Month: February 2017

First impressions are everything, and the same goes in the world of real estate. For a long time, the old standard for ensuring your home made a good first impression was by maximizing curb appeal. Nowadays, with the majority of today’s buyers using the internet to search for homes, having great pictures of your space can make all the difference.

Photos are one of the most effective marketing tools to make a lasting first impression and incite buyers to come check it out in person. Our team at McPherson Group takes great pride in our high-end marketing materials, and our marketing specialists are experts at making your home look its best. However, taking a great photo isn’t just about a simple ‘point and shoot’. In fact, there are a number of other different staging techniques to consider that can help get your home ready for its closeup.

While deep cleaning the whole house from top-to-bottom is a given, you’ll also want your space to appear tidy, bright and welcoming – both inside and out.

Here are some more staging tips to prepare your home for photo day.

Inside:

  • Open all blinds and other window treatments
  • Make the beds
  • Remove personal knick-knacks or photographs
  • Declutter and organize any items inside the pantry, cupboards and closets
  • Use high watt bulbs to make each space look brighter
  • Remove small floor rugs to show off the floor
  • Clear off all countertops
  • Rearrange furniture to maximize visual floor space
  • Place all shoes and jackets inside closets
  • Hide any unsightly objects like garbage cans
  • Put toilet seat lids down
  • Use a lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair

Outside:

  • Remove cars from the driveway and from the front of the home
  • Landscape the yard (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Clean up any cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove toys, pet waste or gardening tools
  • Sweep all walkways, patios, porches and decks
  • Add a few flowers for a splash of colour

Kelsey McPherson

One Hour Ideas for Boosting Curb Appeal

mcpherson1, October 14th, 2019 at 11:52 am

You’ve heard of the term “curb appeal”. It refers to the initial impression buyers get when they first see your property from the street. If the impression is a good one, it sets the right tone for the rest of the home viewing.

How do you boost curb appeal?  Here are some proven ideas that you can get done in an hour or so:

  • Wash both the inside and outside of the front windows. You’ll be amazed at the difference that can make.
  • Sweep the walkway leading up to the front entrance. Add a new welcome mat. Also, wash down the front door.
  • If possible, remove cars from the driveway. Let buyers imagine their own cars parked there!
  • Mow the lawn. Lightly trim the hedges. Weed flower beds.
  • Remove anything from inside window sills that may look unsightly from the outside. Try putting a couple of flowering plants there instead.
  • Place any trash bins out-of-sight. For example, put them in the garage or neatly at the side of the house.
  • If the entrance door hardware is old and worn, change it. New hardware can make a bigger difference than you might think.
  • Make sure the outdoor lights are working, especially if you’re showing your home in the evening.
  • Add some flowering plants to flower beds, or buy a couple of portable potted plants and place them strategically.
  • Clean your mailbox. If it’s rusted, replace it.
  • If you have a power washer, give the walkway and driveway a quick blast. Just be sure it will be dry before the buyers arrive.

These one-hour improvements may seem minor, but anything that helps buyers form a more positive first impression of your home is worth the effort.

Want more tips on finding a home, quickly? I can help you make the best decision and find the home that’s perfect for you. If you’d like to contact us in regards to buying or selling a home, please call 250-248-5600 or contact us using our online form

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How Much Should You Budget for your Next Home?

mcpherson1, August 30th, 2019 at 9:16 pm

If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you’ll need to spend on your next home. That’s an important question to answer, even if you’re just at the “thinking about it” stage and haven’t decided whether or not you’ll look for a new property.

After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.

How should you determine your budget?

The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you’ll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.

Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn’t mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.

Make a “must-have list”. That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.

The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you’d sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.

Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what’s available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.

Want more tips on finding a home, quickly? I can help you make the best decision and find the home that’s perfect for you. If you’d like to contact us in regards to buying or selling a home, please call 250-248-5600 or contact us using our online form

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Vancouver Island Real Estate Board 2018 Buyers Profile

mcpherson1, August 2nd, 2019 at 7:28 pm

The VIREB Buyer Profile is a report containing results of a survey completed by buyers of residential property and corresponding
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) information summarizing ‘home characteristics’ on Vancouver Island, north of Victoria. The survey and data is a result of 8,428 survey respondents from within the board area.

