Thursday, December 17, 2009

Kelowna lakeshore real estate sales

So as we wind down 2009... the real estate market in Kelowna has settled down for what we hope to be a healthy balanced market with some slight increases in price for 2010. I had mentioned in a previous entry that I had experienced a flurry of interest from people interested in lakeshore property.
Real estate on any lake is a dream for a lot of people. This year the least expensive lakeshore property sold was a 3500 square foot, gradelevel home that was built in 1987 and needed complete updating. Located on Green Bay Road in the West Kelowna neighborhood of Lakeview Heights, it sold in June for $815,000. At the other end of the spectrum, the most expensive lakeshore property sold in 2009 was a newer 7200 square foot custom built 2 story home with an in-ground pool, deep water moorage, and an oversized boat lift. This sold in July for $4,810,000.
I'm dreaming of winning the lottery tonight!
Talk to you soon...

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Growth Predictions in Kelowna for 2010

Recently Robert Fine, Manager of Economic Development for the Central Okanagan spoke at our Real Estate Board's AGM. Always positive, Robert spoke of BC leading our country in economic growth in 2010 at a predicted rate of 4.3%. Already, employment growth is back to 2007 levels and manufacturing sales to the end of the 3rd quarter this year are up 2.1% over last year.
In the Central Okanagan our unemployment rates have dropped for the last 6 months... being cut in half from 12.3% to 5.6%, well below the 10 year average of 8.5%. There are 17 major projects to the 2nd quarter of 2009 with 89 currently underway for a total of $30 billion dollars being spent in our region! Examples are Kelowna General Hospital Expansion ($433 million), Big White Ski Resort Development ($250 million), University of BC Okanagan additions ($150 million), and Kelowna International Airport expansion ($36 million).
Kelowna and the Central Okanagan are still very attractive on the world stage and with BC leading the growth in Canada, the Olympics are expected to add 1% GDP in the 1st quarter of 2010.
Kelowna real estate is still a "buyers bargain" relative to the UK/European markets and we will continue to see immigration playing a major role in investment here. MLS home sales are increasing in Kelowna and have been for several months while inventory has levelled off creating a stable, balanced real estate market.
Let's look forward to a prosperous 2010!
Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A huge thank you to Susan Tough

I have the greatest job in the world and am so lucky to have GREAT people to work with. The managing broker for Coldwell Banker Horizon Realty, Susan Tough , went above and beyond the call of duty today. I've been dealing with a very finicky purchase... and the problems were multiplying fast and furious. At this very delicate time, I'm getting on a plane and feeling sick about not being able to finish this situation. My clients trust me and were very gracious about me leaving, but I know it must have added to their level of stress. Susan stepped in and on top of a huge job load of her own, grabbed the reins and made everyone including me, very comfortable that she would be able to get the job done. Thank you so much Susan... you can't imagine how much you are appreciated.
Talk to you soon....

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Social Media and Kelowna Real Estate

One of my 2009 goals was to decide which on-line media I was going to use and to get "plugged in" to it. The learning curve has been daunting, but we pulled off some pretty great stuff thanks again to my "Assistant Extraordinaire", Kimberly. We started with running listing ads on dozens of different sites (i.e. castanet, craigs list, etc.) which grew to many many more. This itself was fascinating. Our ads on castanet got more travel than!! From there we tackled Facebook, Twitter, my Blog, and LinkedIn. On these sites we've got groups and different usernames attached. Again, the results were staggering. The traffic flowing through these avenues grew exponentially. I asked Kim one day recently what the current numbers were for the blog. We did a google analytics and it showed that over 100 people had read the blog in the last 10 days and the average stayed to read for approximately 6 minutes. This type of traffic has increased visits to the web pages where we've noticed that people are reading some of the hundreds of articles about real estate that we've posted there.
When I ask people where they get their real estate information, they all say "on-line". These people I've asked have ranged in age from 20 to 70! These same people tell me that when they do read the paper it's more for entertainment. Interesting...
In theory the on-line advertising is free, but it takes a lot of time and effort. Is it worth it? I say definately!
Talk to you soon...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

How much tax is too much for Kelowna real estate?

