Welcome to Nanaimo Real Estate Team's Blog

This blog will take a look into Nanaimo's real estate market, community news and events, and everything in between! We want to keep on top of things going on in this growing city, to help show our clients what Nanaimo has to offer. Take a seat, grab something to eat or drink, and have a read.

 

 

 

July 8, 2020

6 Questions to Consider When Downsizing

If you’re considering moving into a smaller home, you may be eager to save money on mortgage payments and utilities. You might also be looking forward to spending less time and effort on interior and exterior home maintenance.

But before you begin packing up your belongings, here are a few things you might want to consider to help you choose the best one for the lifestyle you want.

1. Will this be your forever home?

Just because you’re downsizing, that does not mean you will only be considering a one-floor home. You could be looking at smaller homes with second floors, or lots of stairs.

You may still be in great health and shape, but as you age, steps often become the enemy, as climbing and descending a staircase causes pain in the back and legs. With that in mind, be realistic about the type of floor plan that best suits your future needs.

If you’re thinking this move will be your last and you’ll enjoy your retirement in this smaller space, you may want to look for a ranch, condo, or apartment that offers one-level living.

2. How much room will you need?

If you have children, even if they are in or out of college, that doesn’t mean they won’t be back to live with you at some point. Multi-generational living is on the rise. According to the Office of National Statistics, 32 percent of those in the 18 to 34 age range lived with their parents in 2017, compared with 25 percent in 1997. For men, that statistic is even higher at 37 percent. Though you may think your adult children have left the nest, they may boomerang their way back to you.

If you move to a popular destination, will you have frequent visitors? If so, do you want to open your home to them for a brief or extended stay?

These are just a couple of specific scenarios to get you thinking about the square footage you may need. If having room to accommodate adult children, grandkids, relatives, or friends is important to you, you may not want to scale back too substantially.

Of course, if you’re hoping to keep your home all to yourself, a significant downsizing should do the trick!

3. What are your storage options?

Keep in mind, if you’re downsizing, you will likely have to part with some belongings, so take an honest assessment of what you have and what of it you want to keep and bring with you.

Do you have heirloom furniture you’re not ready to part with, or large sporting equipment like jet skis or kayaks? If so, you’ll want to be sure that your next home offers a place for you to store these treasures. If it doesn’t, look into nearby storage facilities so you don’t have part with your prized possessions.

4. Will your pets be welcome?

Even if your goal is to go smaller, you’ll still want enough space to ensure your pets feel comfortable and safe.

If you have a cat or dog (or any other type of pet), you probably think of them as a four-legged family member. As you’re considering smaller spaces such as condos or apartments, make sure they’re pet-friendly. And, if your pet needs time in the great outdoors, make sure it’s allowed and that there is ample and desirable space to bring them outside.

5. Is there a sense of community?

Moving can be stressful — especially if you’re leaving behind friends, family, and neighbors you’ve known for years. Before putting down roots in a new locale, think about what your day-to-day life will be like without this close circle.

If you’re accustomed to an active social life, you’ll want to be sure your new enclave is brimming with opportunities to make new friends. Likewise, if you enjoy hobbies you’d prefer not to live without, do your due diligence so you can still enjoy the activities that bring you fulfillment.

6. What are your transportation options?

If part of your downsizing plan includes hanging up your car keys, you’ll want to explore your transportation options. From ride-sharing and community shuttles, to mass transit and air travel, know how easy or challenging it is to get around your potential new area before you move.

Taking the time to truly think about your preferences and what will make you most comfortable going forward can save you from the heartaches and headaches of having to move again.

Once you’ve made a list of must-haves, share them with your real estate agent so you’ll look at only those spaces that meet your criteria. This way your only regret will be that you didn’t downsize sooner.

June 23, 2020

5 Benefits of Homeownership (That People Often Forget About)

When you work in real estate, you spend much of your time in the weeds of a transaction, so it’s easy to forget about the true joy that comes from home ownership. At the end of the day, after all the paperwork is signed, after the champagne has been uncorked, real estate is all about real people being able to call someplace their own—a small slice of earth where they can lay their head at night and make a future for themselves and their families.

June is National Homeownership Month, making it the perfect time to remind people of some of the benefits of homeownership that we don’t always shine enough light on.

