How to Increase Your Home’s Value with these 9 Tips

Selling your Port Alberni House

If you plan on moving, it’s always a terrific idea to increase your home’s value and get a little bit more to stick back in the bank. Some ideas might be better than others when it comes to improving your home in a way that adds substance and value, so with that here are 9 tips on how to increase your home’s value.

1. Get Creative with Additions

One of the most simple and obvious ways to increase your home’s value has to be an addition. Anything that translates into additional square footage for your property is added value, and buyers will think so as well. Of course “easier said than done” is a phrase that might apply strongly here, but if you think outside of the box a bit that might not be the case. Building a deck or similar add-on would be an easier idea for an addition.

2. Don’t Neglect Curb Appeal 

Nothing will turn more buyers away than having a home that looks tattered and ugly just from the street. Some ideas for improving curb appeal might include cleaning with a pressure washer to updating outdoor staples such as the mailbox.

For your landscape, low-maintenance plants will provide a great opportunity to beautify your yard without costing you a lot of time and money. Better yet, buyers tend to like gardens and landscapes that don’t entail massive responsibilities too.

3. Keep it Clean 

It’s easier for buyers to envision themselves in a home that’s clean and free of personal items. Cleaning is a major step that should be taken before a home goes up for sale. As someone who might not be ready or thinking about selling yet, you can plan ahead by keeping your home in a relatively tidy state that will make this step easier once it does become time to sell.

4. Get an Inspection 

A house inspector can find problems that might be lurking behind the scenes without you even knowing it. It’s a good idea to discover areas in need of repair before they get worse or your house is about to go up for sale. Additionally, recent repairs tend to give buyers some piece of mind knowing there’s less chance of needing an emergency repair as soon as they buy the home.

5. Get Rid of Ceiling Popcorn 

Popcorn Ceilings are a major turn-off to any home buyer in the market right now. They more than anything can contribute to a home feeling old and dated, but removing them isn’t always a straight forward affair. If you’re lucky, you can remove them on your own with tools easily found at a local home improvement store, but first you should have the ceilings checked for harmful substances by a professional. Popcorn ceilings sometimes contain asbestos, and if yours does it should be removed professionally.

6. Old Carpets are Bad Carpets 

Old carpets can be a lot of trouble for selling a home. Stains, smells and other forms of wear will dissuade buyers. In addition, carpets tend to be a high-maintenance home furnishing. If possible, replacing your carpets with hardwood will make the floors last longer, and will give your home charm too.

7. Repaint your Walls 

Repainting your walls is a common tip, but it’s impact on home buyers should not be underestimated. In addition to removing old smells potentially trapped in the paint, repainting the home in neutral colors is appealing to buyers who may see it as a canvas they could later personalize themselves.

8. Energy Efficiency Appeals to Everyone 

Energy efficient appliances can add a ton to the value of your home, besides saving you money on your bills. This is particularly true in areas prone to extreme temperatures, where buyers will take note of the potential to save on harsh heating or cooling bills.

9. Give the Entrance some Love 

The front door of your home is one of the most important areas for impressing home buyers. It makes up a major factor of your curb appeal alone, and is sure to be an area that gets extra attention as potential buyers enter the home while it’s being unlocked. 

Thankfully improving the entrance is not a major undertaking to get it in top notch shape. New and energy efficient doors are cheap and easy to buy and install on your own. Sometimes you can make do just by repainting your old door in a buyer friendly colour like beige. Symmetrical potted plants are another decoration that’s known to make the entrance area seem more warm and appealing. 

Do you think you Should Invest in a Condo

Kelowna condo investment

Condos are a pretty sound investment, and that’s more true now than ever before. For someone who’s new to condos and renting, there still might be a lot of questions to ask. One thing you might want to understand, are the benefits of investing in a condo. Do you think you should invest in a Condo? If you do, I’ll lay out some of the benefits about why you should, and how they’ll help your investment portfolio. 

Why A Condo?

