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The real estate market is heating up in Vernon and the rest of the Okanagan! Prices are increasing from demand far exceeding supply. This type of unbalanced market creates many difficulties for Buyers as they struggle to find housing.


But what does this mean for a Seller?

Unfortunately, far too many Sellers take these market conditions for granted. Using various rationales, they may feel that they simply don’t need to care much about their home preparation since properties seem to “sell themselves.” Now, it’s not my job to place judgement about how people deal with their affairs.


Instead, I’d rather empower you in saying this: Excess Buyer demand presents unique opportunities to make your home stand out among the rest, and without consideration to such factors, you may be leaving money on the table. After all, it's not about the cost of Realtor® fees or the home preparation process; It’s all about the bottom line figure after a sale completes.


This blog will break down in more detail why Sellers should see these high demand/low supply market conditions as an opportunity. Then, I’ll break down two time-tested strategies to give Sellers an advantage over their competition:


  • Thoughtful home preparation, which requires little to no upfront investment

  • Home staging, which does require an upfront investment 


Let’s go!


First Things First - Why Does This Even Matter?

I get it; investing in extra listing preparation seems unnecessary when there are so many more Buyers than Sellers in a given market, like the one in Vernon as of this writing. Yes, it is much easier to sell your property than in a more balanced market. 


However, there’s another side of the argument to consider. The first thing to know is that Buyers don’t usually pay top dollar for homes they perceive to be unkept or needing unnecessary work. They don’t want to inherit work they feel a Seller should have done beforehand. Many will also nit-pick issues and overestimate the time and money it will take to remedy them.


Another consideration involves the bottom line. It still costs money and time to prepare your home correctly no matter the market, whether it involves a Realtor® or not. But would you rather conserve all you can upfront only to receive less money in the end? Or, if you’re able, spend more upfront to recover those investments and more? Consider the following examples of two Sellers with near-identical homes, both of which pay $15,000 in Realtor® fees, and ask yourself: In which Buyer’s shoes would you rather be?




Seller A: 

  • No interest in investing in home prep or minor updates and feels like the home will sell itself. 

  • Lists their home for $450,000. 

  • After 62 days, a price reduction, and a back-and-forth offer process, they sell for $436,000.

  • Bottom line after expenses and real estate fees: $421,000.


Seller B: 

  • Sees value in investing in home prep and bites the bullet. They spend $2,500 in paint and other soft upgrades and $1,000 in home staging.  

  • Lists their home for the same price of $450,000. 

  • Two Buyers impressed with updates and home presentation, home ends up in multiple offers, and they sell for $453,000.

  • Bottom line after expenses and real estate fees: $438,000.


See my point? It’s important to realize that not everyone can afford even minor updates and home staging upfront, but this example doesn’t apply to their position. It does apply to the large segment of the population that makes these types of decisions every day. The above examples happen all the time, andit pains me to see money left on the table!


If you have the financial means, always keep your eyes on the prize and focus on the bottom line first and foremost. Now, let’s turn to two strategies that can give your home the competitive advantage it deserves!


Basic Home Preparation

As mentioned above, basic home preparation takes little to no investment and only a moderate time commitment, in most cases. The goal of this process is to make the home look great for the photography session. From my experience, most Buyer first impressions actually occur before they see the house when they view all the photos.


Having high-quality photography that showcases your home well generally leads to more showings, leading to my next point; be sure to prepare your home correctly for these showings! The goal is to make Buyers feel comfortable enough to picture themselves in that very house. Here are some practical tips for basic home preparation for both photography and showings:

  • Avoid having too many family photos, which can make it hard for potential Buyers to see themselves owning that house. 

  • Declutter as much as you can, walking through the home with an objective point of view. Think to yourself: What would I notice walking through someone else’s home?

  • Clean those areas that get the least attention in day-to-day life, such as baseboards and underneath cabinets. You’d be surprised how particular some buyers can be with cleanliness.

  • If you have pets, clean up as much pet hair as possible and make a conscious effort to remove accompanying odours. You may love your cat, but many Buyers will find it a turn-off!

 

Home Staging


If you want to take it a step further, consider staging your home!


Home staging is particularly important if the property you’re selling is a vacant home. While a vacant house is preferable to a cluttered or unsanitary home, sometimes Buyers can have difficulty seeing themselves feeling comfortable walking through them. They might have difficulty picturing their furniture, seeing how much room they have to entertain, or how big the kid’s playroom will be after a murphy-bed is added. 


Home staging does require an upfront investment and generally includes the help of a professional with an eye for detail and interior design. These professionals have a knack for matching items to a home’s target demographic and creating more vibrant spaces. Sometimes these changes are as simple as changing out a small piece of furniture and including some accent items, like flowers on a dining room table or a throw pillow set in the master bedroom. 





Small changes in a home’s visual appeal can result in significant shifts in Buyer attention! Consider home staging to make your home pop!


Conclusion


No matter what you choose, the key is to make potential Buyers feel welcome. In this way, you affect the outcome! Pay attention to who might want to buy your home, keep your focus on the bottom line as much as financially possible, and make decisions accordingly!



Of course, the help of a Realtor® makes the listing process much smoother. As a long-time Vernon property expert, I’m always willing to talk about the home listing process, even if you don’t plan to list your property in the near future! My dedication is to my clients, regardless of their timeline. 









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There’s too much divisiveness in this world already. We split ourselves into different camps of opinion based on what we feel is right. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than the housing options we find ourselves in during the 21st century. Is it better to rent or buy?


The truth is that there are unique benefits and drawbacks to each situation. It’s not uncommon for long-time homeowners to rent property in unique circumstances. It’s also not unusual for long-time renters to find out how attainable a home is and make the switch sooner than later. 


It all depends on your needs, preferences, and the situation you find yourself in today. Finding out where you stand now is the first step to figuring out tomorrow. In this blog post, I’m going to try and help kickstart this initial conversation. Instead of fear-based motives, I’ll stick to the facts so you can decide the rest for yourself. I will also use our local Vernon market as a case study, giving you tangible examples of benefits and drawbacks.


Renting

There is nothing inherently “wrong” with renting property, whether it be short-term or long-term. It all depends on your preferences, needs and financial situation. Let’s go over some pros and cons of renting property.

Pros

  • Predictability - when you rent property, you’re generally not responsible for general maintenance and upkeep. Your payment is pre-arranged and fixed for a set time period (typically one year, at least). You’re also protected by law against excessive rent increases in most Canadian jurisdictions. Sometimes, even your utilities are worked into this arrangement, further increasing the predictability factor.

 
  • Less Short-Term Financial Burden- As a renter, you don’t need a down payment like a mortgagee. The extent of your financial obligations are the first-months rent (and sometimes the last months, but not in British Columbia), damage deposit, pet deposit when applicable, and the monthly rent cost. 

 
  • Location Flexibility- Did you accidentally end up in the wrong area of town? As a renter, you have the freedom to move without excessive repercussion, especially if you carry out your lease term, at the very least. You avoid the stresses and market fluctuations homeowners experience, and you often have more choice of where to settle next. Moving from a lower-class area to a middle-class area as a renter is usually far more attainable than for a property buyer. 

 
 

Cons

  • Lack of Investment Potential - It’s true that when you rent, you’re indirectly paying someone else’s mortgage. Landlords generally rent their home out with the assumption of gaining value through equity over time. With a renter paying the mortgage each month (and sometimes, hundreds of dollars per month over and above this baseline cost), the landlord’s investment prospect is financed by the tenant. The tenant may have more predictability in their immediate financial obligations, but they also lose out on the increased equity that property might gain over the years.

 
  • Less Freedom - When I say freedom, I’m talking about property customization. For homeowners, the ability to customize their home to suit their unique tastes is a huge factor in purchasing a home. Renters do not generally enjoy such freedom. The extent of a renter’s renovation freedom is usually the painting of some walls or furniture arrangement.

 

Buying

Buying a home is a stressful but gratifying experience for most homeowners, new and seasoned alike. The decision to purchase property requires extensive planning and several professionals (in most cases). Let’s go over some pros and cons of buying property:

Pros

  • Investment Potential - As a homeowner, your home purchase represents an investment in the local real estate market. While fluctuations in the market are highly dependent on location, most real estate markets will provide investment gains in the long-term. Earning equity allows you the freedom to make additional investments based on your goals, and often this means upgrading your properties over time. Sometimes homeowners begin in a condo or apartment; then as their property increases in value, they earn enough equity to afford the down payment on a single-family house. You are paying your mortgage instead of somebody else’s. 

 
  • More Freedom - When you own your own home, you don’t need to ask permission to make changes and upgrades. It is always wise to make smart renovation decisions but you have the utmost freedom to put your unique touch on important property aspects. Sometimes these are aesthetic changes; sometimes they’re functional. Want a treehouse in the backyard? Skip the permission stage and head to the hardware store. Need 200 amp service for a hot-tub? Start the process as soon as you’re confident in the outcome. 

 
  • Investment Reliability - There’s a saying that goes something like this, “the best investment on Earth, is Earth.” Real estate  is, in most cases, an immovable asset. Investing in stocks or other speculative assets can be inherently risky, based on perceived value and other factors out of your control. Aside from the real estate market forces in your particular area, your investment gains over time are highly reliable, especially as you upgrade the home to make it more desirable for the next buyer. 

 


Cons 

  • Hefty Financial Obligations - The largest barrier for most aspiring homeowners is the dreaded down payment - which is a minimum of 5% of the purchase price. You also must have adequate credit and income in proportion to the home you seek. If you manage to purchase a house successfully, you now owe the lender that provided you with the mortgage for the foreseeable future (most of today’s amortization schedules are 25 years long!). You’re also responsible for all utilities and property upgrades, as well as the pesky unforeseen repairs. 

  • Moving Stress & Limitations - It is considerably more stressful to move as a homeowner, especially if you’re currently a homeowner relocating. You not only have to coordinate the selling of your property and the subsequent purchase of another with a variety of paid professionals, but you also have to plan for moving arrangements. You’re responsible for the home you move from being in substantially the same condition as you left it. As well, if your home hasn’t gained any value since you bought it, you may not be able to relocate as readily as you’d planned after paying all expenses. 


Local Considerations

When it comes to real estate in Vernon, or even real estate in the greater Okanagan region, we have unique market conditions. We have a greater proportion of seniors than most other Canadian areas, for example. The Okanagan is also known for hilly terrain, creating situations where houses on the same street and of similar build quality, can be vastly different in price. This is simply because some homes will enjoy a more expansive view!




As a Vernon Realtor, one scenario I run into often is helping clients navigate a new build while trying to sell their current home. In this scenario, the renting vs buying conversation comes into play. Some clients have enough financial stability to undertake construction loans while still living in their home for the duration of the build. However, many people do not. In this case, people often choose to sell their home using a Realtor, freeing free up equity to finance construction.


When it comes to seniors moving into long-term care, they’re essentially choosing to rent instead of own. They approach the renting vs buying scenario in a completely different way than a 25-year old couple would. For them, owning real estate is less important than the benefits of long-term care. In the Okanagan, we see this all the time!

 Conclusion

As a Realtor, it’s not my job to dissuade people from renting property if it’s truly the better option. There are so many myths surrounding the renting vs buying process that we end up getting lost in perception rather than steered by fact. The truth is that for some, buying property is preferable. For others, renting is preferable! It all depends on your lifestyle, current financial situation, and your appetite for things like freedom and risk. 



Whatever the case, I’m always here as your trusted Vernon Realtor! If you need help in dealing with anything real estate related, please feel free to give me a call. 




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Lights off, gas in the tank, bags in the car… The vacation has begun!


Vacations are a treat for every busy family. Tensions ease and burdens feel smaller. You get a chance to unwind and reflect. The inherent value of recreation is what leads so many families to invest in vacation properties. Instead of frantically searching for places to stay that fit allotted times off, many choose to purchase a property, giving them freedom and flexibility. 


