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.

 

 

 

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.

April 23, 2020

Tips For Making The Most Of Your Virtual House Hunt

Social distancing is one of the most responsible things you can do right now—both to protect your health and the health of the people in your community. And with social distancing in full swing, searching for a home in the traditional sense—including going to tour homes in person—is getting put on the back burner.

But just because you can’t see homes in person doesn’t mean your home search has to suffer! A recent article from realtor.com outlined tips for conducting a virtual house hunt that’s just as good as the real thing, including:

  • Look for red flags in listing photos. You don’t want to waste your time virtually touring homes that aren’t going to be the right fit. When going through a listing, look for red flags that might indicate that a listing isn’t what it seems—and isn’t worth your time (for example, photos that are stretched in an effort to make the room look bigger, or a complete lack of photos of the home’s interior).
  • Ask your real estate agent to go into detail during virtual tours. Thanks to technology like Zoom or FaceTime, your agent can take you on a virtual tour of potential properties. But video doesn’t catch all the small details you would catch if you were physically in the space (like the finishes on cabinets, or crown molding on the ceiling)—so make sure to ask your agent to talk you through those details.
  • Check out the neighborhood. There are a ton of interactive map tools on the internet that will give you insights into a potential home’s neighborhood—so make sure you use them.

Bottom line? If you’re looking for a home right now, you’re going to have to get creative with your home search. But with a little creativity, technology, and patience, there’s no reason your virtual home search can’t be just as effective as a traditional search!

Posted in Buying a Home
April 16, 2020

A Few Red Flags To Look For If You’re Considering A Fixer-Upper

If you’re the handy type, buying a fixer-upper can be a challenging, gratifying, and all-around fun experience. But even if you consider yourself a master of all things DIY, there are certain homes that are going to be a drain on your finances—and just aren’t worth fixing up.

A recent article from a personal finance resource Money Crashers outlined the warning signs a fixer-upper might actually be a money pit. Some of the biggest red flags to look for include:

The smell of moisture. Moisture can not only cause structural damage to the home, but it can also promote the growth of mold—and make it completely uninhabitable. If you can smell moisture, consider it a major red flag.

Sloping or sagging floors. If the floors of a house are warped, it’s an indicator of structural problems.

A bad roof. Repairing or replacing a roof is an expensive undertaking. So, if a property’s roof is about ready to give and nothing can be negotiated, it’s probably a good idea to move on.

Foundation issues. It doesn’t matter how well you fix up a house—if it’s built on a faulty foundation, you’re going to run into serious (and expensive) issues down the road.

Bottom line? Fixer-uppers can be a fun and potentially profitable challenge—but if you’re dealing with a house with serious structural damage, that fun challenge can quickly turn into an expensive nightmare. Make sure to use the help of Realtors and Home Inspectors to insure you don't end up with any surprises when buying a fixer-upper. 

Posted in Buying a Home
April 8, 2020

Tips to Help Keep Living Room Clutter Under Control

Your living room is probably one of the most high-traffic rooms in your home—and, as such, it’s also one of the rooms most prone to accumulating mess and clutter. Here are some tips you can use to clear the clutter and get your living room organized.

  • Stop using the coffee table as a mailbox. If your coffee table is currently cluttered with bills, letters, and offers you’ll never open, it’s time to get organized. First, sort your mail and toss anything you don’t need. Then, create a designated spot for important mail that’s out of sight (and off your coffee table)—and make sure to stay on top of incoming mail and sort or toss immediately.
  • Get rid of any non-living room items. If there are any items that don’t belong in your living room (like your bathrobe, slippers, or children’s toys), get rid of them and put them in their appropriate spots. Keep a clear bin or basket in the living room to toss any non-living room items throughout the day—and make it a habit to return any items to their rightful spot in your house every night before bed.
  • Revamp your pillows and blankets. A few accent pillows and a throw blanket can make your couch look chic and cozy—but too many and your couch will look like it’s drowning in fabric and plush. Take stock of your blankets and pillows; if there’s anything that doesn’t match your current decor, has any signs of wear-and-tear, or makes your couch and living room look covered, stash it in a closet.
April 1, 2020

We're Still Selling Houses…Just Differently.

