No matter what kind of home you’re looking for, there are some key features to consider. Always remember that you will find large townhouses and small single-family homes, so looking for what you want in a home is as important as the type of dwelling. Your REALTOR® will ask many questions before the hunt begins.

Where will your family spend most of its time? Kitchens are a popular family gathering area. Make sure your prospective kitchen can handle the traffic. You may also want an eat-in kitchen or one with a breakfast nook, allowing you to keep the dining room for special occasions.

How much bedroom space do you need? Some people prefer small, plentiful rooms to house children, frequent guests or a home office. Others prefer fewer, larger rooms. Of course, if your budget permits, many large rooms would probably be ideal!

Bathrooms are also a major point to consider. How many bathrooms does your family need to handle peak traffic times? Is one enough? (Not likely!) While one per person might be more like it, that dream may not be affordable. Make sure the home you’re ready to purchase has sufficient bathroom space and that the bathrooms are comfortable. When looking at bathrooms, ask yourself how important a window is for light and fresh air.

Note: Hot water is always a problem with a large family. Remember, most hot water tanks are rented from the utility company. You can always have them upgrade the size of the hot water tank for a minimum cost.

When it’s time to relax and entertain, how will your prospective home meet your needs? Do you want a formal living room, or a room where your family can stretch out and watch television? Do your children need a play area or your teens an entertainment room? Some homes have a living room and a family room.  








Attics and basements can be wonderful storage areas, or can serve as additional living space. If extra space is important, you will want to consider a finished basement. Everyone seems to have their own definition of what this means. Take a good look at the workmanship. Was it done by a professional? Do you see yourself redoing a sloppy job? A poorly finished basement can be more work than a completely unfinished area. Some signs to watch out for are moisture along the floor lines and corners of all exterior walls and pungent odours which may also be a sign of moisture, mildew, and/or mold which can be costly to repair.

A brief word about closets. Look at the clothes you have now. Add another half, and then look for closet space to hold it all. If you’re like most of us, you’ll never have enough closet space!

Heating and cooling systems are also key features to consider. When it comes to heat, natural

gas, oil and electric furnaces are all options. Older homes may even have hot-water radiators. Still other homes have baseboard heaters. Make sure you find out about the maintenance and condition of the heating system as well as annual operating costs. If you’re thinking about air conditioning, think about how expensive it would be to add central air, or if a window unit would suffice. Try to get on to a “Homeowner’s Insurance Plan” with the utility company. For a minimum annual fee you have guaranteed regular maintenance and repair. As you can imagine, each type of home has its advantages and drawbacks and no two buyers will have the exact same wants and needs. The only way to truly evaluate which home is right for you, outside of price, is to consider what you absolutely must have and what you can live without. Before you go house hunting, prepare a list of ‘can’t live without’ features and a list of ‘would be great if…’ features.

Blind Tasting Wine Detective Experience @ Black Hills Estate Winery


Taste our wines like you’ve never tasted them before in this unique event.

This NEW Blind Tasting experience is a fun way to explore the wines we make at Black Hills Estate Winery and learn about the art of determining classic wine styles. Plus, if you guess all 7 of the wines we pour that evening, you will win a bottle of one of our delicious wines!

A light charcuterie platter will accompany the wine tasting. Tickets are only $50 + tax, limited to 20 seats. Put your tasting skills to the test!

Call 250-498-0666 to reserve.


January 18, 2020
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Black Hills Estate Winery
4190 Black Sage Road
Oliver, BC V0H1T0 Canada 
+ Google Map
(250) 498-0666

Sunrise Breakfast @ Baldy Mountain Resort


Take in the magic of a Baldy Mt. sunrise. Ride up the Eagle Chair at 7:00am and have Breakfast at 6,965 feet as the sun comes over the horizon and lights up Baldy.

Delicious breakfast wraps, coffee, hot chocolate, and early access to the lifts for skiing from 7:00am to 9:00am.


Meet at the base of the Eagle chair for 7:00am.


January 4, 2020
7:00 am – 9:00 am


Baldy Mountain Resort
2680 Mount Baldy Rd
Oliver, British V0H1T0 Canada 
+ Google Map

Mortgage Basics for Homebuyers

Mortgage Basics - Homebuyers - Dan Jones

The purchase of a home is one of the biggest decisions and significant financial investments you will make, and understanding each step of the mortgage process is key to ensuring this investment is right for you.