In general, rental property is almost always a good idea as an investment. However there are major differences in the kinds of properties you can invest in, and among all of the different types, condos provide a good number of unique and attractive elements as an investment. There aren’t a lot of condos in Port Ablerni, so one place I recommend buying an investment condo in is Kelowna. Investing off the island can help balance your portfolio if the market turns down. 

1. Cash Flow

Cash Flow is one of the biggest incentives for investing into a condo. Cash Flow represents the money you have after all of your expenses are paid from the money that you earn. Condos are a great source of positive Cash Flow, which is quite similar to passive income. As the housing market greatly favors renters right now, it’s fair to say that investing in a condo could be a smart way to generate more cash flow.

2. Passive Income and Retirement

Depending upon how you invest and set up your rental property, condos can be a pretty smart way to earn passive income and supplement your retirement, even after you’ve retired. The real cost of retirement is quite a lot higher than most folks would expect. The last thing you should want to do is feel penalized for living longer by going broke sooner, which is why investments into forms of passive income are a smart thing. Investing in a condo and having your property managed by a third-party property manager can provide you with income at no added effort or labor. This can yield you money for reinvesting, or just living off of if you’re ready to quit work.

3. Paying Off Your Loan

Sometimes referred to as Loan Amortization. This booking technique is a way of lowering the cost for things like loans and mortgages. By renting out a condo, you can pay off your original mortgage and have money to spare. Simply rent the property and pay for your mortgage through the money you get from your tenant’s rent.

4. No Hassling with Maintenance

For many rental properties, it’s the responsibility of the landlord to see to it that proper maintenance and repairs are conducted on the property. However, with a condo this certainly not the case, and very little maintenance is required on the part of the property owner. Busy work chores like mowing the lawn, shoveling snow or even fixing the roof are duties you’d normally deal with that aren’t your responsibility with a condo, which keeps you free of added work. It’s highly beneficial if you like to keep your life free and open to things like travel, or have physical issues that would make doing these things yourself more difficult.

5. It’s Cheap and Beginner Friendly

Another benefit to condos as an investment is that they can cost a lot less than other property types, which can be especially beneficial for people looking to get into renting property. Certain apartments and single-family homes can cost more and require more in maintenance, while condos are typically cheaper and smaller. The arrangements they provide are usually better for those with less time or who are new to property investment.

6. Better Appreciation 

Nothing points to a smart investment better than appreciation, yet if you’ve followed information about condos for a while, you’d know that they’ve not always been the best for appreciating. This has changed in the past decade, and now condos appreciate at a faster rate than single-family homes according real estate experts. As an investment, this can be a huge factor to consider in the long term. 

 

If this makes sense for your portfolio feel free to reach out to me personally for a referral or you can chat with a long time contact of mine, Mark Walker of Kelownacondos.ca. Mark has been selling condos for years and will take good care of you.  

How to Design the Backyard of your Dreams

Great Backyard

It doesn’t matter if you just bought your house or if you’ve been living in it for a decade, you probably wish for the backyard you always dreamed about. Everyone does, no matter what demographic you’re in, everybody has their own dream backyard that they just haven’t gotten. In this article, let’s take a look at how to design the backyard of your dreams.

Where do you get started?

The first thing you should do is write down the main features you have to have. By “have to have”, that means things that you want above anything else in the project. Next, write down the things that you think would be nice to have. These aren’t essential to realizing your dream, but are still things you want considered. It’s essential that you do this because the next two steps might end up with some items on your list getting strikes through them.

Do you have enough room

Your next step is to evaluate the size of your yard. This will shape the scope of your project because you will only have so much physical space. Likewise, certain geographical limitations such as hills, gullies, drainage ditches, and other things might pose problems for your dream yard. If a large, family pool is a part of your dream, you may have to be willing to make some concessions if your yard is very rocky or uneven. Likewise, you may just want more than your yard can realistically fit. It can help to actually go out to your yard with a tape measure and visualize where everything will go.

