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I have listed a new property at 6561 Orchard Hill Road in Vernon, BC.
NOT A DRIVEBY; SO MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!! Circa 1977 grade level entry home is on a huge lot with lots of privacy & fun in the BackYard. Kids can play in the above ground pool, mom can garden in the irrigated raised beds & dad has a 23'x15' Man Cave/shop all to himself! 4 dedicated bedrooms to the Main Floor (one on the lower level) plus a one bedroom Suite, with a full bath & separate entrance. Main floor has Sunken Living room with Vaulted Ceiling; 3 bedrooms, renovated main bath. Master Bedroom with a 3pc ensuite & walk-in closet. New Hot water tank, new roof on the shop, freshly painted & renovated; easy to move in immediately. Fantastic family street & steps away from the Grey Canal Trail: Vernon's newest addition to this magical trail system. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 2504 37 Avenue in Vernon, BC.
BEST SPOT TO CALL HOME! Lower East Hill: Circa 1940's quaint home: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath & large multi-purpose laundry room. Enjoy sitting on the veranda in the front & using a wonderful, private deck out back.New kitchen, upgraded electrical; pride of ownership shows!! Fully fenced south-facing backyard to enjoy. Great for a starter, downsizer or rental! Walking distance from Vernon City Centre, Vernon Towne Cinema, Polson Park! Best Condo Alternative Option in Town. RM2 ZONING ON THIS BLOCK ALLOWS FOR HIGHER DENSITY. Call today. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 7242 Edgewater Place in Coldstream, BC.
Welcome to the best kept secret in Coldstream!! this insanely quiet cul-de-sac has the distinction as one of the best streets in Coldstream to raise your family. STYLE & FUNCTION DICTATE!! The Corner lot with the most extraordinary privacy, depth (ROOM FOR A POOL) & use of space, your family even has its own SKATING RINK to play & practice on. Extraordinary will describe this home at every point: from the enormous amount of garage space (min 3 car) to the amount of uncovered space that could accommodate your boat & your 5th wheel (with a 30amp plug & sani-dump). MULTI-GENERATIONAL OPTION!! Upper level has 5 bedrooms with 3 full baths & Laundry; a wing of the home could easily be used for grandma! Panoramic views of the Coldstream orchards & Kalamalka lake. Lower level has a self-contained in-law space with its own easy level entry & laundry. This home will satisfy the most discerning buyer! (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 29 6635 Tronson Road in Vernon, BC.
Imagine living blocks from Kin Beach at Okanagan Lake!! The last phase has been released: single family homes with 3 large bedrooms, a generous main floor kitchen, dining room and living room. 2 1/2 bath. All finished with quartz counters, high quality laminate floors. Double car garage with EV plug roughed in; tons of room to park & store things. HE furnace, A/C. Covered by 10 year warranty. Strata fee of just under $300 per month also includes your water/sewer/garbage! This complex truly feels like a neighbourhood within the neighbourhood. Call today. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 2002 32 Avenue in Vernon, BC.
REMARKABLE OPPORTUNITY! HEART OF EAST HILL & CHARM, CHARM, CHARM!!! DOUBLE CITY LOT: SUBDIVIDABLE????!!!Located on a double lot in the heart of East Hill, this home has all the charm of the late 1940's with the renovations to make it move in ready. Newer Roof, Newer Windows, Newer Kitchen with custom built cabinets & granite counter tops. 2 Bedrooms up with room & access to build a suite downstairs. The grounds are spectacular with tons to keep the gardener busy! Ultra private back yard with hot tub. Attached & Detached garage! Detached garage can easily function as a shop with dedicated 220V power & tons of room. Flat Driveway offers parking for RV & Boat & TOYS! Plus 50amp service for your RV don't miss out on this home. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 118 3550 Woodsdale Road in Lake Country, BC.
Resort-Style Living! Welcome to Emerald Point in beautiful Lake Country, BC. A short Drive from the Kelowna International Airport, this complex features a Heated Outdoor Swimming Pool with a fantastic Pool Deck & Hot Tub as well as Indoor Commons room with Fitness Area, Sauna & amenities room to host large gatherings. This unit boasts the largest floor plan in the complex with over 1400sqft of open concept living. 3 Bedrooms & 2 full baths, at fantastic corner unit with enormous windows & natural Sunlight. First floor is off the ground, but allows for easy access for guests. Secured underground parking as well as a dedicated 2nd parking spot & a visitors pass ensures parking for all. Meticulous in everyway; pride of ownership, you will be impressed. Adjacent to the complex are acres of parkland including Reiswig & Beasley Parks. Easy Access the newly built, world renowned Rail Trail. Pets and rentals allowed with restrictions. Call today to book a viewing. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 34 4740 20 Street in Vernon. BC.
Very Special Location in a Great Complex: Top floor unit on the Quietest side of the complex, facing the East with views of the mountains. Updated with gorgeous hardwood floors, modern paint colours, newer appliances, this 2 bedroom 2 bath condo is a perfect spot to call home. Professionally installed Aluminum Deck Cover on the East Patio & incredibly efficient Solar Shades installed on the West facing windows. Covered Parking & small storage locker. small dog & cat welcome. Very reasonable Strata fees. Fantastic Clubhouse allows for a place for the family to have larger gatherings! Village Green Mall/Saveon Foods/LCBO all a flat walk; transit close by! Quick possession possible. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 7222 Edgewater Place in Coldstream, BC.
