red house on nanaimo real estate market

Listing Your Home When There’s Nowhere to Buy

red house on nanaimo real estate market

Selling your home can be a stressful experience. We’ve written blog articles on effective staging and deciding what to fix first to help you through this process.

But even if you can sell your home for a great price (we are in a seller’s market, after all), many sellers in the Nanaimo real estate market will have one big task to worry about: having few options to buy. This is true for Island locals who are looking to downsize in retirement, as well asyoung families who need more room for a new addition to the family (and fast).

The Nanaimo real estate market is still facing a supply issue, just like the rest of Vancouver Island. This will take time to reach a state that is favourable to buyers. 

Thankfully, there are other options available for buyers who are afraid of listing their home without another deal lined up. 

Long Completion

Long completion is essentially a buffer period. When you list your home, you disclose to any potential buyer that you cannot accept any offer that completes within a certain period.

Let’s say you come to a long completion agreement with a buyer that gives you a 6-month buffer period to find a new home. 

When you look for a new home in those 6 months, you will have a better chance of having your offer accepted. This is because the original agreement is already in motion (even if it doesn’t complete until the 6 months have passed).

However, this agreement can leave you exposed. If you can’t find a home within 6 months, you will have nowhere to go unless you have prepared an alternate plan.

Find A Home First

Some readers will realise that the long completion scenario carries significant risk and immediately think of a “better” option. “Why don’t you wait until you have found an ideal new home before you list yours on MLS and sell? It is a seller’s market after all…”

Unfortunately, this option is only realistic for those who can already buy a new home today with existing savings or assets.  

A buyer needs to be able to prove without a doubt that they have the financing to move ahead with the purchase.

Even a high-valued home in a good market isn’t enough. You need a firm offer on your property before a lending institution will approve you.

Subject-to-Sale

A similar strategy that can work in some markets is when a buyer makes an offer on a property that is “subject-to-sale” of their existing home

Sure, this removes any risk from the buyer’s perspective. 

But there is almost no reason why a seller would accept it in today’s real estate market in Nanaimo.

When there are a half dozen (or more) offers on the table, why would a seller accept a “subject to” offer of any kind?

An offer like this could blow up in their face at any time, and sellers aren’t interested in trouble like that.

Rent-back Agreements

Another option that can work in some situations is a rent-back agreement, where the buyer allows you to rent the home from them until a certain date.

Most rent-back agreements last for under a year, but it is difficult to predict how the buyer will react to the idea. 

This has a better chance of happening than the subject-to-sale agreement since as a seller, you are in a favourable position.

But you can’t be sure that a buyer will accept this kind of offer. 

A rent-back agreement must come with a Plan B. Otherwise you could find yourself fielding many good offers for your home, and be forced to deny them since you don’t have anywhere to go. 

Alternative Fixes

Now that we have talked about some of the issues with conventional contact-based solutions to this problem, it’s time to look at some workarounds. 

In a difficult market, you may have to make compromises while you find your perfect new home.

Distressed Property

You can technically make a subject-to-sale offer work if the property you are looking to buy is less attractive than the average.

This could mean looking at distressed property. Distressed property is on the brink of foreclosure, or is already owned by the bank. 

This does not mean that the property will be in an advanced state of neglect, or that it will require a teardown. Many distressed properties are simply bad financial decisions made by previous owners.

Look for properties that have been on the market for one month or longer to find situations where you can make a subject-to-sale deal work.

House Sitting Arrangement

Even if you don’t have immediate friends or family who you can offer to house sit for, you can reach out to a company that pairs homeowners who are on extended work assignments or sabbaticals with reliable sitters.

This arrangement may not be best for families with children or pets, but for those who are more flexible, it can be ideal.

Some house sitting arrangements are paid, which can make up for the cost of storing your belongings until you find your new home.

Short Term Rental

For retirees or work-from-home professionals, this option can work well. Find a place to live with a month-to-month short-term lease (or even a vacation property), and take your time finding the right home.

Two large downsides of this strategy are the hassle of having to move twice, and the tough rental market on Vancouver Island

If you are looking to downsize anyways, this is an opportunity to clear out your belongings while you move out. 

Look in less competitive rental markets, which likely means outside of Victoria and Nanaimo. Cities like Ladysmith, Parksville, and Duncan will have comparatively lower rent while still being accessible for checking out new properties.

Finding Your New Home

If there’s anything that we can guarantee in the buying process, it’s an experienced realtor who deeply understands the Vancouver Island real estate market. 

Want to learn more? Get in touch with Jeff King today.

person doing taxes

Guide to Real Estate Taxes in Nanaimo

person doing taxes

Are you considering a move to Nanaimo in the near future? 

Before you start looking for real estate in one of the hottest markets in British Columbia, it is important to understand the ins and outs of real estate and property-related taxes in the area. 

These taxes will differ from other markets like Vancouver and Victoria, and in some ways, this can be an advantage for real estate investors and homeowners alike!

As you read through this guide, keep in mind that we are sharing publicly available tax advice to keep you informed.

Talk to a tax professional to know the exact details of Nanaimo real estate taxes.

Property Tax in Nanaimo

This is considered the most important real estate-related tax for those buying property in BC.

The City of Nanaimo charges this tax to fund schools, firefighting, police, road construction, and many other public services. 

Property tax is calculated using the “assessed value” of your property. 

BC Assessment calculates the value of your property every year. There are systems in place to prevent large increases in property value from resulting in similarly large property tax increases.

How does this work? Your property taxes are tied to how the assessed value of your property has changed relative to the average change of your property tax. 