So, here are some of the true benefits of homeownership that we hear about from many first-time homebuyers:

1. Locked-in monthly expenses

Renting and hopping around from place to place can be exhausting—not only because of the constant upheaval, but also because rents keep rising, especially if you’re in a major metropolitan area. Buying a home fixes your costs in place (save for increases in taxes and insurance), and allows you the peace of mind of knowing your mortgage payment will be the same next year as it is this year. This might not seem so dramatic when you look at it in the short term, but if you’re thinking ten, fifteen years out, it’s a big deal.

2. Building a nest egg

In addition to fixing your monthly costs, you’re also buying an asset for yourself, as opposed to spending money to pay off someone else’s. The majority of Americans have a significant portion of their net worth in their home’s equity, and it’s long been a reliable way to accumulate wealth over time. Many homebuyers are sick of throwing their hard-earned money towards rent, and love the idea of using a home sort of like a savings account, especially when residential real estate has consistently appreciated over time. While it might not be the get-rich-quick scheme many people dream of, if you’re going to pay for a place to live anyway, why not be the primary beneficiary of your own hard work?

3. The joys of personalization

Sure, you can decorate an apartment or a rented house, but you can never make those intrinsic changes that make a place truly feel like it represents you. Spend enough time in a home and you’ll know exactly what you want to change to make it perfect. And decorating and remodeling can (and should) be fun. Your home is your castle, and you should make yourself feel as comfortable as possible. That’s why most people choose a home that has just the right amount of stuff they love, whether it be location, kitchen, or layout, and then change the rest of it themselves to truly make it their own.

4. Becoming part of a community

You can, of course, become a member of a community when you rent. But ownership conveys a deeper sense of belonging, especially on your end. Think about how you feel when you accidentally break something at home. When you own, the emotional frustration is deeper because that home belongs to you. It’s this same concept that drives communities to push for higher rates of owner-occupancy and homeownership. People who own in a community tend to have a bigger stake in it, if not only out of self-interest. When you buy, you’re not only making a commitment to yourself, you’re making one to your entire neighborhood.

5. A safe place to call your own

People have long valued a place to come home to and call their own. It is, after all, where we go when we’re done being out in the world. It’s a safe refuge where we can close the door and rest, spend time with our families, and be ourselves without having to worry about other people. A home gives us our own sanctuary—something every human being needs to feel safe and secure. At the end of the day, this is the most powerful reason why people strive to buy homes, and the true benefit of homeownership that outweighs all the others.

Those are just a handful of reasons agents hear from homeowners. But everyone has their own personal reasons for wanting a home…

So if you’re already a homeowner, let’s hear what you love about homeownership! And if you’re not, what would owning a home mean to you?

Posted in Buying a Home
June 17, 2020

Natural Cleaners & Stain Removers You Already Own

Nothing makes your home sparkle like a good cleaning. Whether you’re in the mood to give your rooms a thorough scrubbing or simply need to tackle a single stain, you want a cleaning solution that’s up to the job.

If you’re hoping to avoid harsh and chemical-laden products that often leave you coughing as you’re cleaning, you’re in luck. There are plenty of natural, DIY cleaners just waiting for you in your pantry, and possibly even your fridge. If you have kids, pets, or are prone to asthma, using natural solutions offers you peace of mind while you’re disinfecting your spaces.

Ready to make your surfaces shine? Check out the following ingredients that you probably already own.

Lemons

 

 

If you’ve got a cutting board you’d like to clean without contaminating it with chemicals, grab a lemon and some coarse salt and you’re good to go. Simply sprinkle your board with coarse salt, then scrub it with half a lemon, cut side down, allowing the juices to release as you work. Then, let it sit for five minutes before scraping and rinsing it.

Lemons can also help you clean your microwave without requiring too much elbow grease. Simply cut up a lemon and place the slices in a bowl of water at the center of your microwave and cook it on high for five minutes. Once that timer beeps, allow it to rest for another two minutes before removing it (while wearing oven mitts, of course). Then, watch as those food particles encrusted to the walls wipe away effortlessly.