We’ve extracted some of the key data and charts and have the information below. A link to the full profile is at the bottom of this page as well for you to download.


Home Type

The top-three home types were ‘Single-Family’ at 54.7%, ‘Condominium (Apt)’ at 12.1%, and ‘Condominium (Twnhse)’ at 8.4%. The ‘Single-Family’ home type category ranged from 48.7% in the Comox Valley sub-area to 68.3% in the Port Alberni/West Coast sub-area.

These results were consistent with those from the 2017 survey.


Selling Price Range

For ease of interpretation, home selling prices were categorized into $50,000 increments up to $1 million. Above $1 million, prices were combined and totalled 239 sales in 2018, an increase from 226 sales in 2017, 145 sales in 2016, and significantly more than 63 sales in 2015.

In 2018, the top-three categories for the board area were $350,001-$400,000 at 10.9%, $400,001-$450,000 at 10.7%, and $450,001-$500,000 at 10.1%, totalling 31.7% of all sales.


Purchased as Retirement Residence (Yes or No)

The proportion of respondents buying their home for retirement purposes was 58.8%. This proportion did not vary significantly by zone, ranging from 51.4% in the Port Alberni/West Coast sub-area to 75.3% in the Parksville/Qualicum sub-area.

These results decreased from 56.8% in 2016 to 56.3% in 2017, but increased to 58.8% in 2018.


Board Area – Typical Buyer

This table represents the highest-frequency or most common value for each category, illustrating the ‘typical’ buyer profile for 2018.


The VIREB 2018 Buyer Profile

VIREB 2018 Buyer Profile

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Finding a Great Home in a Hurry

mcpherson1, July 21st, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Do you have only a few weeks to search for your next dream home? Don’t panic. There are things you can do to find the perfect (or, at least, almost perfect) property — without getting too stressed out!

Consider these tips:

  • Pre-arrange your mortgage. You want to be able to make a good offer on a home right away, without worrying about financing. So, talk to your mortgage advisor or lender about getting a mortgage pre-approval. Sellers will take your offer more seriously if you have financing in hand.
  • Decide what you want. What type of home are you looking for? What type of neighbourhood do you want to live in? The narrower your focus, the less time you’ll waste looking at properties that don’t fit your needs.
  • Be open to possibilities. There are probably terrific homes on the market — right now — that are closeto what you’re looking for. So be prepared to consider properties that are less-than-perfect. Remember, what a home lacks today may be remedied with a renovation later on.
  • Be flexible with your schedule. When you see a home you like, schedule a viewing immediately, even if it’s at an inconvenient day/time, such as a weekday after work. Finding a great home, quickly, is worth some inconvenience.
  • Get alerted to new listings. As they say, the early-bird gets the worm. So arrange to be alerted to new listings the moment they come on the market. That way, you can see these properties right away.

Want more tips on finding a home, quickly? I can help you make the best decision and find the home that’s perfect for you. If you’d like to contact us in regards to buying or selling a home, please call 250-248-5600 or contact us using our online form

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Should you Buy a Resale or a New-Build?

mcpherson1, July 7th, 2019 at 11:31 am

If you’re thinking about buying a new home, you may be considering purchasing in a new development.

How does that compare to purchasing a resale property?

Buying a newly-built home has some advantages. Depending on the development, you may have leeway in the style of the home and the lot you choose. Also, when the home is built, you’ll be moving into a place where everything is brand new!

On the downside, however, you may be forced to make a decision based purely on marketing brochures and floor plans. Unless there’s a model home just like the one you want, you’ll be buying sight unseen. Also, there may be unpredictable construction delays — an unpleasant experience if you’ve already sold your current property.

Of course, buying a resale home may also have a downside. For example, the house might need work, such as a new roof. What you see is pretty much what you get. And, that’s true for the floor plan too. You can’t ask for the living room to be five feet wider, unless you decide to renovate.

On the other hand, a big advantage of a resale home is moving into a neighbourhood that is already there for you to see and explore. Unlike in a new development, you can get a very clear idea of what it’s going to be like to live there.

Plus, you get to see the house too!