How will the HST affect Kelowna real estate? Information has been trickling in slowly but surely. I think everyone was pretty sure that new housing would not be taxed at 12%... but how much then, and what are the rules and rebates.
When considering real estate and housing, the government must realize that it’s very important to everyone that affordable housing is attainable. HST will be paid out when purchasing a NEW home after July 1, 2010. With the new threshold of $525,000 it would appear that there will be no new additional tax (5% GST will still apply) and that homes over $525,000 will, after rebates, be charged an additional 2%. This move will add even more tax on the heavily taxed process of buying a home.
Consider the example of purchasing a new home for $525,000. There is the property transfer tax currently being paid on every real estate transaction in BC whether the home is new or not. This amounts to 1% up to $200,000 of purchase price and 2% on the balance, or $8,500 for our example home. GST at 5% if the home is new. There’s another $26,250. Currently we pay 5% GST on services like lawyers and real estate agent's. Another $534 for the taxman. Then of course, there’s annual property tax where on the $525,000 home you’d be paying around $2,800. Let’s assume you’re living here and qualify for the homeowners grant of $570 which then makes your annual tax $2,230.
Real estate in Kelowna is a valuable commodity and people realize that. We’ve been lucky to have weathered this last downturn fairly well with moderate price adjustments that have re-ignited people’s ambition of owning property here. However, how much more of a tax burden can we take when you consider that our example of buying “modest and average” home in Kelowna is going to cost an additional $37,514.00!
Do you think we pay too much tax on our housing?

Talk to you soon...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hugs and kisses for Kelowna real estate

Sometimes when something crazy happens you just have to laugh!
I had a referral from a client recently... and when he called me I pulled over to give him my undivided attention. Our call lasted for about 10 minutes during which I received a text saying that my daughter's bus was late and could I pick her up. As soon as I hung up I texted an affectionate note back to my daughter filled with "i love you" and hugs and kisses. You can probably see where this is going...
As soon as I hit "send" I realized I had sent the message to my new client. How completely embarassing!
Onto some real estate... Today I got a GREAT deal for a client. We removed subjects on a condo where I negotiated a price that was $19,000 less than the same unit sold for 3 days earlier. What a feeling!
Hope you're enjoying this fabulous sunshine.
Talk to you soon...

Friday, November 13, 2009

A day off

I just came back from a long snowy hike behind my house and ended up on some trails I'd not been on before. From a vantage point up high I could see all of the Glenmore Valley and I was reminded that we are so very lucky to live in such a beautiful city like Kelowna. I kept going and started across an open field where movement caught my eye and a deer jumped out of the grass. I stopped to look and there were 3 more within 5 feet of me. After we all stared at each other for a few moments... I kept going and climbed up another hill that peaked on a ridge overlooking Okanagan Lake.

All of these incredible sites were within about an hour of one another!
I think Kelowna, it's ammenities, it's real estate, and it's population will continue to grow, prosper, and just get better and better!
Talk to you soon...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Doughnut Effect in Kelowna Real Estate

I was at a function called Green Drinks at Doc Willoughby's Thursday and met Dion. We got chatting about being environmentally friendly and eventually ended up on the topic of real estate. He came up with the perfect name for what we experience in Kelowna from time to time with real estate prices and number of sales. The Doughnut Effect! It perfectly describes how as you go farther out from the center of Kelowna (the doughnut hole) the number of sales are fewer and prices are slower to respond to a upward swing. Those hubs, made up of the actual doughnut, tend also to be the first to suffer the effects of downward price movement as we recently experienced. Areas like Lake Country and Glenrosa would be good examples of this. We've got a lack of inventory in the $300-$400,000 range so prices in that range are being squeezed up. Glenrosa and Lake Country are still seeing stagnant sales for the most part. There's some great value out there in those doughnuts!
Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

October Stats for Kelowna Real Estate are In

October stats are out and they paint a very good picture for the future of real estate in Kelowna. The market adjustment was minor compared to other parts of the country. Prices are down about 10-15% across the board, interest rates are still historically low, and continued world-wide attention has propped up housing values in Kelowna. After seeing sales drop off considerably they've been steadily marching back with monthly gains in sales and dollar volume.
In October there were 215 residential sales, up from 210 sales last month. Certainly a healthy number compared to the 91 residential sales in October 2008! It's interesting to see that sales for condos and townhouses are up too as the current inventory is absorbed. Apartment sales for October 09 were 73 over last years 34 and townhomes showed 56 sales this October versus a paltry 18 last year at the same time. I talked about increased lakefront real estate activity in early October and it's up an incredible 400% over last year!! OK, seriously, there were 4 sales in October and none last year!
Listing inventory is starting to drop off as it tends to do this time of year. With serious buyers still out there and fewer homes to choose from, this can be a very good time of year to sell! Give me a call at 250-862-6464 if you're thinking about it.
Talk to you soon...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dressed up as a Kelowna Real Estate Agent