Here’s a video to explain:

When you are looking at getting a mortgage, remember that many lenders will include your property taxes in your mortgage payments so you don’t need to deal with one large tax bill every year.

Provincial Property Transfer Tax (PTT)

Looking to purchase property from a seller? You will need to pay a one-time provincial property transfer tax on the purchase unless you qualify for an exemption.

This tax ranges from 1-3% of the fair market value. However, there are many situations where you can avoid it, such as:

  • The property is a new build or newly subdivided property (in this case you pay GST instead of PTT).
  • You are a first-time home buyer.
  • You are transferring property within your family.
  • The property is worth under $525,000.
  • Mobile and manufactured homes properties where you don’t own the land.

The current property transfer tax rates are:

  • 1% of fair market value up to $200,000
  • 2% of fair market value greater than $200,000 and up to and including $2,000,000.
  • 3% of fair market value greater than $2,000,000.
  • An additional 2% on residential property over $3,000,000 (with exemptions for mixed class properties and farm class properties).

Speak to a legal professional to find out how you could potentially avoid the PTT. This could change the kinds of properties you consider when you start looking. 

Foreign Buyers Tax 

The much-publicised provincial foreign buyers tax applies to foreign nationals, taxable trustees, and foreign corporations. 

This tax does not apply across the entire province of British Columbia, instead, it is focused on the Capital Region District (Greater Victoria), Kelowna, Vancouver,  and the Regional District of Nanaimo (including Qualicum Beach, Lantzville, and other communities in the area.)

In fact, recent comments from B.C.’s finance minister suggest that this tax could be coming to more communities soon to fight speculation and empty homes. 

For international buyers, a 20% tax on the fair market value of the buyer’s proportionate share of the property applies

Look for changes in the Additional Property Transfer Tax for Foreign Entities & Taxable Trustees (the official name of this tax) in the news in the coming months to ensure you are prepared for additional costs. 

Speculation and Vacancy Tax

Another recent addition, this tax was brought in by the provincial government to cut down on vacant properties.

In Nanaimo and the Capital Region District, this is a significant problem, since both rental and housing inventory is low.

Owners are required to declare how they will use their property, and any full-time residents or those who rent out for at least 6 months of the year are exempt from the tax.

A tax rate of 0.5% of the assessed value of the home is paid annually, and this rate increases to 2% for foreign nationals.

It is important to know that this tax only applies to the City of Nanaimo and the City of Lantzville, meaning many areas of the Nanaimo area are exempt entirely. 

Find out more about the speculation and vacancy tax (including exemptions) on the BC Government website

Goods and Services Tax (GST)

The provincial GST rate of 5% applies to the purchase price of a property and is due immediately after a sale. 

However, keep in mind that GST usually only applies to new builds, vacant land, short-term rental properties, and properties with titles newly registered under the Land Title and Survey Authority (LTSA).

Inquire with a tax professional about whether you will need to pay GST. However, keep in mind you will likely be more concerned with property tax and property transfer taxes.

Recent Changes to Nanaimo Property Tax

In May of 2022, a property tax increase of six percent was announced by the city of Nanaimo. 

This tax increase included a five percent general property tax increase and a one percent annual increase for general asset management. 

The city claims that this property tax increase results in approximately $139 more in property taxes for a typical household.

Nanaimo Real Estate Taxes in a Nutshell

Although Nanaimo has been tied into several recent new taxes levied by the provincial government, it is still a favourable place to buy and sell property in BC.

As we mentioned several times in this article, be sure to consult with a tax professional like a tax attorney or CPA. The Nanaimo real estate tax landscape is constantly changing, and you need to stay informed.

Check out our posts on the real costs of buying a home and the benefits of reduced debt for more insight into real estate finance.

Once you are confident your tax questions have been answered, reach out to Jeff King for expertise in buying and selling in the Nanaimo area.  

luxury nanaimo home

Guide to Nanaimo Luxury Real Estate

luxury nanaimo home

“Luxury” and “Nanaimo” haven’t been historically synonymous.

But as market forces change in British Columbia, new opportunities are popping up throughout the Vancouver Island luxury market.

Smaller cities like Nanaimo and Kelowna are being mentioned alongside Vancouver and Victoria–and for good reason.

In this guide, we will explain why Nanaimo is being sought after as a luxury real estate destination, and how luxury real estate buyers, investors, and sellers can find what they are after in the market.

Nanaimo: A New Luxury Market

Natural beauty is one of the main reasons that Nanaimo stands out as a luxury market

Waterfront access, hilltop vistas, and gorgeous west-coast forests make the Nanaimo area attractive, especially with world-class leisure attractions like golfing, boating, and wineries.

With such a mild year-round climate, it is easier to find time to enjoy these activities. 

Although the Okanagan and Interior regions of British Columbia are still attractive for retirement, vacation properties, and full-time living, challenges brought about by hotter summers and volatile weather have made Vancouver Island seem much more attractive in recent years

This is cited as one of the key reasons for the red-hot Nanaimo real estate market, and the same is true for luxury properties.

International Appeal, Recreational Focus

Buyers from the United States, and overseas are continuing to show interest in Nanaimo luxury real estate and business interests.

Many are looking for the upper range of properties available, like a $13.2 million, 11,900 sq. ft home (the priciest home on the island) that sold in early June 2022. 

The pandemic and related travel restrictions cut into the international luxury home buyer market, but this is showing strong signs of rebounding–especially for recreational properties.

The slowdown in travel convinced many domestic buyers to invest in local recreational real estate. But now that borders have fully opened again, international buyers are reentering the market and pushing those prices even higher.

In 2022, the average price for a cottage in British Columbia was $1.029 million.  