How much money are you going to spend?

After you deal with the realities of your back yard’s size and geography, you should also consider what sort of budget you have to work with. Granted, the budget is easier to work around than any physical limitations. Still, you have to consider it before you jump head first into a large scale project. Start by estimating how much your “have to have” things will cost. Then estimate everything else. You can do things in piece meal as part of a monthly budget so that you can achieve your dream over time. You can also just cut out anything you really can live without if you decide that you just don’t have the money for it.

How handy are you?

The next step coincides with budgeting. Figure out what you can do on your own. DIY projects can save you a great deal of money by eliminating the cost of a contractor, designer, or landscaper. If you just want an deck with an above ground pool and a place to grill some food, you can easily build that on your own. However, you may have to hire somebody if you desire to completely transform your yard by removing a hill, or need to cut down a large swath of trees.

Think about the future as well

While this is the backyard of your dreams, you should put some thought into resale values when planning the design, especially if you plan on moving at some point. Certain fixtures like patios can vary wildly in the cost you’ll recoup. For example, you’ll spend less and get about 75% of the cost back on a wooden patio versus 55% of the cost and twice the price for a mid-range patio. Keep in mind that the more luxurious and high end something is, the less you get back from it. That’s because most buyers won’t have your taste, and may not want a stone patio. Whereas a cheaper wood patio does the job and is easier for a buyer to demolish if they want something else.

One more thing

The last thing you need to consider is the practicality and utility of your dream design. Are there good pathways to focal points in the yard and house? Will you be able to view the sunset or sunrise? Is the design safe for any children you might have (or may have visit in the case of family members)? Is this in line with any local government codes? You may have to re-work the layout multiple times as you take in the practical needs of people using the back yard, as well as if it can really function in the way you want.

These tips should help you get the back yard of your dreams while still staying realistic and on budget. Always remember that less is more sometimes, but make it a yard that you can call your own.

How to Sell your Townhouse Fast

Townhouse for Sale

When selling a townhouse, making an excellent first impression is important for in fact making a sale. Prospective purchasers who are buying their brand-new house can be quickly turned away by things that may appear superficial to you. If you don’t really impress them on their first watching, or perhaps when they first lay eyes on your townhome, this can affect the negotiation process (if you can even get that far). Let’s take a look at some good tips on how to make a good impression when selling your property.

Suggestion # 1: Move on from the townhouse.

Get some range from the home if requirement be, however, make sure that you get out of the mindset that the house is your home. It will not be your home for much longer, however more significantly, there isn’t a purchaser in the entire world that desires to purchase “your” home.

To offer an analogy, think of a used vehicle lot. You wouldn’t bother with a car that has a dashboard littered with bobble-heads and decal all over the rear end. Rather you would want to buy cars that look “new”.

The main way to depersonalize is to get rid of any family photos that are on the walls or shown on a table, put away any sort of personal keepsakes like mementos, and paint over or cover things like height markings, kids wall drawings, or anything else emotional.

Consider hiring a professional to redecorate or redesign the house for you if you can’t tear yourself away from the townhouse’s character. That way you can focus on the other duties you have while a neutral third party gets the house depersonalized.

Pointer # 2: Curb appeal ought to be the primary focus.

Curb appeal refers to look and impression that the external locations of the residential or commercial property offer to a buyer the first time they experience your home. All of these facets can positively or negatively affect a potential buyer when they come to see the home.

Approved, this should be carried out in moderation, and likewise you should respect the above pointer when getting the lawn in order. If you need to do any heavy quantity of landscaping, it might be recommended that you hire a landscaper to avoid the yard from ending up being too purchaser hostile. When it comes to suppress appeal, always keep in mind that less is more.

Tip # 3: Clear out the mess.

Beyond individual mementos and other artifacts that make the home yours rather of theirs, mess and junk will entirely shut off a purchaser. This is partly even if it provides the home a messy and uninviting look, but also due to the fact that it makes the rooms look smaller sized when they are filled with scrap and other odds and ends.