Hope everyone had a GREAT Halloween!
A funny thing happened to me on Saturday night. I worked until about 7 o'clock and when I came home the ghosts and goblins were slowly making the long hike up to my front door... but wait, that's another story!
I was still dressed for work and had some flashy jewelry on. I opened the door to this cute little pink fairy who took one look at my jewels and asked me "What are you dressed up as?" I said "a realtor". She looked so adorable as the look on her face went from confusion, to understanding and then a big smile lit up her face and she said "I want to be a realtrice when I grow up too!" You go girl!
Talk to you soon...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The trickle up effect

We've all heard of a "trickle down effect", but what about the trickle up?
The kelowna real estate market has experienced a major shift in the last 12 - 18 months. From an extreme sellers market, things quickly turned around to become a buyers market. The laws of supply and demand then took effect to create a strong balanced market that we're in right now. The problem for some sellers however, is that they're priced in a range that's not getting much action. This is where we're now seeing the "trickle up" effect happening.
Back when the prices first tumbled we saw a huge number of investors and first time buyers snapping everything up in the $300-$400K range. The homes that those people bought created a new group of sellers moving up to the $400-$500K range. When those sellers sold to those buyers, it created a new group of buyers looking in the $500-$600K range... and so on.
At long last, this "trickle up" effect seems to be taking hold. When you look at the number of sales over the last few months between $600K and $1 million the numbers are growing... 16, 20, 23, 27, 33.
Confidence is gaining momentum and people that have been taking "wait and see" approach are gradually coming down off the fence. I believe we can expect to see the real estate market remain strong!
Talk to you soon...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Is lakeshore real estate on an upward trend?

In the last 3 weeks I've had 5 calls from clients inquiring about purchasing lakeshore property. For the most part they're feeling that waterfront is a limited commodity (agreed) and that prices will come back and start rising (agreed) and that Kelowna has only just begun to see it's international reputation grow (agreed again)! While not disputing that real estate in Kelowna is expensive, when you compare waterfront prices to other parts of the world it makes it seem downright affordable! If you take a $4 million dollar lakefront home in Kelowna and move it to Vancouver, you'd pay over $14 million and in Victoria the same home would fetch almosts $7.5 million. Coldwell Banker article about Canadian affordability
Now that's not to say that all lakefront property in Kelowna is that expensive. For just over $1.1 million you can own waterfront on Okanagan Lake... the house is a "fixer upper". Prices wander up from there to a staggering $10,000,000 for home and waterfront lot.
Consider this as well... in 2006 there were 90 lakefront sales, 2007 saw 112. In 2008 we saw sales dip to 58 and 2009 YTD we're at 54. Food for thought?
Talk to you soon...

Monday, September 28, 2009

"The way we live in our house is not the way we sell our house"

I met a home stager the other day who was full of great ideas. Her name is Tammy Cunningham and she owns "In Your Place" staging.
As a realtor, it's sometimes tough to tell people that some things in their homes need to be changed. Also as a realtor, I know that staged homes sell quicker and often for more money than their competitors. Home stagers can transform homes into smartly wrapped packages. This can really attract the buyers' attention, often enough to make an offer. From simply moving around furniture and adding a few choice decorations to a full-on transformation with furniture and accessories moved into a vacant house, a home stager offers a variety of services at a variety of prices. With the Kelowna real estate market maintaining its healthy and balanced qualities, home staging can make the difference between your house sitting on the market or selling for top dollar quickly. Try it... it really works!
Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Saved by my fellow REALTOR®

Today I was on MLS® tour with my fellow REALTOR® Grant Wiebe. (Tour is where the realtors get a chance to view new product on the market). Grant is a great guy and very creative in his marketing. I was asking him about his Youtube videos where he speaks about real estate using a webcam located in his vehicle. I was wondering if it distracts him while driving. At that VERY moment a lady pulled into traffic at ramming speed. Grant pulled off a spectacular maneuver... swerving out of her path (by the way, we were also at ramming speed!), narrowly but safely missing a light pole, and all the while speaking very calmly about the question I had asked him.
Way to go Grant... you're the BEST!
Talk to you soon...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Way to go Kelowna!