There are a few key things to understand when you buy vacation properties, particularly rental properties. Taking a few preparatory steps will enable you to make the best investment possible for your wallet and your family. At the end of each section, we will apply the principles to a theoretical purchase at 123 Winter Lane at Silver Star Mountain, our local recreation hotspot! 123 Winter Lane is a 2-bedroom unit on the second floor of a five-storey building right beside the village. It was built less than 5 years ago and allows rentals during the busy seasons in the Spring and Summer, as well as longer-term rentals for shoulder seasons.  


Let’s go!  


What Exactly Do You Need It For?

The first step when planning a vacation property purchase is to strip the process down to the basics and ask yourself as a family:


What does recreation mean to us? What does a property need to have to accommodate our needs?


This question, though basic, will get to the heart of your desire for a vacation property. Do you have four kids and need enough room to be comfortable? Well, a two-bedroom unit with one bathroom might not cut it then. Is it more enjoyable to have your coffee on the deck with a view? Well, a ground-level unit may not be the best choice.


Much too often, people begin the conversation about vacation property by talking about finances first. It’s natural to want to figure out finances before searching for property of any kind, but finances are not at the heart of most vacation property purchases. Buyers of these properties seek an escape, a suitable accompaniment to their lifestyle. The first best step to take is figuring out why you want one in the first place. These insights are then used to guide the next steps.


     123 Winter Lane

Before even viewing this property, we figured out why we need it. Our family decided that they wanted a property on a ski hill because they love this family activity. We live in Vernon, and we needed somewhere close to home to avoid extensive winter travel.


Location

Once you’ve figured out basic desires, you can move along to location concerns. You may have figured out the general geographical location of your vacation home, but what about the actual location? Does it support your lifestyle?


The first consideration with location is to ask your realtor about resale prospects and the general popularity of hyper-local areas. You may wish to know of upcoming developments so you can 

avoid construction noise, or avoid buying a unit that will have its view blocked. You may not want to drive a vehicle during your vacation, so would want to know the proximity of local amenities. How accessible is your home, overall?


 

You also want to figure out how important location is versus price. Would you be willing to pay premiums for better views or a more central location? 


      123 Winter Lane

Not only did we desire a property up at Silver Star, but the location was also of utmost importance. With young children still learning how to carry equipment, we didn’t want to be too far away from the village. We did save some money by purchasing on the second level, as views from the top floor wasn’t a preference. 


Maintenance

You’ve figured out where you want to buy, now let’s take a look at maintenance concerns. 


How much effort and money do you want to expend to maintain this property? Some people prefer to enjoy their time away fully and want to avoid cleaning beyond the daily maintenance. This is the common experience at hotels, where it doesn’t matter if you make your bed before checking out and paying your bill. 


There is also the concern of maintenance costs, and who pays for them. The owner of a unit in a strata building does not need to be concerned about the roof or parking lot maintenance, generally speaking. These costs are paid by the strata corporation. While you pay a monthly strata fee that helps cover such costs, you aren’t stuck worrying about so many incidental costs.


      123 Winter Lane

It was important to us that we didn’t have to clean up the place before we left Silver Star and headed home. Our complex has on-site cleaners we pay to do this. To us, the cost is worth the saved effort. We also pay a monthly strata fee to avoid having to worry about those maintenance matters beyond our unit walls. 


Building Restrictions

This is one of the most important considerations when planning to purchase a vacation property. Do you only plan to use the unit a handful of times during a given season? Be sure there aren’t rental obligations in the bylaws that limit such use. Do you want to manage your bookings, or have a representative of your building do so? Well, it’s very important to see what the rules are concerning such bookings.


Vacation properties are quite often in strata complexes with extensive bylaws and rules. These bylaws and rules serve to protect your investment. Without them, there could be no standardized building policy for you, or for visitors to your unit. However, you want to ensure that you aren’t too limited by these restrictions. Too many restrictions can affect your vacation freedom, and limit your ability to have fun.


Be sure to get a copy of the bylaws and rules before finalizing your purchase. Evaluate your needs and wants and cross-reference them with these restrictions to truly determine if it’s a good fit for your family. 


      123 Winter Lane

Our building had an option for concierge services, which we declined. We can handle our bookings and prefer to save on those costs. However, We didn’t want to be limited visitors-wise since we have out of town friends and family that we’d like to host. Our building does not limit overnight guests and has ample parking for them. We’ve found our perfect vacation home!


Conclusion

We started small, listing our basic needs and wants. We then expanded our horizons and explored the most important aspects of buying a vacation home, at Silver Star or abroad! These tips will keep your goals at the forefront. They provide you with ample opportunity to conduct due diligence and evaluate your needs over time. 


Of course, you should always have a Realtor® in your corner! I’m always here to help you find the perfect vacation property, keeping your needs in focus and working within your budget. It’s always an adventure buying vacation property, as I’m available to come along for the ride, keeping you protected along the way.



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Entering the business world is complex. It requires a baseline understanding of many different concepts and processes commonly involved in running a business effectively.


One of the most important steps for prospective business owners, particularly those whose business is not based online, is securing a leased location to carry out operations. Not only does attention need to be given to the price of these arrangements, but also the various terms and conditions involved in a commercial leasehold contract.  


In this blog post written specifically for those new to the commercial leasing process, I will break down the key ways to prepare for this undertaking as well as the various things to look out for along the way. Please note that this is intended as a jumping-off point, rather than a definitive guide.


Let’s get started!



What Exactly Are Your Needs?

This seems like an obvious question, but hear me out. When most people enter the market for leased property, they have a general idea of what they need that space for.


However, it is highly recommended that you think deeply about your exact needs of the space you intend to occupy. Are you a retail location that also needs adequate water pressure for product needs? Are you a storefront that also requires a small space for light manufacturing? Are you an industrial company that will also require extra space on the property for parking? Think about your business and the things you need to keep it afloat, as it applies to the property.
 

Additionally, you will also need to be pre-approved for financing. This may require consulting with your financial advisor or accountants, for example. Knowing your financial position is crucial to a successful leasehold property search.


You may see what I’m getting at here: Before searching for property, you must know the precise range of your needs, as well as your inherent limitations. This commences a type of “process of elimination” whereby you and your commercial Realtor can more accurately determine which properties you need to see, and which ones can be safely ignored. With this foresight, you will avoid spending unneeded time at showings trying to find a diamond in the proverbial rough. 


Zoning, Zoning, Zoning


Now that you’ve detailed your range of needs, you can move on to the zoning requirements.


Zoning bylaws are enforceable municipal rules, designed in accordance with the Official Community Plan, that designate land with allowable uses and prohibited uses. This is why industrial companies tend to occupy the same part of town, and “main street” (think Vernon!) is mainly storefronts. This is because of zoning designations.

 
Take the list of needs you’ve compiled, and cross-reference it with the zoning bylaws in your particular city. For Vernon residents, this can be found here. For those residents outside of city centres, you may need to refer to your local regional district. For Vernon residents outside of city limits, for example, this can mean referring to the Regional District of North Okanagan. You want to figure out what zoning bylaws apply to your desired location, and which bylaws will allow for the use that you require. You also want to figure out which zoning bylaws specifically prohibit your intended use. The collection of this information will narrow down your list of compatible properties, which is an effective way to formally begin your property search.
 

The Basics Of Lease Terms & Conditions


Now that you’re ready to commence your property search, let’s give you the basics of some crucial lease terms:


Term

The term is defined as the exact time-frame that you intend to occupy the commercial space. Generally, this is listed in the contract as a specific amount of years or months. It is important to note that most landlords prefer at least a 3-5 year term, and the demand for less time will usually require other trade-offs from your side of the transaction. If a landlord prefers 3 years or more, and you come in asking for a term of 18 months, they may require a higher monthly lease price or other concessions. 


Triple Net

Every property listing you visit will have different obligations that pertain to certain costs, such as those involved in a “triple net” lease. You will notice that some listings will have a given price, coupled with the term “triple net” as being additionally payable. Triple net refers to a landlord or tenants’ obligation to pay property taxes, insurance, and ongoing maintenance costs. Take extra care to know if the approximate triple net costs are included in the agreed-upon lease price, or if it is expected to be paid over and above the base lease cost. 


Utilities

When you decide that a property you’ve viewed could be a great fit, be sure to inquire about approximate utility costs. It is immensely helpful if the landlord has historical utility cost records, in which case you will need to request them. Like previous steps, you will also want to be sure if some or all of these costs are included in the agreed-upon lease price, or if they’re above and beyond them. This step will continue to strengthen your costing forecasts and give you confidence when making offers.



Renovations

Have you found the perfect space, but it needs a fresh coat of paint and a wall removed? Or, perhaps you need a more extensive renovation? Understand that not all landlords are willing to renovate to your needs, or renovate to your particular standards. If renovations are likely needed, discuss this with the landlord. Just be aware: If a landlord agrees to carry out renovations on your behalf but at their expense, it could lead to a higher lease price. Conversely, you may be able to save on the monthly lease cost by carrying out renovations yourself. It’s a give-and-take process, and it’s highly variable and specific to each property and landlord. 


Inclusions & Exclusions

In some of the previous examples, we’ve highlighted the importance of figuring out which costs are included, and which costs are not. Take this step even further into consideration with other important aspects of the property. Are there kitchen supplies and appliances in your new space? If so, are those included for use in the lease terms? What about a piece of machinery you noticed on-site, is the use of that included? Anytime you find yourself wondering “hmm, I wonder if that’s included”, write it down and include it in forthcoming conversations with the landlord. This will save you from hassles and potential disputes over inclusions down the road. 


Conclusion

Your business requires so much more than meets the eye. Your customers may know you for the products you sell or the service you give, but your range of view is far more expansive. Understanding your lease terms is an important step in figuring out the costs of your product or service, and thus, the health of your entire business. Using the above steps, you are well on your way to negotiating a favourable lease that will successfully enable you to bring your ideas to the market. 


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There is an unfortunate myth that permeates the worried minds of real estate consumers: Selling in the Spring is the best time to sell your home because it’s the only realistic way to achieve maximum market value for your home.


This is absolutely not the case! While Spring is typically the busiest market in terms of overall sales, this does not automatically translate into higher earning potential. The Fall, traditionally seen as the “second best” real estate market in terms of seasonal timing, is actually a great time to sell for various reasons. In this blog, I’m going to detail the top four reasons why listing in the Fall is a great choice. I will then give you some practical tips that will instill confidence in your ability to achieve top dollar in this particular market.

Top 4 Factors That Benefit Fall Listings

Less Competition

In the Fall, it is undoubtedly true that you will have much less competition than in the Spring. There are fewer Buyers in the Fall market on average, but also far fewer properties that your listing will be competing with. This presents a unique opportunity to stand out among the crowd and work towards a mutually beneficial deal with a prospective buyer. With less listings to compete with, you carve out your unique place in the housing market and actively entice the most meaningful buyers to consider your property.

Market Flexibility

Due to Spring’s inherent competition, there is almost always a large swath of houses that remain on the market in the Fall that were initially listed in the Spring. Some may have been overpriced, and some may have just suffered from failed transactions with unqualified buyers. Whatever the reason, a segment of your listing competition will be from what Realtors call “stale listings”, which are those that have been listed for several month’s time at around the same price. The market is now more flexible in its offerings. Now is your best opportunity to stand out among the crowd!

Buyers Antsy

During the Fall, you will be faced with plenty of opportunities from Buyers that simply didn’t pull the trigger during the Spring months. Many have missed out on multiple offers, while others may have paused their search until the Summer months are over (this is especially true for the family demographics). Whatever the case, those qualified buyers that didn’t purchase in either the Spring or Summer markets are now as motivated as ever to initiate a purchase in the Fall. Buyers get excited about the new influx of homes for sale and come to you with more meaningful intentions and the experience to prove it. Additionally, Buyers are also motivated to purchase prior to Christmas time so they have time to settle in before the holiday season begins.