CAPTIVATING SETTING: Impeccable Rancher, daylight basement home nestled perfectly into the Hills showcasing EXTRAORINARY VIEWS boasting a staggering Mediterranean feel. IMAGINE WAKING UP THIS THIS EACH DAY!! Situated on a fantastic cul-de-sac in the newest area in Coldstream, walking into this 2016 built home you are greeted by tremendous quality. Over 1800 sqft on the main floor, Open concept living & dining with hardwoods, tile & wonderful architecturally designed ceilings. Master suite enjoys the extraordinary views & the 5 piece ensuite is truly spa quality. Over 1700sqft on the lower level with another master bedroom plus so much more & potential spaces to create an in-law space. The lower level is easily accessible from the outside. Lower level also enjoys the same enormous views! The yard has room & access to build a smaller pool with a beautiful natural stone retaining wall. Exquisite & understated! Walking distance to the Newly built Okanagan Rail Trail & world famous Kalamalka Lake. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 466 Lumby Mabel Lake Road in Lumby.
This is the ONE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Gorgeous Home with beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom mortgage helper on 0.40 acre lot, just 5 minutes outside Lumby. The open concept main floor plan with vaulted ceilings has 3 bedrooms, large kitchen with island and newer appliances. Master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, walkin closet, 5 pc bathroom with door to private deck. Also on this floor you will find a functional and spacious Laundry Room. Entertain on one of the two fantastic decks or enjoy an evening fire in the fully fenced private backyard. Mortgage helper is bright, spacious and so well done, the Master on this level even has an ensuite! Fully insulated shop with power (approx size 12 x 16). Mabel Lake, Echo Lake, Hidden Lake and Kal Lake all within 30 mins drive, sled, bike and hike until your heart is content. Tons of parking for RV, Truck and all the Toys. High speed internet, currently running at 800 mbps so working remotely is not a problem. Recent improvements include new gas powered boiler, tankless water system, and transfer switch, generator plug & gas line to the house. Close to town but private and quiet, bring your family and pets to enjoy this beautiful property and solid well built home (built in 2011), nothing to do but relax and enjoy the pretty view of Saddle Mountain where there is always something to be spotted, Hawks, Eagle and Deer. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 1803 39 Avenue in Vernon, BC.
Solid sweet bungalow on a HUGE 1/2 acre LOT in the heart of East Hill. Space, Views & surprising privacy are key to this home. Freshly renovated, newer windows, roof, new paint, newer floors with a lovely, bright galley kitchen, newer cabinets, this 3 bedroom home has so much more potential. Separate entrance for the basement with 2 laundry hookups make creating a suite very easy! Huge private deck to enjoy the tranquility & peace of the views on a warm sunny day. Walking distance to schools, downtown, on a public bus route. Tons of potential because of the size of the lot & the fantastic location. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 29 9196 Tronson Road in Vernon, BC.
WHY THIS HOME? GATED COMUNITY! PRIVATE LAKE ACCESS! AMAZING ENERGY EFFICIENCY CONSTRUCTION! (ASK ME!) Private access to the Shared beachfront that is equipped with boat launch & proper bathroom; be on the water in minutes. QUALITY, MODERN CONVENIENCES & STYLE DEFINE THIS HOME! Oversized .45 acre lot with gentle sloping back yard allows for lovely views of OK Lake & amazing privacy. Built by Award Winning Allegria Homes, this is the builder's own home! Over 3300sqft of living space: 4 bed + Office & 4 Baths! w/ an oversized 3 car garage & 600 sqft workshop, equipped with its own 100amp panel. Contemporary finish & Design; 11' ceiling upstairs, 10' ceilings downstairs allow for huge windows to allow tons of natural light into the home. Beautiful European doors connect the Dining room to enormous deck space creating easy flow from inside to outside. Built in Gas Range & Wall ovens, the kitchen space also has a wonderful Butler's pantry, where the espresso machine has its home. Master bedroom with its own access to the deck area, boasts views of the lake & mountains. The Ensuite is a true example of a retreat area; beautiful tile, stand alone tub & gorgeous stand alone shower. Lower level was designed to create a suite if desired. Lots of room for the growing family to grow into. Bring your ideas to finish the backyard!! tons of room for a pool, garden, and more! Landscape plan available. ASK ME ABOUT THE UPGRADES~ (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 8100/8104 Silver Star Road Road in Vernon, BC.
NOT IN THE ALR! UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE & STYLE!~ Private entry into a sprawling 40 acre treed, gentle terrain estate! Mins from Silver Star Mtn Resort(top 10 in Nrth Amrca,downhill/nordic/mountain biking); mins from dwntwn Vernon. Over 7400 sqft of elegant living area w/gorgeous guest home on property.Luxurious post & beam log home designed to take full advantage enormous, sweeping views of Vernon/Coldstream Valley w/amazing sthrn views of Okanagan & Kalamalka Lakes & Terrace Mntn. Carefully thought out open design floor plan w/ highest level of craftsmanship & design. Unsurpassed attention to detail in security, functionality & design.Home features the latest in automation: all easily controlled from a cell phone or tablet. Solar heated pool with over 3000sqft of patio; wired shops, horse barn, corral, sheds. SIMPLY ONE OF A KIND IN ENTIRE OKANANGAN VALLEY!!Call for an information package today. (8100- main house; 8104-Guest home) No Speculation tax https://youtu.be/6qsAW4NEpVA (id:2493)
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Real estate is all too often reduced to numbers, estimates and dollar signs. When we list a house, the most critical feature tends to be the price. When we compare the home to others, we try and find reasonable comparables and estimate value accordingly. We overly focus on analytics. 