The GREEN HOUSING SYMPOSIUM I held this past Sunday was a huge success! Over 200 people came and saw a beautiful BuiltGreen® home and had an opportunity to speak to a number of experts on how to build or green up their existing home. Please check back to my green website at for your GREEN HOUSING needs.
Talk to you soon...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

When buying real estate, it's usually women who make the final decision

It's been a crazy busy summer... work, company and then our house flooded... wow a lot of "non-fun" with that!
Working with buyers lately has been really fun. The biggest challenge is to come up with Plan A & B for purchasing that will ensure the buyer gets the lowest possible purchase price for the property they love.
One of my favorite clients recently decided to downsize. We sold their townhouse and started looking! Plan A was to find a couple properties that they loved and then, starting with the #1 choice, make an offer with the idea that if the seller didn't take it, we'd move to choice #2. We found 2 properties that would fit this plan. The were almost identical in price, amenities, condition, and location. One seller was very motivated and one was not motivated at all.
We sat and discussed the pros and cons. The husband had his heart set on one (super motivated seller), the wife another (not so motivated seller). We went back and forth with no decision on which to offer on. The husband's first choice was logistically the better one for them... had a family room for grandchildren, enough parking for 2 vehicles and, 2 bathrooms. They decided to sleep on it. The next morning I got the call... the wife won out the decision on which to make an offer on first... the not so motivated seller!
The next step was to carefully plan our strategy and offer just enough to entice the sellers but low enough to be a good deal. Everyone committed to walking away to choice #2 if the seller didn't bite. And away we went with our offer...
Tick tock tick tock tick tock
The seller doesn't bite. Back I got to the buyers to proceed with offering on choice #2. The wife however, has a different plan. She must have house #1.
In the end, they ended up paying more than they would have for the other very comparable unit... but they have the house they love.
Sometimes it's good to remember that it's not all about the best deal. If you really love something, it's not necessarily best to settle. The roof over your head is a home... the buyers are very happy! :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Didn't I say so?

So it would seem that my prediction that the real estate "freeze frame" that we've just experienced would turn out to be a positive thing. Not to be one to blow my own horn, but I've certainly had a number of people saying to me "I wish I had listened to you sooner!"
Prices are down for sure and will probably be there for a while. The gush of inventory we had been expecting in the spring didn't happen and as those first buyers started to emerge, they were the lucky ones with the pick of the crop. A few more listings came on-stream but inventory was being well picked over. In fact some sellers that were not getting any action started to see their overpriced homes get shown. Sometimes the buyers braved an overpriced home and a reasonable offer was made and for the most part accepted.
In January we were up 62% in inventory.... very much a buyers market. That gradually turned around over the next month or two and now total listings now sits at a healthy 1650+ where last year in July we had 2000 active listings! (This by the way includes all listings, not just residential)This has created a very healthy stable and balanced market. Buyers can still get a good deal but not like they could a few months back and sellers are seeing reasonable prices for their homes now. Home sales in Kelowna for July were up a WHOPPING 59% over July of 2008 and Vancouver's sales in July were the highest in history! Yayyyy!
I keep reminding myself that Kelowna is the most beautiful part of the world and that everyone wants to live and/or play here. More and more people have been arriving this summer from areas close by (Vancouver, Alberta, etc.) with their vacation dollar being pinched and I've found the people that I've talked to are WOWED with Kelowna and will be coming back again soon! Who wouldn't....
Long Live Kelowna Real Estate!!!
Talk to you soon.

Friday, July 17, 2009

What about the neighborhood?

There is a neighborhood in Kelowna called Wilden in North Glenmore. The main idea is to integrate beautiful housing into nature with as small a footprint as possible. Great in theory but what about reality?
I live in Wilden and love the trails, natural ponds and untouched wilderness behind my house. As someone very interested in being good to the environment I appreciate that the roads are very narrow, thereby reducing the amount of clearing required, concrete and blacktop used, etc. As we've lived here, this has however proven problematic.
Today is Friday, and in a few more hours my road will be almost impassable as everyone loads up their boats, trailers, and campers that will be parked on the road. We recently had a large flood in our house and the restoration company needs to get a container to move out all our stuff for the repair. It was funny watching the guy delivering the container try to negotiate the narrow road and short driveways in his attempt to get the job done. It didn't happen! All the boxes will have to be hoofed down the road into the container.
Is it possible to get used to things like this or are we too spoiled to be inconvenienced by some things that are good for the planet? I'm going to try harder to get used to it!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Real estate and family life