As you can imagine, a lot of home sellers are considering taking their house off the market until the COVID-19 virus has passed, or is at least under control.

For some people that’s totally fine to do. If they have no absolute need to sell a house, and can wait it out until they feel more comfortable, they should just wait it out.

It’s just not that cut and dry for a lot of sellers, though. Life can’t be put on hold entirely — especially since we don’t really know how long “waiting it out” will be. So for a lot of sellers, the question has become how should we proceed?

So here’s what we’ve been doing so our clients and us can lower the risk of exposure, and do our part to “flatten the curve” as they say…

  • We video ourselves doing a walk-through tour of your home.
  • Any buyers who are interested in your house are sent the video before being able to schedule to see the house in person.
  • If they like what they see, and need to get in to see it in person before making an offer, we schedule a time for you to be out and for them to see it.
  • We advise the agents and buyers not to come see the house if they are feeling sick, or have been recently exposed.
  • We also make sure that the buyer is indeed serious and qualified before allowing the appointment, more so than we even typically do (which is a lot).
  • We will assure agents and buyers that you’ve done your best to disinfect all surfaces they may touch.
  • After the showing, give any surfaces they may have touched, such as door knobs, another cleaning.
  • Reviewing offers, negotiating, and any other paperwork throughout the process can be done remotely. We will send it to you digitally, and we can go over it in real time, on the phone as well as screen sharing.
  • And of course, throughout the process, we will keep any in-person, face-to-face meetings to a bare minimum and follow the recommended distancing advice.

Of course, if you want to hold off, by all means do so! There will be buyers whenever this all settles down.

However, if you’re in a position where you need to sell your home for whatever reason, this is actually a good time to do so. You’ll likely find less seller competition, and the buyers who are looking are obviously serious and need to buy a house. We just need to take more precautions than usual to keep us all safe and healthy while continuing to live as normally as possible.

Either way, hang in there! This too shall pass!

Posted in Selling Your Home
March 25, 2020

5 Home Products Designed With Your Worst Germ Fears in Mind

We’ve all become a lot more sensitive to germs and being cautious about what we touch—even in our own homes. Try as you may, it can often feel impossible to keep your home clean and germ-free for long. If you’re someone who flinches at the very thought of bacteria-laden surfaces inhabiting your abode, you may find comfort in knowing there are products designed to put your mind at ease.

No matter how much and how often you clean, sometimes the best solution is to minimize what you touch, and how often you touch them. Well, these gadgets ensure that you can do just that, and give you an edge on staying healthy.

1. Hands-free soap dispenser and faucet

Sure, you’re washing your hands frequently, but what germs are you leaving behind on your soap dispenser and faucet handles before you lather up?

With a sensor soap pump, you can wave those worries goodbye. This hygienic and hands-free solution has a sensor that dispenses the right amount of soap without requiring even a gentle touch. Simply wave your hand and voila! It’s perfect for kitchens and bathrooms. Plus, it’s easy to refill. By soaping up your hands before you touch your faucets, you’re minimizing the spread of germs.

If you want to go the extra mile, install a touchless faucet, which senses your presence, and even shuts off automatically when you remove your hands to reduce water waste.

2. Self-sealing, voice-activated trash cans

Taking out the garbage has to be one of the grimiest household chores out there. But with a self-sealing, self-changing trash can, you can breathe a little easier on garbage day. The Townew garbage can was created, not surprisingly, by a founder with a slight case of germaphobia. This self-sealing and self-changing trash can uses infrared sensors to prevent overfill, and most importantly, seals in odors.

Or, opt for a voice- and motion-sensor trash can which recognizes three commands, including “open can,” “stay open,” and “close can.” If your hands are full or covered in bacteria from touching raw meats, this prevents the spread of germs and saves you from cleaning yet another surface. And, hey, if nothing else, you know at least something in your home will listen to you.