Fall Colours

This factor is outside the scope of market dynamics but is still worthy of mention. Fall is a period of time characterized by brilliant colours and a certain kind of nostalgia. Your property, especially if it has some natural features included like trees, can now be presented in a way that no Spring listing can! The beautiful colours serve to amplify the beauty of your property in the listing photos and this increases the chance buyers will say “wow!” even before they see your home. This factor is especially relevant to Okanagan real estate! Our valley is blessed by a remarkable change in colour.

List in the Fall With Unshakable Confidence

Here are four time-tested methods that contribute to an excellent Fall listing:

Professional Photography

As mentioned above, Fall presents a unique opportunity to capture the natural beauty of your home. Colours are changing and this can make colours pop and gets prospective buyers excited about certain property features. While I personally always recommend professional photography for your real estate listings, Fall is an especially important time to do so! Allow the professionals to handle this step because it can make a big difference in the final sale price. Buyers want to feel like they’re buying something special. Nothing depersonalizes a property more than poor photos that fail to capture the natural beauty of a given property.

Take Photos Well Before The Snow Flies

Be sure to have your trusted Realtor book your listing photos for a time where snow is not yet likely to be on the ground. In the chance that your listing extends beyond the regular parameters of the Fall market and into the Winter market, your listing will again stand out among the crowd. This is because Buyers can see what the home looks like when there isn’t any snow covering the property’s features. There’s a surprising amount of high-importance property features that can be covered up by those fluffy white flakes!

 Be Flexible With Showings

Fall is a time where a lot of people are scrambling. Kids are back in school and adjusting to their new classroom environments, and parents are busy at work while trying to dial in Christmas-time arrangements. It’s a hectic time! There’s a considerable benefit to being more flexible with showing requests on your home. It’s okay to have boundaries when it comes to reasonable showings, but the more accommodating you are to the stressed-out buyers that will eventually be interested in your home, the greater chance they will give you the same courtesy in return.

Go The Extra Mile To Stand Out

Remember all that talk about standing out? Now is the time to lean into this sentiment! All efforts should be made to stand out among the crowd of other listings. This can take the form of upgrading a major component of the home, such as purchasing new windows or replacing an ageing roof. This can also be an aesthetic upgrade, such as repainting the exterior of your home with a trendy colour. Whatever the upgrade, work with your trusted Realtor to determine the most realistic upgrades that you can handle that will serve to make your home stand out.

Conclusion

Listing your home in the Fall is a great time to showcase the features of your home that will matter most to the plethora of eager buyers in the market. With the strategic points above to guide you, combined with the help of your trusted Realtor, you will place yourself in a great position to sell your property with steadfast confidence!

Featured Listing

8215 Silver Star Road
This is the rural oasis you’ve been looking for! This custom-built home on a 1-acre parcel features hardwood floors, spectacular lighting fixtures and a lovely vaulted ceiling. There are 3 bedrooms plus a den as well as a self-contained suite on the lower level. Though, these are only some of the greatest features of the home! Head outside to your own private sanctuary complete with a hot tub and gazebo, all surrounded by the trees and other natural features unique to the property. This home also has a detached extended garage/workshop that is fully insulated and wired. So much beauty all wrapped up into one property! This is the type of property that makes Vernon real estate so exciting.


*Click here to see the full listing*


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When it comes to buying property, single-family houses seem to get all the glory. They tend to get the most advertising attention, yet there’s another property-type that can be an ‘unsung hero’

when it comes to investing in the real estate market.


I’m talking about vacant land! There is a different way to approach investing in vacant land, and I’m here to guide you on the best ways to do so. In this blog I will cover the difference between residential and commercial land purchases, what to look out for when seeking vacant land for investment, as well as highlight an awesome piece of vacant land that we have listed. 





 

Residential vs Commercial

Residential real estate is markedly different from commercial real estate, because these land-types suit completely different needs. Once you know these crucial differences, you will be better equipped to decide which avenue might work better for your particular investment portfolio.


Residential real estate is typically singular in its allowable use, which is to accommodate residential construction and subsequent habitation. The differences in residential land types relate to that lot's ability to accommodate density. Some land will be zoned for single-family usage only, some will accommodate the development of townhomes or condos, and some have multiple allowable uses. When looking at property for sale in your local area, such as land for sale in Vernon, be sure to check the zoning bylaws as you go. You also want to be sure that even if the zoning is consistent with your needs, that the lot will allow for the size of dwelling(s) and outbuilding(s) that you intend to construct. 


Commercial real estate in most real estate markets, including in the Okanagan, is subject to a more focused and directed due diligence process. You not only need to be double checking the zoning bylaws to ensure your uses are approved (as well, there are far more commercial designations than residential!), but you also need to be aware of the foot and vehicle traffic and how that relates to your business. As well, commercial real estate purchases may require a higher down payment than your typical residential lot. Be sure to check-in with your financial advisor and trusted Realtor® to know where you stand before commencing any type of search process. It is important to note too that commercial real estate, for the purposes of this blog also includes land for sale approved for industrial use. 


Key Benefits of Investing in Vacant Land

Highest and Best Use

When it comes to developed land, you’re often severely restricted in the control of what’s called the “highest and best use” of a property. For example, if you buy a residential property with a house that’s situated on that land in an unfavourable way (ie. A house that sits near the back of a lot, restricting your ability to have a backyard) it would not be financially savvy to change that. It would simply be too costly. When you own the land however, you can ensure that you control the best way to use that property from the beginning, thus positively affecting your future investment prospects.


Less Maintenance

When you purchase previously-developed land of most kinds, upon conveyance you will likely have immediate overhead. If the commercial property you just bought needs a complete renovation, you will still be subject to things like electricity and hydro bills while you renovate. With vacant land however, you save a great deal in interim overhead. This can bring peace of mind to costly projects, allowing you to focus your time and energy where it most matters: getting the most out of a particular property. 


Lower Barrier to Entry

While vacant land sometimes does require a larger down payment than your typical residential purchase with a mortgage, it is still a lower barrier to entry than buying previously developed land overall. Because there is no structure to deal with, you save a lot of money in mortgage interest and other things, like mortgage origination fees. This makes vacant land a great investment for those that do not want to expose themselves to debt at this particular point in time.


Buying Vacant Land in Vernon & The Okanagan

Speaking from past experience and statistical validation, investing in land in the Okanagan has proven to be an excellent opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio. Okanagan land for sale is increasingly sought after in national and international markets because of the unbelievable potential for future growth. Our beautiful valleys are becoming less and less of a “best-kept secret” and this is attracting worldwide attention. 




Our cities are densifying, particularly in the Kelowna market, which has a ripple effect on zoning bylaws throughout each city and the valley as a whole. Vernon has the unique position of having the most development potential in terms of available land space, bringing both opportunity and unique challenges. Why not meet these challenges by jumping in and becoming a part of this tremendous growth?


Featured Listing

9159 Smith Road

This is a stunning waterfront lot with so much potential. With 114’ of waterfront, it is nestled between two homes that set a beautiful standard for the street. It also has sewer nearby available to connect to and has two titles! Follow this link for more information!


 

Conclusion

Investing in land is a brilliant way to catch the sustainable wave of business flowing into our communities. We all have a desire to have an impact on those around us, and vacant land is a particularly good way of being able to be a force for good here. 


Our real estate markets in the Okanagan are resilient and boundless in their opportunity. Be a part of this opportunity by considering vacant land to be your next investment purchase!


Your trusted Vernon Realtor®,


Louisa Cochrane PREC








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Vernon is a magical place, and we’re not just saying that because we live and do business here! It is a lifestyle paradise, with fun to be had in all four seasons. We are blessed to have hot summers, colourful autumns, snowy winters, and bountiful springs! And not only is it great for visitors, it is home to a vibrant community of residents.

In this post, we’re going to run through some of the most popular Vernon neighbourhoods, give you some practical tips for buying a home here, and showcase three great listings we have available in the city.

Let’s get started!


Location, Location, Location

Vernon has many great neighbourhoods and it would be unfair to label any as “better” than the others. However, these are some of the most popular and well-established neighbourhoods in the city!

East Hill

East Hill is Vernon’s most iconic neighbourhood, and for good reason! It is where Vernon’s first original homes were constructed, many of which still stand today. Just driving through this area with its character homes, tree-lined streets and abundance of city and lake views often forms a nostalgic experience for residents. One of the major benefits to this area is its close proximity to the vast majority of Vernon businesses and city services, so this area is probably best for young to established families with busy lifestyles. Your kids will undoubtedly find great friends within the same neighbourhood over time! Notable schools that serve East Hill are Hillview and Silver Star elementary schools, as well as Vernon secondary school and Seaton secondary school.

Coldstream


This is the neighbourhood for the summer-lovers! Coldstream is arguably Vernon’s most sought after neighbourhood because of its abundance of larger lots and spectacular lake views. And these aren’t just any lake views… The lake in question is one of Canada’s most beautiful: Kalamalka Lake! Known as the “lake of many colours”, this lake turns a vibrant green in midsummer because of its large volumes of limestone deposits left over from receding glaciers. It’s simply spectacular, and it has created an environment that attracts many tourists and locals alike! Be sure to check out Kalamalka Provincial Park for the very best views! Notable schools here include Kidston and Coldstream Elementary, and Kalamalka High School

BX

The BX comprised a fairly large geographic area compared to other neighbourhoods, as it is often split into “north” and “south” BX for catchment purposes. In the north, many homes enjoy stunning panoramic views of the North Okanagan Valley and Swan Lake. In the south, you will find sprawling acreages, beautiful country estates and excellent views of Vernon, which often includes views of different Vernon lakes. The BX is known for its peace and quiet and large lots. Locals especially enjoy the BX dog park and BX Press Cidery, home to great cider and regular nights of entertainment in various forms. The schools in this area are BX elementary and Vernon Christian School.

Bella Vista


Situated in West Vernon amongst a sprawling landscape of grapevines and the grasslands above them, Bella Vista is a great place to live! It is approximately 5-7 minutes to downtown Vernon and is home to many tourist attractions, including Davison’s Orchard (a longtime local favourite) and The Rise golf course and residential community. A large number of Bella Vista homes enjoy views of either vineyards or Okanagan Lake, or sometimes even both! This area is south facing and is best for those that enjoy year-round sunshine and endlessly scenic walks in the evening. The schools that serve this area are Ellison and Okanagan Landing elementary schools, as well as Fulton secondary school.

Okanagan Landing

This catchment is the furthest away from the downtown core, but there’s plenty of reasons why this is a benefit for local residents and visitors. Okanagan Landing is on the west side of Vernon but is generally north facing, as it stretches down the south side of Okanagan Lake. Here you will find excellent beaches and swimming holes, an abundance of actively used boat launches, as well as the beautiful Ellison Provincial Park! This area is best for those who plan to use their home as a vacation home and those that want to take advantage of the active lakeside life. The schools that serve the Okanagan Landing area are the same as those in Bella Vista (actual catchment depends on specific property information).

Remember, these are only some of the more popular neighbourhoods, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t even more great neighbourhoods to look into! Honorable mentions include Swan Lake West, Adventure Bay and Upper Mission Hill. Vernon is beautiful wherever you go!

Tips and Tricks When Buying In Vernon

Seek Professionals Sooner Than Later!

It’s a common misconception that people should begin their online real estate searches on random listing sites. While these can be excellent resources, especially for weary first-time buyers that aren’t quite ready to commit to purchasing, they simply aren’t the best first step most of the time. This applies to all buyers, whether the plan is to buy a single family, townhome or condo.