Nanaimo, often considered a recreational hotspot, is seeing a big boost in its luxury markets because of this. 

Nanaimo’s Top Luxury Locales

Some Nanaimo neighbourhoods have more to offer the luxury markets than others. 

North Nanaimo is a sprawling area that borders Lantzville, Hammond Bay, and the Uplands. 

The very best properties here are found overlooking the Strait of Georgia from lots on the rugged Rocky Point. With panoramic views that stretch all the way to the Sunshine Coast, this is a popular location for custom-built newer constructions in a quiet setting.

Departure Bay also offers a range of luxury properties with easy ocean access. For frequent travellers, ferry and seaplane terminals are only a few minutes away by car.  

For those with a preference for ranch-style luxury, Jinglepot is the way to go. This rural setting is a quick drive from the amenities of the city while showing off the best parts of country living in the shadow of Mt.Benson.

Curious about other neighbourhoods in Nanaimo? Check out our Nanaimo neighbourhood guide.

Luxury Amenities

Aside from the attractive setting that many of Nanaimo’s luxury properties are located in, they also feature high-end amenities.

Look for homes with luxury features like professional kitchens, wine lockers, and spacious walk-in closets.

Large-scale pools are another hallmark of luxury, especially if they have an infinity edge that pairs well with Nanaimo’s many ocean views.

Since Nanaimo and British Columbia are known for their active, outdoors-friendly lifestyle, look for spacious home gyms with enough room for a few Peloton bikes and other high-tech exercise equipment.

Homes nestled next to the great outdoors will also include ample storage for mountain bikes, surfboards, kayaks, and ski gear.

For the buyer who prefers to keep busy with hobbies, there are plenty of luxury clubs around, like the Nanaimo Golf Club and Nanaimo Yacht Club.

Advice for Selling Luxury in Nanaimo

If you are the owner of a luxury property in Nanaimo looking to downsize or hang your hat elsewhere, there are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare to list. 

  • Ensure that you maximize curb appeal. Buyers expect high-end landscaping to go along with luxury architecture and interior design. Look into options for a short-term landscaping facelift to make your property look incredible from the outside.
  • Show off the “wow features”. When you are ready to stage the house, do whatever you can to depersonalise the space and show off the unique features of the home –especially the ones that you may not use. 
  • Market your home for the digital age. Invest in high-quality digital photography that is formatted well for social media. Drone videography and walk-through videos are a great way to capture short attention spans, and they help to show off the scale of an impressive home.

Summary of the Nanaimo Luxury Market 

Although Nanaimo has a much smaller inventory of luxury properties compared to Victoria and Vancouver, homes in this market often have similar amenities, square footage, and breathtaking West Coast settings that have become so much more desirable in recent years.

So what is the real benefit of the Vancouver Island luxury market? It may still be undervalued.

Like most other markets on the Island, the “Mid Island” region (including smaller communities like Lantzville, Parksville, and as far north as Campbell River and Courtenay) have seen year-over-year average price growth of as much as 32%.

The trends contributing to this rush to the Island appear to be continuing, and the international markets are taking notice. 

If there was ever a time to buy luxury real estate in Nanaimo, the next few years may be it.

So go with a professional that knows the market best. Talk with Jeff King about luxury real estate in Nanaimo today. 

 

nanaimo panoramic view

Top Summer Activities in the Nanaimo Area

nanaimo panoramic view

Looking for the best way to get acquainted with Nanaimo on your next Vancouver Island visit? 

We have put together a list of the top summer attractions in the Nanaimo area, along with insights into the housing market in each Nanaimo neighbourhood.

Whether you are coming to Nanaimo just to visit, or you are seriously considering moving to town, we are confident that these summer activities will convince you that living in Nanaimo is the right call.

Take in Ammonite Falls – Jingle Pot

New residents in Vancouver Island can expect to get used to many natural wonders like breathtaking mountain vistas, ocean sunsets, and waterfalls. Lots of them.

Although Ammonite Falls in Nanaimo’s rural Jingle Pot setting isn’t considered a huge waterfall, it is one of the “must-see” local experiences. The hiking route to get there is a 5.5 km out-and-back through a relaxing evergreen forest and canyons.

While you are in the area to check out Ammonite Falls, leave some extra time to cruise nearby Jingle Pot Road and take in some of the finest acreage and equestrian properties in the area. 

There is such a wide range of homes and some of the finest land for sale in Nanaimo: from old farm homes to modern subdivisions, all within a ten-minute drive of the Nanaimo city centre. 

Got a designated driver? You can also experience Nanaimo’s local wineries, Chateau Wolff and Millstone Estates while you are on your way back to town. 

Sunset at Neck Point Park – Hammond Bay

It’s not a secret: the rocky outcrops at Neck Point Park offer some of the best sunset views in the summertime. 

It is also a popular spot for birdwatchers, photographers, and general nature lovers.

From some choice sunset-viewing spots, you will be able to get a good look at some of the finer waterfront properties in Hammond Bay.

Steep rocky terrain means that most of these properties don’t come with private beaches or docks, but their high vantage points offer privacy and panoramic views of the Salish Sea. 

This is a relatively new neighbourhood, with many “older” properties being only 20 or 30 years old. You can expect these homes to have modern amenities, and newer shopping centres are only a short drive away in North Nanaimo.

For more information on properties like these, check out our recently-released guide to the luxury Nanaimo real estate market.

Dining By the Sea – Downtown

Several downtown restaurants in Nanaimo do local Vancouver Island seafood very well. The quiet, quaint local harbour is the best place to enjoy great seafood, and there are several high-rated restaurants worth trying.

