen that’s a custom build, equipped with top of the line appliances, upscale finishes, walk in pantries, large fridges, and more to give it that lavish feel.

Amenities – A luxury home is equipped with all sorts of amenities. Anything from movie theatres, an outdoor kitchen, tennis court, swimming pool, wine cellar, home gym, and other ways for entertaining their guests. Amenities give a home that “it” factor.

High end quality – Of course you want a home to aesthetically look nice, but it’s just as important that the functionality is high end as well. A luxury home owner wants the best of the best and will use a qualified designer and contractor using premium building materials and high-end appliances for that professional finish.

Square footage – Size matters. More space allows for more unique designs and one a of kind features. A luxury home will typically have a bigger floor plan as it increases the property’s value. Other characteristics are a grand staircase, large entrance, multiple garages, high ceilings, and spacious rooms.

 

Everybody has a different perspective of what a luxury home looks like and although it can be defined differently, it all comes down to functionality, quality, and aesthetic.

 

Posted in Real Estate News
Sept. 1, 2022

4 tips for selling your home in the Fall

With summer coming to a close, it’s time to prepare for another season of change, Fall!

Fall is a great season to sell real estate as you can strategically stage your home to make it attractive to buyers. Here are 4 design trends to incorporate into your home for this Fall:

 

1.   Natural Light

As the days are starting to get shorter, it’s important to welcome natural lighting into your space so that it doesn’t feel gloomy. Pull back the blinds, add mirrors to reflect light, and add opaque curtains. Natural light makes the space feel much airier and open which is crucial for selling.

2.   Natural Hues

Incorporate earthy, neutral tones such as tan, cream, and other muted colors to create a warm, cozy vibe. Vibrant colors you can save for accent tones or artwork. If you’re trying to sell, you want to give the illusion of warmth and comfort as we’re heading into the cooler months.

3.   Fall Décor

As mentioned, the goal is to make your property cozy and inviting, so adding little touches like a new area rug, a textured throw blanket, seasonal scents, or accentuating the fireplace are all great ways to give your home some flare.

4.   Minimalism

A decluttered, clean look is the way to go! Seasonal décor is great but less is more. Make sure you give your chimney a sweep through as the fire place can be a major selling point. Also ensure you clean up the leaves so that your front yard looks appealing and well kept.

 

There we have it! Families are back from summer vacation and kids are back to school which makes the perfect time to create some Autumn appeal for your home.  

Posted in Selling Your Home