Regardless of which way you go, I can help you make the best decision and find the home that’s perfect for you. If you’d like to contact us in regards to buying or selling a home, please call 250-248-5600 or contact us using our online form

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Stay or Move? 5 Questions that Help you Decide

mcpherson1, June 5th, 2019 at 12:58 am

It can be tough to make the decision to sell. In fact, for many homeowners, it’s overwhelming. If you’re considering making a move and struggling with the decision, here are five helpful questions to ask yourselves:

  1. “What are our practical reasons for selling?”
    This question refers to what you’ll get by moving to a new home. The reasons could include a bigger backyard, shorter commute to work, an extra bedroom, a more desirable neighbourhood, etc.
  2. “What are our emotional reasons for selling?”
    This question refers to how you’ll feel about living in a new home. For example, you might feel safer, less cramped, less worried (because the local schools are better), or happier (because the shorter commute means more time with your family.)
  3. “What type of new home can we afford?”
    This question involves finding out how much you’ll likely get when you sell your existing home and how much of a mortgage you qualify to receive. With that information, you’ll have a price range within which you can comfortably shop plus a clear idea of what your mortgage payments will be.
  4. “In what ways will our lifestyle be better in a new home?”
    This ties in closely with emotional reasons for selling. It relates to what your life will be like in a new home. Try to paint a picture in your mind. For example, you might want to be able to spend Saturday afternoons relaxing in your bigger backyard or Sunday nights entertaining friends and family in your larger living room.
  5. “What else do we need to know before we decide to sell and move?”
    Sometimes people are hesitant about selling simply because they have unanswered questions. So, if there’s any part of the selling and buying process that’s not clear, be sure to ask me.

Did thinking about these questions help make the decision easier? If you need more help or want to talk about your decision, call today!

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Staging Like a Pro: How to get your home photo ready. By Kelsey McPherson

mcpherson1, February 25th, 2017 at 8:30 pm

First impressions are everything, and the same goes in the world of real estate. For a long time, the old standard for ensuring your home made a good first impression was by maximizing curb appeal. Nowadays, with the majority of today’s buyers using the internet to search for homes, having great pictures of your space can make all the difference.

Photos are one of the most effective marketing tools to make a lasting first impression and incite buyers to come check it out in person. Our team at McPherson Group takes great pride in our high-end marketing materials, and our marketing specialists are experts at making your home look its best. However, taking a great photo isn’t just about a simple ‘point and shoot’. In fact, there are a number of other different staging techniques to consider that can help get your home ready for its closeup.

While deep cleaning the whole house from top-to-bottom is a given, you’ll also want your space to appear tidy, bright and welcoming – both inside and out.

Here are some more staging tips to prepare your home for photo day.

Inside:

  • Open all blinds and other window treatments
  • Make the beds
  • Remove personal knick-knacks or photographs
  • Declutter and organize any items inside the pantry, cupboards and closets
  • Use high watt bulbs to make each space look brighter
  • Remove small floor rugs to show off the floor
  • Clear off all countertops
  • Rearrange furniture to maximize visual floor space
  • Place all shoes and jackets inside closets
  • Hide any unsightly objects like garbage cans
  • Put toilet seat lids down
  • Use a lint roller on furniture to remove pet hair

Outside:

  • Remove cars from the driveway and from the front of the home
  • Landscape the yard (mow, trim shrubs, clear leaves)
  • Clean up any cobwebs from eaves and door frames
  • Remove toys, pet waste or gardening tools
  • Sweep all walkways, patios, porches and decks
  • Add a few flowers for a splash of colour

Kelsey McPherson

100 views, 5 Comments

Sell High, Sell Now: Why now is the time to sell your home in Nanaimo, Parksville, or Qualicum Beach.

mcpherson1, December 10th, 2016 at 7:35 pm

Peter Lynch, the legendary fund manager, once said “know what you own, and know why you own it.”

If you’re a homeowner in the Parksville, Qualicum Beach, or Nanaimo areas, you know you own a house in a seller’s market. The biggest reason? An unprecedented lack of supply. There are virtually no single family homes available, and buyers from the lower mainland and other provinces are lining up to compete over anything that comes on the market. In October 2016, the number of active single-family home listings dipped to the lowest number ever recorded by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB). In fact, according to VIREB, the average year-over-year sale price in the Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum areas increased by 18% in some areas while total sales dropped by as much as 15% thanks to limited supply.