There is no substitute for being prepared. Educate yourself and get the facts you need to make the right mortgage decision and increase your home buying confidence. Different consumers are at different stages in their lives. They have different mortgage needs and there are many mortgage products to choose from. The best result will occur when you work with a mortgage professional who can offer sound, professional advice and a mortgage solution that matches your needs and circumstances. Above all, you need to be comfortable with your mortgage choice.

The site simplifies the process by providing you with the resources you need to find the right mortgage solution and the right mortgage professional for you.


When connecting with a mortgage professional to help with your purchase, there are a number of key questions you must ask to ensure you are a) dealing with the right professional and b) they are transparent about their business and dealings to ensure they are committed to you and getting you the best deal. Being informed and getting more information always protects you as a homebuyer.

Here are some of the questions you should ask:

  • What is your role in helping me buy a house?
  • What products do you offer?
  • Why are you recommending this particular mortgage?
  • What is your relationship between you and the lender?
  • How are you compensated?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • May I see some references?
  • How long will it take to process my application?
  • What documents do I need to provide?


A credit score is a summary of your credit history and how consistently you pay your financial obligations. It includes credit account information, employment and personal financial information.

Having good credit history and a good credit score are very important when purchasing a home. A good credit score may help you borrow the money you require to purchase your home. A poor credit score may determine whether you have to pay a higher interest rate. Basically, your credit score indicates how likely you are to repay future debts and can speed up or slow down your mortgage approval process.

More than one credit report bureau keeps records on you. Equifax and TransUnion are the two principal credit bureaus in Canada. Use the links below to obtain additional information on what a credit history and credit score are, why it’s important to check your credit report, how to obtain a copy of your credit report and how you can improve your credit score if necessary.


It is important to obtain a pre-approval or a pre-qualification for the amount of money you can borrow from a lender and avoid looking at homes that may be out of your price range. The pre-approval process usually guarantees a rate for a period of 90 days while a pre-qualification will not provide a rate guarantee . In some cases, a lender may ask for a guarantor to provide additional security for the lender. A Guarantor is a party who signs the mortgage documents along with the borrower, but who does not have any interest in the ownership of the property.


Few people can come up with the entire amount of money required to pay for the cost of a home and require a loan to finance the purchase their home. The lender will require the property as security in order for the borrower to obtain the loan. The security of land is referred to as a mortgage. A mortgage loan allows individuals to buy property without paying the full value all at once. The mortgagor is the person borrowing money, the mortgagee is the lender of the money.

Here are some elements to consider when getting a mortgage:

  • When negotiating the amount of your mortgage loan, you should be aware that you will most likely be required to provide a down payment, which is the money you put towards the purchase price of your home. The amount of your mortgage loan is determined by the purchase price of the home less the amount of your down payment. As with all loans, a mortgage loan must be repaid by the borrower with interest. There are different types of repayment methods which make up the different kinds of mortgages available.
  • Like all loans, regular payments made over time go towards paying down the mortgage. These payments are made up of two parts – one part goes towards paying the principal (the amount of money borrowed) and other part goes towards paying the interest (the fee charged for borrowing the money.)
  • The more money you can put down, the less you will have to borrow, and the less interest you will have to pay over the length of the mortgage.
  • If you have a down payment equivalent to 20% or more of the purchase price, you will have what is called a conventional mortgage.
  • If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price, you will have what is called a high-ratio mortgage. A high-ratio mortgage must be insured to protect the lender. This insurance is called mortgage default insurance. It protects the lender in case the borrower isn’t able to repay the loan.
  • Canada Guaranty, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) and Genworth Canada offer assistance to first-time home buyers who do not have a lot of disposable funds for a down payment. Ask your mortgage professional for more details.

Strata Termination Update #521

A year ago in Legally Speaking No. 509, I described two Supreme Court of British Columbia cases that addressed whether a strata corporation must first pass an 80% vote (sometimes called a “winding-up resolution”) before strata council may list the whole complex for sale with a brokerage or enter a contract to sell the entire development to a buyer. The British Columbia Court of Appeal has now confirmed that there is no such requirement.1 The eligible voters may decide by majority vote to authorize strata council to list the complex with a brokerage and later contract to sell the project to a purchaser, subject to the owners passing a winding-up resolution and meeting all other pre-requisites.


While reasons for terminating a strata development vary, two grounds are especially common. First, as a strata complex ages, it may need so much remedial work that it makes more sense to sell the project to a developer for redevelopment. Alternatively, if a strata project is located in an area rezoned for higher density development, the owners may prefer to profit by selling the property to a developer, who will maximize its potential.