You may be surprised to know, though, that real estate involves a lot of feeling. 


Some of the most reasonably priced homes still don’t sell. Owners become flustered when this happens, and buyers can’t often pinpoint why they don’t like such a home. It’s discouraging not to have good feedback! Well, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to quantify feelings. 


A prime example where feeling matters in the real estate process concerns curb appeal! Curb appeal is difficult to quantify, but very important nonetheless. This is especially true in the Okanagan! Folks move here for the lifestyle, and their home is an extension of that lifestyle. In this blog, I’ll detail why curb appeal matters to today’s buyers and give you two general areas to focus on to improve curb appeal.


Here we go!


First Impressions & The Power Of Feeling


Every buyer will view the same house differently, including the first impression upon driving up to the property. Buyers will use this initial feeling as an example of what they feel if they owned the property. They might ask the following questions, either consciously or subconsciously:


Would I take pride in owning this home?


If this were my property, what would my guests think of it when they come over to visit?


How much work will it take to make this property uniquely mine?


Does the owner take pride in this property, judging from my first impression?


As you can see, buyers can be judgemental both of themselves and your property. And they have a right to be! They’re forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, to assume ownership of it. Sellers are wise to concern themselves with such questions. Sure, you’re not going to be able to cater to every buyer’s unique needs, wants and preferences. And there’s no such thing as the perfect curb appeal.


However, you can put yourself in the shoes of the buyer most likely to purchase your home. This is a great place to start! 


Upon identifying such buyers, map out their most likely preferences and work from there. The front of your property does not need to be fancy and upscale; it just needs to suit the tastes of those most likely to purchase it. Gaining such insight is crucial to improving your home’s curb appeal when it comes time to sell (or anytime, for that matter!)


Property Exterior

Your home’s exterior is the first place to start when deciding to improve curb appeal. Buyers will usually look at the following exterior features during their first impression:

  • Siding

  • Front door

  • Windows and window trim

  • Roof 

  • Gutters 

  • Chimney

  • General home type/shape

Pay attention to these features and the type of impression they can give to buyers; it matters! Of course, a complete replacement of all the components above can be expensive, so you need to weigh the cost, benefit and importance for each. It’s also true that some of these are merely cosmetic features, some are structural, and some are both! 


Pro Tip: Do a drive-up of your home with a friend you can trust to give you impartial advice. Upon driving up to the house, with a pen and pad ready, make a list of the things your friend notices first when it comes to your home’s curb appeal (good and bad). 


Remember, there’s no such thing as perfect curb appeal. But you do have the control to use someone impartial to help you along this journey. Consider your advisor’s views, and balance them with your own and your financial obligations for each. Keep it simple, and work outwards from there!


Landscaping

Now to the less intimidating aspect of curb appeal, landscaping! 


Landscaping can be tricky because it tends to be one of the more subjective features of any given property. However, there are some considerations to ponder when taking a good look at your front yard. Keep in mind, these all depend on the type of buyer you’re trying to attract. 


If your front yard is merely a “blank slate,” meaning it has few to no definable landscaping features, ask yourself if adding attractive features will be a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is an investor, this is likely the best option!


If your front yard has intricate networks of flowers, plants and grasses, ask yourself if simplifying it would be a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is a busy working family with limited time to spare, such investment may pay off! 


If your front yard is dominated by lush lawn, ask yourself if keeping the grass in perfect condition is a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is a young family with kids, such investment may be well worth it!


Tailor your front yard landscape to your most likely buyer. In any case, avoid quirky decor pieces and other unnecessary features to capture the broadest base of positive attention. 


