Friday, March 5, 2010

Big White real estate

I had an appointment to show some real estate at Big White yesterday. There have been 74 sales so far this this season compared to 32 last. The real estate market took quite a hit there, with some saying they lost up to 25% of the value it was prior to this latest recession. Having said that, the buyers are out there taking advantage of the fall in prices. I spoke with a number of realtors who work predominantly at Big White and am told that most buyers are local.
After working, I was lucky enough to be able to meet some friends for skiing in the. Sunshine, warm temperatures, and snow that was soft! We do live in an amazing place.
Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Kelowna real estate... the best place to invest

A Vancouver based company sold luxury townhomes to 2010 Olympic visitors for a total of over $31 million. While I was in Vancouver to catch some of the buzz, I met 6 new people one day on the streets and 3 of them were planning on a visit to Kelowna during their Olympic stay! Upon further inquiry, these people, from different parts of the world were impressed that you could buy a nice 2 bed, 2 bath condo for around $300,000... less than where they were from!
Kelowna and our real estate are becoming international players. Check out my website for more great information about Kelowna, BC !

Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Adding value to Kelowna real estate

We've all heard that kitchen and bath reno's add the most to a home's value, but what about other items's that your real estate requires. There are a few good rules of thumb to follow when doing a renovation or addition with an eye to re-sale:
1) Your goal should ALWAYS be low cost with high impact. Sometimes a quick paint job, de-cluttering and re-arranging furniture can be just as good as a $30,000 kitchen makeover.
2) Never spend more than 5% of the homes original value. For instance if you're purchasing a $500,000 home, keep the budget at $25,000 for those reno's if you're planning on selling within a year or two.
3) Consult a realtor to find out the latest buyer trends. Are people wanting more rooms, smaller yards or vice versa?
4) Remember the market goes up and down regardless of your renovation so you want to keep to a solid time-line for the re-sale target.
Check out my website for the great link to a guide on how much various additions and/or alterations will run you.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Are you thinking of buying rental real estate?

Some changes surrounding mortgaging property are coming April 19, 2010.
Usually when someone is looking to purchase another piece of real estate, be it a rental, investment, or recreational property, lenders will have different requirements than if your buying your principal residence.
Currently, some buyers would qualify for a 5% down payment on a rental property purchase that would have to be insured by CMHC. The government is mandating a change upwards on that down payment will have to be 20% effective April 19th.
Also rules around re-financing your property will come into effect on the same date. Instead of being able to borrow up to 95% of your equity, that will be bumped down to 90%.
Although these changes are good and designed to assist Canadians to be able to manage their debt load when interest rates go up, it may be an excellent time to really get busy if you're thinking of " buying some more Kelowna real estate!
Talk to you soon...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Whose watching who in Kelowna?

Google street view has arrived in Kelowna! Will it be a boon for Kelowna real estate or will people feel their privacy has been invaded?
Using your mouse you can cruise down most of Kelowna's streets. Check out this sample video and go for a walk through Whistler, site of the 2010 Olympic games! It's incredible how technology has advanced.
For buyers unfamiliar or brand new to Kelowna, this can be an amazing tool. Check out neighborhoods, schools, shopping areas and more! This can also be a benefit for sellers now that buyers can remotely check out the surrounding area of their home that's for sale.
I had an interesting chat with Don Plant from The Kelowna Daily Courier yesterday and he published an article with a few peoples point of view (including mine!) on this new technology from google.
All in all, I believe these tools, for good or for bad, are here to stay. I'll also say that I'm a teeny bit glad that my neighborhood is not yet on this system! Wait, is that my car being towed?
Talk to you soon...

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The TOP 10 list for Kelowna real estate

And now for something completely different... Here`s the top 10 craziest things that have happened to me over the last 24 years of being a real estate agent in Kelowna.

10. My brand new car phone getting zapped by lightening on the 2nd day I owned it.
9. Having my cell phone, stored between my car seats, accidentally dial up a seller who could hear us talking about their house... that we`d just been through.
8. Having to ask a busker to loan me a dime to make a call (before cell phones!). He did, and I paid him back later.
7. Having someone try quite persistently to kiss me during a listing presentation.
6. Sending a text full of love, hugs and kisses to a new client instead of my daughter. Very embarassing mistake.
5. Locking my lock box key INSIDE a house after I had locked it up.
4. Having my slip fall off during a tour of someone`s house.
3. Showing a house to a client who happened to be a police officer, right after the seller had smoked pot.
2. Calling a buyer with a counter-offer, explaining the whole thing, only to be told I had the wrong number.
1. Showing a home at a pre-arranged time, only to get to the master bedroom and realize the sellers forgot about that pre-arranged time, and had come home for a nooner! YIKES.

Talk to you soon...