The Lighthouse Bistro and Trollers Fish & Chips are local favourites for sea fare, and there are also many boutiques, coffee shops, and pubs to explore in the “Old City.”

Many of these structures date back to the late 1800s, and the city has funded revitalization programs to retain the historic charm of the downtown core. 

Although some of the city’s oldest residential properties can be found here, some of the most exciting real estate is new developments and condos that overlook the harbour.

The most highly-coveted condo properties are on Promenade Drive, including one of a few of the city’s true “high rises”. 

Island Living – Gabriola Island

It is so close that you feel like you can touch it. Gabriola is only a twenty-minute ferry ride from the downtown Nanaimo Harbour Ferry Terminal, but it offers all the seclusion and tranquillity that the Gulf Islands are known for. 

Gabriola has been coined “the Isle of the Arts” thanks to its creative culture (with over 70 art studios) and busy summer schedule of festivals and workshops. 

It also has over 4,200 residents, meaning that amenities like shopping, a community bus service, and dining options are available. 

But at its core, Gabriola is still a quiet place to unwind. Because of its convenient location, it is also seeing some attention in the vacation home (and staycation home) market. 

For residents who live in the Mid Island region, Gabriola is something special. Getting there doesn’t involve a multi-stop ferry trip like Salt Spring, Pender, or Galiano. 

Look for quirky acreages and lots with built-in artist studio spaces (perfect for working from home). 

Beachcombing and High-Class Relaxation – Parksville

Not many first-time visitors to the Mid Island have heard much about Parksville. 

Maybe it’s better that way since the best-kept secret of the Nanaimo area can get by as a pleasant surprise between the Nanaimo city centre and Qualicum Beach.

Parksville is best enjoyed in the summer, with expansive golden sand beaches to contrast Nanaimo’s rocky appearance. These beaches (Rathtrevor, a three-mile-long stretch being the best-known), are a great place for long walks, tanning sessions, and exploring tide pools.

And Parksville isn’t just known as a sleepy low-frills vacation destination any longer. The luxury Tigh-Na-Mara and its famed “Grotto Spa” is a seaside resort on 22 acres of tranquil forest. It has been voted the #1 spa in BC, and also features 2 award-winning restaurants.

With this increased traffic, potential homebuyers are taking notice. Parksville is a mere 30 minutes from Nanaimo, and is seeing plenty of the same interest that has boosted Nanaimo’s real estate market in recent years.

We’ve Only Scratched the Surface

As beautiful as living in Nanaimo can be in the winter months with mild weather and constant green foliage, it really shines in the summer when the beaches fill with vacationers and the tourism industry is in full swing. 

Check out our guide to Nanaimo neighbourhoods post for deeper coverage on neighbourhoods like Chase River, Uplands, and Diver Lake.

Looking to find a new home with easy access to outdoor activities and everyday essentials?

Get in touch with Jeff King Real Estate to learn more today. 

waterfront homes in nanaimo bc

Buying Land for Building a Home in Nanaimo, BC

 

waterfront homes in nanaimo bc

Thinking about buying land for building a home in the coming years? You have probably heard that this can be a strong investment, especially as the Nanaimo real estate market continues to grow.

Buying a lot to build on can come with many different challenges, and knowing what to expect as you start to weigh your options can save you headaches down the road. If you are looking for a lot in the near future in and around Nanaimo, BC, here are some tips to consider that will keep you on the right track.

1. Look Into Utilities

Access to utilities is an important place to start, since this has the potential to be a costly part of the process. If you are buying a lot with an existing home that will be torn down, you will have an easier time organizing utilities. All you will need to do is arrange to have utilities disconnected before demolition, then reconnected when they are hooked back up.

If you are looking into vacant lots, things get more complicated. Inquire about hookups water, electricity, and gas. Don’t forget to check into internet access too, since connection in some rural areas can be a headache.

2. Capitalizing on Locational Opportunity

Growth in the suburbs is steady around Nanaimo right now, and this is reflected in the amount of land for sale in Vancouver Island. Teardowns can be tempting, but empty land in developing suburbs can have a lucrative upside. When considering lot purchases,research which developing areas have the highest potential in terms of growth. As well, pay attention to community amenities like schools, parks, and local job opportunities. 

Of course, many land sale opportunities will be billed as the next big thing. Talk with an expert in local real estate to cut through the fluff and find out what people are really interested in. 

oceanside park in nanaimo bc

3. Understanding the Area

Aside from knowing the benefits of the area where you could be buying land, it’s also a good idea to be aware of any major drawbacks. This could include offensive odours from farms or factories, busy all-terrain vehicle routes, or arterial roads that are soon to be snarled by traffic.

Some of these drawbacks vary based on season, so it can be difficult to stay aware of every possible outcome. The best way to know for sure? Talk to locals and spend time visiting the area yourself.

4. Consult a Builder

Whether you are building from scratch or tearing down, bring a builder into the picture as early as you can. An experienced builder can point out potential hazards in the construction process, as well as offer advice on the best ways to use the land based on natural features.

workers building a house

5. Confirm Zoning Laws

It seems obvious, but always make sure that you familiarize yourself with the local zoning laws so that you don’t end up with any unwelcome surprises when you are building additional features on your lot.

6. Prepare for Unforeseen Costs

In a time of prosperity in the Nanaimo real estate market, it’s easy to get overconfident about how much demolishing or building will really cost. Advertised demolition costs are usually just the tip of the iceberg, with additional fees and permits adding up quickly.

Building on vacant land requires costs for soil tests and right-of-way easements among others. Consult your financial plan with a conservative viewpoint, and prepare for potential roadblocks along the way.