Conclusion

Improving curb appeal requires you to tap into feeling, which is no easy task. It begins with an understanding of your most likely buyer and the courage to make the needed changes when possible. Then, think about how these people might feel upon discovering your property. Think about how they feel and what they value.   


In doing so, you avoid chasing unattainable perfection and work towards an effective, inviting curb appeal for your home! 


If you ever need help with your home’s curb appeal, I’m here to help! I help a wide range of buyers and sellers, getting a feel for the preferences of each. I’m more than happy to help guide you in these decisions to help give you an advantage over your selling competition.











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The secret is out - The Okanagan lifestyle is here to stay. 


We’ve moved beyond the ‘trend’ label. Trends are temporary, momentary. What the Okanagan has to offer is so much more. From the city skyline of Kelowna to the vineyard-dotted communities of Penticton and Osoyoos to Vernon’s world-class lakes, the Okanagan has something for everyone. We’re an international tourist destination for a reason. 


Are you planning a move here? Vernon may just have everything you need to create a fulfilling lifestyle for you and yours. 


In a previous post, I detailed some popular Vernon neighbourhoods in more thorough detail. In this post, we will focus on what makes Vernon uniquely special from an outdoor perspective. I’ll break down why we love our little corner of the North Okanagan, detailing some key outdoor attractions along the way.


Lakes


You just can’t talk about what makes Vernon distinctive without mentioning the lakes. We have two commonly-visited lakes here, Okanagan and Kalamalka. Let’s begin with the former. 


Okanagan Lake is comparatively large, its length running from the South Okanagan near Penticton to its furthest shores in Vernon, passing Kelowna along the way. It’s a popular boating destination due to its expansive shoreline and generally large width. It warms up nicely in the Summer. 


Kalamalka (Kal) Lake is the real gem of the two. While much smaller, Kal is a ‘marl lake’ home to abundant calcium carbonate deposits that change colours with warming temperatures. During mid-summer, the lake turns to a remarkable shade of green. Kalamalka Provincial Park shares some of its border with this memorable attraction, making it an ideal place to stand-up paddleboard


To get a better idea of Kalamalka Lake’s timeless beauty, check out this video.


I also recommend checking out the Okanagan Rail Trail! It traverses Kalamalka Lake, Wood Lake, and other small water bodies on its way to Downtown Kelowna. It’s a fantastic community initiative with Okanagan culture and heritage behind its mission!


Outdoor Exploration - Spring To Fall

Vernon is home to a thriving group of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners and more! 

 

Kalamalka Provincial Park (as mentioned above) is one 

such place that deserves special mention. At 3,218 hectares, the protected area is largely undeveloped and dotted with ponderosa pine and groves of douglas fir trees. It’s home to a spectacular wildflower show in the Spring, expansive Kalamalka Lake views in the Summer, and beautifully changing tones in the Fall.

Another wicked place to explore in the warmer months is Ellison Provincial Park. Nestled on the northeastern shore of Okanagan Lake, it is the smaller protected park with 220 hectares of explorable forest. The trails are peppered with rocky areas, making them ideal for more challenging runs on foot or bike. You can connect with the Predator Ridge trails near the elevation’s highpoint, and the Ellison Provincial Park campground is on the lake below!


Fresh Air Fun On Whiteout Days


When the Fall’s crimson colour gives way to arctic air and snow showers, there’s no better place to be than high up in the mountains!


This section focuses on Silver Star Mountain, voted one of North America’s best ski resorts by multiple publications over the years. Located in the Monashee Mountains, Silver Star snow is abundant and 100% naturally-produced. 


Some stats

  • 3,282 skiable acres

  • 760 metres of total vertical drop

  • 700cm of annual snowfall

  • 132 marked runs, the longest being 8km long



The ‘frontside’ is home to mellower terrain and multiple chairlifts, making it an ideal option for families and those who just want to cruise. Adrenaline-seekers routinely head to the ‘backside’ where you drop into stashes of advanced terrain.


As the day winds down, ski right into one of Silver Star’s 18 restaurants, cafes and bars in the village. It’s an authentic ski-in/ski-out experience accompanied by nine on-mountain hotels and lodges (and many more single-family residences!). No matter your appetite for thrills, Silver Star is sure to please.



 

Conclusion


We love our slice of British Columbia heaven. Vernon has so much to offer its residents that it’s no surprise our local real estate market is booming! People that move here don’t want to leave. 


It’s important to note that I’ve only scratched the surface of Vernon’s outdoor exploration opportunities. Our unparalleled mix of lakes and mountains are limitless in their ability to provide a good time in the fresh air. 



If you’re thinking of making Vernon your home, give me a call. As a longtime Vernon realtor®, I’ve dealt with my fair share of relocations. I’m always willing to share my advice with you in your quest for a truly spectacular place to live. It’s the Okanagan lifestyle, as we say, and it’s truly unbeatable!