The Strata Property Act creates three termination methods. In the first two methods, owners choose to terminate by passing an 80% vote to approve a winding-up resolution, either to terminate without a liquidator (called a “Division 1 wind up”) or with one (a “Division 2 wind up”). An 80% vote is a vote in favour of a resolution by at least 80% of the votes of all of the eligible voters.2 In most cases, after passing the 80% vote, the strata corporation must then ask the Supreme Court of British Columbia to confirm the winding-up resolution, giving any dissenting owner the opportunity to further object. In the third method (a “Division 3 wind up”), the Court orders the strata to terminate, typically because the strata corporation is too dysfunctional to continue; there is no winding-up resolution.3

Each termination method results in winding up the strata corporation and cancelling the strata plan. The relevant land is ultimately sold, and any personal property formerly belonging to the strata corporation converted to cash. Everyone who was formerly the owner of a strata lot will receive their proportionate share of the sale proceeds, after deducting any amounts due to the owner’s respective mortgage lenders or other secured creditors.

Case Law

In Buckerfield v. Strata Plan VR 92, some REALTORS® initially asked strata council about selling the entire 41 unit complex.4 Strata council then organized a presentation to explain the termination process to the owners. In an informal poll, a majority of owners voted to hire a real estate brokerage to market the complex to developers for redevelopment, all subject to later passing a winding-up resolution. When strata council announced its plan to retain a brokerage on this basis, several dissenting owners sued the strata corporation in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The dissenters apparently asked for a declaration that the strata corporation must first pass an 80% vote and appoint a liquidator, who would then be the only person with authority to list the complex for sale. Alternatively, the dissenters claimed that the eligible voters must first pass a 3/4 vote before strata council can retain a brokerage to solicit offers on the building. The Supreme Court disagreed, dismissing the dissenters’ objections and refusing to require an 80% vote, or a 3/4 vote, to engage a brokerage.

On appeal, the British Columbia Court of Appeal observed that the Strata Property Act does not expressly impose any requirement for an 80% vote before listing a strata complex for sale. Nor does the Act imply any such requirement.

The Court of Appeal confirmed that a strata corporation may decide by majority vote at a general meeting to engage a brokerage to list the whole development for sale, so long as the listing contract, and presumably any subsequent contract of purchase and sale, is subject to the owners later passing an 80% vote to wind up the strata corporation and cancel the strata plan and, where required, confirmation by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. There is no requirement to first have a liquidator in place to list the complex with a brokerage.

The termination of a strata development is a complex legal event. If a strata council approaches a REALTOR® to list the whole complex in a strata termination, the REALTOR® should warn strata council to retain a strata lawyer as soon as possible to guide the strata corporation through the procedure. Any REALTOR® interested in listing a strata development for termination will also profit by learning more about the process. Read the Buckerfield case above, or any or all of these other recent termination cases below:

1. Buckerfield v. Strata Plan VR 92,2019 BCCA 196 aff’g 2018 BCSC 839. See also 2018 BCCA 243, interim injunction denied pending appeal.
2. Strata Property Act, s. 1(1) (definition of “80% vote.”)
3. Strata Plan VR2122 v. Wake, 2018 BCCA 280 at para. 64Buchanan v. S.P. VR 1411, 2008 BCSC 977.
Posted by
Mike Mangan
B.A., LL.B.

Cutting Down Your Own Tree: Everything You Need to Know


The ins and outs, the good and the sappy

My husband is a bit of a traditionalist, especially at Christmas. He likes vintage ornaments, classic carols, and making the festive food he remembers from childhood. And this year, his passion for “Yules of Yore” meant he had a more “rugged” plan of procuring our Christmas tree: Heading into the snowy woods, armed with a saw and Christmas spirit to cut down our tree.

I had visions of re-creating the opening scene in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: Trudging through waist-deep snow with miserable kids and the wrong tools, returning home with a tree that not only didn’t fit, but was home to a rabid squirrel. In the end, the experience differed in some ways from that fateful movie moment… but in some ways, it was right on point. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about cutting down your own tree in the bush….

 Fun fact for you: You’re allowed to cut down a free tree (for the purpose of Christmas festivities, mind you) from Crown lands, BUT … you need a permit. Luckily, they are easy to download and print. We’ve made it super easy by attaching a PDF of the permit right in our site. Click HERE.
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Trees can only be cut from designated areas, including hydro right-of-way, logging roads (within three metres/ten feet of the edge of the road), and open range lands. Don’t get sneaky and try to cut a tree down from private land, plantations, research areas, parks, or your neighbour’s yard, not matter now much you dislike said neighbour. Read more on restrictions and rules here.

