I have sold a property at 108 2823 Jacklin Rd.
Spacious and well kept ground floor patio suite in the Metro Park Plaza complex. 936 sq/ft of bright, open living space with 9 ft. ceilings, 2 large bedrooms, 2 baths including a 4 piece ensuite. Electric fireplace, all appliances with new washer/dryer, blinds, large 350 sq/ft patio area, great for entertaining and barbeques. Rentals allowed and 2 small pets. Separate storage and 1 dedicated parking spot with ample street parking. Very unique separate master bedroom entrance with ensuite that could be separated from the rest of the suite and used for a personal office or personal accommodation to have a pad in the city that is accessed from the street. One block to City Hall and downtown Langford, short walk to all amenities, close to transit, shopping, medical, schools, etc.
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It is a well known fact that moving rates among the most stressful tasks that we face in our day to day lives. After all the boxes are move and the previous house is scrubbed to perfection, it feels like all the hard work is over. That is, until your pooch starts barking at everything and marking in undesirable spots in your new home.

Dogs are not immune to the stress of moving. Often after picking up on their owner's anxiety, they are unsure of their new territory and how to relax in their new space.


Here are 5 ways to help your pooch familiarize with their new domain:


KEEP THE ROUTINE


We often find our daily schedules askew after moving as we are still tripping over boxes while trying to keep working. Make it a point to keep your dog's feeding, walking and rest break schedule the same. Dogs find comfort in routine as it helps them feel like they know what to expect. This simple gesture will help keep your dog in the same day to day routine.


BRING THE STANDBYS


It is so tempting to go out and buy cute new dog dishes, a new clean bed and a different crate to suit the new house. Resist the temptation for at least the first few months. Bring all of your dog's favourite items to the new house and locate them in relatively the same spot as they were in your previous home. Familiar smells and feelings will help your pooch settle in all the more quickly.


BE MELLOW


If you've ever had a stressful or angry moment in front of your dog, you may have noticed that they tend to run and hide under a bed. Pets are extremely perceptive with emotions. In the first few weeks of the move, do your best to avoid stressful situations. Make the time to unwind. Crack a bottle of wine or veg with Netflix. Seeing you relax in your new home is beneficial for not only your dog but for yourself as well.


SHOW A LITTLE GRACE


Potty mistakes are bound to happen in the first little while after moving. This is natural and is in no case a reason to punish your dog. If you catch them in the act, simply leash them and guide them to where you prefer them to go.  Make sure if you are busy with unpacking that you take the time to provide them with plenty of breaks to relive themselves.


LET THEM BARK IT OUT


Barking is bound to happen. When a dog is familiarizing with the boundaries of their new territory, they are likely to bark at anyone and everyone who steps foot on their 'land'. Correct the behaviour in a firm verbal manner and remove the dog from the sightline of the window. Eventually the your dog will get to know common faces and it won't be such an issue. This will happen, so expect it and try not to get too upset.


*BONUS*


TREAT THEM!


After you give them a chance to run the house and get their fill of sniffing, give them a big juicy treat. When I recently moved, I bought a special bone filled with marrow for my puppy to sink her teeth into.  Take them to their cozy familiar bed and lay them down with their treat. This is almost guaranteed to give you a couple solid hours of peace.

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If you are looking for a fixer upper, you are likely:


 1. On a budget.

2. Looking for the deal of the century.

3. A handyman looking to flip for profit.

4. Have been watching HGTV reno reality TV shows.


With so many TV shows depicting the average Joe couples flipping properties after fixing them up, it's hard not to want to jump on the bandwagon. 


When buying a fixer upper, there can be a fine line before crossing over into teardown territory.  Here are a few tips and items to look out for when you are shopping for a place that needs a facelift vs a demo ball.



HERE ARE THE TYPES OF FIXER UPPERS TO LOOK FOR

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THE PROFITABLE FIXER UPPER


Perhaps the kitchen is so outdated that it looks like Florence Henderson should be roasting a pineapple ham in the oven. The carpets are shaggy and an avocado hue which is perfectly paired with the brown and orange floral wallpaper.  Looking beyond this, the building is structurally sound, the plumbing is in working order and the electricity has been updated.  This is a property that would have good bones and only needs cosmetic upgrades to get the attention of homebuyers.  Strongly consider this type of property for a quick and profitable flip. Focus on the kitchen and bathrooms.