If you have not moved into a new house yet, attempt leasing a storage system or container to store anything you can’t bring yourself to part with. You should likewise utilize a clutter purge as a great event to also do a deep cleaning of the home after whatever has actually been cleared out.

Suggestion # 4: Do not be ugly.

It does not matter if the walls are painted in neon fuchsia or if you had intended on painting the kitchen aquamarine. Never ever show your townhouse off to buyers if it hasn’t been repainted with soft neutral colors. White, cream, beige, and other neutral colors help to focus the buyer on what your home needs to offer rather than sidetrack them.

The lawn and all decoration need to also follow this mantra. Going back to tip # 3, there shouldn’t be anything ugly out in the yard when a buyer comes over to see the home.

Pointer # 5: Fix and find anything that’s broken.

Purchasers are going to be going through your townhouse, and they will observe when things aren’t right. As the person living in the house, it’s simple to forget about repair work that were never done or Do It Yourself projects that were put off indefinitely. With that in mind, go through your house and check for these small scale repair work that require to be done. Light switches that do not work, broken window panes, inoperable ceiling fans, stressed out light bulbs, or any other defect you can discover.

Prospective buyers who are shopping for their new home can be easily turned away by things that may seem superficial to you. The first significant tip for someone selling their home is to stop thinking of it as “your” house. Get some distance from the house if need be, however make sure that you get out of the state of mind that the house is your house. It will not be your house for much longer, however more notably, there isn’t a buyer in the entire world that wants to buy “your” house. All of these facets can positively or negatively influence a prospective purchaser when they come to see the house.

7 Signs You Might Need A New Roof

Do you need a new roof

Anyone who owns an old home should be aware of the signs of roof damage. Sometimes regular inspections and repairs can save a roof and delay replacements for years. Other signs can be indicative of more serious issues that require your roof to be fully replaced. Here’s 7 signs your roof might need replacing:

1. Check for Missing Granules


Missing granules is one of the first signs that your roof is nearing the end of it’s lifespan. Inconsistent color or bald spots on the tiles is a sign they’ve worn away. As well, check the gutters and drain spouts, as granules will collect here as they wear off the shingles. If you see a large amount of granules in your drains, it might be time for a new roof.

2. Check the Flashing



The seals around your chimney, vents or skylights might become compromised, especially if they are old and made of cement or tar. This can cause water leaks to the rest of the roof, although sometimes you can get by simply by replacing the flashing with a modern metal system.

3. Worn Shingles



Like with item #1, missing granules is a sign your shingles are old and need to be replaced, but there’s more to look out for. If your shingles are buckling, cracked or missing this might be a sign that repairs are in order. In general the shingles should always lie flat against the roof. Discoloration is also a bad sign. If you are aware of animals having been on your roof, you should check to make sure they haven’t lifted or damaged the shingles in some way.

4. Sagging



If there’s droop or sagging apparent on your roof, then you need a roof replacement pronto. Once the boards are rotten enough to sag, damage can quickly spread to the rest of your home; so on this one there’s not much need to wait around and think about it. If you do, the next snowstorm might be your roofs last.

5. Daylight coming through the Attic



If the boards in your roof are letting sunlight into the attic, this is a sign you need to replace the roof. From inside the attic, if you see stains this could be a sign of leakage, so check for that. As well, check your insulation; if there’s moisture in it, your roof might be compromised. As a general rule of thumb, there shouldn’t be any latent moisture or light leakage in the attic.

6. Check your Records



A simple thing to look at might just be a record of your house repairs. Roofs typically last around 20 years give or take a few. So if your roof is that old and hasn’t been replaced, it might be fair to assume it’s nearing the end of it’s lifespan and should be replaced. If you’re on a budget, you might be tempted to try and make it last years after it’s lifespan has expired. However, past 20 years you’re playing with fire (or in this case, rain and snow).

