A Helpful Guide on Selling Your Home with Ease this Spring

As soon as spring rolls around, the “Home for Sale” signs start popping up all over BC like wildflowers. The Penticton real estate market is no different, and with the recent upswing in activity here, I’m frequently asked “What can I do to get my home ready to sell?” Here are a few tips to ensure your home sells fast and gets top dollar.

  1. Quit Calling It “Your” Home

If you’ve been in your home for a long time, selling can be an emotional rollercoaster, so let’s turn to Elsa from Frozen for advice: “Just let it go.” Stop thinking about it as “your home” and let go of the sentimental attachment you have to it. I know, I know. It sounds harsh but the sooner you accept that someone else will be living there, the sooner you can move on and focus on your new home. There are a few tricks that help with this: take the time to say goodbye to every room, recall the good times you’ve had there and picture the happiness of another family doing the same, or envision yourself handing over the keys to the new owners. Trust me, it helps.

  1. Pack Away Your Personal Stuff

What I said above about having an attachment to something? It affects potential buyers too. They have a hard time seeing past personal artifacts like family pictures and heirlooms because it causes them to think “I wonder who lives here?” instead of “I could see myself living here!” By taking down your stuff, potential buyers get a blank slate to envision their own pictures on the wall, free of any bias or distraction. Plus, you get a head start on packing.

 

 

  1. Organize

People love to snoop. It’s human nature. Buyers will go through everything, so take a bit of time to organize the little things in your home. Simple stuff like having neatly stacked dishes, turning coffee cups so the handles face the same way, or lining up miscellaneous items (shoes, spices, books, etc.) sends a message to anyone viewing your home that if you’re willing to organize the little things, you’ve probably taken care of the big things too.

  1. Clean and Repair

Ever been to a garage sale where things were worn out and dirty? Did it make you want to buy anything? If you weren’t willing to drop a toonie on something in bad condition, what do  you think the odds are someone will give you hundreds of thousands of dollars for your home if it’s filthy and falling apart? People want their new home to be move-in ready and doing a few minor repairs and making your house is spotless can add thousands to your asking price. Patch holes, fix leaky faucets, paint, replace burnt out light bulbs… it all adds up to the image of a more complete, well cared for home. This is a great checklist to help make sure your home looks its best.

There you go. This quick list should put you on the right path to selling your home. But you know what would help even more? Me! If you’re planning to put your Penticton home up for sale, get in touch. I’ll work with you to make sure we get the most value possible out of your current house and find you the ideal south Okanagan property to start making new memories in.

What is Novel Coronavirus? How can you be safe?

What is Coronavirus? What are the symptoms and how can you be safe?
Here’s eveyrthing you need to know about the virus.

Corona Virus

What is Coronavirus? What are the symptoms and how can you be safe?Here's eveyrthing you need to know about the virus.

Posted by Doctor ASKY on Sunday, January 26, 2020

Keeping Clients Out of Hot Water Over Groundwater Licencing

Droughts, water restrictions and wildfires have all become part of a typical BC summer, just like Okanagan cherries or a BC Day barbecue. Despite all of BC’s lakes and rivers, the truth is that water scarcity is a serious concern. That’s why the provincial government introduced the Water Sustainability Act in 2016, which requires anyone diverting and using groundwater for non-domestic purposes to apply for a groundwater license by March 1, 2022.

Groundwater licensing & REALTORS®
If you have a client who uses groundwater for non-domestic purposes but doesn’t apply for a water license by March 1, 2022, they risk losing their right to access groundwater on their property. As a REALTOR®, you can add value to your clients by making sure they understand this requirement and how to apply for their license.

How groundwater licensing works
The groundwater licensing requirement came into effect on February 29, 2016. But that doesn’t mean it only applies to anyone who began using groundwater after this date-it applies to everyone. If you were a non-domestic groundwater user on or before February 29, 2016, you will submit an existing use licence application. If you were a non-domestic groundwater user on or after March 1, 2016, you will submit a new use application.

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2022 and the government is waiving the one-time application fee to people who submit their application on or before this date.