Salt

 

 

We know that pairing salt with lemon works in the kitchen, but it’s also a dynamo in the laundry room, where it’s strong enough to battle notoriously tough stains like blood and red wine. When it comes to a fresh blood stain, cover it with salt and then blot it with cold water. Continue until your stain disappears.

Similarly, when you’re faced with removing red wine, use enough salt to cover the area and allow it to soak up the spilled liquid. Then, launder the item as you normally would.

Distilled white vinegar

 

 

This clear liquid is the ultimate multi-tasker. Add two cups of it to a dishwasher-safe cup or bowl and place it in the top rack of your dishwasher. Without any dishes or silverware inside, run your dishwasher on the hot cycle and say good-bye to that funky odor your appliance sometimes emits.

Running equal parts distilled white vinegar and water through your coffee maker is a great way to keep this beloved item fresh while removing any hard water deposits that collect inside.

Baking soda

 

 

If you want to clean your carpet without the often-overpowering fragrance of a traditional product, try sprinkling baking soda across the rug and let it sit for several hours before vacuuming your way to freshness.

Plastic containers and Tupperware frequently hold stains from previous meals. If you’d like to restore your containers to their original look, simply add some baking soda to a sponge and scrub away those discolored spots.

A damp sponge and some baking soda will work wonders on mildew in the bathroom. You can also add a teaspoon to your laundry to get your whites their brightest.

To remove hard water stains in your toilet, add a cup of baking soda to the bowl and follow it up with one to two cups of vinegar. Stand back and watch as it fizzes up to tackle this tough job. After letting the mixture sit for 10 minutes, swish it around with your toilet brush and you’ll marvel at how those stains vanish.

Vodka

 

 

Look in your liquor cabinet for this natural remedy! If you have a pet who’s recently had an accident on your carpet, you know how challenging it can be to get that smell out. Vodka to the rescue! Simply spritz the area with vodka and the odor will disappear as the alcohol evaporates.

Ketchup

 

 

This condiment isn’t just a barbecue staple. Ketchup can shine up tarnished silver and brass and even stainless steel. Simply coat or submerge your item in ketchup for 10 minutes and then rub it back to its original luster.

So, if you’re ready to clean your home but want to do it the natural way, look no further than your cupboards. You probably already own plenty of products that will help your rooms, appliances, and other household items look, smell, and feel fresh again.

June 10, 2020

Installing A Fence? Here Are A Few Tips

Fencing adds a decorative, finished touch to your property at the same time it keeps kids and pets in, and critters out. It also affords privacy, allowing you to wall in your own front or backyard oasis.

Naturally, most homeowners want fencing that boosts their curb appeal without breaking the bank or requiring too much upkeep. With that in mind, below is a snapshot of the most common types of fencing and a general price range to expect.

But before you just leap into picking a fence and installing it, make sure you…

Notify your town, utilities and your neighbors

Whether you’re replacing an existing fence or installing a brand new one, you’ll want to check with your town or homeowner’s association to see if there are any restrictions or zoning issues in place that would prevent you from proceeding to avoid any unpleasant surprises down the line. If you’re good to go, you may still need to pull a permit, or your installer may do it for you.

While a professional installer would most likely handle this, if you’re doing the installation yourself, be sure to contact your utility companies to ask if they can send someone out to locate water, gas and power lines before you start digging for your fence posts.

You’ll also want to let your neighbors know you’ll be installing or replacing your fence. Even if the town does not require that you do, it’s just a wise thing to do. In some cases, you may get lucky and find that a neighbor is willing to share the expense. But, in the least, it just helps to maintain a healthy relationship with your neighbor. Additionally, if you’re doing the installation yourself, you’ll want to keep in mind fencing etiquette which dictates that the more attractive sides face out.

OK, now onto the types of fencing you might consider…

Choose the right material for your budget and taste

The material you select not only impacts your curb appeal, it also affects the cost and lifespan of the fence. The following are common options and their pros and cons:

Wood offers a timeless look, which may be one reason it’s the most common material for fences. It can last up to two decades with proper maintenance. It’s also affordable at $13 to $19 per foot on average. Of course, that cost varies by the species of wood you choose. For example, cedar and tropical hardwoods will be more expensive than pine because they’re better able to withstand moisture. Treating your wood fence annually by staining it or applying sealant will help it last as long as possible.