To a homeowner that all sounds great, and you’re probably tempted to postpone selling, but experts are beginning to predict an end to the boom times. If you’ve been looking at downsizing, or you’ve been planning a move, this is the time to capture the value in your home.           Why now? The lack of supply that has been driving home prices higher is showing signs of going away. In Nanaimo, political pressure on foreign buyers through stricter mortgage laws and increased taxes are already starting to reduce foreign demand for houses. More government intervention is on the way, so this trend is set to accelerate. In Parksville and Qualicum Beach, the supply of homes is set to increase as the large retirement age population starts to sell. (At 64, Qualicum Beach has one of the highest median ages in Canada and Parksville isn’t far behind at 60.)

As foreign buyers move out of the market, and retirees start to cash out, the sellers market will start to turn into a buyers market. Jason Finlayson, the former President of the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), has already noticed this trend. “Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever. If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.” The 2015 VIREB Typical Buyer Profile shows that almost 40% of typical buyers have lived in the same community for over 20 years, and 35% come from the same area they’re buying in. Over 94% of typical buyers purchased their home for use as their principal residence, and over 85% had purchased a principal residence in the past. These figures indicate that demand is now being driven by working families looking to move into their nearby dream homes. As foreign buying slows, and more retirees start to downsize, it won’t take long before these buyers are spoiled for choice and home prices will start to fall.

As prices start to fall, first time homebuyers can usually be expected to keep overall demand high, but new government mortgage rules make it much harder for first time homebuyers to afford the prices around Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach. This is more good news for the typical buyer described by VIREB: Over 60% of them had the cash available to make the full down payment without tapping into their registered savings plans. Government efforts to increase housing starts and build beautiful, purpose-built senior living facilities promise to add even more supply to the market.

So, whether you’ve been dreaming of downsizing to a beautiful condo with no roof to fix or water heater to worry about, or you’ve been looking to make the leap to somewhere sunny, now is the time to get out on top and let the value of your home start working for you. If you’re interested in listing, the McPherson group has the experience you need to get top dollar for your current property. We’ll also work closely with you to find a new home that’s your perfect fit, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Contact us today!

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Low inventory and high prices spark sellers’ market on Vancouver Island.

mcpherson1, November 29th, 2016 at 3:00 am

While a moderating trend in sales activity has hit Vancouver Island in the past few months, market conditions for sellers couldn’t be better with low inventory and high benchmark prices, particularly in the Nanaimo region – a trend shared throughout the Parksville, Qualicum Beach areas.

In October, the number of active listings of single-family homes dipped to its lowest number ever recorded according to new stats published by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. This lack of inventory continues to be a challenge, resulting in frustrated buyers caught in a classic case of supply and demand.

“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever,” said Jason Finlayson, the former President of VIREB. “If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”

Benchmark prices on homes continue to see rising numbers when compared to 2015. Last month, a single-family home in the VIREB area sold for more than 15 per cent than the same month last year; even higher in certain areas throughout Nanaimo. Sale prices of apartments and townhomes also strengthened, posting similar gains on year-to-year numbers.

British Columbia’s strong economic outlook, thanks to employment growth and an influx of Canadians who have migrated from out-of-Province, continues to be a driving factor contributing to a robust real estate market in the VIREB area.

New mortgage rules and the foreign buyers tax have created concern in the world of real estate, resulting in a couple of consecutive flat sales months for Vancouver. However, experts state that there appears to be no negative fallout from any of these factors on Vancouver Island’s market. Typically, summer to fall numbers have shown a seasonal cooling, which is also a likely contributor to reduced sales activity in October.

Kelsey McPherson

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Four ways to downsize the right way. By Chris Barron

mcpherson1, November 22nd, 2016 at 4:46 am

If you’ve been talking about downsizing in the Nanaimo, Parksville, or Qualicum Beach areas, there is no better time. You’ll get top dollar for your home and, depending on your needs, you can get a new place that will reduce your financial burden for years to come. A downsized home can mean lower taxes, reduced maintenance, and lower (or completely eliminated) mortgage payments. The money you save can be used to help you enjoy life in ways you couldn’t with a lot of equity tucked away in a home you don’t fully use anymore.