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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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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

I have listed a new property at 6561 Orchard Hill Road in Vernon, BC.
NOT A DRIVEBY; SO MUCH MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE!! Circa 1977 grade level entry home is on a huge lot with lots of privacy & fun in the BackYard. Kids can play in the above ground pool, mom can garden in the irrigated raised beds & dad has a 23'x15' Man Cave/shop all to himself! 4 dedicated bedrooms to the Main Floor (one on the lower level) plus a one bedroom Suite, with a full bath & separate entrance. Main floor has Sunken Living room with Vaulted Ceiling; 3 bedrooms, renovated main bath. Master Bedroom with a 3pc ensuite & walk-in closet. New Hot water tank, new roof on the shop, freshly painted & renovated; easy to move in immediately. Fantastic family street & steps away from the Grey Canal Trail: Vernon's newest addition to this magical trail system. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 2504 37 Avenue in Vernon, BC.
BEST SPOT TO CALL HOME! Lower East Hill: Circa 1940's quaint home: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath & large multi-purpose laundry room. Enjoy sitting on the veranda in the front & using a wonderful, private deck out back.New kitchen, upgraded electrical; pride of ownership shows!! Fully fenced south-facing backyard to enjoy. Great for a starter, downsizer or rental! Walking distance from Vernon City Centre, Vernon Towne Cinema, Polson Park! Best Condo Alternative Option in Town. RM2 ZONING ON THIS BLOCK ALLOWS FOR HIGHER DENSITY. Call today. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 7242 Edgewater Place in Coldstream, BC.
Welcome to the best kept secret in Coldstream!! this insanely quiet cul-de-sac has the distinction as one of the best streets in Coldstream to raise your family. STYLE & FUNCTION DICTATE!! The Corner lot with the most extraordinary privacy, depth (ROOM FOR A POOL) & use of space, your family even has its own SKATING RINK to play & practice on. Extraordinary will describe this home at every point: from the enormous amount of garage space (min 3 car) to the amount of uncovered space that could accommodate your boat & your 5th wheel (with a 30amp plug & sani-dump). MULTI-GENERATIONAL OPTION!! Upper level has 5 bedrooms with 3 full baths & Laundry; a wing of the home could easily be used for grandma! Panoramic views of the Coldstream orchards & Kalamalka lake. Lower level has a self-contained in-law space with its own easy level entry & laundry. This home will satisfy the most discerning buyer! (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 29 6635 Tronson Road in Vernon, BC.
Imagine living blocks from Kin Beach at Okanagan Lake!! The last phase has been released: single family homes with 3 large bedrooms, a generous main floor kitchen, dining room and living room. 2 1/2 bath. All finished with quartz counters, high quality laminate floors. Double car garage with EV plug roughed in; tons of room to park & store things. HE furnace, A/C. Covered by 10 year warranty. Strata fee of just under $300 per month also includes your water/sewer/garbage! This complex truly feels like a neighbourhood within the neighbourhood. Call today. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 2002 32 Avenue in Vernon, BC.
REMARKABLE OPPORTUNITY! HEART OF EAST HILL & CHARM, CHARM, CHARM!!! DOUBLE CITY LOT: SUBDIVIDABLE????!!!Located on a double lot in the heart of East Hill, this home has all the charm of the late 1940's with the renovations to make it move in ready. Newer Roof, Newer Windows, Newer Kitchen with custom built cabinets & granite counter tops. 2 Bedrooms up with room & access to build a suite downstairs. The grounds are spectacular with tons to keep the gardener busy! Ultra private back yard with hot tub. Attached & Detached garage! Detached garage can easily function as a shop with dedicated 220V power & tons of room. Flat Driveway offers parking for RV & Boat & TOYS! Plus 50amp service for your RV don't miss out on this home. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 118 3550 Woodsdale Road in Lake Country, BC.
Resort-Style Living! Welcome to Emerald Point in beautiful Lake Country, BC. A short Drive from the Kelowna International Airport, this complex features a Heated Outdoor Swimming Pool with a fantastic Pool Deck & Hot Tub as well as Indoor Commons room with Fitness Area, Sauna & amenities room to host large gatherings. This unit boasts the largest floor plan in the complex with over 1400sqft of open concept living. 3 Bedrooms & 2 full baths, at fantastic corner unit with enormous windows & natural Sunlight. First floor is off the ground, but allows for easy access for guests. Secured underground parking as well as a dedicated 2nd parking spot & a visitors pass ensures parking for all. Meticulous in everyway; pride of ownership, you will be impressed. Adjacent to the complex are acres of parkland including Reiswig & Beasley Parks. Easy Access the newly built, world renowned Rail Trail. Pets and rentals allowed with restrictions. Call today to book a viewing. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 34 4740 20 Street in Vernon. BC.
Very Special Location in a Great Complex: Top floor unit on the Quietest side of the complex, facing the East with views of the mountains. Updated with gorgeous hardwood floors, modern paint colours, newer appliances, this 2 bedroom 2 bath condo is a perfect spot to call home. Professionally installed Aluminum Deck Cover on the East Patio & incredibly efficient Solar Shades installed on the West facing windows. Covered Parking & small storage locker. small dog & cat welcome. Very reasonable Strata fees. Fantastic Clubhouse allows for a place for the family to have larger gatherings! Village Green Mall/Saveon Foods/LCBO all a flat walk; transit close by! Quick possession possible. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 7222 Edgewater Place in Coldstream, BC.