7. Moss

While this one is more common to homes in humid areas, it’s worth knowing that moss can be a sign of underlying problems with your roof. While the moss itself can be easily scrubbed away, it can often times grow from moisture trapped inside your roof. This can be a indicator of leakage problems. If you have moss or algae growing on your roof, you should inspect it thoroughly to see if the problem can be solved with a simple repair or not.

All 7 items mentioned are good indicators that your home is in need of a new roof. If you plan on selling your home in the near future, you would be well advised to speak with a roofer if you notice any of the problems listed above. Even if you have no plans to move, the roof of your home is a important asset that can become dangerous when compromised. Regularly check your roof for signs of leakage or other issues.

Finding a Family Home in Port Alberni

Finding a Family Home in Port Alberni

The time has come for you and your family to get digs you can call your own.  Having kids makes house hunting a bit more complicated not only do you need a place that is big enough but you need the right amenities nearby.  Here are some tips for finding a family home in Port Alberni.

Number and Layout of Bedrooms

Not only do you need the right number of bedrooms but layout is important too.  If you have small children or infants then you need the kids’ bedrooms to be near the master bedroom.  Teenage kids want their privacy and may prefer rooms in the basement rather than next to yours.

The Number of Bathrooms

This is a bigger deal than you think, wait until you have two teenage kids and yourself all trying to get in the bathroom on a Monday morning.  Having a master bath can help or even having two sinks with a large vanity in the main bathroom can help a great deal.

Backyard

Having a backyard ideal especially if you have small children, having it be accessible from the kitchen is even better.  You can still keep an eye on the littles even when they are playing outside.  The size of the yard you can expect will depend on the area of town that you end up in.  The further out into the suburbs you are willing to go the better the chance of getting a larger yard.

Nearby Schools and Shopping

Port Alberni has some great schools but home buyers are still looking to be in the right catchment area.  You also want to be near other recreational facilities like pools, libraries and rec centers.  If you have small kids who play hockey or soccer you don’t want to spend half your life driving around to games. Having a grocery store at the very least is something you want to look for.  Grabbing milk on the way home from work should be as easy as possible.

Quality of the Neighborhood

Port Alberni is a relatively small town and for the most part you are perfectly safe anywhere you choose to live.  That being said there are neighborhoods that better for families than others.  Some neighborhoods are on the decline while others were developed with families in mind, having all the amenities close by.  Speaking or working with a local realtor can help you find a neighborhood that works for you and your family.

New Construction or Pre-Existing Home

New Construction or Pre-Existing Home

When you have decided that you want a home of your own for you and your family, your next decision is whether you want new construction or buy a pre-existing home.  There are big differences between the two and you need to weigh your decision carefully.  Here are some of the pros and cons of new construction or buying an existing home.

The Price

The biggest difference between building and buying is going to be the price.  In many cases you can get a pre-existing house cheaper than you can build.  But if you are looking at moving into a new subdivision then brand new houses can cost more than similar houses just a half a block away.  If you are looking to build on a lot that you own and you have connections in the construction industry or work in it yourself then building can definitely be the cheaper option.

New houses have the advantage of being ready for you to move in and you will also have a new home warranty in case there were any issues during the construction phase.  You can have your choice of fixtures and fittings and you can add upgrades as you build.  Whereas with a pre-existing home you may have to renovate to get exactly what you want.  One of the disadvantages of new homes is the landscaping may not be finished and you can’t enjoy your yard until next summer when the lot settles and grass starts to grow in.

Where You Live

In real estate everything comes down to location  and when it comes to buy or build, buying gives you far more options.  Finding a vacant lot within the city limits where you can build a residential home is nearly impossible.  Urban areas grow outwards from the downtown core so if you have your heart set on building then it will be far away from the city center.  Bear in mind things like commuting back and forth every day and the headache of dealing with traffic.

