In all the excitement and packing, buying & selling, many people forget to take care of some essential items before they move.  Don’t look past these 5 things you need to take care of, or it could cost you $$$.

  1. Take care of all subscriptions: Magazines, memberships, recurring orders, gym memberships.  Get a head start on updating your address or cancelling memberships before charges mount on your credit card.  We suggest you take care of this at least 30 days prior to your move, as many gyms, clubs, and mail subscriptions require this much time for cancellation or updates.
  2. Change your address at the post office: For a small fee Canada Post will allow you to register your new address to ensure all your mail finds its way to your new home.  Leaving bills or an outstanding balance behind, may impact your credit score, as well as lead to accumulated interest charges -–neither of which you are likely o want.
  1. Call utility providers: Cable, internet, electricity, gas, etc…These are all services that you should be making contact BEFORE you move. Many of these services can pivot on a dime so not much notice is required, but we do recommend making contact at least 1 week prior to your move date.  Make a list of required utility providers & check it twice!  Or, you could wind up paying for someone else’s electric bill!
  1. Manage your motor vehicle insurance: If you are new to British Columbia here is what you need to know; ICBC allows up to 90 days to switch over your licence, and 30 days to register, license and insure your vehicle.

If you are moving within the Province, you must update your address within 30 days of moving.  Your auto-insurance policy must always show your current home address and vehicle use, so do not forget to update this information!

  1. Get a ‘To-Go’ box ready: Whether you are moving across the country, province, or just down the street, make sure that you have a go-to box ready. This should contain items you will need as soon as you get to your new home; cleaning products, toilet paper, garbage bags, paper towels, clean sheets, fresh towels, paper plates and eating utensils and maybe even a bottle of bubbly to celebrate.



Before you set your sights on the condo unit and complex you think are right for you (and likely enter into competition), read this guide to help you find your perfect home.


  1. Hire a professional Realtor® to represent you and your best interests. A good Realtor® will know the in’s and out’s of building complexes in your target area, and fight for your best interests (including best price, best terms, and best chances of winning any potential bidding war).
  2. Make sure that you are pre-approved for mortgage financing before you start the search. This will help you know your budget, saving you time, money and potential heartache.
  3. Be prepared to see a variety of building styles based on your price range. High rise, low-rise, and varying amenities will all come into play.
  4. Consider condo fee’s into your overall monthly mortgage payments. Although you want to be sure that the strata you are buying into charges enough fee’s per month to cover any major building contingencies, keep in mind that often times the more amenities a building has, the higher the monthly strata fees are.  Are you willing to sacrifice location or square footage for let’s say a pool?
  5. Bringing us back to condo fees, once you find out what they are, learn exactly what the fee’s will include.
  6. Be prepared to act fast and go in with the most intelligent and competitive offer you can. Condo’s are in high demand.  If you see a unit you like, you will need to act quickly and put in an offer before someone else snaps it up.
  7. Keep in mind the long term and seasonal comfort of the unit. For example, a southern exposure will be bight and sunny, however, it is likely to become very hot in the summer months.  Are you prepared to purchase a portable air conditioner or fans to keep you comfortable, and are such devices permitted within the strata bylaws?
  8. Do you have pets? If so, you must refine your search to only include buildings that will allow pets, and your pet in particular must be kept in mind (many strata regulations include bylaws about not only the amount and types of pets that are permitted, but their size as well).
  9. Keep resale in mind! A studio apartment (for example) will be more difficult to re-sell.
  10. Don’t sacrifice on location. If you want to be close to shopping, buy close to shopping.  If you want to live close to work, then buy something close to work.  If you want to live close to pubs and nightlife, then buy something close to pubs and nightlife.  Keep in mind: You can always change the interior of a unit with renovations, but you can never change it’s location.
  11. Note the condition of common areas like the lobby, elevator, stairwells, grounds and amenities. If there are peculiar smells, or if the building is run-down, there may be major underlying issues – consider buying elsewhere.
  12. Find out who the other building occupants are. Are most residents young, old, families, etc and how does this age demographic fit into your life.
  13. When you are ready to make an offer, make sure to listen to your Realtors® inside information. Your Realtor® will research what other comparable units in the building have recently sold for and help you prepare to make the best offer.
  14. Once you have secured an accepted offer, be sure to read and review all strata documents you will be given – read meeting minutes, special meeting minutes, bylaws, etc so that you know exactly what issues may have been dealt with, or may be dealt with in the future (any major building issues for example will likely require additional strata fee’s, which means a higher monthly payment from you).
  15. Keep your eye on the prize and be prepared to lose out on a deal – in this highly competitive market, the reality is that it’s likely to happen.

First time home buyer lifestyle considerations

Good job!


As a first time home buyer you have worked hard, scrimped and saved every shiny dollar to make your dreams of home ownership come true.  But, before you jump into the deep end, consider how much home fits into your lifestyle.



Green Thumb Gripes

Green thumb?