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SOLID STRUCTURE BUT DISGUSTING (READ: FORECLOSURE)


Periodically, landlords have a very bad set of tenants who absolutely destroy the interior of a property with dirty habits, parties and too many animals. It may be revolting to walk through. You may have to pull your shirt over your nose when you walk through, but keep your eyes open.  If you can handle the yuck factor and are able to clean out the garbage, replace the carpets and paint the walls, you may be in for a profitable flip. Do be sure to do due diligence on whether the property had ever been used as a space to grow or manufacture drugs. In this case, proceed with caution.



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OLD FASHIONED SPACE WITH LOTS OF MINIATURE ROOMS


Many older properties feature a bevy of tiny rooms to inhabit. While one could dismiss a property with 6 rooms under 150 sqft, but there can be opportunity to be had. Many times, walls can be removed to create a large and open space. If you are looking for a property to remodel by removing walls, you may want to bring your contractor or whomever will be doing the work to verify which walls would be load bearing. Do watch out for old wiring and asbestos in these properties.



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STRUCTURAL & FOUNDATION ISSUES
 

If you drive up to a property that is leaning like the tower of Pisa, I would strongly consider you keep driving. Unless you are a developer planning on tearing it down and rebuilding, this is not a property that will be likely to bring you a profit. Problems within in foundation and 'bones' of the house are redflags that should not be ignored. On all properties that you're considering buying for fixing up, a thorough property inspection is paramount. Be sure to assess whether this property is priced beyond just land value. 

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So you've moved into your new place and are just settling into your new space.  Here's a list of 10 ways to bring good vibes into your new place and make it feel like home:


1. ORGANIZE

When you know where everything is, you eliminate the frustration of feeling discombobulated with your own belongings.


2. SET UP YOUR KITCHEN AND BATHROOM

Immediately put up your shower curtain, put away your towels, set up your coffee machine and the rest of the essentials. If you do this as soon as you move in, you will be set up to continue your daily routine in your new home.


3. PUMP THE TUNES

Put on your favourite artists and just enjoy your space. There's no better way to get the good vibes going than to chill with your favourite tunes in your new home.


4. LIGHT CANDLES

In Swedish culture, there is a word called 'Hygge' which is essentially the Danish obsession with getting cozy.  Think woolly socks, curled up with a good book by the fire with a hot chocolate in hand kind of cozy. Having candles light around your space brings a similar type of warmth to a space akin to a fireplace.


5. GO TO A LOCAL EATERY

Walk your neighbourhood, get to know your street and local spots to grab coffee and food.  Find your new go to spots and get to know your favourites on their menus. This will be handy when you invite friends over to your new neck of the woods.


6. PUT UP YOUR CURTAINS

Nothing says "I just moved in" like bare windows. Do yourself favour and get those curtains up. It looks nice and it saves you from doing the naked dash after getting out of the shower. 


7. HANG THOSE PHOTOS & ART

When people purchase art, it is usually based on an emotional connection to the imagery. People buy what speaks to them and makes them happy. Nothing warms up the walls of an unfamiliar place like your handpicked art work and photos of good times and loved ones.


8. SPRINKLE SOME PLANTS AROUND

Having fresh greenery around is the perfect antidote to a drab new place full of boxes. Line your window sills with your favourite types of plants to brighten the space. Get bonus points if you pick plants that have air purifying qualities.


9. MAKE PLANS TO HAVE FRIENDS OVER

Setting a date to show off your new digs is a great way to give yourself a subtle deadline to have your stuff straightened out. You'll find there's a fire under your feet the second that you set a date.


10. PAINT THE WALLS

Still living in the mind space of the previous owners? Freshen up the space with your own hues. Nobody can relax in a lime green room or enjoy dark brown walls when they are a fresh white type of person. Find a shade that fits your needs and go for it. 

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When shopping for their new house, buyers in the Greater Victoria area are typically sold on two things: the kitchen and the bathroom(s).  Whether you own a small bungalow in Fernwood or a mansion along Dallas road, the presence of an inviting bathroom is critical. 


If you are thinking of selling your home, it is worth taking a look at whether a bathroom reno would invite a more qualified buyers and sellers. Typically a standard bathroom remodel from the studs will run you between $14,000-$20,000. 


So where should you focus your funds and efforts to maximize your remodel?


KEEP IT NEUTRAL

It may be tempting to customize the bathroom with colourful paint and patterned tile to match. Unless you are remodelling for the longterm where you do not plan on selling for a number of years, it is best to stick to a neutral design.  Keep the colours a to a friendly and widely likeable palette. Avoid bright patterns or colours on the floors as well. Instead add personal accents by installing a shower curtain, artwork, towels and accents that reflect your style.