It all sounds promising but, before you take the leap, here are five ways to make the process easier:

  • Figure out how much stuff you really need. This part of the process can be tricky, but it’s important to honestly determine how much space you truly need so that you don’t downsize by too much. The best way to do this is to subject your stuff to the “one year test.” Start by pulling out everything you own in every room, closet, and storage space. Then, only put back the items you’ve used in the last year. Consider selling or donating anything you haven’t used in over a year to free up space and generate a bit of extra spending money.
  • Figure out your furniture. Most people overlook this step, but anyone looking to downsize will need to consider that their furniture probably won’t fit properly in a smaller space. Selling old furniture and buying new pieces will eat into the profits you earned by downsizing, so it’s best to look for a place that will accommodate the pieces you have. You can plan this out by measuring the furniture you want to keep and mapping out the minimum room dimensions on graph paper.
  • Consider the future. If you have adult children that may have a need a place to stay, make sure you have at least one spare room. If you plan on moving into care when you’re no longer able to look after yourself, make sure the place you buy has the resale value to support your transition. If you’re considering home based care in the future, make sure the place you move can easily accommodate senior living.
  • Make sure you’re not paying fees that will eat up your savings. If you’re going to have to pay condo fees, make sure you know how much they can increase, or if there are any provisions that allow the condo board to demand large one-time sums. A condo will mean reduced maintenance, but the fees in older buildings can sometimes make the reduced workload less worth it.

Downsizing in Nanaimo, Parksville, or Qualicum Beach is a big step and, while the numbers can make sense, sometimes the reality is a little different. By following these five steps you’ll make the experience much more rewarding both financially and mentally.

Good luck, and happy moving!

Chris Barron

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Americans Moving to Canada: There are Numerous Ways

mcpherson1, November 17th, 2016 at 4:15 am

Our previous article (LINK) made a compelling case for moving to beautiful British Columbia (B.C.). In this article we’ll explore how to make that move a reality. Moving to Canada isn’t as easy as it sounds, but the Governments of Canada and British Columbia have a great deal of information to help new arrivals. Here’s what you need to know:

There are numerous ways to immigrate. The Government of British Columbia (in partnership with the Government of Canada) has one main and at least nine secondary ways to immigrate.

Option 1: B.C. Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). The B.C. Provincial Nominee Program helps qualified individuals gain access to the labour market by filling defined shortages in the workforce. Each year roughly 5,800 talented workers and their families are invited to apply for permanent resident status. Processing times range from just a few months to over two years, and the program has three main components:

  • Express Entry. High demand occupations such as health care professionals and talented tradespeople are sometimes eligible for a system that fast-tracks permanent resident status. This program relies on the applicant having a job lined up in Canada, and Canadian employers are required to meet strict criteria before welcoming express entry applicants. This system is also used to help keep graduates from Canadian universities working in their chosen field.
  • Skills Immigration. The skills immigration stream helps connect employers with employees that have the right skills. This program covers skills at every level instead of focusing on high demand fields, so the application wait times are usually longer. Applicants to this stream need to have verifiable experience and an employer lined up to be considered. Just like the express entry stream, graduates from Canadian universities are welcome to apply.
  • Entrepreneur Immigration. Finally, B.C. welcomes experienced entrepreneurs from all business backgrounds through a process that involves creating or expanding an existing B.C. business. The entrepreneur immigration stream is the only stream not to require full-time employment at an existing Canadian company as a condition for acceptance, but it has other – stricter – requirements. For example, this stream is only available to people with a net worth of at least $600,000, demonstrated business management experience, and the ability to immediately invest $200,000 in a existing business. There are also a variety of requirements for how well the business needs to preform.

Option 2: Secondary Streams. If there is no PNP program that fits you, don’t despair. There are still several options available.

  • An immediate family member who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident can sponsor your immigration process. There are a variety of restrictions surrounding who can be a sponsor, and the screening process takes a hard look at the relationship between the sponsor and the potential immigrant. Wait times can be very long, but recent government changes promise to bring those times down. (The current wait time to bring a spouse to Canada from the United States is approximately 14 months.)
  • Canadian Express Entry. This is a program managed by the Federal Government that closely matches B.C.’s express entry system. Workers interested in applying are sorted into categories and then Canadian employers can hire them through a national job bank.
  • Start-up Visa Program. If you have an innovative business idea and the means to support yourself while your business grows, you may be eligible for this unique program designed to fast track your citizenship.
  • The three programs listed here are only a few ways to apply for permanent residency and, eventually, citizenship. You can learn about all of the programs here: www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate-to-B-C/Other-Immigration-Options-and-Information/Immigration-Options-Information.