CAPTIVATING SETTING: Impeccable Rancher, daylight basement home nestled perfectly into the Hills showcasing EXTRAORINARY VIEWS boasting a staggering Mediterranean feel. IMAGINE WAKING UP THIS THIS EACH DAY!! Situated on a fantastic cul-de-sac in the newest area in Coldstream, walking into this 2016 built home you are greeted by tremendous quality. Over 1800 sqft on the main floor, Open concept living & dining with hardwoods, tile & wonderful architecturally designed ceilings. Master suite enjoys the extraordinary views & the 5 piece ensuite is truly spa quality. Over 1700sqft on the lower level with another master bedroom plus so much more & potential spaces to create an in-law space. The lower level is easily accessible from the outside. Lower level also enjoys the same enormous views! The yard has room & access to build a smaller pool with a beautiful natural stone retaining wall. Exquisite & understated! Walking distance to the Newly built Okanagan Rail Trail & world famous Kalamalka Lake. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 466 Lumby Mabel Lake Road in Lumby.
This is the ONE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR! Gorgeous Home with beautiful 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom mortgage helper on 0.40 acre lot, just 5 minutes outside Lumby. The open concept main floor plan with vaulted ceilings has 3 bedrooms, large kitchen with island and newer appliances. Master bedroom has vaulted ceilings, walkin closet, 5 pc bathroom with door to private deck. Also on this floor you will find a functional and spacious Laundry Room. Entertain on one of the two fantastic decks or enjoy an evening fire in the fully fenced private backyard. Mortgage helper is bright, spacious and so well done, the Master on this level even has an ensuite! Fully insulated shop with power (approx size 12 x 16). Mabel Lake, Echo Lake, Hidden Lake and Kal Lake all within 30 mins drive, sled, bike and hike until your heart is content. Tons of parking for RV, Truck and all the Toys. High speed internet, currently running at 800 mbps so working remotely is not a problem. Recent improvements include new gas powered boiler, tankless water system, and transfer switch, generator plug & gas line to the house. Close to town but private and quiet, bring your family and pets to enjoy this beautiful property and solid well built home (built in 2011), nothing to do but relax and enjoy the pretty view of Saddle Mountain where there is always something to be spotted, Hawks, Eagle and Deer. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 1803 39 Avenue in Vernon, BC.
Solid sweet bungalow on a HUGE 1/2 acre LOT in the heart of East Hill. Space, Views & surprising privacy are key to this home. Freshly renovated, newer windows, roof, new paint, newer floors with a lovely, bright galley kitchen, newer cabinets, this 3 bedroom home has so much more potential. Separate entrance for the basement with 2 laundry hookups make creating a suite very easy! Huge private deck to enjoy the tranquility & peace of the views on a warm sunny day. Walking distance to schools, downtown, on a public bus route. Tons of potential because of the size of the lot & the fantastic location. (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 29 9196 Tronson Road in Vernon, BC.
WHY THIS HOME? GATED COMUNITY! PRIVATE LAKE ACCESS! AMAZING ENERGY EFFICIENCY CONSTRUCTION! (ASK ME!) Private access to the Shared beachfront that is equipped with boat launch & proper bathroom; be on the water in minutes. QUALITY, MODERN CONVENIENCES & STYLE DEFINE THIS HOME! Oversized .45 acre lot with gentle sloping back yard allows for lovely views of OK Lake & amazing privacy. Built by Award Winning Allegria Homes, this is the builder's own home! Over 3300sqft of living space: 4 bed + Office & 4 Baths! w/ an oversized 3 car garage & 600 sqft workshop, equipped with its own 100amp panel. Contemporary finish & Design; 11' ceiling upstairs, 10' ceilings downstairs allow for huge windows to allow tons of natural light into the home. Beautiful European doors connect the Dining room to enormous deck space creating easy flow from inside to outside. Built in Gas Range & Wall ovens, the kitchen space also has a wonderful Butler's pantry, where the espresso machine has its home. Master bedroom with its own access to the deck area, boasts views of the lake & mountains. The Ensuite is a true example of a retreat area; beautiful tile, stand alone tub & gorgeous stand alone shower. Lower level was designed to create a suite if desired. Lots of room for the growing family to grow into. Bring your ideas to finish the backyard!! tons of room for a pool, garden, and more! Landscape plan available. ASK ME ABOUT THE UPGRADES~ (id:2493)
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I have listed a new property at 8100/8104 Silver Star Road Road in Vernon, BC.
NOT IN THE ALR! UNDERSTATED ELEGANCE & STYLE!~ Private entry into a sprawling 40 acre treed, gentle terrain estate! Mins from Silver Star Mtn Resort(top 10 in Nrth Amrca,downhill/nordic/mountain biking); mins from dwntwn Vernon. Over 7400 sqft of elegant living area w/gorgeous guest home on property.Luxurious post & beam log home designed to take full advantage enormous, sweeping views of Vernon/Coldstream Valley w/amazing sthrn views of Okanagan & Kalamalka Lakes & Terrace Mntn. Carefully thought out open design floor plan w/ highest level of craftsmanship & design. Unsurpassed attention to detail in security, functionality & design.Home features the latest in automation: all easily controlled from a cell phone or tablet. Solar heated pool with over 3000sqft of patio; wired shops, horse barn, corral, sheds. SIMPLY ONE OF A KIND IN ENTIRE OKANANGAN VALLEY!!Call for an information package today. (8100- main house; 8104-Guest home) No Speculation tax https://youtu.be/6qsAW4NEpVA (id:2493)
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Real estate is all too often reduced to numbers, estimates and dollar signs. When we list a house, the most critical feature tends to be the price. When we compare the home to others, we try and find reasonable comparables and estimate value accordingly. We overly focus on analytics. 