We always recommend seeking both a licensed mortgage broker and a Realtor® as soon as possible. A mortgage professional will be able to take all your information and work with you on your budget, preventing you from getting ahead of yourself and skewing expectations. A Realtor® will be able to take your budget and plan your next steps, while instituting a system that works for your unique needs and scheduling. A great Realtor employs patience and understanding with everyone they work with, and they’re always in your corner. So make those calls, and be sure to find someone you trust as soon as you can. It can make a huge difference when you’re finally ready to buy!

Wants vs Needs


When you’ve finalized a budget and begun a formal property search, a great next step is working on a wants vs needs list. If you have a partner you plan to purchase with, it is imperative that you both sit down and communicate each other's wants and needs so that you can combine perspectives into a cohesive list. This list will serve you well when you embark on showing tours, allowing you to more efficiently identify the homes that are potential matches for your lifestyle. The key is to be as flexible with your wants and as definitive with your needs as possible. Armed with this tool, you will immediately give yourself an advantage over the others looking to purchase in the same price ranges. This is especially true in Vernon because of its broad diversity in home types, views, and lifestyle preferences.

Review Contracts Ahead of Time

One more useful tip when buying a home in Vernon is to have your Realtor® review commonly used contracts with you ahead of time. You’ve spent all that time preparing your professionals and identifying your wants and needs, so it’s important to understand the contracts you will be signing so that you have more confidence when the time comes around to actually fill them in with real information! This step will amplify your buying confidence and elevate you over your competition when you do come across that perfect home.

Current Listings

Here are some great Vernon listings for sale! We’ll be taking you on a listing tour of Middleton Mountain, which straddles the border between Vernon and Coldstream!

675 Middleton Way


Welcome to our first Middleton Mountain home, complete with stunning views of the iconic Kalamlka lake! This custom built home boasts hardwood floors, custom kitchen cabinetry and easy access to an oversized deck and a flat backyard (not easy to find in this area!). This home is in close proximity to Kal Beach and the Rail Trail, and even has a 1-bedroom in-law suite on the grade level, making it a great option for seniors.

1000 Mt. Atkinson Place


Check out this beautiful home on our next stop through Middleton Mountain home with some of the most stunning updates we’ve ever come across! Inside you’ll find custom cabinets, granite counters, and a brand-new suite all ready to go. There’s also new appliances, hot water tank, blinds AND vinyl fencing. The updates are virtually everywhere! This is the type of home that you can move right in and immediately feel at home!

931 Mt. Grady Close


Situated on a large, private corner lot is this beautiful family home, complete with a two-bedroom in-law suite! This home has three levels with three distinct living spaces, as well as a spacious kitchen with room for the whole family to be together. There are great views to be enjoyed from every upstairs room, and you can even catch the Northern Lights in the winter! The master suite features a vaulted ceiling and its very own fireplace. This is an elegant home in a wonderful family-friendly neighbourhood.

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One of the obvious benefits to living in the Okanagan is the abundance of lakes! Locals and visitors alike tend to flock to the beaches as soon as summer begins. It’s one of the awesome benefits of Okanagan valley living.


A lakeside view with two green chairsSome people want to take the next step and begin looking for lakefront properties! Living right on the lake is a tremendous way to fuse your lifestyle with your living situation. Here are the top reasons to consider a lakeshore home!


Lifestyle At Your Doorstep


Typically when visitors make their way to our wonderful valley, they will make plans based on a lot of activities that can all be accessed simply by owning a lakefront home! Instead of visiting a busy beach, you can hangout in privacy on your very own! Instead of launching your boat at common boat launches around the valley, you can park your boat at your own dock. These are just two examples of how your lifestyle is at your doorstep when you own a lakeshore property!


Increased Investment Potential


When it comes to purchasing a second property, lakefront homes offer a unique advantage. There is an increasing number of people who are ditching hotels and other traditional accommodation options and opting instead for unique homes in beautiful settings. Why not offer your second home to visitors when you don’t plan to be there? Lakefront properties command much higher accommodation prices due to their premium features and amenities. It’s a win-win for owners and visitors alike.


Solidify Your Legacy


Properties are very often extensions of who we are. Whether we realize it or not, our property decisions can dictate the type of life we have, or the one we plan for in the future. With a lakeshore home, you have the opportunity to solidify your family's authentic legacy, especially when that property is kept in the family for multiple generations. Living on the lake will undoubtedly be a defining feature of your family, and tThey will want to visit the property as much as possible to be a part of the legacy you had in mind all along! What a way to unite the ones you love.


Conclusion


As we’ve demonstrated, there is immense value to owning your very own lakefront home. When considering a lakefront property purchase, it’s important to enlist the help of a Realtor. There are many nuances to Lakeshore living and it is important to consult a professional that understands things like riparian restrictions, water licencing and dock licensing. With a skilled Realtor in your corner, you’re well on your way!

Speaking of which, check out these stunning lakefront properties! Let’s get your lakefront lifestyle off to a breathtaking start!


Featured Listings

7634 Tronson Road


Speaking of waterfront living… What a spectacular lakeshore home in Vernon, BC! Over 100 feet of shoreline to enjoy, a state-of-the-art boat lift, and uncompromising views from every window. This is an architectural gem with all the lifestyle features you need to live comfortably year-round.
For a complete list of features and specifications, click here.


400 Inkster Road

Wow! Unbelievable views and priced below assessed value! This property features over 300’ of lakeshore on your own unique lakeshore cove, as well as four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The master bedroom has it’s very own deck leading out to a flat yard with a lawn area and beach space. If that wasn’t enough, there is an opportunity to redevelop over 2.5 acres of the property on the plateau up above. For a complete list of features and specifications, click here.




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UNDERSTANDING RECENT CHANGES TO THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR BYLAW #4980

Protective Services logo
January 6, 2020
Public Notice

PUBLIC NOTICE
On October 28, 2019 the City adopted amendments to the Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980. The changes help clarify definitions and conduct general housekeeping for Part V: Property Maintenance.

BACKGROUND
Recurring issues have been reported by the Protective Services, Transportation and Operations departments in regards to private property maintenance and the maintenance of City owned boulevards and lanes in Vernon. In order to address the issues, City Administration recommended Part V (Property Maintenance) of the Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980 be amended.

These amendments clarify definitions and expectations of private property owners to maintain outdoor storage, as well as adjacent boulevards and lanes. Common language has been used to explain terms within the bylaw, such as derelict vehicle and grass.

References to snow and ice maintenance have been removed from Bylaw #4980, as snow and ice regulations are located in the Traffic Bylaw #5600.

AMENDMENT HIGHLIGHTS TO PART V: PROPERTY MAINTENANCE
5.2       Part V of this Bylaw now applies to the orderly outdoor storage of goods.

5.4       “Every owner or occupier of real property adjacent to a boulevard or lane shall ensure that the portion of the boulevard or lane adjacent to the real property, is kept clean and free of debris, common and noxious weeds.

     a. Every owner or occupier of real property adjacent to a boulevard or lane shall maintain all ground covers and plant materials           including but not limited to trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses and perennials and plant materials planted by the City, developer or           property owner, on the adjacent boulevard or lane.”

5.7       Reference to snow and ice maintenance has been removed from Bylaw #4980. Please refer to Traffic Bylaw #5600 for regulations on snow and ice maintenance.

DEFINITION HIGHLIGHTS IN SCHEDULE “D”
“Derelict vehicle” means any vehicle or part thereof, propelled other than by muscle power including a car, truck, airplane, all-terrain vehicle, recreation vehicle, motorcycle or any modified configuration thereof which:

  1. Is physically wrecked or disabled;
  2. In the case of a motor vehicle is not capable of operating under its own power or, in the case of a trailer, incapable of being towed in the manner a trailer is normally towed; or
  3. Does not have attached number plates for the current year pursuant to the regulations of the Motor Vehicle Act R.S.B.C., 1996 c. 318, as amended, from time to time.

“grass” means vegetation consisting of typically short plants with long, narrow leaves, cultivated for lawns, meadows or fields.

IMPLEMENTATION
This bylaw amendment is effective October 28, 2019.

For more information or clarification regarding the Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980, please visit https://www.vernon.ca/government-services/bylaws/good-neighbour-bylaw-4980 or call the Bylaw Compliance office at 250-550-3505.

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I am blessed to be part of a town that allows me to do what I love everyday! Thanks to Corinna Frew for her dedication over the years.


Thanks for all the support from Royal LePage Vernon, the admin staff and Monty Davis, in particular. I am proud to be part of a group of Independent realtors that function with integrity and grit! Our Brokerage should be proud for its service as well. THANK YOU!

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The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,837 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in May, a 28.7 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $739,783, down 1.7 per cent from May 2017. Total sales dollar volume was $6.54 billion, a 30 per cent decline from May 2017.

 

To watch the entire presentation - click here

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On June 15, 2018, changes to Rules under the Real Estate Services Act that dictate how REALTORS® work with consumers will come into effect. The Rules, mandated by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and finalized on April 27, 2018, have been amended to ensure that REALTORS® make adequate disclosures, so that consumers can make informed decisions


For the complete New Release - click here

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“Since the new Rules were finalized six weeks ago, BCREA has been hard at work to update our Applied Practice Courses for new licensees, continuing education courses and nearly two dozen standard legal forms that have been impacted by the changes,” said British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) CEO Darlene Hyde. “The new rules governing real estate practices mark a significant shift in how REALTORS® in BC work with their clients. It’s important that consumers know what to expect when the changes come into effect.”

 

Click Here to read the whole story...

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New Mortgage Qualification Rules Temper Housing Demand

Vancouver, BC – March 14, 2018. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,206 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in February, a 5.7 per cent decrease from the same period last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $748,327, up 8.8 per cent from the previous year. Total sales dollar volume was $4.64 billion, a 2.6 per cent increase from February 2017...

 

Click Here for youtube - Chief Economist Update

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Categories:   Vernon Real Estate


Declaration period to Begin for BC Speculation & Vacancy Tax ...


Here is important, time sensitive information on the completion of a declaration and registration of an exemption regarding the speculation and vacancy taxation.... click on the link below for detailed information....


Speculation & Vacancy Tax declaration - click here




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BC Home Sales Continue at Slower Pace

Vancouver, BC – December 14, 2018. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 5,179 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in November, down 33.1 per cent from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $718,903, a decline of 1.9 per cent from November 2017. Total sales dollar volume was $3.7 billion, a 34.3 per cent decline from November 2017.


“BC households continue to struggle with the sharp decline in purchasing power caused by the B20 mortgage stress test,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Most BC regions are now exhibiting relative balance between supply and demand.”

Total active residential listings were up nearly 31 per cent to 33,500 units in November, compared to the same month last year. However, it should be noted that this compares to 2017, when active listings for the month of November were at their lowest level in more than 15 years.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 23.1 per cent to $53.4 billion, compared with the same period in 2017. Residential unit sales declined 23.6 per cent to 74,847 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 0.7 per cent to $713,302.

-30-

For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir  
Chief Economist  
Direct: 604.742.2780  
Mobile: 778.229.1884  
Email: cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca  

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is the professional association for about 23,000 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province's 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

To demonstrate the profession's commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

For detailed statistical information, contact your local real estate board. MLS® is a cooperative marketing system used only by Canada's real estate boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.


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Zoning By-Law changes for cannabis

approved by Council



(December 11, 2018  ... News)

Vernon City Council has approved the changes to the Zoning Bylaw to permit cannabis sales, processing and cultivation in many of its commercial and industrial zones....


Click Here - for full story........


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RLP Downtown Realty

Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services Form

A complimentary introduction to the Real Estate Council of British Columbia's new requisite form meant to inform consumers about the types of representation they may receive from a REALTOR in a real estate transaction.


Helping You is What We Do!


Click Here -  Disclosure of Representation in Trading Services


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BC Home Sales to Rise in 2019 
BCREA 2018 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast

Vancouver, BC – November 8, 2018. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2018 Fourth Quarter Housing Forecast today.

Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) residential sales in the province are forecast to decline 23 per cent to 80,000 units this year, after recording 103,768 residential sales in 2017. MLS® residential sales are forecast to increase 12 per cent to 89,500 units in 2019. The 10-year average for MLS® residential sales in the province is 84,800 units.


To read the entire article -  click here..


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New Legislation makes it clear:  Farmland is for Farming.......




Legislation introduced on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, makes it clear that land in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is for farming and ranching in British Columbia, not for dumping construction waste or building mega-mansions.

To read the entire article, see below....


Click Here to read entire Article


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Province targets speculators and vacant homes, supports housing affordability


The British Columbia government has introduced legislation to tackle speculation in B.C.'s housing market and help turn empty properties into homes for people...


https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018FIN0075-002014

BCREA’s Position on Drug Operations

When a property has been involved in drug production, it can pose serious health and safety risks to the public resulting from mould, chemicals thrown out in the backyard, electrical fires and invasion by criminals looking for drugs, even if the property is no longer being used for drug production. It’s important for members of the public to be informed if a property they are interested in moving into was ever identified as having a history of drug production. Unfortunately, there is no consistency across the province on how municipalities make this information available, nor is there a provincial standard of remediation for buildings used to produce drugs.


To read full article - Click Here


The real estate market is heating up in Vernon and the rest of the Okanagan! Prices are increasing from demand far exceeding supply. This type of unbalanced market creates many difficulties for Buyers as they struggle to find housing.


But what does this mean for a Seller?

Unfortunately, far too many Sellers take these market conditions for granted. Using various rationales, they may feel that they simply don’t need to care much about their home preparation since properties seem to “sell themselves.” Now, it’s not my job to place judgement about how people deal with their affairs.


Instead, I’d rather empower you in saying this: Excess Buyer demand presents unique opportunities to make your home stand out among the rest, and without consideration to such factors, you may be leaving money on the table. After all, it's not about the cost of Realtor® fees or the home preparation process; It’s all about the bottom line figure after a sale completes.


This blog will break down in more detail why Sellers should see these high demand/low supply market conditions as an opportunity. Then, I’ll break down two time-tested strategies to give Sellers an advantage over their competition:


  • Thoughtful home preparation, which requires little to no upfront investment

  • Home staging, which does require an upfront investment 


Let’s go!


First Things First - Why Does This Even Matter?

I get it; investing in extra listing preparation seems unnecessary when there are so many more Buyers than Sellers in a given market, like the one in Vernon as of this writing. Yes, it is much easier to sell your property than in a more balanced market. 


However, there’s another side of the argument to consider. The first thing to know is that Buyers don’t usually pay top dollar for homes they perceive to be unkept or needing unnecessary work. They don’t want to inherit work they feel a Seller should have done beforehand. Many will also nit-pick issues and overestimate the time and money it will take to remedy them.


Another consideration involves the bottom line. It still costs money and time to prepare your home correctly no matter the market, whether it involves a Realtor® or not. But would you rather conserve all you can upfront only to receive less money in the end? Or, if you’re able, spend more upfront to recover those investments and more? Consider the following examples of two Sellers with near-identical homes, both of which pay $15,000 in Realtor® fees, and ask yourself: In which Buyer’s shoes would you rather be?




Seller A: 

  • No interest in investing in home prep or minor updates and feels like the home will sell itself. 

  • Lists their home for $450,000. 

  • After 62 days, a price reduction, and a back-and-forth offer process, they sell for $436,000.

  • Bottom line after expenses and real estate fees: $421,000.


Seller B: 

  • Sees value in investing in home prep and bites the bullet. They spend $2,500 in paint and other soft upgrades and $1,000 in home staging.  

  • Lists their home for the same price of $450,000. 

  • Two Buyers impressed with updates and home presentation, home ends up in multiple offers, and they sell for $453,000.

  • Bottom line after expenses and real estate fees: $438,000.


See my point? It’s important to realize that not everyone can afford even minor updates and home staging upfront, but this example doesn’t apply to their position. It does apply to the large segment of the population that makes these types of decisions every day. The above examples happen all the time, andit pains me to see money left on the table!


If you have the financial means, always keep your eyes on the prize and focus on the bottom line first and foremost. Now, let’s turn to two strategies that can give your home the competitive advantage it deserves!


Basic Home Preparation

As mentioned above, basic home preparation takes little to no investment and only a moderate time commitment, in most cases. The goal of this process is to make the home look great for the photography session. From my experience, most Buyer first impressions actually occur before they see the house when they view all the photos.


Having high-quality photography that showcases your home well generally leads to more showings, leading to my next point; be sure to prepare your home correctly for these showings! The goal is to make Buyers feel comfortable enough to picture themselves in that very house. Here are some practical tips for basic home preparation for both photography and showings:

  • Avoid having too many family photos, which can make it hard for potential Buyers to see themselves owning that house. 

  • Declutter as much as you can, walking through the home with an objective point of view. Think to yourself: What would I notice walking through someone else’s home?

  • Clean those areas that get the least attention in day-to-day life, such as baseboards and underneath cabinets. You’d be surprised how particular some buyers can be with cleanliness.

  • If you have pets, clean up as much pet hair as possible and make a conscious effort to remove accompanying odours. You may love your cat, but many Buyers will find it a turn-off!

 

Home Staging


If you want to take it a step further, consider staging your home!


Home staging is particularly important if the property you’re selling is a vacant home. While a vacant house is preferable to a cluttered or unsanitary home, sometimes Buyers can have difficulty seeing themselves feeling comfortable walking through them. They might have difficulty picturing their furniture, seeing how much room they have to entertain, or how big the kid’s playroom will be after a murphy-bed is added. 


Home staging does require an upfront investment and generally includes the help of a professional with an eye for detail and interior design. These professionals have a knack for matching items to a home’s target demographic and creating more vibrant spaces. Sometimes these changes are as simple as changing out a small piece of furniture and including some accent items, like flowers on a dining room table or a throw pillow set in the master bedroom. 





Small changes in a home’s visual appeal can result in significant shifts in Buyer attention! Consider home staging to make your home pop!


Conclusion


No matter what you choose, the key is to make potential Buyers feel welcome. In this way, you affect the outcome! Pay attention to who might want to buy your home, keep your focus on the bottom line as much as financially possible, and make decisions accordingly!



Of course, the help of a Realtor® makes the listing process much smoother. As a long-time Vernon property expert, I’m always willing to talk about the home listing process, even if you don’t plan to list your property in the near future! My dedication is to my clients, regardless of their timeline. 









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There’s too much divisiveness in this world already. We split ourselves into different camps of opinion based on what we feel is right. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than the housing options we find ourselves in during the 21st century. Is it better to rent or buy?


The truth is that there are unique benefits and drawbacks to each situation. It’s not uncommon for long-time homeowners to rent property in unique circumstances. It’s also not unusual for long-time renters to find out how attainable a home is and make the switch sooner than later. 


It all depends on your needs, preferences, and the situation you find yourself in today. Finding out where you stand now is the first step to figuring out tomorrow. In this blog post, I’m going to try and help kickstart this initial conversation. Instead of fear-based motives, I’ll stick to the facts so you can decide the rest for yourself. I will also use our local Vernon market as a case study, giving you tangible examples of benefits and drawbacks.


Renting

There is nothing inherently “wrong” with renting property, whether it be short-term or long-term. It all depends on your preferences, needs and financial situation. Let’s go over some pros and cons of renting property.

Pros

  • Predictability - when you rent property, you’re generally not responsible for general maintenance and upkeep. Your payment is pre-arranged and fixed for a set time period (typically one year, at least). You’re also protected by law against excessive rent increases in most Canadian jurisdictions. Sometimes, even your utilities are worked into this arrangement, further increasing the predictability factor.

 
  • Less Short-Term Financial Burden- As a renter, you don’t need a down payment like a mortgagee. The extent of your financial obligations are the first-months rent (and sometimes the last months, but not in British Columbia), damage deposit, pet deposit when applicable, and the monthly rent cost. 

 
  • Location Flexibility- Did you accidentally end up in the wrong area of town? As a renter, you have the freedom to move without excessive repercussion, especially if you carry out your lease term, at the very least. You avoid the stresses and market fluctuations homeowners experience, and you often have more choice of where to settle next. Moving from a lower-class area to a middle-class area as a renter is usually far more attainable than for a property buyer. 

 
 

Cons

  • Lack of Investment Potential - It’s true that when you rent, you’re indirectly paying someone else’s mortgage. Landlords generally rent their home out with the assumption of gaining value through equity over time. With a renter paying the mortgage each month (and sometimes, hundreds of dollars per month over and above this baseline cost), the landlord’s investment prospect is financed by the tenant. The tenant may have more predictability in their immediate financial obligations, but they also lose out on the increased equity that property might gain over the years.

 
  • Less Freedom - When I say freedom, I’m talking about property customization. For homeowners, the ability to customize their home to suit their unique tastes is a huge factor in purchasing a home. Renters do not generally enjoy such freedom. The extent of a renter’s renovation freedom is usually the painting of some walls or furniture arrangement.

 

Buying

Buying a home is a stressful but gratifying experience for most homeowners, new and seasoned alike. The decision to purchase property requires extensive planning and several professionals (in most cases). Let’s go over some pros and cons of buying property:

Pros

  • Investment Potential - As a homeowner, your home purchase represents an investment in the local real estate market. While fluctuations in the market are highly dependent on location, most real estate markets will provide investment gains in the long-term. Earning equity allows you the freedom to make additional investments based on your goals, and often this means upgrading your properties over time. Sometimes homeowners begin in a condo or apartment; then as their property increases in value, they earn enough equity to afford the down payment on a single-family house. You are paying your mortgage instead of somebody else’s. 

 
  • More Freedom - When you own your own home, you don’t need to ask permission to make changes and upgrades. It is always wise to make smart renovation decisions but you have the utmost freedom to put your unique touch on important property aspects. Sometimes these are aesthetic changes; sometimes they’re functional. Want a treehouse in the backyard? Skip the permission stage and head to the hardware store. Need 200 amp service for a hot-tub? Start the process as soon as you’re confident in the outcome. 

 
  • Investment Reliability - There’s a saying that goes something like this, “the best investment on Earth, is Earth.” Real estate  is, in most cases, an immovable asset. Investing in stocks or other speculative assets can be inherently risky, based on perceived value and other factors out of your control. Aside from the real estate market forces in your particular area, your investment gains over time are highly reliable, especially as you upgrade the home to make it more desirable for the next buyer. 

 


Cons 

  • Hefty Financial Obligations - The largest barrier for most aspiring homeowners is the dreaded down payment - which is a minimum of 5% of the purchase price. You also must have adequate credit and income in proportion to the home you seek. If you manage to purchase a house successfully, you now owe the lender that provided you with the mortgage for the foreseeable future (most of today’s amortization schedules are 25 years long!). You’re also responsible for all utilities and property upgrades, as well as the pesky unforeseen repairs. 

  • Moving Stress & Limitations - It is considerably more stressful to move as a homeowner, especially if you’re currently a homeowner relocating. You not only have to coordinate the selling of your property and the subsequent purchase of another with a variety of paid professionals, but you also have to plan for moving arrangements. You’re responsible for the home you move from being in substantially the same condition as you left it. As well, if your home hasn’t gained any value since you bought it, you may not be able to relocate as readily as you’d planned after paying all expenses. 


Local Considerations

When it comes to real estate in Vernon, or even real estate in the greater Okanagan region, we have unique market conditions. We have a greater proportion of seniors than most other Canadian areas, for example. The Okanagan is also known for hilly terrain, creating situations where houses on the same street and of similar build quality, can be vastly different in price. This is simply because some homes will enjoy a more expansive view!