3. Washable keyboard

If you spend large amounts of time at your computer (and possibly even eat any or all of your three meals beside it or over it), you may be wondering what nasty germs are lurking beneath and between those keys. A washable keyboard can put your mind at ease. Designed to be hand-washed or even submerged, these officemates are ideal for anyone who’s not only worried about germs but may have also dropped a drink or squirted ketchup between the keys. And if you’ve ever dreamt of typing from the tub, here’s your chance.

4. Smartphone sanitizer

A smartphone often feels like a lifeline, but in addition to storing tons of contacts and information, it may also be storing plenty of germs. To ensure your phone is getting the deep clean it needs, consider a UV sanitizer that kills up to 99.9% of bacteria and viruses without the use of chemicals or mercury. Rid your phone of germs in just one minute with the help of two UV-C germicidal LEDs. Then dial, text, and swipe with confidence.

5. Touchless toilet flush

Not only is an automatic flush toilet more sanitary, but if you have kids and you’re expecting guests, you’ll never be embarrassed by an unpresentable surprise in the powder room again. It’s easy to install and you won’t have to worry about germs coating that handle any longer.

You’ve got enough to think about and worry about, let items like these cut down on some common germ-catchers in the home.

Posted in Around the Home
March 19, 2020

8 Ways To Upgrade Your Home’s Style…Without Breaking The Bank

You can upgrade your home’s style with these easy projects.

1. Paint!

A new coat of a light, neutral paint will make any room look and feel invigorated.

Not sure what to choose? Sherwin Williams Accessible Beige works just about anywhere if you like neutrals. Not into beige? That’s ok. Agreeable Gray is a great cooler neutral, and Alabaster is the perfect white-but-not-TOO-white.

 

 

 

So fresh. So clean.

2. Remove The 90’s Ducks

Maybe your home doesn’t have literal country blue ducks all over the kitchen, but if you have an older home, chances are good there’s some equally cheesy decor hanging around. Just taking out the cheesy badness of decades past — by removing the wallpaper or covering up the hokey paint — will make your home look and feel much fresher.

 

 

 

It’s got to go.

 

3. Get Rid of Grime

Take a close look at the surfaces that often get ignored. Places like the base molding and window sills often have a layer of grime that needs to be removed or even repainted. Get your elbow grease on and try a Magic Eraser on these surfaces. If that doesn’t work, fresh caulk and a new coat of bright white paint will go SO FAR to making your place look bright and clean again.

 

null

 

Get ready to scrub.

 

 

4. Highlight One Wall

If you’re already working with a neutral palette, you can add in some personality and pizazz. Add an accent wall in a fun spot like your breakfast nook or powder bath and really go all out.

You can use wall stickers or removable wallpaper for a low commitment look, or go simple and slap on the paint. Just this one simple addition will make you smile whenever you walk in the room.

 

 

 

How cute is this?

 

5. Add Art

Adding art to your home is a great way to add style. This doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. For around $100 or less you can get great pieces at IKEA .

 

6. Show The Ones You Love

Nothing will bring a sense of home like the faces of your loved ones. You can add professional portraits if you like, or you can share your happy memories of more candid moments in a big ol’ grid like the one below.

 

BRB – I’m about to buy some photos.

 

7. Change Out The Faucets

Now that we’ve fully addressed the walls, let’s turn our attention to other areas. Those “crystal” faucets? They’ve got to go.

Luckily, replacing them is a pretty easy project AND you can get some much better looking alternatives at your local Home Depot. This super simple faucet is a huge upgrade.

 

null

 

You can do this. Trust me.

 

 

8. Bring The Outdoors IN!

Adding plants brings a vibrant, happy energy to any room, and they can be super cheap, too.

 

 

 

These little guys just want you to take them home!

 

 

 

 

 

There you have it — some great ways to spruce up a house on the cheap. Which one will you try first? Fair warning: Once you get started, it’s kind of addictive.