STORAGE AND SPACE

Although there are some styles in magazines these days that show sleek and minimal countertops, you are best to err on the side of traditionalism.  Opt for a clean and spacious look with ample counter space and cabinet space below. A double sink is especially enticing to buyers should the space and budget allow it.


LUXURIOUS TOUCHES

There are some ways you can cut costs, but the one spot to avoid cheaping out on is the hardware. The feeling of rickety and cheap fixtures (think wobbly faucet handles) immediately sets buyer's minds into a tizzy. It makes them wonder what other corners have been cut. Everyone knows the difference between the feeling of sturdy and well built fixtures. Spend a little extra and reap the extra perceived value from buyers.


HIRE PROFESSIONALS

Nothing is as much of a turn off to prospective buyers than the look of a cabinet that has been cut to the wrong size or poorly installed. When it comes to plumbing and electrical, always seek the advice and service of a professional.  When dealing with water, it is best to avoid suffering the consequences of faulty installation. There are so many fantastic service providers in Victoria, BC, that there really is no excuse.


REMODEL TO THE ERA OF THE HOUSE

Always make sure that the design and look of the bathroom is consistent with the design of the rest of the house. For instance, a ultra modern and sleek bathroom likely won't jive with a character home that features hardwood flooring and classic design. Likewise, it would be bizarre to place a vintage style clawfoot tub into a modern build that holds no heritage features.


KNOW YOUR DEMOGRAPHIC

If you live in a youthful neighbourhood and building, then perhaps you could get away with a bathroom that looks like it could be from a New York loft. If you live in an area with a middle aged population, you are likely going to want to install a conservative and sensible bathroom with solid and classic finishings. On the other hand, if you live in an area where more seniors reside, you will find that installing items that are easy to use and keep clean are of a higher value than something that requires high maintenance levels and is not comfortable. Function over fashion.  It is important to know your demographic of who lives in your neighbourhood. Victoria, BC has many different neighbourhoods where the age ranges of buyers and residents wild vary.

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Getting married is one of the most exciting times in one's life. Typically once newlyweds have arrived back home from their honeymoon, the next question is "should we buy a house?".


In most cases, purchasing a home and getting out of the cycle of renting is so amazing for helping young people build wealth.  That being said, most newly married couples are still fairly young and should consider/discuss a few things before beginning their house hunt.

Question #1

HOW SOON DO WE INTEND ON HAVING CHILDREN?

It can be a difficult question to tackle if both parties aren't 100% ready to broach the subject, but it is essential. With the market in Victoria, BC being as hot as it is, many newlyweds are finding that their money will only buy them a condo.  In this case, it is important to discuss whether or not you intend on having children within the next 4-5 years. If you want to start your family a couple years down the road, you will want to purchase something with the space to accommodate a nursery and play space. Purchasing a property only to have to sell it 2 years down the road will likely lose you money on realtor fees and property transfer tax. When buying, always try to plan on staying in one spot for 5-10 years to maximize your return.

QUESTION #2

CAN WE AFFORD THIS PROPERTY IF ONE OF US LOSES OUR JOB?

This question is important because it ties into question #1.  In the event of a maternity leave or extended injury, are you going to be able to make the monthly payments? The point is not to limit yourself to buying something that one income can support. What you need to look at is how much give is there in your budget. If you buy something at the top of your range when you are both well and working, it will be disastrous when one of those income temporarily disappears. You want to try to keep your housing costs (including hydro, water, mortgage, strata, property taxes) under 40% of your income. The lower the number the better. When you start going higher than this, you should be looking to reduce this.

QUESTION #3

HOW MUCH DO WE HAVE SAVED FOR A DOWNPAYMENT? DO WE HAVE GOOD CREDIT?

It goes without saying that by the time you walk down the aisle, you should have had a talk about what personal debt/finance history is being married as well. Once you are married, you are bound together financially whether you like it or not. Have you both been well behaved financially? Obtaining a mortgage requires good credit. Do you both know where your credit scores stand? (there are online services/apps that can provide this). How much debt do you have VS savings? On a purchase of $300,000 for example, you need to have a minimum of 5% down.  That is $15,000. On anything above $500,000 you need 10% cash down. This does not include closing costs such as legal fees, property transfer taxes, etc... 

Sit down and have an honest conversation about where you stand financially. If you think you have enough saved up, speak with a mortgage broker. They can tell you what you are approved for and at what rate. This is an essential step before you even begin to look on realtor.ca.