What about domestic users?
If you use groundwater for domestic use in a private home, you do not require a licence. However, as a REALTOR®, you should encourage your clients to register their well, if they have one. By registering their well, they create a record of their water use, which helps ensure it’s considered by the decision-makers dealing with other licence applications.

How to apply for a licence
For information on how to apply or to submit an application for groundwater licensing or register a well, please visit the Province’s Secure Your Water Rights Today portal. FrontCounter BC has also recently published a useful webinar on how to submit an application for an existing use groundwater licence.

Posted by
April van Ert

Tips For Waste Reduction

What are the 5 R’s of Waste Reduction?

Zero Waste

1) Reduce 

The most important part of waste minimization. Reducing waste means not purchasing goods to begin within, limiting your consumption to mostly needs and limited wants, saying no to excess packaging, and one-time use items.

2) Reuse

Second most desirable on the waste minimization triangle. Reuse includes repairing broken items, finding new purposes for or donating old and unused items, and using things like reusable shopping bag and water bottles as alternatives to single-use items.

3) Recycle

Recycling is what you do if you CANNOT reduce or reuse an item. Recycle as much as possible to keep material out of landfills. Remember that not properly sorting recycling can do more harm than good, to learn more about how to sort your recycling by visit the Curbside Recycling or Landfill Recycling Depot pages.

4) Recover

As it applies to waste minimization, is reclaiming energy or recyclable materials from the waste stream.This is typically done by waste to energy technology.

5) Residuals

The last phase in the triangle. Residual management is the final treatment and/or disposal of a waste that cannot be used in any other way. This means disposing of it in your curbside garbage cart, or taking it to the landfill.

At Home:

1) Recycle More & Better

Most materials are in-fact recyclable. Did you know that when we don’t properly sort recycling (i.e. plastic bags in curbside recycling) it can make the whole recycle truck end up in the landfill? Learn more about recycling by visiting the Landfill Recycling Depot and Curbside Recycling pages.

2) Make Use of Leftovers

Try ‘Kitchen Sink’ recipes to reduce food waste. Use old vegetables, leftovers and products gone unused to keep edible food out of landfills. Recipes like quiche, stir-fry’s, and soup are all good examples of putting leftovers to use, not only will this reduce waste, but it saves money!

3) Avoid

Do not use single-use items in your home. Consider ceramic dishware, metal or bamboo cutlery, and glass products instead of their disposable counter-parts. Use cloths instead of paper towel. Simple switches can go a long way.

 

 

 

 

In Your Yard:

1) Consider Composting

A large portion of waste in landfills is in-fact compostable material that could have been re-purposed into good-for-your-garden compost.  Vegetable scraps, egg shell, coffee grinds, tea bags and more can all be composted.Interested in composting at home? Check out the RDOS compost bin sale by clicking here. For more information on composting at home click here.

2) Try ‘Grasscycling’

Grasscycling is the practice of leaving grass clippings on the lawn after mowing. Letting clippings decompose naturally back into grass restores Nitrogen, helps lawns retain water, and keeps lawns healthy. Grasscycling keeps lawns green,and reduces yard waste going to landfills. To learn more about natural lawn care click here.

3) USE Your Compost

Using compost not only gives plants the nutrients they need to grow strong, but helps them retain water. This reduces irrigation needs. Further, using compost limits the need for other garden products(i.e. fertilizers), keeping your lawn green and saving you money! Learn more about compost here.

 

 

 

 

Shopping:

1) Bring Your Own

Bring your own grocery bags, mesh net bags for produce, and containers for packaging goods and carrying them. Keep containers and bags in your car or purse to ensure they’re always with you and not forgotten!

2) Buy Bulk

Consider purchasing bulk goods which can be put into reusable containers, bags and your own packaging. This eliminates unnecessary waste from packaging, lets you purchase the correct amount for your needs (no excess), and re-purposes old or unused containers.

3) Know Your Needs vs.Wants

Only purchase items you know you’ll use. Distinguish needs from wants. Ask yourself: is this a one-time use item or do I already own something similar? Am I purchasing this on an impulse or have I thought about it for at least a month?