So I've broken the rule of blogging... keep it up and keep it current! The summer heat and calls of "lets go the beach" have taken over at my house. Trying to fit work and play in can be tough when you've got a family.
My family has always been great shuffling their lives around my real estate career. Everyone understands that it's not the typical 9-5 gig and sometimes I have to go to work when I least expect it. I love my job and my family keeps me in check by setting goals. Each time I sell a house "points" are accumulated towards something fun for us all. This summer we're going white water rafting in Lytton! This system keeps us all focused on the good part of my job and not "how come Mom isn't around?"
On a real estate note, the market appears to be very balanced now with inventory being well picked over and prices stabilizing. I've been involved in some multiple offer situations and some sales over list price! Lot's of first time buyers out there still which is so great... buying your first house is an amazing experience. First time buyers kit There are also a growing number of "move up" buyers now as the first timers buy the "move up" buyers homes. Sales at the higher end, over $600K, are still sluggish and it may take some more time before we see more activity there. I've also been aware of the amount of Albertans cruising Kelowna again. A portion of that market has returned to buying in Kelowna as well as a growing number of investors! All great news for our local market.
Also a follow up to my last post. The buyers and sellers involved in that offer eventually dribbled away from each other. The buyer produced no excitement and drained the seller of enthusiasm over their long period of negotiating. The seller didn't feel the buyer was serious. Psychology 101 !!
Have a great day and talk to you soon.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

How long does it take to buy a house?

I'm working with some sellers right now who have been great! They keep their house spotless, try their best to accomodate all showings and to top it off, are listed at a great price.
Recently a buyer looked at this house one day, wrote an offer the second, countered on the third, countered on the fourth, and are still thinking about it on the fifth!
It's so interesting to see different negotiating tactics in the world of real estate. Some people are stoically firm, sweet and accommodating, indifferent, and sometimes even panicked. In my experience, the folks that take days to come to decisions, are the least successful and the reasons involve pure psychology.
Excitement level diminishes considerably which opens the door for indifference, stress, and sometimes even hostility between buyer and seller. Sellers want to feel good about someone moving into "their house" and creating good memories. Buyers of course, want to feel like they're getting the best price possible.
How do you think you'd act in the sellers or buyers shoes?
I'll keep you posted to how this negotiation goes.
Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some interesting tid-bits

I wrote an offer recently for a house in Shannon Lake, West Kelowna. This house backed the landfill which was fine with the buyer because he thought the landfill was closing soon... as did I. Off we went to do our homework...
We were shocked to find out the details. The landfill isn't in fact closing anytime soon. According to the RDCO documents on-line it may not close until 2013, but probably 2010. Also, once the garbage part of it closes, it will become a transfer station (where areas like Peachland bring their garbage to load into bins that will be transferred elsewhere) as well as a re-cycling depot! Needless to say, we collapsed the offer.
Some people think I'm too picky about my information gathering... this is a perfect example of why it's so important to dig deep (no pun intended!)
This same buyer got involved in a dual offer situation last night for one of the coolest houses I've seen in a long time! We came up with a strong strategy, pulled out all the stops, and WON out over the other buyer! Off we go to do our homework...
Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Kelowna Real Estate is BUSY

OK... I didn't drop off the face of the earth, it's just that people are coming around and the real estate market is hopping!
Prices really seem to have levelled out in Kelowna and in fact I believe we're now in a balanced market vs. a buyers or sellers market. Not as much inventory has come on this spring as it usually does so those buyers have only so many homes to choose from. With this in mind, offers on homes priced correctly are closer to list price than they have been lately. The sellers who were slow to respond to the market change are scrambling now to get back in the game with some big price reductions bringing their property into the competitive arena. Banks are bouncing around with their interest rates... some even inching them up!
Anyone out there thinking the market is going to come down should think again and get busy with whatever their plans are. We live in the most beautiful part of the world and it's only a matter of time before our real estate prices are on the rise again... my humble opinion anyways!
Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Virgin Tours