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As we all start begrudgingly digging out our fall coats and closed toe shoes, it's time to admit that summer is over. With the impending cold season afoot, don't resign yourself to cold and bland days.


Breathe life into your winter months by introducing a little hygge into your life. What is hygge you might ask? An expression used by the Danes, Hygge (pronounced 'hooga')  roughly translated means the "art of intimacy (or coziness)".


Living with hygge means to enjoy the good life with wonderful food and friends.  

Here's a quick list to get you started on your pursuit of coziness:



SPEND MORE TIME WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Conjure up memories of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Sitting around the fire with good company and a mug of mulled cider warming your hands. Who says you can't make occasion to pass time with your loved ones a la Christmas on a regular basis?

KEEP THINGS SIMPLE

No matter the time of year we all have to work a regular schedule. Simplify your life. When cooking, favor one-pot meals or roast a chicken in the oven with seasonal vegetables. Warming, savory food with one pan to clean is the ideal.

CANDLES, CANDLES AND MORE CANDLES

Sitting by a window streaked with raindrops? Surround yourself with the warm and soft glow of candlelight. Illuminate while you are reading a book or even while sitting under a blanket watching TV.  Bonus points for candles scented with warming natural scents such as vanilla, cinnamon, cranberry & cedar.

NATURAL TEXTURES

Wood features and simple greenery brings a relaxing and spa-like feel to your home. During Christmas season, there is nothing like walking in the door to the smell of a natural Fir tree wafting through your hallways.  Inspire every day with sprigs of fresh cut greenery from your surroundings. Decorate with natural local wood pieces such as side tables or lamp bases.

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In your day to day living, you create an abundance of humidity within your home. Moisture can be introduced into your home through cooking, washing, bathing, exercising and more. From your dog's bowl of water to dampness from the soil under your crawl space can introduce moisture into your home.


When a home has too much moisture, it becomes inviting for mold and bugs.  Additionally, moisture in a home can be the leading cause of electronic failure due to corrosion caused by excess humidity.

HERE ARE SOME SIGNS THAT YOUR HOME SUFFERS FROM A HIGH LEVEL OF HUMIDITY:

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CONDENSATION ON THE INSIDE OF YOUR WINDOWS

If your window gets coated in fog and water droplets when it gets cold out, you are dealing with a humidity issue. This is not relegated to old single pane windows as it can happen in brand new builds that have been built to be too 'air tight'.


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MOLD WHETHER VERY MILD OR SEVERE

One of the easiest moisture symptoms to spot. The most common spot you will see little black mold spots form is on your bathroom ceiling.


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MUSTY ODOURS

A mildewy or dank lingering smell is a typical sign of an area that has a lack of good ventilation. Basements are common areas that suffer from this issue.


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YOUR ALLERGIES ARE ACTING UP 

Whether you have prexisting allergies or new ones are popping up, this is a common symptom of living in a moist environment that has mold spores in the air.


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WATER STAINS AND WOOD ROT

These are easy to spot and important to treat and cure the cause of the moisture before the condition escalates and causes more serious damage.



IF YOU OBSERVE ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS IN YOUR HOME, HERE ARE A FEW WAYS TO REDUCE MOISTURE IN YOUR HOME

First a foremost, you want to ensure that you are diligent about turning on ventilation fans when you are cooking in the kitchen an more importantly when you are showering in the bathroom. Many modern fans have a self timing option which allows for a regular schedule of ventilation which will keep you on a healthy cycle even if you forget to turn it on when you are in a steamy shower.  In the rare instance that your home does not have a ventilation fan in either of these two rooms, you will want to ensure you crack a window for a good period during and after your shower or cooking. It is highly encouraged that you install a fan in these areas for proper ventilation.


Keeping your home at a comfortable room temperature assists in keeping the moisture at bay as warm air has a higher capacity to hold moisture than cold air.  This is especially important in the winter months. Additionally, when it is in the colder season, it is good to ensure that closets that do not have good ventilation or heat sources are not packed too densely. When items are pressed against a particularly cold wall, you may find mold growth when you move these items. Good air flow is always your friend.


If you find yourself in a particularly moist season or region, you may find it helpful to regularly run your air conditioning. The majority of modern air conditioners have a built in dehumidifier that will aid in removing excess moisture from the air. The only draw back to this is that it can be costly to operate during heavy usage.

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During the past three years, we have seen one of the most heated and fast paced markets in the past two and a half decades. It seems that no matter where you are, whether in your car listening to the radio or sipping a latte in Starbucks…Everyone is talking about real estate. Will it go up? Will it go down? Is it a bubble? Is it not a bubble?