How to take advantage of provincial services. While there are limits on the amount and type of social assistance available to new citizens, there are a variety of free services designed to help new arrivals get adjusted. Settlement service agencies, the Community Airport Arrivals Network, and others can connect you to the community and give you the best possible start in your new home. Even temporary residents can receive free mentoring, workshops, and more.

How to work, study, and stay in BC. If you’re not looking to move to B.C. full time just yet, there are a variety of programs designed to help you get temporary work and study visas. In the very likely event that you fall in love with B.C. during your stay, there are a variety of extension options available to help keep you around longer. If you decide to stay permanently, there are ways to transition a temporary visa into permanent residency.

British Columbia is a beautiful province full of exceptional people. While moving across an international boundary isn’t the easiest thing in the world, there are many resources available to help you. You can check out the Government of Canada’s immigration website at www.cic.gc.ca/english/index.asp and see the resources published by the Government of British Columbia at www.welcomebc.ca. You can also get in touch with an experienced immigration lawyer by calling 1(800) 818-1373 or emailing david@BCimmigration.com.

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Thinking about moving to Canada?

mcpherson1, November 11th, 2016 at 4:32 am

Why B.C. is the right choice for Americans.

On Tuesday, November 8th Donald Trump claimed victory in the U.S. elections and the Canadian immigration website immediately crashed. While the flood of Americans who caused the crash probably won’t end up moving across the border, that doesn’t mean setting up shop in Canada is a bad idea. Canada is perfect for those worried about their future, but it’s just as perfect for anyone looking to spend part of the year away from home. If you’re seriously considering checking out your neighbour (with a u) from the north, you’ll need to seriously consider checking out beautiful British Columbia. Here’s why:

  • Despite being in Canada, you won’t have to shovel snow. Victoria, the capital of British Columbia (B.C.), only sees snow for an average of 7 days a year. Vancouver, the largest city in B.C., only sees the white stuff for an average of 9 days. In fact, of the 33 largest cities in Canada, the four with the lowest snowfall are all in B.C. (Victoria, Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Kelowna). Southern B.C. sees so little snow that, when Vancouver hosted the Winter Olympics in 2010, the white stuff had to be trucked into the competition sites from a mountain range 160 miles away.[1][2]
  • You’ll enter a thriving economy. The unemployment rate is British Columbia is 6.2%, and it fell compared to 2015 despite more people looking for work. Labour income is up by 3.9% compared to 2015, and the average weekly earnings in B.C. are $923.92 a week. Retail demand is up by 5.1%, and manufacturing demand rose by 8.1%. Despite a housing market tumble in mid 2016, property demand remains strong.[3]
  • Diversity is standard. Proud Aboriginal nations, large and diverse religious communities, and hundreds of other groups peacefully contribute to life in southern B. Well over a million people in the metro Vancouver area proudly claim Asian heritage, and a deep mosaic of other cultures make B.C.’s cities an amazing place to live. If you’re looking for progressive policies, B.C. leads Canada in strong LGBTQ+ rights, safe injection sites, poverty reduction measures, marijuana legalization, and more.[4]
  • C. is home to Canada’s Silicon Valley. The original Silicon Valley is a hotbed of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, and southern B.C. is no different. Several of Canada’s largest companies got their start in Vancouver, and some of its fastest growing companies are located there. Buyatab, Canada Drives, Lululemon, Hootsuite, and hundreds of others make up a culture of success that permeates the region.[5][6]
  • World-class education. The University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria all ranked well within the top 250 universities in the world, and B.C.’s K-12 school system is the best in Canada. Not only that, the entire B.C. education system has been ranked third best in the world behind Finland and Japan. Far from relaxing, the provincial government plans to invest hundreds of millions into reducing class sizes and other major improvements.[7][8]
  • Buying power. The Canadian dollar has been falling while the American dollar has been rising and that won’t be changing any time soon. The current exchange rate gives Americans roughly an extra $0.20 on every dollar they spend in Canada, and that advantage can make a huge difference on large purchases.
  • Close to the United States. Even though the United States are in turmoil, it’s almost always impossible to completely remove all connections. Canada and the U.S. share the longest unprotected land border in the world, and a historically exceptional relationship. Short travel times make southern B.C. the perfect location for any American who risks getting homesick. The border is under an hour away from the heart of Vancouver, and it’s just under three hours to Seattle.