Administrator Extraordinaire... Kimberly... has successfully put the finishing touches on the video experience that we're about to go live with. It's a completely serious way of checking out new kelowna real estate, but with a little "tongue in cheek" component to it at the same time. There will be a direct link from our website at as well as being on YouTube. And of course, you'll find it right here!
We're calling it The Virgin Tours... you're first time through a house with me! During the time we've spent creating this, it's been amazing to discover different things on-line. One internet nugget for me, was YouTube.
I've been googling information for a good 5-6 years now (bye bye to 52 encyclopedias!) and always look for the written word. Just recently I've started to search YouTube for instructions or info that I can SEE. It's very easy and easy to retain more of the information.
Wow... it makes me shake my head in wonder to remember that when I started in Real Estate 23 years ago (I was 15), I drove around with a roll of quarters (dimes would really date me) for the pay phone while I was working.
How do you use the internet? Are you a YouTuber, Facebooker, or is Twitter your social media of choice?
Talk to you soon...
PS I'll keep you posted to when we go LIVE!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Green Kelowna Real Estate

I'm really pumped about a house I'm listing today. It's Kelowna's first Built Green GOLD Certified house. In the last year there has been a spike in the number of people asking me about GREEN features in their housing. The most common items are heating/cooling and windows. This house has some amazing features that are very earth friendly. Bamboo flooring... HIGHLY renewable, bamboo grows and can be harvested every 3 years, is very hard and durable. With all the chatter about water conservation in our valley the home's grey water re-cycling system is a top end winner and the kitchen counters made of re-cycled glass are gorgeous!
I'm curious about people's current and future intentions... would you pay more for a green item in your home?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New video coming for Kelowna Real Estate

I've been out of commission for the last couple days... sick from medicine that was supposed to make me feel better. NOTE to self: NEVER take apo amoxi clav!!!
Looking back it's sort of funny when you're sick and your brain is fuzzy. I soldiered on through work and am SO thankful for my assistant Kimberly who kept the playing field level when I was hallucinating! Thanks Kim...
Lots of activity in the last few days on most of my listings. The higher end ones are still a little sluggish but picking up. Hits on the internet are on the rise too. Speaking of the internet, watch for my new video that'll be coming hopefully before the end of April. A movie star I'm not, but it's fun trying out new ways to get plugged into the internet. I'll keep you posted!
Talk to you soon....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Real estate prices in Kelowna

I actually had a REALTOR tell me that there's "no doubt" the prices will continue to drop in Kelowna for the next several months. Has he not seen any stats??? Has he not noticed sale prices levelling out, or the fact that sellers are getting the message and finally reducing their prices??
Sales were up 34.4% in March (OK... who needs to be that precise) over last month, which by the way were up over the month before that one and so on...
Sale prices have been stabilizing when you compare properties that are similar and higher end home sales are picking up steam as well. Buyer confidence is returning.
Sellers are always slow to accept downward price movement, and who can blame them, when the market changes. Check out the DOM (days on the market) for listings now showing price reductions and you'll see that they're 100+ days...
What has been steadily declining is the number of sellers that think their homes are worth what they were worth 12 months ago. Price reductions to current market value is today's reality. Let's not get it confused with a falling real estate market.
Talk to you soon...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Internet Exposure

We've been busy for the last year getting plugged into the internet. It's been an amazing transformation and something we didn't expect to grow so quickly in our wildest dreams! We first started with our website...
Our website has been around for over a decade now and we've updated it from time to time over the years. Recently we spent a LOT of money (who knew that could be so expensive???) to re-vamp the entire site and are now finding that we can monitor where and often why the traffic comes to our site. The beauty of this is that we can customize and target our ads, for instance by using the most popular key words, see what people are looking at and for how long, and best of all it takes the guess work out of advertising. Bye bye newspaper! Next we moved into the marketing aspect and started linking forwards and backwards to all kinds of real estate sites. Our listings receive exposure on hundreds of sites and traffic around this is growing at a crazy rate.
I was sitting talking to our assistant Kimberly this morning and told her I was discouraged because I didn't think anyone was reading this blog. She quickly pulled out our detailed report and voila... 36 of you have read this blog in the last 2 weeks and the average time on-site was almost 6 minutes! I didn't think that was too bad for a new blog!
I'm curious... does anyone read the paper for information any more?
Have a great Easter weekend.
Talk to you soon.....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Foreclosures not such a great deal