7. Consult a Land Planner

In addition to talking with a builder, a land planner can give you valuable insights into the qualities of the land that can result in problems further down the road. Specific vegetation, wetlands, water tables, and access to your lot all require an expert’s eye and will influence what kind of home can be built on the property.

8. Count on a Larger Down Payment

If this is your first time purchasing a lot to build on, then there may be some sticker shock from the differences in getting financing for the project. Down payments on loans for building on a lot range from 25 to 50% and increase based on risks unique to the property.

9. Find a Nanaimo Real Estate Professional You Can Trust

Trusting a real estate professional who is familiar with land for sale on Vancouver Island and the challenges of teardowns and building on vacant lots is essential for feeling confident about your purchase.

Even with so much optimism in the industry, unforeseen costs and other factors can eat away at your investment. One of the best ways to get off on the right foot is to trust that you are getting the best possible price for the land.

Want to pay at market value or below? Find someone who knows the market. Jeff King Real Estate has over ten years of experience in the Nanaimo area, with a specialization in land development and residential sales.

Want to learn more? Get in touch with Jeff to talk about your goals. 

relaxing living room

How To Turn Your Island Home Into A Relaxing Retreat

relaxing living room

Vancouver Island has a reputation as a place to put your feet up and relax. Many cities on the Island are outgrowing their small town status (thanks to a strong Vancouver Island real estate market), and throngs of vacationers come every year to enjoy the plentiful beaches, serene forests, and laid-back atmosphere.

For people who call Vancouver Island home, the Island is also a place to work or raise a family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the relaxing vibe and turn your home into a place where you forget you aren’t on vacation.

Here’s how you can turn your Island home into a relaxing retreat with some inexpensive interior design changes.

Thinking of selling your home sometime soon? Don’t be surprised if buyers snatch your property up quickly after taking a walkthrough in your calming West Coast-inspired space. 

Banish Clutter

Before you visit a home goods store, you can make your home more relaxing by dealing with a big cause of stress: clutter around the home.

Focus on areas within sight first like messy desks or old mail. Then tackle storage areas by taking items in for donation or getting rid of junk.

Keep an eye out for woven baskets or drawer inserts on your next shopping trip. Any way you can organize “unnecessary clutter” will give your space a much more relaxing feel.

Experiment With Earthy, Natural Colours

Living in Nanaimo, Tofino, or other coastal Vancouver Island locations brings a certain colour palette to mind. The soft beige of a sandy beach, calming ocean blue, and evergreen shades are the hallmarks of West Coast-inspired design.

It is a safe bet that if you incorporate these colours into your living space, it will feel much more relaxing. 

Furniture made of driftwood, woven jute rugs, and accent walls in shades of blue and green are ways to bring West Coast design into your home. Look for inspiration from designers who live and work on the Island, and stay on the lookout for conversation pieces from local artisans.

The Relaxing Power Of Plants

Vancouver Island is all about greenery. Low-lying parts of the Island have some of the mildest weather in Canada, and this means the landscape stays green all year round.

It only makes sense you should carry this theme into your home, and outfit your space with houseplants that not only look great, but help to purify the air.

Even though Vancouver Island sees very little sunlight during the winter months, there are many easy to maintain plants that have become ubiquitous in Island homes. Snake Plant and Chinese Evergreen are particularly good for low light rooms, and Boston Fern and Spider Plant are known for their hardiness and quick propagation.

If you can, build a relaxing space in a room with south-facing windows and position your plants to take advantage of the sunlight. 

Use Natural Light

While we are on the topic of sunlight, let’s talk about how to maximize natural light in your Island home. 

In the summer, you should have less of a problem filling your space with light, but many homes will not have the same advantage during the winter months

So how can you maximize the natural light that makes it into your home? Reflective surfaces like mirrors, furniture with glass or chrome accents, and metallic light fixtures all bounce light into your living space.

Although it may not seem like much, reflective surfaces can effectively double the natural light in a room. 

Do you have a skylight or south-facing window that pulls in a large amount of light during the winter? Focus on maximizing this space. Natural light boosts your mood and creates a serene environment for you to relax and recharge your batteries.

Try Aromatherapy

Candles can be an inexpensive, easy way to change the character of a room in your home. 

Look for candles in soothing spa-inspired scents like eucalyptus or lavender. Scents like these “hack” the brain/scent connection to make you feel more relaxed or transport you to your last vacation resort visit. 

If candles aren’t your thing, essential oil diffusers are another effective way to bring a relaxing scent into your home. 

Try a Wellness Space

It can seem daunting to change your entire home, especially if some rooms don’t have the advantages of natural light or good temperature control to allow you to relax.

Start off by designating a “wellness space” where you can go to relax, do yoga, or entertain guests. This space doesn’t even have to be an entire room, even a cozy corner or nook can do.

With so many more people working from home these days, the lines between your workspace and relaxation zone are being blurred. Keep your wellness space clutter-free and purposeful by using calming tones, soft textiles, and plants.

Looking for inspiration but don’t want to get dissuaded by expensive interior design magazines? 

Check out our listings to see a variety of well-staged homes in the Nanaimo real estate market and beyond.

staged bedroom

How To Stage Your Home To Sell

Are you putting your house up for sale with hopes of selling it fast?

If you are selling in the red-hot Nanaimo real estate market, you probably won’t have any trouble selling your home quickly.

Regardless of where your home is located, staging a home is an essential part of the selling process. It may seem like just another task to add to a long to-do list, but staging is a valuable way to showcase the best aspects of your home.

Good home staging helps buyers imagine what life would be like in your home, while poor staging can result in a lower than expected sale price.