 

 

 

 

General Tips:

1) Eliminate Single Use

Bring a reusable coffee mug with you to avoid using paper coffee cups which either requires recycling (using energy and resources), or ends up in landfills. Use refillable water bottles instead of plastic ones. Many shops offer a small discount for bringing your own mug, ask at the counter.

2) Reduce Your Emissions

Summerland is a community where many people are fortunate to live close to work, grocery stores, schools etc. Where it is feasible, consider walking, carpooling, or biking to where you need to go. Reducing your carbon footprint significantly contributes to a waste reduction lifestyle.

3) Be Water Conscious

Water is a limited resource in the beautiful Okanagan Valley. Try reducing your shower time, washing only full loads of laundry, and washing in cold, instead of hot water. Water plants and compost piles with leftover “grey water” from bathing, washing dishes, etc. Be sure that water doesn’t contain any harmful soaps.

Seller Information! Thinking of Selling?

There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)

Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you’re moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you’re relocating? Are the neighbours driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.

When is the Best Time to Sell Your Home?

Everyone seems to have specific ideas on when the right time is to sell. Some base their theories on the overall economy, while others will tell you that there are key buying months that you’ll want to capitalize on.

If you’re not buying and selling strategically or for investment, the best time to sell is really when you feel your existing home will not meet your future needs. The best reason to purchase a new home is to take advantage of your family and lifestyle changes. Do you wish to be closer to a school? Are you switching jobs? Do you have an aging parent to care for?

In Canada, weather and holidays do play a factor. Almost no one goes house hunting around Christmas, and few give up their summer vacations. Of course, those with school-aged children are less likely to move during the school year and summer is an ideal time. In some areas, there is a definite “spring cycle” — perhaps it’s a bit of spring fever and a wish to break out of the bonds of winter.

Some gamblers look for winter bargains and then try to sell their homes during the spring cycle. But overall, that could be more tension and aggravation than you wish. And the monetary results may be disappointing.

Another key factor to consider is the economy. Are interest rates higher or lower in comparison to your current mortgage? If they are higher, you may want to stick with your current home, as your new mortgage payments could be uncomfortable. If rates are lower, you might be able to trade up to a more expensive home without a significant increase in your monthly mortgage obligation.

What’s more, if it’s a buyers’ market, you may be in a strong position to purchase a new home, especially if you have accumulated some equity in your current property.

Are There Costs Involved in Selling?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. Even if you think your home is perfect, you may have to do some minor repairs or upgrades to make your home more attractive to potential purchasers.

  • A professional home inspection may be a condition of the offer. If the inspection points to problems, your purchaser may ask that you make the necessary repairs or choose not to close the deal.
  • Closing costs, such as lawyers’ fees or unpaid taxes, will also have to be paid.
  • Mortgage discharge fees may be levied by your lending institution.
  • Sales commissions must be paid. They usually amount to 6% of the selling price.

Buy or sell first?

That’s tricky. After all, if you find a purchaser for your existing home, before you’ve found a new one, you may find yourself living out of a suitcase if convenient closing dates can not be negotiated. On the other hand, if you find your dream home before you’ve unloaded your old one, you may be faced with carrying two mortgages for a time.

So how do you manage? Easy. Do your homework and have a good idea about the neighbourhood and type of home you’re looking for. Do an honest evaluation of your family’s needs and budget.

Speak to your Real Estate Sales Representative and start your new home search as soon as your existing home hits the market.

If you’ve found a home, before you’ve sold your existing one, use “sale of your existing home” as a condition on your offer. If you don’t sell your house within a fixed period of time, you can choose not to go through with the offer. This, however, is a difficult condition for many vendors to agree upon and you may find that you have to forgo your price negotiating power.

Purchasing a home before you sell could be a risky strategy if you’re counting on the proceeds from the sale.

If you’ve found a purchaser before you’ve found your next home, use “purchase of a new home” as a condition when you sign back the agreement. Again, it will only be for a fixed time. Even if you have not found the ideal next house by the time the deal closes, you may still wish to proceed with the offer. As a buyer with a “sold house” you will be in a better position to negotiate price.