If you love the idea of mowing grass, pruning bushes, raking fall leaves, weeding and planting fruit, veggies and flowers your lifestyle may be ready for a yard.

On the other hand, if you have been known to kill a cactus, yard maintenance should be avoided – or at the very least handled by a strata that will allow you to be hands off.



Fixer Upper Fever

Okay, so there is a great listing you can’t get out of your head.  It needs a lot of work to bring it up to snuff, but it’s in the right location and at the right price.

Be realistic!

Buying a fixer upper means you are going to have to fix it up – this costs money, and likely a whole bunch of it!

Depending on the condition of the home, it may just need some new paint on the walls, some new flooring or upgraded light fixtures or cabinet hardware.  Easy enough, for the most part these are realistic home fixes that will not break the bank.

However, don’t be fooled by what you can see, be realistic about what you can’t.  First things first, and for any home purchase be sure to get a home inspection.

If the home needs major system upgrades, ask yourself if you can you afford the cost of a new roof, gutters, furnace, electrical and plumbing upgrades – and more!  If the cost for these essential home systems are not in your immediate budget, you should probably consider something else.



Nightlife Fever

If an active nightlife is what you enjoy, be sure to consider this into your home purchase.  If you go out clubbing or pubbing, how will you get home?  Is transit nearby?  Is the neighbourhood safe to use late night transit systems?  Is the weekly cab fare to get home safely going to break the bank?

These may seem inconsequential, but they are not.

Be sure you will safely enjoy the lifestyle you love, regardless of where you live.



Jet Setting Globe Trotter

Do you enjoy travel in your current lifestyle?

If so, factor this into consideration when buying your first home.  Where do you want to go?  How often do you want to travel?  How much are your future travel plans going to cost?

There is no right or wrong answer – just factor in all costs before buying your new home.


If you are considering renovations prior to selling your home, make sure your hope of return on investment meet market expectations and what home buyers are willing to open their wallets for.  Here is a list of the least valued home renovations that offer the lowest return.

For renovations that offer the highest return, read my blog TOP 5 HOME RENOVATIONS THAT OFFER THE HIGHEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT


  1. BATHROOM ADDITION:  Although the idea for an added bathroom may seem like a sure-fire bet to a high rate of return, the cost vs resale on this project is meek.  Be sure that if you embark on adding an additional bathroom to your home, you are doing it for the comfort and liveability of you & your family.
  • The average job cost for a bathroom addition is $42,233 with a resale value of $23,727 offering only a 56.2% return on investment*


  1. UPSCALE BATHROOM ADDITION: If you are planning an upscale bathroom addition for your home, you will see a higher return than a simple bathroom addition, however, by no means should you expect 100% return on this project.  Before embarking on this project, please check your motivations and set yourself up for realistic payback.
  • The average job cost for an upscale bathroom addition is $79,380 with a resale value of $45,006 offering only a 56.7% return on investment*


  1. UPSCALE MASTER SUITE ADDITION: Although buyers swoon over a large master bedroom, the cost vs. resale of this project offers less than 60% return.
  • Average job cost for an upscale master suite addition is $245,474 with a resale value of $140,448 offering only a 57.2%% return on investment*


  1. UPSCALE BATHROOM REMODEL: Although the bathroom is an important room to any home owner and definitely to any buyer, be sure that youre watching your wallet when it comes to any bathroom renovation project costs.  Things like new faucets, new handles on vanities, new shower heads and new lighting are great ways and inexpensive ways to bring beauty into your bathroom.  If an upscale bathroom renovation is on your radar, plan the project for your own benefit.
  • With an average job cost of $57,411 and a resale value of $32,998 you will see a 57.5% return on your investment*


  1. DECK ADDITION (Composite/Upscale): Your deck should be useable, safe and meet all building code standards, but if you are planning a large upscale deck addition prior to selling your home, know your ROI forecast first.
  • The average cost of this renovation project is $37,943, with a resale value of $21,877 offering a 57.7% return on investment.


*Remodeling Magazine Cost vs. Value Report

Top Issues Found During Home Inspections


When it comes to buying and selling homes, most contracts include a contingency that will allow buyers to back out or re-negotiate the sale based on issues found during a home inspection.  Selling a home can be stressful, to feel confident in the sale of your home check out these common home issues before listing.

We recommend a pre-sale home inspection – which may even sweeten your home sale by adding an element of transparency when you share the report with the buyers agent.


Basement Moisture

Regardless if your basement is beautifully finished or could have been the location for the latest big screen thriller, a major issue found in home inspections is moisture or seepage.  If your basement shows signs of moisture, leakage or has an air of dampness you may have an issue.  Call a trusted home inspector to get the lay of the land, or a contractor who specializes in basement repair.  The possibility of basement flooding will not appeal to even the savviest of ‘fixer upper’ home buyers.


Outdated Roof

The hat for your home.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but if your roof is old you run the risk of facing major leaks during the next rainy season.  If left unattended, an old roof may lead to major damage of other existing home systems and property.  If your shingles are peeling and look old, you likely need a new roof – get on the phone and start calling local roofing companies.