Here are some important things to think about when staging your home for a quick sale. 

De-Personalize Your Space

When buyers visit your home, they don’t want to have to replace your vision of a comfortable, homey space with their own.

Removing personal photos is a common first step for stagers. In addition to photos of yourself and your family, you should store away trinkets and decor of personal significance.

Even though you might have some great memories associated with those souvenirs from your last vacation in Europe, it is unlikely the buyer will resonate with them.

Clothing, personal toiletries, and anything else you use as a part of your daily routine can be removed too. Think about the anonymity of a showroom in an IKEA store, and try to accomplish the same thing in your home.

Take Care Of Clutter

Clutter can take many forms. First, take care to clean up any junk left on counters, tables, or poking out of desk drawers.

Clutter can also take the form of too much furniture. Many professional stagers will remove as much as half of an owner’s furnishings before any buyer sees it.

Not only does this make rooms appear larger and allow for guests to move easily through the space, but it also allows the guest to fill empty space with whatever kind of furniture or decor they imagine–a much better alternative to forcing them to “delete” furniture in their mind.

Finally, clear up storage areas and closets so buyers can see the full extent of storage offered. Out of season clothes can be taken out of front hall closets, and you should be taking storage bins and other large objects to a different location.

Deep Cleaning 

There’s no such thing as too clean when strangers are examining every nook and cranny of your home. 

Consider hiring a residential cleaning company to deep clean the entire space, focusing on often-missed areas like baseboards, ceilings, inside cabinets and closets, and anything else you can think of.

A home cleaning checklist is a great resource to use if you are taking on this task yourself.

Curb Appeal: A Great First Impression

Curb appeal may seem like a real estate cliche, so it is important to know what it really means when you are staging your home.

Not every home will be blessed with a stunning exterior. But keeping the area well lit without any obvious flaws is a good start.

Fresh flowers on your front porch and minor outdoor furniture pieces like a bistro table set show the viewer that this is a space meant to be lived in, not ignored.

Create A Work From Home Oasis

More people are working from home than ever before, and this means a home office is top-of-mind for many buyers.

Even if you don’t have an office to furnish as a cozy, productive space, designate a sunny nook in your home as a functional workspace and dress it up like the WFH spot of your dreams.

Are you putting your house up for sale in Nanaimo? Focus on creating a dream work from home area. Vancouver Island is becoming a destination for many remote workers. 

Do I Need To Pay For A Professional?

Staging can seem like an awful lot of work. For many sellers, hiring a professional will be the logical choice.

But homeowners who don’t mind putting in the work can save on stager fees. Many stagers will offer a consultation and provide a detailed checklist. This is an opportunity for sellers to tackle these tasks one by one, depending on whether there will be furniture in the home at the time of selling.

Staging a home well shouldn’t break the bank. It’s more about being smart with what you have and avoiding common staging pitfalls.

Want to learn more about what to expect during the process of selling your home? Check out the selling section of our blog, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us,

Nanaimo realtor Jeff King has over a decade of experience in the Nanaimo real estate market, and brings a detailed understanding of how to sell homes on Vancouver Island. 

 

couple closing a home purchase deal

Timeline To Closing On A Home Purchase in British Columbia

couple closing a home purchase deal

Have you ever closed a deal on a new home before? This can be a daunting process for first time buyers.

In hot real estate markets like Nanaimo, closing on a home purchase can be even more fast-paced and stressful.

It is important to understand how this process works, and to have a plan when you are looking for homes in an area that you like.

Read on to learn about the timeline you will follow, and some practical tips on closing from a Nanaimo realtor you can trust.

  1. Negotiating An Offer

Once you have completed your home viewing and decide you want to focus on closing a home, you will need to negotiate an offer.

The term negotiate is enough to make many people nervous. Working with an experienced real estate agent makes this process much easier.

Negotiating an offer means making an offer for the purchase price of the home and determining the closing date, escrow deposit, and inspections

Once these details are negotiated and agreed upon, you are officially on the road to closing on the home.

Time Frame: 1 – 3 days

  1. Submit Earnest Money Deposit

An earnest money deposit is an amount of money the buyer submits to show the seller that they are committed to buying a home. Once this step is taken, the home is taken off the market to show that the seller considers your offer to be legitimate. 

The earnest money deposit is submitted to the listing agent, who will then deposit the money into an escrow account. This account is managed by a third party who is unrelated to the transaction.

From this account, the earnest money deposit will be applied to your down payment on the home if the rest of the process goes smoothly.

Time Frame: 4 – 12 days

  1. Order Title Search 

Your next step will be done with a real estate lawyer who specializes in buying property in BC.

Your lawyer will conduct a title search at your local property registry office. The results of this search are all records and documents related to the property. 

The purpose of the title search is to ensure there are no deficiencies or liens against the property. 

A property lien is a notice that a creditor is owed money by the owner of the property. The creditor could be a homeowners association, tradesperson, or a lender (in the case of a mortgage lien). 

We don’t need to get into the details of liens–all you need to know is a good lawyer will scrutinize title records to ensure there are no outstanding problems that could get in the way of your deal.

Time Frame: 14 – 21 days

  1. Conduct Home Inspections

A home inspection is a very important part of the closing process. 

This is your best shot to learn about any problems associated with the property. There are several different types of home inspections which are meant to uncover different problems. 

A general home inspection is standard practice in real estate. This inspection is meant to cover the basics of every important system and structural part of the home including structural integrity, appliances, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, roofing, and much more.

If an inspector raises concerns about a part of the home, you can conduct additional inspections to get more details about the problems.