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Don’t be a Clark Griswold by leaving unprepared. Bring:

  • Sturdy gloves (your hands will get impaled by twigs and whatnot).

  • Rope.

  • A tarp.

  • A saw or sawzall. (at this point if, you get pulled over by police, you will look like a murderer)

  • Good boots.

  • Hot coffee, hot chocolate, or coffee and chocolate mixed together (aka a mocha).

  • Non-grumpy children.

  • Snacks to keep children from becoming grumpy.

  • Your dog if she is good off-leash.

  • Your dog even if she isn’t good off-leash because she’ll think it’s fun.

  • Winter tires.

  • Your permit.

  • Some more snacks because your kids will eat the first batch on the ride up.

  • Christmas carols (but not Mariah Carey – that will drive everyone nuts).

  • Knowledge of the closest tree farm or Home Depot in case this all turns turns into a disaster (which it did for us. Read on).

  • Mitts for your three year old because you know if you forget them she will just try to make snowballs with her bare hands.

  • Patience.

  • A sense of adventure.

Other pointers:

  • You can cut down a maximum of three trees, but only for personal use.

  • Cut your tree from dry, rocky sites or slopes, which produce better Christmas trees.

  • Try to leave the bottom one or two branches on the stump of the tree, which may grow into another tree for future use.

  • Do not cut a big tree only to use the top portion.

  • Leave the area clean.

  • Conservation officers are out, so carry your permit and follow the rules.


We started yelling at our children that it was time to go at 10 a.m. We pulled out of our driveway at 11 a.m., because it took us an hour to locate and throw into the car: Our dog, a leash, thermoses of hot beverages, snow pants for children, toques for children, appropriately water-proof hand protection for all (or so we thought), windshield wiper fluid, peanut butter and jam sandwiches that children insisted on bringing (and which they would eventually eat while sobbing because, apparently, they hate peanut butter and jam sandwiches), rope and scissors, a blanket because kids said the car was cold even though it wasn’t, Goldfish crackers, an orange (bad idea), apple sauce (worse idea). Then we had to get gas, a sawzall from a friend, Tim Horton’s because we didn’t want to drink our hot beverages yet, and… we were off like a herd of turtles.

We got to the turn-off to Telemark (in West Kelowna) at 1 p.m. I had visions of the sun setting while we were out there. (spoiler alert: it did).

We took a logging road up, up, up a mountain, driving slowly on the slippery, snowy, windy road while craning our necks for possible Perfect Christmas Tree Options along the side of the road (as that’s where we’re permitted to remove trees). Despite being in what I considered to be the middle of nowhere, there were a LOT of people out sledding, standing around bonfires, skeet shooting, toboganning while being pulled behind pick-up trucks, chasing their dogs down the road, and having middle-of-the-woods potlucks with crock pots plugged into generators.

The trouble with the logging road was that it was steep up a hill on one side, and steep down a hill on the other. What we needed was a wide open meadow where we could plop the kids down into the snow and trudge along until we stumbled upon a beauty.

Eventually we pulled over to the side of the road, bundled the mini ones up (our three year old did NOT, in the end, have mitts), and let the kids smack sticks against trees while Dylan and I shook snow off branches and remarked how all the trees looked like, well, giant Charlie Brown trees.

We eventually found one that checked off several boxes (ie appeared to be the right height; contained no visible squirrel; had an amount of branches; and was roughly 10 feet from the road) and I, who had long since resigned myself to the fact that we would need to abort on this whole plan and head straight to Grumpy’s tree farm, announced: “That’s the one! CUT IT DOWN WE’RE DONE HERE!”

Thank goodness for the sawzall.

Behold photographic evidence of our adventure…

We mounted it to the roof of the car while the kids danced around, spilling hot chocolate that they deemed “too hot” and “too sweet” and yet “too cool” and “not sweet enough.” We then descended back down the mountain, slowly, so as to avoid pick-up truck toboganners and wayward dogs. And then we were on the highway, going a painful 55 km/hr (sorry to anyone driving behind us) as my five year old watched the wind whip the branches on our tree through the sun roof, yelling: “ALL THE NEEDLES ARE FALLING OFF!!” and my husband implored me to go slower because THINK OF THE TREE! and rolled his window down, sticking his arm out to urge drivers behind us to pass.