With Republican lawmakers controlling all branches of the U.S. government for the first time since 1928, Americans are entering a new era in their country’s history. If the new direction of the country concerns you, or you just want to put down roots in a beautiful part of the world, check out British Columbia! The perfect place to start is by reading our article (LINK) on everything you need to know about moving to B.C.

By:  Glen McPherson

[1] https://www.currentresults.com/Weather-Extremes/Canada/least-snowy-cities.php

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Winter_Olympics

[3] http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/indi02k-eng.htm

[4] http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo26k-eng.htm

[5] http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/vancouver-tech-jobs-1.3772400

[6] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Companies_based_in_Vancouver

[7] http://www.vancitybuzz.com/2014/06/british-columbia-education-ranked-third-in-world/

[8] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rankings_of_universities_in_Canada

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Viewing a house? You need this 14 step checklist.

mcpherson1, November 2nd, 2016 at 10:10 pm

The relator showing you what could be your new home is trying to get as many viewings packed into one day as he or she can. Make sure you don’t find yourself being rushed out before you have a chance to collect all the information you need! This handy 14 step checklist will help you fairly compare the dozens of homes you’ll see on your search through Nanaimo, Parksville, and Qualicum Beach.

1)The neighbourhood.   Do you like the location of:

  • Shopping
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Recreation
  • Noise making venues (clubs, concert grounds, etc.)

 

2) Cell phone, TV, and Internet coverage.

  • Does the phone work in every room of the house?
  • Will the local internet speeds be high enough for your anticipated use? (This is very important if you work from home.)

3) Floors.

  • Are the floors in good condition?
  • Will the floors meet your needs? (no carpets, or no expensive hardwood with small children, etc.)

4) Ceiling and walls.

  • Are there any cracks, stains, or discolouration that would indicate the presence of water?

5) Windows.

  • Does every window open?
  • Do the windows have screens?
  • Will you need to upgrade your windows to improve insulation? (Look for water damage or dead insects. Windows that leak often have both nearby.)

6) Bathrooms and kitchen.

  • Is there any sign of moisture around faucets and toilets?
  • Are the showers or tubs well sealed?
  • Do the toilets stop running after they are flushed?
  • Do the appliances work?
  • Are the appliances modern enough to get parts should anything go wrong?
  • Do the floors squeak? (Sometimes a sign of moisture damage.)

7) Layout.

  • Will the room sizes fit your furniture properly?
  • Do you have enough room for the future?

8) Stairs.

  • Do any of the staircases creak?
  • Are the banisters solid?
  • Are their any rugs or carpeting that may need to be replaced? If so, what is underneath?
  • Have you checked under the stairs for any cracking or water damage?

9) Doors.

  • Do all the doors close (and stay closed) easily? (Doors that don’t close properly can indicate a house that is crooked.)

10) Heating, plumbing, and electrical. It’s important to hire a professional to take a look at these things, but while you’re going through the home you can check:

  • How modern the heating system is.
  • How modern the fuse box and fuses are. (This is a good indication of the state of the wiring you can’t see.)
  • How modern the plumbing is. Make sure to look for any condensation on the pipes, and for any water damage where the pipes meet the floor.

11) Roof.

  •  Is there any sagging?
  • Are there (or were there) any trees close to the house? (This can lead to rodents in the attic and mould damage under the shingles.)
  • Are there signs of discolouration around the eves?
  • Are there any signs of rot?

12) Foundation, driveway, and pool.

  • Are there any signs of cracking or settlement?

13) Exterior walls.

  • Is there any sign of water leakage? (Usually chipping, peeling, or ‘puffing’ where the siding is pulling away from the house.)
  • How modern is the siding?
  • Can the exterior walls be painted?

14) Patio, deck, and landscaping.

  •  How much work needs to be done on these external features? (This can add up quickly.)