There are a million different reasons why people sell their homes, but every seller has one thing in common: the desire to get as much money as possible from their existing residence as quickly and as hassle-free as possible. (If your home is your principal residence, you won’t have to pay capital gains tax on any profits from the sale. If, on the other hand, it is an investment property, prepare for the tax man!)

Before you begin the selling process, really evaluate why you’re moving. Do you have too few rooms, or too many? Has your job moved to another city and you’re relocating? Are the neighbours driving you away? Or are you simply looking for a change? A complete analysis of your current position will set a good foundation for your next home hunt.

Buyer Information! Location and Affordability.

The first question you’re bound to ask is, “How much home can I afford?” That depends on a number of factors:

  • Your selected location. Are you set on a specific area? Downtown? The suburbs? A rural setting?
  • Your preferred type of home. Detached? Semi? Duplex? High-rise? Link? Townhouse? New or Resale? There are a variety of home styles you will want to explore.
  • Your income. After all, it’s not just the mortgage you have to take into account. There are property taxes, utilities, and in some cases condo or strata fees. As a general rule of thumb, your monthly home-carrying cost should not exceed 30-35% of your income.
  • Market conditions. Is it a buyer’s, sellers or balanced market?

There are also additional costs to keep in mind. It’s a good idea to work out exactly what you want and what you can afford before you begin the search. Be specific! After all, you don’t want to suddenly come to the realization that your dream house has come with a nightmare of bills and expenses. Stick to looking at houses in your price range. The more you’ve thought it out, the better your REALTOR® can meet your needs.

A part of deciding just what you can afford can be accomplished by meeting with your bank or a mortgage broker and negotiating a pre-approved mortgage. There are many types of mortgages and many different terms. Research all of your options. This ensures that there are no surprises once you’re ready to make an offer.

Once you’ve figured out your monthly expenses and what you can afford, you can start your search. It could happen that the first home you see is the one you want; or you might look at home after home with none of them catching your interest. Rest assured, the home you’re looking for is out there, and when you find it, you’re ready to make an offer. If your offer is accepted, the next steps are closing and moving into your new home.

As you can see, you will want to give some thought to how long you intend to stay in your home. It may be difficult to answer before you’ve even found your home, but if it’s your first home give some thought to the resale value when it is time to upgrade. On the other hand, if you’re planning to stay in your home for a long time, consider your future needs and purchase a home that will accommodate them.

Purchasing a home is easy once you put your plans into action. Contact us now and we’ll help you get started.

Dan’s Holiday Gift Guide! Best Smart Home Devices.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to my calendar it’s still November but apparently the stores aren’t on the same schedule because no matter where I go the holiday season seems to be in full swing. While I could turn this into a rant about what an appropriate date is to start playing Christmas music and put up decorations (December 1st!), I’d rather this post be a little more useful to you. 

Odds are you’ve got bunch of people to buy gifts for. I know I certainly do. This year, I plan to be smart about my gift giving… literally. As in I’m giving people cool tech products to turn their home into a smart home. Soon everything in your house will be connected to the internet so I figure, why not get a head start? With that in mind, I’ve made a gift guide of the best smart home devices of 2019. 

Nest Learning Thermostat 

This is one of the coolest smart products around. The Nest Learning Thermostat replaces your old style thermostat and, like the name says, learns your heating and cooling habits. Whenever you change the temperature, Nest picks up on when you like it warm, when you like it cold, and when you’re actually at home. Once it learns this info, it’ll start programming itself around your schedule so your furnace or A/C only runs when you actually need it toYou can also control Nest remotely so if it’s cold when you leave in the morning but the day warms up significantly, you can turn your heat off from work! It’s a great way to save on your power bill. Plus it looks gorgeous. 

Netgear Arlo Q Security Camera 

If you or your loved ones don’t already have a security camera, I recommend picking up the Netgear Arlo Q Camera. It’s easy to set up, records in full HD video 24/7, has night vision, and even two way audio so you can listen in and speak from the app on your phone. The app also lets you check in on things when you’re out and about and will alert you when something out of the ordinary happens. Definitely a smart way to feel more secure. 

Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock 

Ever had had an armload of grocery bags and when you arrive at your door, you realize your keys are still in your pocket and you have to juggle things around to get them out? Yeah, the Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock eliminates that by unlocking when it senses your phone nearby. It’s got a close range authentication system so it won’t open until you’re close to it or you can lock and unlock it remotely using your phone. Definitely a neat upgrade over hiding a spare key somewhere. It still comes with a Weiser lock built in for old fashioned access but with something this slick, I bet you won’t use it often 

Phillips Hue Lighting 

Do you need smart light bulbs? No. Will you want them after seeing them? Heck yeah! The Phillips Hue system is the most complete system of smart lights available. As with everything on the list, you can control them with your phone or with a smart home hub like Google Home or Amazon Echo. Yes, they’re more expensive than regular “dumb” bulbs but since they’re LED, they’ll last for years. You can set them to turn off when you leave the room, dim when you’re watching your smart TV, and even set up colour schemes with different hues (see what I did there?) depending on the vibe you want.  

This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are smart washer and dryers, smart blinds, smart smoke detectors, and a heck of a lot more. I even read an article there’s a company trying to launch a series of smart pans that’ll alert you when your food is cooked! If there’s anyone at all on your gift list that loves technology, they’d be thrilled to get one of the smart home devices I’ve listed here. All of them can be found at tech-y stores like Best Buy or the Telus Store in Orchard Park Mall, though Home Depot and RONA have started carrying a few of them too.  

And if you or someone you know is looking to find a new home to fill with smart tech, make the smart choice and contact me to help! I might not come with an app but I’m easy to get a hold of and I’ll always try to get you exactly what you want. 

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Halloween 

The fall is probably my favourite time of year. Don’t get me wrong summer’s fun and all but I love autumn. The weather starts to cool down, the leaves change, the air gets crisper, it’s harvest time, hockey’s back and of course, it’s Halloween! Why wouldn’t you enjoy a holiday where you can eat as many mini Mars bars as you want?  

Of course, with Halloween on the horizon, that means trick or treaters will be coming to your home. With just a few short weeks to prepare for the onslaught of tiny, sweet seeking Spidermen and Wonder WomenI figured I’d give you a few tips on how to prepare your home for Halloween. 

Avoid Tripping Hazards 

Everyone wants have the spookiest yard on Halloween but if you’re going to go all out, make sure your decorations (and their extension cords) are positioned safely away from the main walking path. You want people to rave about how scary your house was because of the amazing Halloween decorations, not because people kept falling down when they tried to get candy. 

Light It Up 

Dim lighting can really set a scene in a horror film but it’s dangerous in real life. Resist the temptation to create a “Nightmare on Lakeshore Drive” scenario and reduce the chances of accidents by ensuring your lighting is up to snuff. Swap out dead bulbs on your porch and walkway so that visitors have a nice bright path to your door. Remember, most kids will have masks on so their vision may be obscured alreadyEven if you’re not home, a brightly lit yard is a great way to ward off would be vandals who might be up to some Halloween mischief. 

Secure Railings and Clean Your Steps 

Ever stepped on a wet leaf on wooden stairs? It’s slippery… banana peel in an old cartoon slippery! Give your walkway and steps a good cleaning before the big day to avoid any mishaps. Rake up any leaves, sweep away loose gravel, and pressure wash away any moss or grime. It’s not just for the kids, it’s for you too! While you’re at it, haul out the toolbox and tighten up any rickety railings to prevent dangerous falls. 

Keep Pets Contained 

Halloween is a stressful time for pets but can you blame them? The doorbell’s ringing constantly and strangers in masks are intruding on their territory. To prevent pets from scaring trick or treaters or worse, getting out and running away, It’s a good idea to put your cats or dogs in a calm, quiet, secure area. That way they won’t be able to escape when you open the door to hand out candy.  

Don’t Play With Fire 

Much like the scary decorations, people really go all out for their Jack O’lanterns now. The classically simple triangle eyes and toothy grins have been replaced by some outstanding designs (check out these Star Wars ones!). To go full 21st century Halloween, light up your pumpkins with an electric candle or LED lights instead of a real candle. It’s a more fire safe option and you won’t have to worry about anything going up in flames if it gets knocked over.  