By the time we got home and put the tree up in the stand, it had fallen to darkness (ie it was roughly 3:40 p.m.), and I took one look at our marvelous, carefully-selected family Christmas tree and announced: “I’m not putting lights on that thing. When does Home Depot close?”

The kids watched Christmas movies by the fire and I drank coffee at the kitchen island while my husband went back out into the cold to buy us a store tree that someone else had cut down for us, bless them.

We now have a beautiful non-Charlie Brown scraggle tree lit and decorated in our living room, and our hard-earned nature tree stands tall (actually, it doesn’t – it tipped over in the wind two days ago and I haven’t picked it back up) on our deck, overlooking our neighbourhood for all to enjoy, it too adorned with twinkling lights that may have broken when the tree fell in the wind. (Amendment to this story: Our indoor Home Depot tree also fell over, and I came home to smashed ornaments, water in every direction, and a guilty-looking dog. Learn from me: Get a good tree stand).

Our lesson for next year:

  • Research better places to cut down trees

  • Find somewhere open

  • The logging road we used was not ideal

  • You live and learn

Overall, it was a blast, and I can see how cutting down a Christmas tree might become a beloved family tradition. We didn’t knock it out of the park on our first year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.


Waste-Free Christmas Wrapping


The holidays are a joyful time of year to spend with family, friends, and enjoying one another’s company. To show your appreciation, it’s natural to want to give presents to your loved ones. This holiday season we invite you to consider greener gifting options like doing an activity together or DIYing a present. For those following a wish-list, you can still reduce your gift-giving impact by wrapping your presents in a way that is sustainable!

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As most wrapping paper is a combination of plastic, paper, and sometimes foil all mixed together, it makes it difficult to separate during the recycling process. Don’t worry – you can still show people you care while caring for the planet too!


Paper is a simple and effective option for wrapping gifts in a way that is environmentally mindful. Being 100% recyclable, paper can be placed into regular curb-side collection for proper disposal. Personalize the packaging using homemade stamps or messaging.

  • Newspaper

  • Brown Kraft Paper

To secure paper in place, use washi tape, a plastic-free alternative and typically derived from bamboo or hemp.


Give your friends and family the gift of reusing! Boxes have many great uses, like storing items in your home or they can be re-used and gifted to someone else in the future. Tote and cloth bags also make for a fun and uniquely-wrapped gift that can be reused for shopping, groceries and produce, bulk buys or snacks on-the-go. See some of our favourite locally-made reusable bags below:


For wrapping without paper you can explore the Furoshiki technique, using cloth to bundle gifts. Preloved material, an old bandana or other fabric cloth will do the trick!


If secrecy for the gift isn’t a concern, consider upcycling a container or jar to enclose your present. The simplicity of a jar offers a minimalist approach to wrapping, while giving the gift of reuse!


To finish off your wrapping, you can spruce up the look by adding a few accessories! Here are our sustainable suggestions:

  • Twine + string

  • Burlap

  • Greenery

  • Pinecones

  • Cinnamon Sticks

  • Dried Orange Slices – learn how to make them here!

  • Lace

  • Wooden Buttons

This holiday season, we encourage you to indulge in giving the gift of green! Use these sustainable alternatives to minimize your wrapping waste and to inspire others to do the same.

For more eco-friendly holiday fun, check out our blogs that explore Real vs. Fake Christmas Trees, Green Gifting, and hosting a Low-Waste Party.

Harlem Globetrotters “Pushing the Limits”

Seating Map:
January 30, 2020
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Tickets go on sale:
October 16, 2019 10:00 am
Doors Open:
6:00 pm
Ticket Prices:
Tickets start at $18 (additional fees apply)

The world-famous Harlem Globetrotters, featuring larger than life entertainers, will bring their ALL-NEW show, “Pushing the Limits” to the South Okanagan Events Centre on Thursday, January 30th. Don’t miss your chance to get up close and personable with a star-stuffed roster including Big Easy Lofton, Hi-Lite Bruton, and woman stars TNT Lister, Swish Sutton, and Torch George*. Every show features a blend of hilarious hijinks and incredible basketball skills including ball handling, high flying dunks, and a new record-breaking attempt. The Harlem Globetrotters are a one-of-a kind experience putting a new spin on family time. You won’t want to miss these memories worth repeating! More information to come.

*Rosters will vary in each city and are subject to change.