You could conduct specialized inspections for pests, sewage systems, roofing, asbestos (for homes built before 1990 when asbestos was commonly used for insulation and fireproofing), and other types of inspections depending on unique features of the home.

The buyer is responsible for scheduling these inspections, and you may also attend the inspections and ask questions if you wish.

Time Frame: 7 – 14 days

  1. Finalize Purchase Agreement

Now that you are fully aware of the condition of the home, you can finalize the purchase agreement, which is signed by the home buyer and seller.

After this step, you will set an appointment with your mortgage lender to complete your application.

Time Frame: 1 – 3 days

  1. Order An Appraisal

A mortgage lender will appraise the value of the home. This step ensures the buyer and the lender are paying a fair market value for the property.

In order to move on to the next step, the appraiser will need to appraise the property at a value at or above the purchase price of the contract

If the appraisal is determined to be lower than the purchase price, you may need to renegotiate the seller to a lower purchase price. 

Time: 7 – 21 days

Receive Conditional Loan Approval

After your appraisal is completed, you will submit a loan application. This doesn’t mean  it is time to sit back, relax, and wait for your loan to be approved.

You will work with an underwriter who will review your finances before  issuing a conditional loan approval

This means you will need to meet financial conditions to be approved for the loan. These conditions could include providing income and bank statements to verify your income, or verification of mortgage insurance.

Time: 14 – 31 days

Final Walkthrough

A final walkthrough of the home is an important part of the process that should be negotiated early on. 

This walkthrough is the last chance for you to confirm that necessary repairs have been completed, and all of the seller’s possessions have been removed from the home.

This is also when the lender will provide closing disclosure, a document that outlines the final costs and terms of the loan. When you sign off on this document, you can finally move on to the closing.

Time frame: 1-2 days

Closing Your Home Deal

You’ve done it! When you meet the seller on closing day, you will sign final documents and provide a cashier’s check in the amount that was outlined in the closing disclosure statement.

Once the closing is done, the earnest money deposit is distributed by an escrow agent to the parties of the deal.This process takes approximately six weeks to complete

Want to know how to close a deal successfully in the Nanaimo real estate market? Get in touch with a professional at Jeff King Real Estate

 

victoria vancouver island harbour scene

Top Real Estate Markets on Vancouver Island

victoria vancouver island harbour scene

The Vancouver Island real estate market is one of the hottest in Canada right now. In our Nanaimo real estate market Q4 2021 guide, we shared some of the factors that are contributing to a historical seller’s market in the city.

Many of these factors are affecting real estate markets across the Island too.

Vancouver Island has seen a lot of interest from homebuyers and investors as a cheaper alternative to real estate in Vancouver

The mild climate and laid back atmosphere are two big selling points, as is the proximity to nature and growth of cities like Nanaimo and the Greater Victoria area. 

One of these fast-growing bedroom communities, Langford, led the province with a 5.2% annual growth rate in 2020 after building an astounding 37% of all housing in Greater Victoria.

But many areas are struggling to keep housing supply on pace with rising demand. Low inventory is the main challenge on Vancouver Island, and this has been driving up prices in many markets.

Here’s a city-by-city guide to the top real estate markets on Vancouver Island. Using data from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board, we can compare markets directly based on single-family home benchmark price. 

Read on to find the best location whether you are an investor, first time home buyer, or something in between.

Parksville: Premium Home Prices With An Ocean View

Known as “The Jewel of Vancouver Island”, this quaint town of around 12,000 people is known for its incredible beaches on the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island. 

It is close to other famed vacation spots like Qualicum Beach and Nanoose Bay, and is only a 30 minute drive from downtown Nanaimo. This makes it a great destination for young families and retirees who are looking for a small town feel. 

In September 2021, the Parksville-Qualicum area had a benchmark price year over year increase of 33% to $869,000. This increase puts it in the middle of the pack of Vancouver Island real estate markets in terms of growth,

Apartments (26.4%) and townhouses (42.8%) also saw significant year over year growth.

Island-Leading Growth In Langford

There are few cities in Canada that have seen the kind of transformation that Langford has in the past 20 years. What used to be a no-frills bedroom community has become the go-to destination for home buyers priced out of the Victoria market.

Today’s buyers see a rapidly densifying community on the West Shore with easy access to amenities like shopping, parks, and the Galloping Goose trail network.

Langford’s real average sale price crossed $1 million for the first time in March 2021, a figure that has continued to rise in the months since.

The caveat to these high prices in a formerly sleepy part of the Capital region is that a lot of housing supply is being built up in Langford. Developments like Belmont are increasing density in the region, and single-family homes and townhouses are sprouting up too. 

The time for scoring bargains has passed for the Langford real estate market, but the city still has high potential for real estate investing.

Deals In Duncan And The Cowichan Valley?

Duncan is a small city of 5,000 people in the Cowichan Valley that sits halfway between Victoria and Nanaimo on Highway 1. 

Like Ladysmith, Chemainus, and other small urban centres in the region, the city offers a laid-back, small town feel that is attractive both for homebuyers who are commuting to Nanaimo or Victoria for work, or anyone looking to get away from the business of these fast-growing cities.

The Cowichan Valley regional district also includes Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan, and growth in these communities has contributed to a hot market.

The Cowichan Valley single-family benchmark increased by 33% year over year this September, with an average of $755,000

However, apartments can be found at an average price of $324,100 (40.2% year over year growth), which is slightly cheaper than Nanaimo, the Comox Valley, and even Campbell River.

The proximity of Duncan to other urban centres means it is heating up fast, but there are still deals to be found for savvy homebuyers.