You may be surprised to know, though, that real estate involves a lot of feeling. 


Some of the most reasonably priced homes still don’t sell. Owners become flustered when this happens, and buyers can’t often pinpoint why they don’t like such a home. It’s discouraging not to have good feedback! Well, it’s challenging, if not impossible, to quantify feelings. 


A prime example where feeling matters in the real estate process concerns curb appeal! Curb appeal is difficult to quantify, but very important nonetheless. This is especially true in the Okanagan! Folks move here for the lifestyle, and their home is an extension of that lifestyle. In this blog, I’ll detail why curb appeal matters to today’s buyers and give you two general areas to focus on to improve curb appeal.


Here we go!


First Impressions & The Power Of Feeling


Every buyer will view the same house differently, including the first impression upon driving up to the property. Buyers will use this initial feeling as an example of what they feel if they owned the property. They might ask the following questions, either consciously or subconsciously:


Would I take pride in owning this home?


If this were my property, what would my guests think of it when they come over to visit?


How much work will it take to make this property uniquely mine?


Does the owner take pride in this property, judging from my first impression?


As you can see, buyers can be judgemental both of themselves and your property. And they have a right to be! They’re forking out hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more, to assume ownership of it. Sellers are wise to concern themselves with such questions. Sure, you’re not going to be able to cater to every buyer’s unique needs, wants and preferences. And there’s no such thing as the perfect curb appeal.


However, you can put yourself in the shoes of the buyer most likely to purchase your home. This is a great place to start! 


Upon identifying such buyers, map out their most likely preferences and work from there. The front of your property does not need to be fancy and upscale; it just needs to suit the tastes of those most likely to purchase it. Gaining such insight is crucial to improving your home’s curb appeal when it comes time to sell (or anytime, for that matter!)


Property Exterior

Your home’s exterior is the first place to start when deciding to improve curb appeal. Buyers will usually look at the following exterior features during their first impression:

  • Siding

  • Front door

  • Windows and window trim

  • Roof 

  • Gutters 

  • Chimney

  • General home type/shape

Pay attention to these features and the type of impression they can give to buyers; it matters! Of course, a complete replacement of all the components above can be expensive, so you need to weigh the cost, benefit and importance for each. It’s also true that some of these are merely cosmetic features, some are structural, and some are both! 


Pro Tip: Do a drive-up of your home with a friend you can trust to give you impartial advice. Upon driving up to the house, with a pen and pad ready, make a list of the things your friend notices first when it comes to your home’s curb appeal (good and bad). 


Remember, there’s no such thing as perfect curb appeal. But you do have the control to use someone impartial to help you along this journey. Consider your advisor’s views, and balance them with your own and your financial obligations for each. Keep it simple, and work outwards from there!


Landscaping

Now to the less intimidating aspect of curb appeal, landscaping! 


Landscaping can be tricky because it tends to be one of the more subjective features of any given property. However, there are some considerations to ponder when taking a good look at your front yard. Keep in mind, these all depend on the type of buyer you’re trying to attract. 


If your front yard is merely a “blank slate,” meaning it has few to no definable landscaping features, ask yourself if adding attractive features will be a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is an investor, this is likely the best option!


If your front yard has intricate networks of flowers, plants and grasses, ask yourself if simplifying it would be a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is a busy working family with limited time to spare, such investment may pay off! 


If your front yard is dominated by lush lawn, ask yourself if keeping the grass in perfect condition is a worthwhile investment. If your most likely buyer is a young family with kids, such investment may be well worth it!


Tailor your front yard landscape to your most likely buyer. In any case, avoid quirky decor pieces and other unnecessary features to capture the broadest base of positive attention. 