There are advantages to building your own home, you can build it with any layout that you like and install all of the add-ons that your budget allows, there is also a wait time until your home is constructed.  Buying also has its perks it can be more affordable and you have a bigger choice in location.  Not to mention you can take possession of a pre-built house right away.  You have to decide which of these factors are more important to you.

Is it Already Too Late to Sell

Is it Already Too Late to Sell

Believe it or not fall is just around the corner, Canadian summers are far too short.  While you’re trying to get in as much cottage time as you can you may also be wondering “is it already too late to sell my house.”  You still have a couple of months before the snow starts falling and Christmas decorations start showing up in the stores.  Fortunately Port Alberni has fairly mild winters and the fall is still a good time to list your house.  If you are ready to sell then here are some tips to get you started.

Get a Realtor

First things first, you are going to want to get a local realtor who can help you sell this home quickly.  A realtor will help you get listed quickly and get it on the market as soon as you can.  You will need to put together a marketing and pricing strategy based on the current market conditions.  You will need an aggressive marketing strategy with fewer buyers looking at houses.  The good news is that the buyers who are looking are serious about finding a home.

Boost Your Curb Appeal

Late summer and early fall is still early enough in the year to have flowers blooming and green grass in the yard.  Even with the end of summer only six weeks off you still have plenty of time to boost your curb appeal.  It is warm enough to get the gutters cleaned, weed the flower beds and trim any hedges that you have.  Does the house need a fresh coat of paint or the deck need re-staining.  This is the perfect time of year to get all of that done.

The days are going to start getting shorter soon so you might also want to look into some exterior lighting.  You may end up showing your house in the evening so having a well light front area and walkway will help a great deal.

Getting the Inside Ready

You can hire a landscape company to deal with the curb appeal issue but getting the inside ready for sale will rest on your shoulders.  You will need to start packing and getting your home staged to sell.  Staged homes sell faster and for more money so this is an important step in the process you can’t afford to overlook.  Start by de-cluttering and getting rid of all the personal knick-knacks and pictures.  You want to present your home in the best light possible and make buyers feel like this could be their home.

Don’t worry it is not too late in the year to sell your house, work with your realtor and you could have your Port Alberni home sold in no time.

The Real Estate Market in Port Alberni

The Real Estate Market in Port Alberni

Home sale prices hit an all-time high back in 2017 with median prices leveling off in 2018 and the prices have been on the decline thus far in 2019.  This is great news if you are a buyer, not such great news if you are a seller.  This time of year is usually among the busiest but June sales were down over last year by almost 7%, still that is better than sales for May.    Condo and townhome sales had a much bigger decline coming in at an average of 30% fewer sales than last year.

The Local Economy

The province overall still has a healthy housing economy but affordability continues to be an issue.  Purchasing power is lower and it is still hard for the average person to get into the property market.  Millennials in particular are buying fewer houses than previous generations.  Changes to Guideline B-20 have impacted those who can qualify for a mortgage.  Even those that can afford the monthly payments still don’t qualify.

Local Listings

If you are a buyer and you qualify for financing then you’re in luck it really is a buyer’s market here.  The inventory of single family homes is 20% higher than the previous year, giving you plenty of homes to choose from.  Condo listings were also on the rise while the number of townhomes has declined slightly.  Despite all of that selling prices are still up over previous years the median price of a single family home coming in at around $514, 000.  Condos are significantly cheaper if you are looking for an entry into the property market, the median price of a condo is just over $300,000.

For years the market in BC favored the seller, with housing prices shooting through the roof.  Greater Vancouver being the most aggressive market in the province eventually spilling over into the surrounding municipalities and that drove up housing prices.  Now the market has corrected itself and it is a little more balanced.  Buyers are starting to shop more based on price rather than availability and sellers have to price their houses more aggressively in order to ensure a quick sale.  For those entering the property market it is just a bit easier.

If you are looking to buy or sell your home then your best bet is to work with a realtor who understands the local market.  They can help you look for the right house at a price that you can afford.