It's the first sunny warm day I can remember in the last..... don't actually remember! Phones are ringing and the Kelowna real estate market seems to be at long last picking up.
One of the things that we get asked a lot about are foreclosures. Most think they are the best way to get a "good deal" when in fact there are so many details and things that work very definately AGAINST buyers that I thought I'd take a moment to address it. When a property goes into foreclosure and is being offered for sale on the active market the most common way a court date is set is by an actual offer being accepted with the only subject being "subject to court approval". This then opens up a whole can of worms... if you're the buyer with the accepted offer in place, you're tied to that house until the court date. In the interim anyone else can not only go to the courthouse to see what your office is, they too can make an offer. Generally these offers will be slightly higher than yours and will be presented in a sealed envelope so you, the person with original offer, doesn't know what they're up against. All due diligence (financing, home inspection, etc.) has to be done prior to going to court which means costs are incurred by a buyer.
Once the court has approved an offer, the buyer, who has already agreed to the house being in a "as is, where is" condition upon possession may find on move-in day that the old owner has taken a 9 iron to do some golf practice inside the house. The buyer has no recourse should damage, large or small, occur after offer acceptance.
The last but not least detail that can bungle all a buyers best efforts is that Canadian Banks (who rank #1 in the world by the way!) are mandated to attempt to get as close to "market value" as possible in a foreclosure situation. 3 appraisals are usually done and the court has to get as close to that as possible.
There are many other ways to get an incredible deal with a lot more safety nets for you the buyer available... foreclosures should be at the bottom of your list. Give me a shout if you're wondering what direction to go in.
Hope you're enjoying the sunshine.
Talk to you soon...


Monday, March 30, 2009

Kelowna Real Estate Deals - Upper Mission

Got a GREAT deal for a client in the Upper Mission area of Kelowna over the weekend. Over 250 homes are currently for sale in the area and if you can take your time, eventually someone will bite at a low offer.
We've been seeing quite a number of price reductions which is confusing to some people. Are the prices still coming down?
I believe that there have been enough consistent sales now to indicate that the market has bottomed out for the most part. There are of course, still some VERY financially motivated people who may take less than fair market value, but those sellers are getting picked over. Instead, the price reductions that are coming through are those who were slow to the market change and are just now reducing their prices to where they should have been 5 months ago.
If you're thinking about it... do it! It's a pretty amazing time right now to be a
buyer in the Kelowna real estate market!
Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A most frustrating day. 2 deals have collapsed because of the info posted yesterday regarding out of country money. All outside of my control but disappointing times 10 for the sellers/buyers who were pinning hopes on moving ahead.
On a lighter note... my slip fell off during a meeting I was having with a client while walking through their home. I felt something wierd under my dress and when I looked down, there was the slip in a puddle at my feet. Hilarious! Client didn't notice at first, but we had a good chuckle over that one!
My job is never boring.
Talk to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interesting tid-bit in the world of mortgage financing. We've found banks have tightened up some rules, while still providing great access to funding for buyers. What has changed to the extreme in some cases though, is foreign buyers trying to purchase with out-of-country money. Getting money out of other countries can be tricky... so it's best to leave the subject to financing longer to allow all the "hoops" to be jumped through.
Also, people with pools are starting to put their places on the market. Spring must REALLY be coming!
Talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Another day... and I'm up at the crack of 3 AM!!! What's with that?
Friday is my day off and today I hiked up through the hills behind my house. My mind likes this time to unwind all the things that have happened during the week. I was successful in gluing 3 buyers and sellers together. Now we do the waiting game while subjects are being met.
I also picked up the copy of the Real Estate Weekly and there were mistakes in our ad. BIG pet peeve of mine and it seems no matter with a call, e-mail or fax, our corrected proof is often wrong!
Does anyone read the Real Estate Weekly any more? Where do you go for
Kelowna real estate info?
Have a great weekend!
Talk to you tomorrow...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wow... talk about real estate rock stars! I'm working with these amazing people who are selling their home. They have an incredible amount of stress in their lives. They take it all in and still keep smiling. We've been working for so long to get an offer and just when you least expect it TWO come in! Now that one is accepted, they have one more week of anxiety to see if the Buyer removes their subjects. Come on REG! (For those of you who've never heard me refer to REG... it's Real Estate God) .
Talk to you tomorrow...


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

March 18, 2009

Hey... this is my first post. I'm new to blogging and am wanting to do something light and yet informative.
I've been in the business for 23 years now and have seen all sorts of markets. Being a buyers market now is terrific for those who were finding affordability an issue. Interest rates are at their lowest in years and inventory is up!
Keep coming back... I'll find my groove and there'll be some good stuff here!