As a Vernon Realtor, one scenario I run into often is helping clients navigate a new build while trying to sell their current home. In this scenario, the renting vs buying conversation comes into play. Some clients have enough financial stability to undertake construction loans while still living in their home for the duration of the build. However, many people do not. In this case, people often choose to sell their home using a Realtor, freeing free up equity to finance construction.


When it comes to seniors moving into long-term care, they’re essentially choosing to rent instead of own. They approach the renting vs buying scenario in a completely different way than a 25-year old couple would. For them, owning real estate is less important than the benefits of long-term care. In the Okanagan, we see this all the time!

 Conclusion

As a Realtor, it’s not my job to dissuade people from renting property if it’s truly the better option. There are so many myths surrounding the renting vs buying process that we end up getting lost in perception rather than steered by fact. The truth is that for some, buying property is preferable. For others, renting is preferable! It all depends on your lifestyle, current financial situation, and your appetite for things like freedom and risk. 



Whatever the case, I’m always here as your trusted Vernon Realtor! If you need help in dealing with anything real estate related, please feel free to give me a call. 




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Lights off, gas in the tank, bags in the car… The vacation has begun!


Vacations are a treat for every busy family. Tensions ease and burdens feel smaller. You get a chance to unwind and reflect. The inherent value of recreation is what leads so many families to invest in vacation properties. Instead of frantically searching for places to stay that fit allotted times off, many choose to purchase a property, giving them freedom and flexibility. 


There are a few key things to understand when you buy vacation properties, particularly rental properties. Taking a few preparatory steps will enable you to make the best investment possible for your wallet and your family. At the end of each section, we will apply the principles to a theoretical purchase at 123 Winter Lane at Silver Star Mountain, our local recreation hotspot! 123 Winter Lane is a 2-bedroom unit on the second floor of a five-storey building right beside the village. It was built less than 5 years ago and allows rentals during the busy seasons in the Spring and Summer, as well as longer-term rentals for shoulder seasons.  


Let’s go!  


What Exactly Do You Need It For?

The first step when planning a vacation property purchase is to strip the process down to the basics and ask yourself as a family:


What does recreation mean to us? What does a property need to have to accommodate our needs?


This question, though basic, will get to the heart of your desire for a vacation property. Do you have four kids and need enough room to be comfortable? Well, a two-bedroom unit with one bathroom might not cut it then. Is it more enjoyable to have your coffee on the deck with a view? Well, a ground-level unit may not be the best choice.


Much too often, people begin the conversation about vacation property by talking about finances first. It’s natural to want to figure out finances before searching for property of any kind, but finances are not at the heart of most vacation property purchases. Buyers of these properties seek an escape, a suitable accompaniment to their lifestyle. The first best step to take is figuring out why you want one in the first place. These insights are then used to guide the next steps.


     123 Winter Lane

Before even viewing this property, we figured out why we need it. Our family decided that they wanted a property on a ski hill because they love this family activity. We live in Vernon, and we needed somewhere close to home to avoid extensive winter travel.


Location

Once you’ve figured out basic desires, you can move along to location concerns. You may have figured out the general geographical location of your vacation home, but what about the actual location? Does it support your lifestyle?


The first consideration with location is to ask your realtor about resale prospects and the general popularity of hyper-local areas. You may wish to know of upcoming developments so you can 

avoid construction noise, or avoid buying a unit that will have its view blocked. You may not want to drive a vehicle during your vacation, so would want to know the proximity of local amenities. How accessible is your home, overall?


 

You also want to figure out how important location is versus price. Would you be willing to pay premiums for better views or a more central location? 


      123 Winter Lane

Not only did we desire a property up at Silver Star, but the location was also of utmost importance. With young children still learning how to carry equipment, we didn’t want to be too far away from the village. We did save some money by purchasing on the second level, as views from the top floor wasn’t a preference. 


Maintenance

You’ve figured out where you want to buy, now let’s take a look at maintenance concerns. 


How much effort and money do you want to expend to maintain this property? Some people prefer to enjoy their time away fully and want to avoid cleaning beyond the daily maintenance. This is the common experience at hotels, where it doesn’t matter if you make your bed before checking out and paying your bill. 


There is also the concern of maintenance costs, and who pays for them. The owner of a unit in a strata building does not need to be concerned about the roof or parking lot maintenance, generally speaking. These costs are paid by the strata corporation. While you pay a monthly strata fee that helps cover such costs, you aren’t stuck worrying about so many incidental costs.


      123 Winter Lane

It was important to us that we didn’t have to clean up the place before we left Silver Star and headed home. Our complex has on-site cleaners we pay to do this. To us, the cost is worth the saved effort. We also pay a monthly strata fee to avoid having to worry about those maintenance matters beyond our unit walls. 


Building Restrictions

This is one of the most important considerations when planning to purchase a vacation property. Do you only plan to use the unit a handful of times during a given season? Be sure there aren’t rental obligations in the bylaws that limit such use. Do you want to manage your bookings, or have a representative of your building do so? Well, it’s very important to see what the rules are concerning such bookings.


Vacation properties are quite often in strata complexes with extensive bylaws and rules. These bylaws and rules serve to protect your investment. Without them, there could be no standardized building policy for you, or for visitors to your unit. However, you want to ensure that you aren’t too limited by these restrictions. Too many restrictions can affect your vacation freedom, and limit your ability to have fun.


Be sure to get a copy of the bylaws and rules before finalizing your purchase. Evaluate your needs and wants and cross-reference them with these restrictions to truly determine if it’s a good fit for your family. 


      123 Winter Lane

Our building had an option for concierge services, which we declined. We can handle our bookings and prefer to save on those costs. However, We didn’t want to be limited visitors-wise since we have out of town friends and family that we’d like to host. Our building does not limit overnight guests and has ample parking for them. We’ve found our perfect vacation home!


Conclusion

We started small, listing our basic needs and wants. We then expanded our horizons and explored the most important aspects of buying a vacation home, at Silver Star or abroad! These tips will keep your goals at the forefront. They provide you with ample opportunity to conduct due diligence and evaluate your needs over time. 


Of course, you should always have a Realtor® in your corner! I’m always here to help you find the perfect vacation property, keeping your needs in focus and working within your budget. It’s always an adventure buying vacation property, as I’m available to come along for the ride, keeping you protected along the way.



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Entering the business world is complex. It requires a baseline understanding of many different concepts and processes commonly involved in running a business effectively.


One of the most important steps for prospective business owners, particularly those whose business is not based online, is securing a leased location to carry out operations. Not only does attention need to be given to the price of these arrangements, but also the various terms and conditions involved in a commercial leasehold contract.  


In this blog post written specifically for those new to the commercial leasing process, I will break down the key ways to prepare for this undertaking as well as the various things to look out for along the way. Please note that this is intended as a jumping-off point, rather than a definitive guide.


Let’s get started!



What Exactly Are Your Needs?

This seems like an obvious question, but hear me out. When most people enter the market for leased property, they have a general idea of what they need that space for.


However, it is highly recommended that you think deeply about your exact needs of the space you intend to occupy. Are you a retail location that also needs adequate water pressure for product needs? Are you a storefront that also requires a small space for light manufacturing? Are you an industrial company that will also require extra space on the property for parking? Think about your business and the things you need to keep it afloat, as it applies to the property.
 

Additionally, you will also need to be pre-approved for financing. This may require consulting with your financial advisor or accountants, for example. Knowing your financial position is crucial to a successful leasehold property search.


You may see what I’m getting at here: Before searching for property, you must know the precise range of your needs, as well as your inherent limitations. This commences a type of “process of elimination” whereby you and your commercial Realtor can more accurately determine which properties you need to see, and which ones can be safely ignored. With this foresight, you will avoid spending unneeded time at showings trying to find a diamond in the proverbial rough. 


Zoning, Zoning, Zoning


Now that you’ve detailed your range of needs, you can move on to the zoning requirements.


Zoning bylaws are enforceable municipal rules, designed in accordance with the Official Community Plan, that designate land with allowable uses and prohibited uses. This is why industrial companies tend to occupy the same part of town, and “main street” (think Vernon!) is mainly storefronts. This is because of zoning designations.

 
Take the list of needs you’ve compiled, and cross-reference it with the zoning bylaws in your particular city. For Vernon residents, this can be found here. For those residents outside of city centres, you may need to refer to your local regional district. For Vernon residents outside of city limits, for example, this can mean referring to the Regional District of North Okanagan. You want to figure out what zoning bylaws apply to your desired location, and which bylaws will allow for the use that you require. You also want to figure out which zoning bylaws specifically prohibit your intended use. The collection of this information will narrow down your list of compatible properties, which is an effective way to formally begin your property search.
 

The Basics Of Lease Terms & Conditions


Now that you’re ready to commence your property search, let’s give you the basics of some crucial lease terms:


Term

The term is defined as the exact time-frame that you intend to occupy the commercial space. Generally, this is listed in the contract as a specific amount of years or months. It is important to note that most landlords prefer at least a 3-5 year term, and the demand for less time will usually require other trade-offs from your side of the transaction. If a landlord prefers 3 years or more, and you come in asking for a term of 18 months, they may require a higher monthly lease price or other concessions. 


Triple Net

Every property listing you visit will have different obligations that pertain to certain costs, such as those involved in a “triple net” lease. You will notice that some listings will have a given price, coupled with the term “triple net” as being additionally payable. Triple net refers to a landlord or tenants’ obligation to pay property taxes, insurance, and ongoing maintenance costs. Take extra care to know if the approximate triple net costs are included in the agreed-upon lease price, or if it is expected to be paid over and above the base lease cost. 


Utilities

When you decide that a property you’ve viewed could be a great fit, be sure to inquire about approximate utility costs. It is immensely helpful if the landlord has historical utility cost records, in which case you will need to request them. Like previous steps, you will also want to be sure if some or all of these costs are included in the agreed-upon lease price, or if they’re above and beyond them. This step will continue to strengthen your costing forecasts and give you confidence when making offers.



Renovations

Have you found the perfect space, but it needs a fresh coat of paint and a wall removed? Or, perhaps you need a more extensive renovation? Understand that not all landlords are willing to renovate to your needs, or renovate to your particular standards. If renovations are likely needed, discuss this with the landlord. Just be aware: If a landlord agrees to carry out renovations on your behalf but at their expense, it could lead to a higher lease price. Conversely, you may be able to save on the monthly lease cost by carrying out renovations yourself. It’s a give-and-take process, and it’s highly variable and specific to each property and landlord. 


Inclusions & Exclusions

In some of the previous examples, we’ve highlighted the importance of figuring out which costs are included, and which costs are not. Take this step even further into consideration with other important aspects of the property. Are there kitchen supplies and appliances in your new space? If so, are those included for use in the lease terms? What about a piece of machinery you noticed on-site, is the use of that included? Anytime you find yourself wondering “hmm, I wonder if that’s included”, write it down and include it in forthcoming conversations with the landlord. This will save you from hassles and potential disputes over inclusions down the road. 


Conclusion

Your business requires so much more than meets the eye. Your customers may know you for the products you sell or the service you give, but your range of view is far more expansive. Understanding your lease terms is an important step in figuring out the costs of your product or service, and thus, the health of your entire business. Using the above steps, you are well on your way to negotiating a favourable lease that will successfully enable you to bring your ideas to the market. 


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There is an unfortunate myth that permeates the worried minds of real estate consumers: Selling in the Spring is the best time to sell your home because it’s the only realistic way to achieve maximum market value for your home.


This is absolutely not the case! While Spring is typically the busiest market in terms of overall sales, this does not automatically translate into higher earning potential. The Fall, traditionally seen as the “second best” real estate market in terms of seasonal timing, is actually a great time to sell for various reasons. In this blog, I’m going to detail the top four reasons why listing in the Fall is a great choice. I will then give you some practical tips that will instill confidence in your ability to achieve top dollar in this particular market.