Conclusion

Improving curb appeal requires you to tap into feeling, which is no easy task. It begins with an understanding of your most likely buyer and the courage to make the needed changes when possible. Then, think about how these people might feel upon discovering your property. Think about how they feel and what they value.   


In doing so, you avoid chasing unattainable perfection and work towards an effective, inviting curb appeal for your home! 


If you ever need help with your home’s curb appeal, I’m here to help! I help a wide range of buyers and sellers, getting a feel for the preferences of each. I’m more than happy to help guide you in these decisions to help give you an advantage over your selling competition.











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The secret is out - The Okanagan lifestyle is here to stay. 


We’ve moved beyond the ‘trend’ label. Trends are temporary, momentary. What the Okanagan has to offer is so much more. From the city skyline of Kelowna to the vineyard-dotted communities of Penticton and Osoyoos to Vernon’s world-class lakes, the Okanagan has something for everyone. We’re an international tourist destination for a reason. 


Are you planning a move here? Vernon may just have everything you need to create a fulfilling lifestyle for you and yours. 


In a previous post, I detailed some popular Vernon neighbourhoods in more thorough detail. In this post, we will focus on what makes Vernon uniquely special from an outdoor perspective. I’ll break down why we love our little corner of the North Okanagan, detailing some key outdoor attractions along the way.


Lakes


You just can’t talk about what makes Vernon distinctive without mentioning the lakes. We have two commonly-visited lakes here, Okanagan and Kalamalka. Let’s begin with the former. 


Okanagan Lake is comparatively large, its length running from the South Okanagan near Penticton to its furthest shores in Vernon, passing Kelowna along the way. It’s a popular boating destination due to its expansive shoreline and generally large width. It warms up nicely in the Summer. 


Kalamalka (Kal) Lake is the real gem of the two. While much smaller, Kal is a ‘marl lake’ home to abundant calcium carbonate deposits that change colours with warming temperatures. During mid-summer, the lake turns to a remarkable shade of green. Kalamalka Provincial Park shares some of its border with this memorable attraction, making it an ideal place to stand-up paddleboard


To get a better idea of Kalamalka Lake’s timeless beauty, check out this video.


I also recommend checking out the Okanagan Rail Trail! It traverses Kalamalka Lake, Wood Lake, and other small water bodies on its way to Downtown Kelowna. It’s a fantastic community initiative with Okanagan culture and heritage behind its mission!


Outdoor Exploration - Spring To Fall

Vernon is home to a thriving group of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners and more! 

 

Kalamalka Provincial Park (as mentioned above) is one 

such place that deserves special mention. At 3,218 hectares, the protected area is largely undeveloped and dotted with ponderosa pine and groves of douglas fir trees. It’s home to a spectacular wildflower show in the Spring, expansive Kalamalka Lake views in the Summer, and beautifully changing tones in the Fall.

Another wicked place to explore in the warmer months is Ellison Provincial Park. Nestled on the northeastern shore of Okanagan Lake, it is the smaller protected park with 220 hectares of explorable forest. The trails are peppered with rocky areas, making them ideal for more challenging runs on foot or bike. You can connect with the Predator Ridge trails near the elevation’s highpoint, and the Ellison Provincial Park campground is on the lake below!


Fresh Air Fun On Whiteout Days


When the Fall’s crimson colour gives way to arctic air and snow showers, there’s no better place to be than high up in the mountains!


This section focuses on Silver Star Mountain, voted one of North America’s best ski resorts by multiple publications over the years. Located in the Monashee Mountains, Silver Star snow is abundant and 100% naturally-produced. 


Some stats

  • 3,282 skiable acres

  • 760 metres of total vertical drop

  • 700cm of annual snowfall

  • 132 marked runs, the longest being 8km long



The ‘frontside’ is home to mellower terrain and multiple chairlifts, making it an ideal option for families and those who just want to cruise. Adrenaline-seekers routinely head to the ‘backside’ where you drop into stashes of advanced terrain.


As the day winds down, ski right into one of Silver Star’s 18 restaurants, cafes and bars in the village. It’s an authentic ski-in/ski-out experience accompanied by nine on-mountain hotels and lodges (and many more single-family residences!). No matter your appetite for thrills, Silver Star is sure to please.



 

Conclusion


We love our slice of British Columbia heaven. Vernon has so much to offer its residents that it’s no surprise our local real estate market is booming! People that move here don’t want to leave. 


It’s important to note that I’ve only scratched the surface of Vernon’s outdoor exploration opportunities. Our unparalleled mix of lakes and mountains are limitless in their ability to provide a good time in the fresh air. 



If you’re thinking of making Vernon your home, give me a call. As a longtime Vernon realtor®, I’ve dealt with my fair share of relocations. I’m always willing to share my advice with you in your quest for a truly spectacular place to live. It’s the Okanagan lifestyle, as we say, and it’s truly unbeatable!








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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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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.