Poor Workmanship

DIYers take heed!  There are (for example) building codes for things like your deck, car port, garage, retaining walls, plumbing, electrical and other home projects and systems.  If you are going to tackle these projects yourself, make sure to do your research and learn what building code requirements exist in your city.  Better yet, have a professional come double check your work before you pat yourself on the back  – it could save you from property damage, personal injury, costly lawsuits, or the sale of your home.



All major components of your home do require maintenance.  Just as you get an oil change, replace brake pads, and rotate tires on your vehicle, your home needs regular attention and cleaning.  Be sure to pay attention to things like furnace and central air maintenance, cleaning dryer vents, water heaters, exhaust fan filers for your stove, check caulking in places like tubs and shower surrounds yearly.  Prevention is better than a cure – and it costs less!



3 tips to sell your tenant occupied home

A tenant occupied property is more difficult to sell than an owner-occupied property.

Aside from the 24 hour showing notice, your tenant is likely to not have your property in show-home ready condition; dishes piled up in the sink, dirty floors and bad odors are just some of the issues you may be up against…Depending on the tenant, you may be facing outright sabotage.

Here are three simple tips, to avoid tenant interference:

1. Make sure that before you even put the home on the market, you set the stage with the tenant. Let them know you are going to be selling, and what you expect from them. Answer their questions, and let them know what to expect during the sale (people walking through the home, people driving by and slowing down to peek at the home, etc)

2. Enlist the services of your agent to represent you at showings. No never know what your tenant is going to say to potential buyers and buyer agents. Always know, your agent is there to always represent your best interest.

3. Be sure that you and your agent can get into the home prior to listing, and note any major damages that your property may be suffering from, and obtain quotes for the cost of repair, for example; holes in the walls, new floors, new paint, cleaning service.
Bonus Tip: Always be sure to take the advice of your agent when selling your tenant occupied property.
Good luck!

3 Things you DO NOT want to speak of when selling your home

Loose links sink ships (try saying that fast three times), and when it comes to selling your home what you say may very well hurt you.

#1: Although you do want to talk openly & honestly about your neighborhood, you do not want to share gossip about your neighbors. Falling into defaming conversations about the people you share a community with will only cause you harm – after all, who wants to live next to nincompoop?

#2: Don’t say something your home is when it isn’t. If your roof is 20 years old, don’t say that it’s new. If your windows are old and drafty, don’t say that they are the latest and greatest in energy efficiency. If your home needs updates, be honest! Lies = lawsuits (and bad karma).

#3: Don’t talk about price; your agent is there to get you top dollar, use your agent to negotiate the price or you might end up cutting yourself short by saying too much.

#4: Now that the market has shifted, and prices are adjusting your house may not sell in less than a day. Don’t talk about your motivation and reasons why you are selling, if you come off as over-anxious or in a panic to sell, you are likely to leave money on the table.

#5: Do talk about any reno’s that you have done, but do not speak about in terms of getting 100% of your money back – because you likely won’t. Fact: When you are considering selling, and renovations need to be done, know that you are doing your ren’s to stand out in the crowd and to present better than homes that have not underwent upgrades. The truth of the matter, when you are doing reno’s to sell, watch your nickles and dimes because you may not even get 50% of your money back on the sale.

At the end of the day, when you are selling your home always stay positive about your neighbors, your community and your motivations.


Lantzville is a smaller community (3,400) that borders the North end of Nanaimo and connects to the South border of Nanoose Bay. Lantzville sits on mostly low bank waterfront and is made up of typically larger lots than that of the suburban neighbourhoods of Nanaimo. It’s a historical town with its beginnings based in the 1920’s coal mining era. Lantzville is a quieter community that still retains many of its larger trees, a leafy neighbourhood and the yards are usually fenced completely, instead of just the backyards. The waterfront properties have spectacular views of the Georgia Strait and when the tide is low, it’s a great place to walk on the pebble beaches. There are some “dog friendly” beaches in Lantzville that are popular with the dog loving families. (Me included)

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Nanoose Bay

Nanoose Bay, a spectacularly scenic community that embraces nature with the added bonus of being located in between two popular Central Vancouver Island waterfront cities. Nanaimo and Parksville, being only 10 & 15 minutes away from Nanoose Bay, with every shopping and service amenity possible. Nanaimo Hospital and Vancouver Island University are 20 minutes away from Nanoose Bay. There is an excellent highway system connecting all three communities.

Only 25 mins to BC Ferries, elegant Nanoose Bay has its own supermarket, post office, pharmacy and restaurants. Fairwinds Golf Club, an excellent golf course, enhances the Fairwinds homes with views that hug the course. Fairwinds Landing is a new waterfront development adjacent to the Marina. Panoramic Ocean views with plans that include a pub, restaurant and shopping. This new development will add to the already established waterfront condo building, if you are ready to move NOW! Continue reading