Metal and chain link fences are also popular. This category includes aluminum, steel and wrought iron, and because those materials differ in durability, costs will typically range from $15 to $50 per linear foot to install. Though they provide a capable enclosure for children and pets, metal fencing made of cheaper material isn’t quite as attractive as wood or vinyl. Wrought iron fencing, on the other hand, is a higher-end option that makes a statement. When choosing a metal or chain like fence, you may want to select one with a vinyl coating as this will prevent the rust or corrosion that can damage and shorten the lifespan of your fence.

Vinyl fencing is another common pick. At $15 to $30 per linear foot, this material is known to withstand the test of time and the elements, making it a good long-term, low-maintenance investment. Because vinyl fencing is made from PVC plastic, it’s sturdy and built to last. Unlike wood or metal, you won’t need to worry about splitting, rotting, warping, or rusting. While you don’t need paint or stain vinyl fencing, it’s recommended that you power wash it annually so it looks its best.

Pro tip: Whichever fence material you choose, be sure to ask about a warranty.

Posted in Around the Home
June 3, 2020

These Are The Most Likely Newly Built Home Features For 2020

If you’re planning to buy a new home, you probably have a wish list of features. But how likely is it that you’ll find those features in a new build?

According to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders, some of the features you’re most likely to find in a new home in 2020—rated on a scale of 1 (not likely) to 5 (very likely)—include:

  • A walk-in closet in the master bedroom (4.9)
  • Low-e windows (4.8)
  • A separate laundry room (4.8)
  • Higher efficiency lighting (4.7)
  • A “Great Room”—combination of kitchen, family and living rooms (4.7)
  • Kitchen island (4.6)
  • Programmable thermostat (4.6)
  • Nine foot high ceilings on the first floor (4.6)
  • Energy Star appliances (4.6)
  • Two car garage (4.4)
  • Front porch (4.4)
  • Exterior lighting (4.3)
  • Separate area for toilet in master bathroom (4.2)
  • Water conserving toilets (4.2)
  • Bathroom linen closet (4.2)
  • Indoor fireplace (4.2)
  • Patio (4.2)
  • Walk-in pantry (4.2)
  • Energy Star windows (4.2)
  • Granite countertops in kitchen (4.2)

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? If you’re shopping for a new home, understanding the features that are common to new builds (and the features that are not-so-common) can help you set more realistic expectations for your home search—which can make the entire process easier and less stressful.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 28, 2020

What Is The Best Month To Sell Your Home?

When you’re thinking about selling your home, one of the biggest questions you probably have is when is the best time to sell?

recent study from ATTOM Data Solutions analyzed home sales between 2011 and 2019 to determine the best time to sell. According to the study, if you want to fetch top dollar for your home, you should plan on selling in June, when homes sell at an average of 9.6 percent above market value. Selling in May came in at a close second, with homes selling for an average of 8.3 percent above market value.

The Takeaway:

So, what does that mean for you? If you’re thinking about selling your home, the best time of year to do so is right around the corner. And while the home selling process is going to be different in the midst of COVID-19, June is still a great time to sell and get a high premium for your home.

Posted in Selling Your Home
May 20, 2020

Cook Up An Outdoor Kitchen That’ll Make You Want To Cook Out Even More

There’s just something special about dining al fresco. When you eat outside, food just tastes better somehow!

Whether you’re at a nice restaurant or hosting a cookout, the atmosphere of fresh air and sunshine (or even better – stars at night!) adds a fun element to just about any meal.

Grilling is great, but you can’t eat hot dogs and hamburgers all the time, though. What if you could cook outside more often? Well, with an outdoor kitchen, you can.

If you set yourself up right, you might wind up liking your outdoor kitchen even more than your indoor cookery!

Here are some suggestions for a beautiful, functional kitchen, and a list of must-have items that can take you from shabby backyard hibachi to outdoor cooking paradise.

Just be careful – if you build a dream outdoor kitchen like this, you may become the most popular house in the neighborhood…

Guidelines For A Dream Outdoor Kitchen

Make The Most Of Available Space

Not everyone has a sprawling estate with a bountiful backyard area. That’s ok, though, because there are many kitchen styles that are perfect for smaller spaces. Galley style kitchens and L-shaped kitchen layouts can give you all the cookin’ area you need – even if you’re working with a not-so-huge patio area.