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The benefits of 2010 Olympics in Kelowna

It's hard to believe that the 2010 Winter Olympics start in just 12 days. How do you think Kelowna will fare when it's all over? Increased tourism? More business opportunities? Higher real estate prices?
It seems that everyone has an opinion and those opinions vary widely.
Approximately 5,500 people from over 80 countries will take place in 86 events for which there is an estimated global audience of THREE BILLION people! Thanks to the efforts of the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Commission our city is prepared to meet and greet whatever comes our way.
I believe that our economy will continue to flourish and grow and that the 2010 Olympics will have an effect on Kelowna and the Okanagan Valley. Only time will tell to what extent.
Talk to you soon...
PS I saw this very cool video of Vancouver and wanted to share it with you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Million dollar real estate in Kelowna

With all the talk about recovery in Kelowna's real estate market its interesting to see that the trickle up effect (see October 15th blog entry) has taken hold over the $1,000,000 mark. For the year between June 08 and June 09 there were a total of 38 sales. Between July 09 and today there have been already 56 sales. I'll be commenting on this trend again as it changes.
On a side note, 2010 is bringing a lot of changes to my career. After a long and successful business partnership, I've decided to grow my business in another direction on my own... and with assistant extraordinaire, Kimberly! I wish Al Boyle success as he winds things down and hope he reaches all his goals in 2010!
I'll keep you posted of changes coming in all my on-line marketing and websites.
Talk to you soon...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Real estate and interest rates

Well the Bank of Canada meeting day came and went with a large sign of relief for most bank rate watchers.
The B of C indicated that they are in no hurry to begin raising it's benchmark rate, at .25%, until later this year, as was originally stated. This means the prime is unchanged and that mortgage lending rates will remain low as they gurgle around, up and down. While predictions for growth are more optimistic than originally stated for 2010 and 2011,the BOC still maintains that economic recovery continues to depend on exceptional fiscal and monetary stimulus. This also translates to the housing market.
The general feeling for Kelowna real estate buyers and sellers is that times are still very good but the end of these historically low rates coupled with low down payments and longer than normal amortization periods may be on the horizon. With this in mind a growing number of people are thinking about getting their homes on the market sooner as opposed to later to capitalize on this mini flurry of activity.
As a side note, to those wondering about how our countries borrowers of mortgage money fare out to our US counterparts... it's interesting to see that over 86% of 40,000 new Canadian mortgage holders in 2009 are in fixed terms and of those 70% are in terms of 5 years or more. Very responsible Canadians!
Talk to you soon...

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Disclosure Statements for Kelowna real estate

Each year our forms for buying and selling Kelowna real estate are updated and I see this year there is a new question on the Property Disclosure Statement that sellers would fill out when putting their home up for sale. The question asks if the home has a current "EnerGuide" rating. That's great to see that line of thinking.
People are becoming more and more green in their homes and I think a lot of people don't realize there are substantial rebates and grants available when looking to build and/or upgrade your home. Check out this link for information on how you can get your home rated and apply for some of these grants and rebates.

There is also some other informative links at my Green Kelowna Real Estate Site.

We installed geothermal heating when we built and received a rebate of almost $2,000 as well as a rebate close to $1,000 for our "EnerGuide" windows. There really are some great incentives to put green in our real estate! Are you considering going green as an option?
Talk to you soon....

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A change for variable rates for Kelownareal estate?

My last blog dealt with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty speculating what the federal government might do if real estate prices rise too high and too quickly. This week Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of Canada, is trying to avoid raising bank rates before his U.S. counterpart for fear of further appreciation in the Canadian dollar. For those of us who have variable rate mortgages on our real estate now might be the time to start watching what's going on with interest rates. We all know that we can expect interest rates to rise from their historically low points... the trick is to know exactly when!
A variable rate mortgage or a floating rate mortgage is a loan where the interest rate varies to reflect the base rate of the central bank. The lender must hedge against potential interest rate changes; the borrower benefits if the interest rate falls and loses out if interest rates rise.
Many people, not only in Kelowna, but across the country have benefited for years by having a variable rate and some have opted for the more traditional closed mortgages.
I have a variable rate mortgage and will be watching to see when I think the best time to "lock in" will be. I'll keep you posted. Here's a link to my web page with the full article from the Financial Post on Friday Jan 8, 2010, called " The End of Free Money?"
Talk to you soon...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Keeping the lid on a Kelowna real estate bubble

As we've seen for the last several months, Kelowna real estate sales volume and sale prices have recovered in a healthy fashion. This has happened not only in Kelowna but other parts of the country as well.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has recently gone on record saying that if prices start to climb too high and too fast, the federal government will put a damper on by increasing minimum down payments and decreasing amortization periods. Right now the minimum down payment for insurable mortgages is 5% and the maximum amortization is 35 years. The Bank of Canada has vowed they will keep lending rates low until at least the middle of this year.
Some will say this is a bad thing. However, if you look at these possible changes and all the ramifications (the biggest being that some people won't get into the real estate market and be over their heads when rates go up, as we know they will) it will actually help contribute to a steady, stable, real estate market for everyone!
Full article: Cure for housing market carries risk

Talk to you soon...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

A fresh start for Kelowna real estate

Here we are at the beginning of 2010. What will kelowna real estate look like this year? Continued low interest rates, sale prices up, and inventory at a sustainable level could spell a very healthy and balanced real estate market.
I'm hearing from my fellow realtors that there are more and more buyers coming in again from other areas... particularly the lower mainland and Alberta. Also, the number of investors has remained steady, encouraged by low vacancy rates and better prices. First time buyers, who came back to the table in 2009, will continue to enter the market with the possibility of interest rates going up this year. Move up buyers are also busy upgrading their homes. The Olympics will shine a spotlight on our region as well. All in all... Kelowna is an amazing place to live and it's real estate should continue to thrive and prosper in the coming months.
Talk to you soon...