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...