The most common thread that I am finding is that there is come dissonance between what people are reading in newspapers and how they actually feel about the market.  Many times consumers are leary of articles written about real estate as they are commonly written by realtors.


Having always been a huge fan of people doing their own research, I just thought I would put together a few suggestions as to the ways consumers can stay in touch with the local market.  A lot of what you read or what people say is opinion.  I feel it is important to look to a diverse array of sources when gathering info and forming an opinion.

I prefer not to make predictions about the market.


I don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future. While I don’t offer ‘predictions’, I will say that I believe real estate is cyclical. Once you learn about the cycles of real estate and what causes them, it will be easier for you to determine the likelihood of the market going up or down.


SOURCES OF MEDIA THAT CAN HELP YOU IN STAYING IN TOUCH WITH THE VICTORIA, BC REAL ESTATE MARKET

THE LOCAL NEWSPAPERS

I know! I just said don’t trust everything that you read! That being said, it is important to read articles as they are often predictors of what regulations will be coming into play, what mortgage rates are doing, etc… Take everything with a grain of salt and remember to look to different sources and voices to either supplement or contradict these articles.


YOUTUBE

Ok, so YouTube is full of cute cat videos and old ice bucket challenge videos but it is also full of valuable contributors. I personally have 20-30 channels that I follow that pertain to real estate markets, global finance and current events.  I watch everything from what’s going on in the US, London, Australian and Canadian markets.  When you have a sense of what’s going on around outside Vancouver Island, it can give insight into the effects of regulations and rules being implemented in other markets.


BOOKS, BOOKS & MORE BOOKS

Put down the fiction once in a while and settle down with a cup of tea and a real estate book. A simple search around amazon will present you with many options that touch on topics such as real estate investing (these will talk about cycles), how to purchase real estate or books on the economy at large as this plays a huge role as well.


TALK TO A REALTOR… ER, ONE YOU TRUST

I hear ya, before I was a realtor I saw many Realtors driving around in their flashy sports cars looking like overpaid salesmen. I get it. It doesn’t exactly ignite the desire to sit down and get an honest discussion about real estate. On the otherhand, there are other realtors (myself included) that are in the business for the long run and have the desire to help people. Once you find a realtor who shoots from the hip and isn’t afraid of having honest discussions about the market…Hold onto them! Make friends with them and go for coffee periodically. Realtors love talking about real estate and many of them are social creatures as well.

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For those of you lucky enough to walk in after work to a perfectly climate controlled home, keep moving. This article is for those of you suffering from the summer heat that seems to seep into every corner of your house.

With a few simple hacks, you can enjoy a moderately cooler space from the beginning to end of your day.

IN THE MORNING

If you are a relatively early riser, start by modifying your routine. Take advantage of the cool morning temperatures by opening as many windows as possible. In extremely hot climates, you may want to amp this up by placing small fans by large windows or open sliding glass doors. The idea is to push as much cold air into your place as you can before you leave for your workday.

Before you leave for work, take a moment to go shut all windows and draw all blinds.  The goal is to lock in the cold air and block out that hot sun.  This will help a great deal with keeping the offending heat out as much as possible.

WHEN YOU GET HOME

Once your back for the evening, turn on your ceiling fans and pour yourself a cool drink. The best way to beat the heat without the pleasure of air conditioning is to control your temperature internally. Eat cooling foods and beverages such as salads and icy cold drinks.

Take the time to inspect your ceiling fan. Most fans have settings to operate the fan counter clock-wise. Not many people do this but it will assist in drawing the hot air up and out of your space.

WHEN YOU COOK DINNER

Make sure you turn all your kitchen fans on high and also if your space is a condo or smaller in size, turn on your bathroom fans. You want to do everything to draw the heat out of your home.

Take to the grill! Instead of bringing more heat into your house with the stove or oven, crank up the barbeque and cook al fresco.

BEFORE BED

As you get ready to sleep take a moment to open all the windows in your house strategically to create a breezeway. Most houses (not so many condos) will have windows on the hot and cool side of the house. If you have these windows running parallel in the direction you can open the front and back to create a current that pulls the hot air out and the cold air in.

It will also be advantageous to look at what type of bedding you are using. Ditch anything heavy such as flannel or satin. If you gravitate towards a cool cotton or linen, you will find that you will sleep cooler throughout the night. Additionally, a buckwheat pillow is amazing at keeping the heat away as well.

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