 

Happy house hunting! Kelsey McPherson

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First time homebuyer? This is the guide for you! By Kelsey McPherson

mcpherson1, October 31st, 2016 at 2:47 am

Buying your first home can be a challenging experience, and new mortgage rules introduced recently promise to make it even more difficult. Here’s what you can do to make your first time home buying experience smoother:

Review your income and expenses. Most families have a pretty good idea of what they spend, but that often won’t be enough when applying for your first mortgage. New Canadian mortgage rules require first time homebuyers undergo a stress test to ensure they can meet payments even if the interest rate doubled. To prove you have what it takes, map out your actual spending (rather than budgets) over the last two years in as much detail as possible. This will let you calculate exactly how much money you have left over once all your bills have been paid. Showing that you have room to handle any unexpected events will make getting your first mortgage much easier.

Review your credit score. Once you’ve mapped out your income and expenses, take a look at your credit score to make sure there are no surprises. Credit scores are not always 100% accurate, and you’ll need to make sure you correct any errors before adding new debt. If you see anything that shouldn’t be there, get in touch with your lender and explain what happened right away! If your score isn’t as high as you’d like, it might be wise to postpone your search for a home for at least 18 months to bring the score up through regular dept repayments. A lower score will result in an increased interest rate, which will cost you substantially more over the lifetime of your mortgage.

Once you’ve reviewed your cashflow and made sure your credit score is error free (and strong enough to ensure a lower interest rate) you can start the process of buying your home! Here is what you should consider:

1) The down payment. You’ll need to come up with a minimum of 5% as the down payment for your home, but it’s recommended that you put at least 20% down to get a mortgage without having to pay for CMHC insurance. Anything above the 20% rate will help reduce the cost of your borrowing, but isn’t strictly necessary. You can tap savings, retirement funds, and gifts from friends and family for the money you need, but it’s important to remember not to stretch too far. If your down payment drains your cash by too much, you might find yourself unable to furnish or fix your new home (and, if something goes wrong, your retirement could also be in jeopardy).

2) Choosing a mortgage (and mortgage insurance). Not all mortgages and mortgage companies are created equal. A wide variety of companies will use down payment amount, interest rates, loan term and length, and special repayment options to attract your business, and you should consider each option carefully. Mortgage brokers can be a helpful source of advice, and you should always take a look at online reviews before making your final decision. Once you’ve selected your mortgage, make sure you insure it using a personal insurance policy. Most mortgage providers will try to offer you their own, but they are often not as comprehensive as a personal plan. It’s important that you’re protected in the event you are unable to pay, and good mortgage insurance will keep you and your family safe.

3) Get pre-approved. The paperwork at this stage will seem endless, but a good mortgage agent will give you a comprehensive list of what is required ahead of time. At the end of the process, you’ll receive a pre-approval letter that lets sellers know the size of the mortgage you can afford.

4) Select a realtor. This is a critical step that most first time homebuyers overlook. In a fast paced real estate market like Parksville, Qualicum Beach, or Nanaimo, a good realtor can help you find the exact property you’re looking for while making sure you don’t overpay for it. When you speak to the realtor listing the house, you’re speaking to someone who is working for the person selling the home. They’re looking to get the largest amount of money for their client, and you need someone on your side to make sure your finances are properly protected. A good realtor will also know all the tricks of the trade to make sure your offer is the offer that is accepted.

When your offer has been accepted, don’t celebrate yet! There are still three things to plan for:

1) Get everything inspected. Before you transfer any money to anyone, schedule a professional home inspection and appraisal. There are other inspections that you can order, but these are the two most important. You want to make sure there are no surprises waiting for you in your new home, and your lender will want to make sure you are not overpaying.

2) Prepare for the finalization process. Your lender will probably request an updated credit report, so make sure you guard your credit rating carefully during the home buying process. Don’t make any large purchases (such as a car), and pay every bill on or before the due date. There will also be a mountain of paperwork involved in this stage, but your mortgage agent should prepare a list of what is needed of you at this stage as well.

3) Move in! Once everything is settled, make sure your utilities, internet, cable, and phone have all been properly set up. The final stage of the entire process is moving, but we’ll have to do another blog post on that!

 

Kelsey McPherson

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