Top 4 Factors That Benefit Fall Listings

Less Competition

In the Fall, it is undoubtedly true that you will have much less competition than in the Spring. There are fewer Buyers in the Fall market on average, but also far fewer properties that your listing will be competing with. This presents a unique opportunity to stand out among the crowd and work towards a mutually beneficial deal with a prospective buyer. With less listings to compete with, you carve out your unique place in the housing market and actively entice the most meaningful buyers to consider your property.

Market Flexibility

Due to Spring’s inherent competition, there is almost always a large swath of houses that remain on the market in the Fall that were initially listed in the Spring. Some may have been overpriced, and some may have just suffered from failed transactions with unqualified buyers. Whatever the reason, a segment of your listing competition will be from what Realtors call “stale listings”, which are those that have been listed for several month’s time at around the same price. The market is now more flexible in its offerings. Now is your best opportunity to stand out among the crowd!

Buyers Antsy

During the Fall, you will be faced with plenty of opportunities from Buyers that simply didn’t pull the trigger during the Spring months. Many have missed out on multiple offers, while others may have paused their search until the Summer months are over (this is especially true for the family demographics). Whatever the case, those qualified buyers that didn’t purchase in either the Spring or Summer markets are now as motivated as ever to initiate a purchase in the Fall. Buyers get excited about the new influx of homes for sale and come to you with more meaningful intentions and the experience to prove it. Additionally, Buyers are also motivated to purchase prior to Christmas time so they have time to settle in before the holiday season begins.

Fall Colours

This factor is outside the scope of market dynamics but is still worthy of mention. Fall is a period of time characterized by brilliant colours and a certain kind of nostalgia. Your property, especially if it has some natural features included like trees, can now be presented in a way that no Spring listing can! The beautiful colours serve to amplify the beauty of your property in the listing photos and this increases the chance buyers will say “wow!” even before they see your home. This factor is especially relevant to Okanagan real estate! Our valley is blessed by a remarkable change in colour.

List in the Fall With Unshakable Confidence

Here are four time-tested methods that contribute to an excellent Fall listing:

Professional Photography

As mentioned above, Fall presents a unique opportunity to capture the natural beauty of your home. Colours are changing and this can make colours pop and gets prospective buyers excited about certain property features. While I personally always recommend professional photography for your real estate listings, Fall is an especially important time to do so! Allow the professionals to handle this step because it can make a big difference in the final sale price. Buyers want to feel like they’re buying something special. Nothing depersonalizes a property more than poor photos that fail to capture the natural beauty of a given property.

Take Photos Well Before The Snow Flies

Be sure to have your trusted Realtor book your listing photos for a time where snow is not yet likely to be on the ground. In the chance that your listing extends beyond the regular parameters of the Fall market and into the Winter market, your listing will again stand out among the crowd. This is because Buyers can see what the home looks like when there isn’t any snow covering the property’s features. There’s a surprising amount of high-importance property features that can be covered up by those fluffy white flakes!

 Be Flexible With Showings

Fall is a time where a lot of people are scrambling. Kids are back in school and adjusting to their new classroom environments, and parents are busy at work while trying to dial in Christmas-time arrangements. It’s a hectic time! There’s a considerable benefit to being more flexible with showing requests on your home. It’s okay to have boundaries when it comes to reasonable showings, but the more accommodating you are to the stressed-out buyers that will eventually be interested in your home, the greater chance they will give you the same courtesy in return.

Go The Extra Mile To Stand Out

Remember all that talk about standing out? Now is the time to lean into this sentiment! All efforts should be made to stand out among the crowd of other listings. This can take the form of upgrading a major component of the home, such as purchasing new windows or replacing an ageing roof. This can also be an aesthetic upgrade, such as repainting the exterior of your home with a trendy colour. Whatever the upgrade, work with your trusted Realtor to determine the most realistic upgrades that you can handle that will serve to make your home stand out.

Conclusion

Listing your home in the Fall is a great time to showcase the features of your home that will matter most to the plethora of eager buyers in the market. With the strategic points above to guide you, combined with the help of your trusted Realtor, you will place yourself in a great position to sell your property with steadfast confidence!

Featured Listing

8215 Silver Star Road
This is the rural oasis you’ve been looking for! This custom-built home on a 1-acre parcel features hardwood floors, spectacular lighting fixtures and a lovely vaulted ceiling. There are 3 bedrooms plus a den as well as a self-contained suite on the lower level. Though, these are only some of the greatest features of the home! Head outside to your own private sanctuary complete with a hot tub and gazebo, all surrounded by the trees and other natural features unique to the property. This home also has a detached extended garage/workshop that is fully insulated and wired. So much beauty all wrapped up into one property! This is the type of property that makes Vernon real estate so exciting.


*Click here to see the full listing*


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When it comes to buying property, single-family houses seem to get all the glory. They tend to get the most advertising attention, yet there’s another property-type that can be an ‘unsung hero’

when it comes to investing in the real estate market.


I’m talking about vacant land! There is a different way to approach investing in vacant land, and I’m here to guide you on the best ways to do so. In this blog I will cover the difference between residential and commercial land purchases, what to look out for when seeking vacant land for investment, as well as highlight an awesome piece of vacant land that we have listed. 





 

Residential vs Commercial

Residential real estate is markedly different from commercial real estate, because these land-types suit completely different needs. Once you know these crucial differences, you will be better equipped to decide which avenue might work better for your particular investment portfolio.


Residential real estate is typically singular in its allowable use, which is to accommodate residential construction and subsequent habitation. The differences in residential land types relate to that lot's ability to accommodate density. Some land will be zoned for single-family usage only, some will accommodate the development of townhomes or condos, and some have multiple allowable uses. When looking at property for sale in your local area, such as land for sale in Vernon, be sure to check the zoning bylaws as you go. You also want to be sure that even if the zoning is consistent with your needs, that the lot will allow for the size of dwelling(s) and outbuilding(s) that you intend to construct. 


Commercial real estate in most real estate markets, including in the Okanagan, is subject to a more focused and directed due diligence process. You not only need to be double checking the zoning bylaws to ensure your uses are approved (as well, there are far more commercial designations than residential!), but you also need to be aware of the foot and vehicle traffic and how that relates to your business. As well, commercial real estate purchases may require a higher down payment than your typical residential lot. Be sure to check-in with your financial advisor and trusted Realtor® to know where you stand before commencing any type of search process. It is important to note too that commercial real estate, for the purposes of this blog also includes land for sale approved for industrial use. 


Key Benefits of Investing in Vacant Land

Highest and Best Use

When it comes to developed land, you’re often severely restricted in the control of what’s called the “highest and best use” of a property. For example, if you buy a residential property with a house that’s situated on that land in an unfavourable way (ie. A house that sits near the back of a lot, restricting your ability to have a backyard) it would not be financially savvy to change that. It would simply be too costly. When you own the land however, you can ensure that you control the best way to use that property from the beginning, thus positively affecting your future investment prospects.


Less Maintenance

When you purchase previously-developed land of most kinds, upon conveyance you will likely have immediate overhead. If the commercial property you just bought needs a complete renovation, you will still be subject to things like electricity and hydro bills while you renovate. With vacant land however, you save a great deal in interim overhead. This can bring peace of mind to costly projects, allowing you to focus your time and energy where it most matters: getting the most out of a particular property. 


Lower Barrier to Entry

While vacant land sometimes does require a larger down payment than your typical residential purchase with a mortgage, it is still a lower barrier to entry than buying previously developed land overall. Because there is no structure to deal with, you save a lot of money in mortgage interest and other things, like mortgage origination fees. This makes vacant land a great investment for those that do not want to expose themselves to debt at this particular point in time.


Buying Vacant Land in Vernon & The Okanagan

Speaking from past experience and statistical validation, investing in land in the Okanagan has proven to be an excellent opportunity to diversify your investment portfolio. Okanagan land for sale is increasingly sought after in national and international markets because of the unbelievable potential for future growth. Our beautiful valleys are becoming less and less of a “best-kept secret” and this is attracting worldwide attention. 




Our cities are densifying, particularly in the Kelowna market, which has a ripple effect on zoning bylaws throughout each city and the valley as a whole. Vernon has the unique position of having the most development potential in terms of available land space, bringing both opportunity and unique challenges. Why not meet these challenges by jumping in and becoming a part of this tremendous growth?


Featured Listing

9159 Smith Road

This is a stunning waterfront lot with so much potential. With 114’ of waterfront, it is nestled between two homes that set a beautiful standard for the street. It also has sewer nearby available to connect to and has two titles! Follow this link for more information!


 

Conclusion

Investing in land is a brilliant way to catch the sustainable wave of business flowing into our communities. We all have a desire to have an impact on those around us, and vacant land is a particularly good way of being able to be a force for good here. 


Our real estate markets in the Okanagan are resilient and boundless in their opportunity. Be a part of this opportunity by considering vacant land to be your next investment purchase!


Your trusted Vernon Realtor®,


Louisa Cochrane PREC








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Vernon is a magical place, and we’re not just saying that because we live and do business here! It is a lifestyle paradise, with fun to be had in all four seasons. We are blessed to have hot summers, colourful autumns, snowy winters, and bountiful springs! And not only is it great for visitors, it is home to a vibrant community of residents.

In this post, we’re going to run through some of the most popular Vernon neighbourhoods, give you some practical tips for buying a home here, and showcase three great listings we have available in the city.

Let’s get started!


Location, Location, Location

Vernon has many great neighbourhoods and it would be unfair to label any as “better” than the others. However, these are some of the most popular and well-established neighbourhoods in the city!

East Hill

East Hill is Vernon’s most iconic neighbourhood, and for good reason! It is where Vernon’s first original homes were constructed, many of which still stand today. Just driving through this area with its character homes, tree-lined streets and abundance of city and lake views often forms a nostalgic experience for residents. One of the major benefits to this area is its close proximity to the vast majority of Vernon businesses and city services, so this area is probably best for young to established families with busy lifestyles. Your kids will undoubtedly find great friends within the same neighbourhood over time! Notable schools that serve East Hill are Hillview and Silver Star elementary schools, as well as Vernon secondary school and Seaton secondary school.

Coldstream


This is the neighbourhood for the summer-lovers! Coldstream is arguably Vernon’s most sought after neighbourhood because of its abundance of larger lots and spectacular lake views. And these aren’t just any lake views… The lake in question is one of Canada’s most beautiful: Kalamalka Lake! Known as the “lake of many colours”, this lake turns a vibrant green in midsummer because of its large volumes of limestone deposits left over from receding glaciers. It’s simply spectacular, and it has created an environment that attracts many tourists and locals alike! Be sure to check out Kalamalka Provincial Park for the very best views! Notable schools here include Kidston and Coldstream Elementary, and Kalamalka High School

BX

The BX comprised a fairly large geographic area compared to other neighbourhoods, as it is often split into “north” and “south” BX for catchment purposes. In the north, many homes enjoy stunning panoramic views of the North Okanagan Valley and Swan Lake. In the south, you will find sprawling acreages, beautiful country estates and excellent views of Vernon, which often includes views of different Vernon lakes. The BX is known for its peace and quiet and large lots. Locals especially enjoy the BX dog park and BX Press Cidery, home to great cider and regular nights of entertainment in various forms. The schools in this area are BX elementary and Vernon Christian School.

Bella Vista


Situated in West Vernon amongst a sprawling landscape of grapevines and the grasslands above them, Bella Vista is a great place to live! It is approximately 5-7 minutes to downtown Vernon and is home to many tourist attractions, including Davison’s Orchard (a longtime local favourite) and The Rise golf course and residential community. A large number of Bella Vista homes enjoy views of either vineyards or Okanagan Lake, or sometimes even both! This area is south facing and is best for those that enjoy year-round sunshine and endlessly scenic walks in the evening. The schools that serve this area are Ellison and Okanagan Landing elementary schools, as well as Fulton secondary school.