Vancouver Island: A Luxury Hotspot

The COVID-19 pandemic has made many desirable regions become luxury real estate hotspots. Vancouver Island, with its mild climate and relaxed lifestyle is a perfect example of this.

Waterfront properties have been especially popular, whether they be record-setting estates or swanky condos in small resort towns like Parksville and Qualicum Beach.

Much of this interest in luxury property comes from West Coast American buyers, but plenty of interest is coming from overseas as well.

The rise of the Vancouver Island luxury market comes to no surprise for buyers who have seen high prices on the Island for the past few years. It is a good sign for owners of high priced properties who could see themselves attracting bidding wars from eager buyers and investors.

Nanaimo Real Estate: A Red Hot Market

The Nanaimo real estate market stands out as one of the hottest on the Island. The strong sellers market is still in effect as single-family home prices increased 28.3% year over year to $745,400 in September 2021.

Although the market is experiencing low supply, there are still great opportunities in the city and surrounding areas. 

Want to learn more about the Nanaimo real estate market? Talk to a realtor with experience and knowledge of the area. Get in touch with Jeff King Real Estate today!

cedars in nanaimo bc

Top Neighbourhoods in Nanaimo, BC

downtown nanaimo bc

The Nanaimo real estate market is one of the hottest in Canada right now. 

The mild winters and peaceful oceanside setting have long been attractive for retirees, but more young families and working professionals are finding a new home in the Island’s largest city outside of Greater Victoria

The city’s mix of neighbourhoods has much to offer from access to nature to excellent schools. This guide will tell you where to look if you are thinking about living in Nanaimo. 

Whether you are looking for luxury condos with ocean views or character homes in friendly neighbourhoods, this guide has it covered. Once you have your ideal neighbourhood decided, check out our Nanaimo realty listings in the area.

Explore Dazzling Cedar

Cedar is the most rural neighbourhood to make this list, but it makes a case as one of the best areas to live in Nanaimo. Look for everything from prefab homes to multimillion-dollar acreages with space for hobby farming and equestrian facilities. 

Some of the unique benefits of the Cedar area are the plentiful trail systems, access to Hemer Provincial Park and Nanaimo River Regional Park, and the Duke Point Ferry Terminal for frequent travellers to the Greater Vancouver area

Look for unique waterfront property offerings and mid-century homes with character, but keep in mind that there has been little subdivision development in the area.

Dive Into Chase River

Chase river is a semi-rural community immediately south of downtown Nanaimo. Homebuyers can find affordable properties in this neighbourhood including farmhouses and postwar acreages. 

Several new developments have popped up in the area too, with easy access to local shopping. A common selling point of Chase River is the Chase River and Nanaimo River estuaries, home to trails and areas to view local wildlife.

oceanside park in nanaimo bc

Say Hello To Departure Bay

Many non-residents of Nanaimo know Departure Bay as the home of the busy ferry terminal for travellers coming and going from Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay.

But locals know it as a centrally-located neighbourhood with easy access to parks and shopping. Nestled between two large hills, Departure Bay offers luxury waterfront homes and character homes under mature tree cover

The Country Club Shopping Centre and Nanaimo Golf Club are a short drive away, as are Kinsmen Park and Departure Bay Beach–both popular places to stroll in the warmer summer months.

Step Up To Diver Lake

One of Nanaimo’s several pretty urban lakes, Diver Lake features a trail system and well maintained park for anyone who enjoys spending time outdoors.

The surrounding neighbourhood has mature tree cover and homes from the 80’s mixed with new subdivisions being built alongside the Nanaimo Parkway. 

This is a family-friendly neighbourhood with access to schools and shopping plus large lot sizes for anyone with ambitions for backyard activities. 

cedars in nanaimo bc

Relax In Harewood / University District

The historical Harewood neighbourhood has some serious character and close proximity to Vancouver Island University

With an influx of students and young families, efforts have been taken to “rebrand” the area from Harewood to the University District, especially with the renaming of University Plaza (formerly Harewood Mall).

Some longtime Nanaimo residents might have negative feelings about this neighbourhood because of its history, but the fact is, the area is seeing a lot of revitalization. New residents love the proximity to downtown, parks, and commuting via the Nanaimo Parkway. 

Welcome To North Nanaimo

This area of town is a large area, stretching north of Rutherford Road and Hammond Bay to Dover.

This is the newest, most family-friendly part of Nanaimo. You can expect to find some of the best schools in the city, many parks and beaches, and large shopping areas with big box options.

Commuting from North Nanaimo may be longer than most other neighbourhoods, but this means 15-20 minutes in your vehicle at the most–even during rush hour.

Looking for a new single detached home or townhouse in a clean, kid friendly neighbourhood? North Nanaimo Realty could be for you.

waterfront homes in nanaimo bc

Get Acquainted With The Uplands

Uplands and the nearby Nanaimo North Town Centre can be found alongside Long Lake in the Uplands Neighbourhoods. The area has been long established as a family-friendly locale, with homes built in the 70’s and 80’s making up most of the community.

The highlight of this area is definitely the scenic Long Lake, with well kept homes rising above. The lake itself is home to the Nanaimo Rowing Club along with casual boaters and swimmers in the warmer months. 

Commuting from the Uplands is easy thanks to quick access to the Island Highway, and plenty of services can be found at two nearby shopping complexes. Check out this area for its access to good schools and the possibility of a panoramic lake (or ocean) view.

How To Find A Home In Nanaimo 

Curious about the Nanaimo neighbourhoods we have listed? Get in touch with our team today to learn about what makes this city so special. The Jeff King Real Estate team knows local communities and how to make the most of living in Nanaimo.