Remember The Work Triangle

The work triangle is a design principle that governs the best layout of a kitchen. You might not be able to follow all the guidelines, but you should at least keep them in mind when deciding where to place your fridge, sink, and cooktop or grill. After all, you don’t want to be bumping elbows and tripping over your feet all the time – where’s the fun in that?

Flatter The Exterior Of The Home

Even though your outdoor kitchen will feel like a completely separate piece of paradise, it is still part of your home. Make sure that your new kitchen adds to the overall look of the home. There’s nothing worse than a funky add-on.

Build With The Right Materials

When it comes time to choose the finishes for your outdoor kitchen, you might be tempted to use all natural materials like marble or slate. Remember, though – this kitchen has to withstand whatever the elements can throw at it, so not all materials are suitable. Look for materials that are durable AND beautiful so your outdoor kitchen will look great for years to come.

Build It For Fun!

If you’ve ever designed or built your main kitchen, you probably put a lot of thought into what would be best for resale value. Will future buyers like this backsplash? Is it better to add a farmhouse sink or a traditional two bowl?

You don’t have to worry about that with your outdoor kitchen. This kitchen is a happy extra – not a necessity – so you can have fun with your choices and throw in little extras. Build it for you and your family so you can enjoy every minute spent in your own backyard.

Posted in Around the Home
May 13, 2020

Co-buying is on the Rise

When people consider buying a home, they’re typically thinking about making the purchase on their own or with their spouse or significant other. But there’s a new home buying trend that’s on the rise, particularly with young, aspiring homeowners: co-buying.

So, what is co-buying? Instead of buying a home on their own or with their partners, more are chipping in and buying property with their friends. How many more?

recent article from realtor.com explored the trend of co-buying, which is quickly gaining popularity with millennials who want to buy their first home without getting help from their families. According to the article, 4 percent of first-time home buyers from July 2018 to June 2019 were co-buyers—double the percentage of the previous year.

The Takeaway:

So, what does this mean for you? Since co-buying is not the most traditional path to homeownership, it’s something you may never have considered. Knowing that it not only is something others do, but is also on the rise, might just give you the direction and motivation you needed to become a homeowner.

Posted in Buying a Home
May 6, 2020

Sheltering In Place, Leads To Desire For More Space

The shelter in place orders that have been in effect for weeks across the country have many people spending more time at home than ever before. And after spending so much time in their homes, many of them are noticing what they don’t like about their current space—and what they’re looking for in a new home.

new survey from realtor.com asked people what they considered must-have features for their next home after sheltering in place. And, unsurprisingly, many of them had to do with space.

Some of the most common must-haves on buyers’ post-quarantine wishlist include:

  • More space (16 percent)
  • More/better outdoor space (14 percent)
  • Separation from neighbors (10 percent)
  • More bedrooms (9 percent)

The Takeaway:

So, what does that mean for you? If stay-at-home orders are making you realize you’re ready for a new space (and more space), you’re not alone—and you’re not stuck. Thanks to virtual tours and closings, home sales are still happening in the midst of the coronavirus—so get in touch with your real estate agent and start looking for the space you need.

April 29, 2020

The Design Trends That Are Making Their Mark In 2020

At this point, we’re well into 2020. And while the new year brought a flurry of design trend predictions, now that it’s further along in the year, it’s possible to see which of those predictions are coming true—and which interior design trends are actually gaining traction.

So, what are the design trends making a mark in 2020?

PulteGroup outlined the most popular home design trends of the year so far, including:

  • Natural textures. This trend is all about embracing elements in their raw form, adding depth and intensity to everything from furniture to decor to textiles.
  • Bold colors paired with neutrals. This year’s color trend is all about going bold with the details (think accent walls, upholstery, and statement art) and balancing out the color palette with neutrals like white, gray, and beige.
  • Botanicals. Large floral and botanical prints are a huge trend this year—and are showing up on everything from wallpaper to throw pillows to textiles.

So, what does this mean for you? The biggest design trends for 2020 have already started to emerge—and keeping your finger on the pulse of those trends will help make sure your home feels timely and on-trend.