Halloween might be considered the scariest holiday but that doesn’t mean it has to be dangerous. A bit of home preparation and a little extra care here and there makes it a fun day for all!  

Speaking of scary, trying to buy or sell a home without the proper guidance can seem downright terrifying. I can help take some of the mystery out of itContact me today and let’s see if we can’t find you a brand new home to decorate for next Halloween! 

8 simple ways to save energy (and money) while on vacation

Out of office message? Set. Luggage? Packed. Thermostat? Cranked. EEK!
If you’re like most British Columbians, your home works hard to keep you warm during the chilly winter and cool during the scorching summer months. While it’s bad manners to keep a vacation waiting, take a few minutes before you set off on your beach/tropical/European getaway (#blessed) to ensure your appliances get a break while you’re gone.

Adjust

1. Air conditioning
“Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. Turn the AC down.” Just like David Bowie sang (those are the lyrics, trust us), an easy way to reduce energy use and save money is by turning your air conditioning unit down, or better yet, completely off during your summer getaways.

2. Thermostat
During the hot summer months, there’s no sense wasting energy and money by cooling rooms when there is no one home to chill in them. If you’re getting out of town in the winter, your thermostat should be set around 10° Celsius in order to keep pipes and appliances from freezing. With a programmable or smart thermostat, you don’t need to worry about forgetting to adjust the temperature. Smart thermostats can be paired with your smartphone and controlled with an app. Depending on the model, you can even adjust the temperature in your house remotely from the road, plane or beach.

3. Refrigerator
You can save energy while you’re away by adjusting the temperature to higher settings on your refrigerator by one or two degrees. Your food will stay cold and you’ll save money. A win-win!

If you’re heading on an extended vacation, consider cleaning your refrigerator out and turning it completely off. If you decide to go this route, be sure to leave the refrigerator door propped open and some baking soda inside, which will leave your fridge as refreshed as you after your holiday.

4. Blinds and curtains
While your blinds and curtains obviously aren’t consuming any energy, you can use them to keep the heat out during the summer and in during the winter. Be sure to close all blinds and shades to keep the sunshine out and reduce heat gain in your home during the summer. During the winter, closing shades and blinds will keep the cold air out.

Unplug
5. Power vampires
Chargers and computers and printers, oh my! While the spooky season should be in October, phantom power usage is a scary thought year-round. Before leaving home, be sure to unplug all of your electronics, including TVs, DVD players and game consoles, as well as microwaves, coffee makers, toaster ovens, etc. If this sounds like a bit of a chore, try putting your electronics on smart power strips, which automatically shut down power to products that go into standby mode. This will save you the trouble of hunting your home for sneaky power vampires or contorting your body into a pretzel to grab hard-to-reach plugs. Unplugging and powering down can also reduce the risk of electrical fires and protect your items from potential power surge damage. Just like you, your electronics and appliances need to unplug and unwind.

Turn off
6. Water heater
Reduce standby losses, which occur when no one is home to use the hot water, by setting your natural gas water heater to “low” or “vacation mode.” If you have an electric water heater, set the temperature as low as possible.

7. Lights
While you may be tempted to leave a few lights on at home while you’re out of town, this is a waste of energy and can be a dead giveaway that no one is actually at home. If you’re not comfortable turning off all the lights, set them up with automatic timers to deter potential intruders while saving energy.

8. Fireplace
Even when you’re not using your fireplace, your pilot light may still be drawing energy. If you have a natural gas fireplace, turning off the standing pilot light while you’re away can reduce between 600 and 1,500 BTU per hour, and reduce extra heat in your home. A licensed gas contractor can turn it on again during your annual appliance maintenance, so it’ll be safe and ready for fall. Of course during the winter, fireplaces should be turned off while you’re away, but the standing pilot light can be left on so that you can cosy up by the fire as soon as you return from your tropical trip.

Following these simple tips can help reduce your energy use, keep you safe and save you money (to put towards your next vacation, of course).

Take a few minutes to adjust, unplug and turn off your appliances, then kick back and enjoy!