Okanagan Landing

This catchment is the furthest away from the downtown core, but there’s plenty of reasons why this is a benefit for local residents and visitors. Okanagan Landing is on the west side of Vernon but is generally north facing, as it stretches down the south side of Okanagan Lake. Here you will find excellent beaches and swimming holes, an abundance of actively used boat launches, as well as the beautiful Ellison Provincial Park! This area is best for those who plan to use their home as a vacation home and those that want to take advantage of the active lakeside life. The schools that serve the Okanagan Landing area are the same as those in Bella Vista (actual catchment depends on specific property information).

Remember, these are only some of the more popular neighbourhoods, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t even more great neighbourhoods to look into! Honorable mentions include Swan Lake West, Adventure Bay and Upper Mission Hill. Vernon is beautiful wherever you go!

Tips and Tricks When Buying In Vernon

Seek Professionals Sooner Than Later!

It’s a common misconception that people should begin their online real estate searches on random listing sites. While these can be excellent resources, especially for weary first-time buyers that aren’t quite ready to commit to purchasing, they simply aren’t the best first step most of the time. This applies to all buyers, whether the plan is to buy a single family, townhome or condo.

We always recommend seeking both a licensed mortgage broker and a Realtor® as soon as possible. A mortgage professional will be able to take all your information and work with you on your budget, preventing you from getting ahead of yourself and skewing expectations. A Realtor® will be able to take your budget and plan your next steps, while instituting a system that works for your unique needs and scheduling. A great Realtor employs patience and understanding with everyone they work with, and they’re always in your corner. So make those calls, and be sure to find someone you trust as soon as you can. It can make a huge difference when you’re finally ready to buy!

Wants vs Needs


When you’ve finalized a budget and begun a formal property search, a great next step is working on a wants vs needs list. If you have a partner you plan to purchase with, it is imperative that you both sit down and communicate each other's wants and needs so that you can combine perspectives into a cohesive list. This list will serve you well when you embark on showing tours, allowing you to more efficiently identify the homes that are potential matches for your lifestyle. The key is to be as flexible with your wants and as definitive with your needs as possible. Armed with this tool, you will immediately give yourself an advantage over the others looking to purchase in the same price ranges. This is especially true in Vernon because of its broad diversity in home types, views, and lifestyle preferences.

Review Contracts Ahead of Time

One more useful tip when buying a home in Vernon is to have your Realtor® review commonly used contracts with you ahead of time. You’ve spent all that time preparing your professionals and identifying your wants and needs, so it’s important to understand the contracts you will be signing so that you have more confidence when the time comes around to actually fill them in with real information! This step will amplify your buying confidence and elevate you over your competition when you do come across that perfect home.

Current Listings

Here are some great Vernon listings for sale! We’ll be taking you on a listing tour of Middleton Mountain, which straddles the border between Vernon and Coldstream!

675 Middleton Way


Welcome to our first Middleton Mountain home, complete with stunning views of the iconic Kalamlka lake! This custom built home boasts hardwood floors, custom kitchen cabinetry and easy access to an oversized deck and a flat backyard (not easy to find in this area!). This home is in close proximity to Kal Beach and the Rail Trail, and even has a 1-bedroom in-law suite on the grade level, making it a great option for seniors.

1000 Mt. Atkinson Place


Check out this beautiful home on our next stop through Middleton Mountain home with some of the most stunning updates we’ve ever come across! Inside you’ll find custom cabinets, granite counters, and a brand-new suite all ready to go. There’s also new appliances, hot water tank, blinds AND vinyl fencing. The updates are virtually everywhere! This is the type of home that you can move right in and immediately feel at home!

931 Mt. Grady Close


Situated on a large, private corner lot is this beautiful family home, complete with a two-bedroom in-law suite! This home has three levels with three distinct living spaces, as well as a spacious kitchen with room for the whole family to be together. There are great views to be enjoyed from every upstairs room, and you can even catch the Northern Lights in the winter! The master suite features a vaulted ceiling and its very own fireplace. This is an elegant home in a wonderful family-friendly neighbourhood.

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One of the obvious benefits to living in the Okanagan is the abundance of lakes! Locals and visitors alike tend to flock to the beaches as soon as summer begins. It’s one of the awesome benefits of Okanagan valley living.


A lakeside view with two green chairsSome people want to take the next step and begin looking for lakefront properties! Living right on the lake is a tremendous way to fuse your lifestyle with your living situation. Here are the top reasons to consider a lakeshore home!


Lifestyle At Your Doorstep


Typically when visitors make their way to our wonderful valley, they will make plans based on a lot of activities that can all be accessed simply by owning a lakefront home! Instead of visiting a busy beach, you can hangout in privacy on your very own! Instead of launching your boat at common boat launches around the valley, you can park your boat at your own dock. These are just two examples of how your lifestyle is at your doorstep when you own a lakeshore property!


Increased Investment Potential


When it comes to purchasing a second property, lakefront homes offer a unique advantage. There is an increasing number of people who are ditching hotels and other traditional accommodation options and opting instead for unique homes in beautiful settings. Why not offer your second home to visitors when you don’t plan to be there? Lakefront properties command much higher accommodation prices due to their premium features and amenities. It’s a win-win for owners and visitors alike.


Solidify Your Legacy


Properties are very often extensions of who we are. Whether we realize it or not, our property decisions can dictate the type of life we have, or the one we plan for in the future. With a lakeshore home, you have the opportunity to solidify your family's authentic legacy, especially when that property is kept in the family for multiple generations. Living on the lake will undoubtedly be a defining feature of your family, and tThey will want to visit the property as much as possible to be a part of the legacy you had in mind all along! What a way to unite the ones you love.


Conclusion


As we’ve demonstrated, there is immense value to owning your very own lakefront home. When considering a lakefront property purchase, it’s important to enlist the help of a Realtor. There are many nuances to Lakeshore living and it is important to consult a professional that understands things like riparian restrictions, water licencing and dock licensing. With a skilled Realtor in your corner, you’re well on your way!

Speaking of which, check out these stunning lakefront properties! Let’s get your lakefront lifestyle off to a breathtaking start!


Featured Listings

7634 Tronson Road


Speaking of waterfront living… What a spectacular lakeshore home in Vernon, BC! Over 100 feet of shoreline to enjoy, a state-of-the-art boat lift, and uncompromising views from every window. This is an architectural gem with all the lifestyle features you need to live comfortably year-round.
For a complete list of features and specifications, click here.


400 Inkster Road

Wow! Unbelievable views and priced below assessed value! This property features over 300’ of lakeshore on your own unique lakeshore cove, as well as four bedrooms and three bathrooms. The master bedroom has it’s very own deck leading out to a flat yard with a lawn area and beach space. If that wasn’t enough, there is an opportunity to redevelop over 2.5 acres of the property on the plateau up above. For a complete list of features and specifications, click here.




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UNDERSTANDING RECENT CHANGES TO THE GOOD NEIGHBOUR BYLAW #4980

Protective Services logo
January 6, 2020
Public Notice

PUBLIC NOTICE
On October 28, 2019 the City adopted amendments to the Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980. The changes help clarify definitions and conduct general housekeeping for Part V: Property Maintenance.

BACKGROUND
Recurring issues have been reported by the Protective Services, Transportation and Operations departments in regards to private property maintenance and the maintenance of City owned boulevards and lanes in Vernon. In order to address the issues, City Administration recommended Part V (Property Maintenance) of the Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980 be amended.

These amendments clarify definitions and expectations of private property owners to maintain outdoor storage, as well as adjacent boulevards and lanes. Common language has been used to explain terms within the bylaw, such as derelict vehicle and grass.

References to snow and ice maintenance have been removed from Bylaw #4980, as snow and ice regulations are located in the Traffic Bylaw #5600.

AMENDMENT HIGHLIGHTS TO PART V: PROPERTY MAINTENANCE
5.2       Part V of this Bylaw now applies to the orderly outdoor storage of goods.

5.4       “Every owner or occupier of real property adjacent to a boulevard or lane shall ensure that the portion of the boulevard or lane adjacent to the real property, is kept clean and free of debris, common and noxious weeds.

     a. Every owner or occupier of real property adjacent to a boulevard or lane shall maintain all ground covers and plant materials           including but not limited to trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses and perennials and plant materials planted by the City, developer or           property owner, on the adjacent boulevard or lane.”

5.7       Reference to snow and ice maintenance has been removed from Bylaw #4980. Please refer to Traffic Bylaw #5600 for regulations on snow and ice maintenance.

DEFINITION HIGHLIGHTS IN SCHEDULE “D”
“Derelict vehicle” means any vehicle or part thereof, propelled other than by muscle power including a car, truck, airplane, all-terrain vehicle, recreation vehicle, motorcycle or any modified configuration thereof which:

  1. Is physically wrecked or disabled;
  2. In the case of a motor vehicle is not capable of operating under its own power or, in the case of a trailer, incapable of being towed in the manner a trailer is normally towed; or
  3. Does not have attached number plates for the current year pursuant to the regulations of the Motor Vehicle Act R.S.B.C., 1996 c. 318, as amended, from time to time.

“grass” means vegetation consisting of typically short plants with long, narrow leaves, cultivated for lawns, meadows or fields.

IMPLEMENTATION
This bylaw amendment is effective October 28, 2019.

For more information or clarification regarding the Good Neighbour Bylaw #4980, please visit https://www.vernon.ca/government-services/bylaws/good-neighbour-bylaw-4980 or call the Bylaw Compliance office at 250-550-3505.

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I am blessed to be part of a town that allows me to do what I love everyday! Thanks to Corinna Frew for her dedication over the years.


Thanks for all the support from Royal LePage Vernon, the admin staff and Monty Davis, in particular. I am proud to be part of a group of Independent realtors that function with integrity and grit! Our Brokerage should be proud for its service as well. THANK YOU!

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The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 8,837 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in May, a 28.7 per cent decrease from the same month last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $739,783, down 1.7 per cent from May 2017. Total sales dollar volume was $6.54 billion, a 30 per cent decline from May 2017.

 

To watch the entire presentation - click here

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On June 15, 2018, changes to Rules under the Real Estate Services Act that dictate how REALTORS® work with consumers will come into effect. The Rules, mandated by the Office of the Superintendent of Real Estate (OSRE) and finalized on April 27, 2018, have been amended to ensure that REALTORS® make adequate disclosures, so that consumers can make informed decisions


For the complete New Release - click here

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“Since the new Rules were finalized six weeks ago, BCREA has been hard at work to update our Applied Practice Courses for new licensees, continuing education courses and nearly two dozen standard legal forms that have been impacted by the changes,” said British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) CEO Darlene Hyde. “The new rules governing real estate practices mark a significant shift in how REALTORS® in BC work with their clients. It’s important that consumers know what to expect when the changes come into effect.”

 

Click Here to read the whole story...

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New Mortgage Qualification Rules Temper Housing Demand

Vancouver, BC – March 14, 2018. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,206 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) across the province in February, a 5.7 per cent decrease from the same period last year. The average MLS® residential price in BC was $748,327, up 8.8 per cent from the previous year. Total sales dollar volume was $4.64 billion, a 2.6 per cent increase from February 2017...

 

Click Here for youtube - Chief Economist Update

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Categories:   Vernon Real Estate

Housing Supply Not Keeping Pace With Demand in Most BC Regions...

 

 

Vancouver, BC – June 13, 2017. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 12,402 residential unit sales were recorded by th

e Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in May, down 7.9 per cent from the same period last year. Total sales dollar volume was $9.33 billion, down 4.0 per cent from May 2017. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $752,536, a 4.2 per cent increase from the same period last year....

 

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The trademarks REALTOR®, REALTORS®, and the REALTOR® logo are controlled by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and identify real estate professionals who are member’s of CREA. The trademarks MLS®, Multiple Listing Service® and the associated logos are owned by CREA and identify the quality of services provided by real estate professionals who are members of CREA. Used under license.