home under construction in nanaimo

Guide To New Home Construction In Nanaimo, BC

home under construction in nanaimo

Building or buying a brand new home is an attractive prospect for many people. If you build your own home you have the opportunity to make it your dream house. Right from the beginning, you will get to choose the size, layout, materials used, and all of the other details that will make this house your dream home.

If you are buying a newly constructed home then you can feel a bit safer in your investment as newly built homes, from licensed builders,  will come with different warranties (more on this below).

The Nanaimo real estate market looks set to grow over the coming years and it is a great place to build a new home. As a realtor in Nanaimo, focusing on land development and residential sales, I can help you with the process of new home construction in Nanaimo, BC.

There are many good reasons to buy a new home, and a lot of things to consider before making your decision. This guide will help you understand what to expect during this process of buying property in BC.

New Home Warranty

One of the main reasons that people build or buy new homes is for the peace of mind that comes with it. Older houses can often need a lot of repair and maintenance work and these costs can add up fairly quickly. 

 

A new build offers more assurances to buyers that there will be no major issues in the foreseeable future, and if they are, they are often covered under warranty. If a home is built by a licensed builder then the home is insured against defect with a government-mandated warranty. 

 

The minimum level of coverage on a new build warranty is 2 years coverage for labour and materials, 5 years for the building envelope and 10 years on the structure. Knowing that you have an insurance company to back your new home is fantastic and builders will often come and fix any issues for you to prevent claims against their warranty.

Owner-Builders 

The caveat for this new build warranty is if you buy from an owner-builder, which are people who are not licensed with BC housing and they must also occupy the home for at least 1 year as it was technically built for personal use.

 

Owner-builders do not have to purchase a new home warranty policy, although some owner-builders will choose to buy one. If you are buying a property from an owner-builder this is a key consideration as if they haven’t purchased a warranty policy you would have to contact them directly to try and claim any damages on your new home.

Deficiency Walkthrough

When buying a newly built home you will often be viewing and buying the home before it has actually been completed. To avoid any surprises when you move into your new home you can have your realtor insert a clause that allows for a deficiency walkthrough.

 

Before you finally close on the property all parties involved will take a final walk through the finished home. This allows you to check for any defects or spot any finishes that you may not be happy with. These can be brought to the builder so they can be fixed before closing on the property. 

Taxes For New Homes

New homes are exempt from provincial property transfer tax, which can end up being quite expensive depending on the home you are buying. A home that isn’t new that you buy for $600,000 would result in a $10,000 property transfer tax. New homes that are under $750,000, that are your principal residence and are under 1.25 acres are exempt from this tax.

 

While this sounds great at first, you can’t get too excited yet as you will end up paying higher taxes due to the 5% GST you are required to pay on a newly built home. This means a property valued at $600,000 will require a GST payment of $30,000. 

Considerations When Buying Land In Nanaimo

There are several other considerations to make when buying a lot to build on which are covered in detail in our full blog post. Here is a summary of those considerations:

 

  1. Look Into Utilities
  2. Capitalizing On Local Opportunity
  3. Understanding The Area
  4. Consult A Builder
  5. Confirm Zoning Laws
  6. Prepare For Unforeseen Costs
  7. Consult A Land Planner
  8. Count On A Larger Down Payment
  9. Find A Nanaimo Real Estate Professional You Can Trust

How Much Does It Cost To Build A House In BC?

The final cost of a newly built home is extremely difficult to gauge as it relies on so many factors such as square footage, materials, labour costs, land price, and permits. An approximate cost for building a 3,000 square foot single-detached home in BC is between $525,000 to $975,000.

 

At the end of 2021, the average price for a single-family home is $992,000. This is the average price so you will find that this varies across the province based on location. 

 

The best way to get an estimate for a newly built home is to speak to a professional. As this is an area that I specialize in, I would be happy to talk through the approximate costs and overall process. It can be intimidating to consider new home construction but by working with experienced professionals you will find it much easier to understand.

 

I would be glad to help guide you through this process further and help you find the ideal lot or new home construction to purchase in Nanaimo and the surrounding area. Please contact Jeff King Real Estate to learn more. 

arbutus tree in fall

Real Estate Market Update: Fall 2022

arbutus tree in fall

As the summer ends and the fall season arrives, BC residents can look back on an eventful year, and can bet on a fall with just as much happening in the news cycle.

 

The topic on the mind of most homeowners is inflation, with rising rates and consumer costs dominating headlines, which is a much different story than this time last year.  

 

Gas prices are still high, and seemingly shoot back up to the stratosphere whenever drivers get too comfortable. Construction costs are still high, and skilled labour remains in high demand, so some renovations and new builds are delayed.

 

Homebuyers are feeling the pinch, and for the first time in what feels like forever, we saw a slowdown in the BC and Nanaimo real estate markets recently.

 

But it’s not all doom and gloom out there. There are still opportunities to be found in a slowing local real estate market – and the headlines don’t always tell the full story. 

 

Read on for Jeff’s Nanaimo real estate market update for Fall 2022.

Market Cooling

Let’s start with market reports for the month of August. 

 

Nanaimo single-family detached home sales dropped nearly 50% in August 2022 compared to 2021.

 

Because of this, homebuyers are keen to wait for prices to drop further, especially since the Bank of Canada announced a 75 basis point interest rate hike on September 7th putting the interest rate at 3.25%.

 

This results in fewer bidding wars and falling prices. Many prospective buyers have been waiting for any signs of a slowdown in home sales, but with rising living costs and high inflation, the latest economic news likely does not mean that more people will be able to afford homes. 

Looking Ahead

So what does all of this mean for the immediate future in the Nanaimo real estate market (and elsewhere in British Columbia and Vancouver Island)?

 

First, when it comes to major economic events, we don’t have a crystal ball. Interest rate changes are happening too quickly for anyone to know what will happen months in the future.

 

However, as far as the Vancouver Island real estate market is concerned, we still know a few things for sure.

 

  1. Demand to move to Vancouver Island is still high, especially for retirees.
  2. The only homes that remain on the market for an extended period are new builds, since builders are keeping prices high due to increased labour, land, and construction costs.  
  3. Home sales will slow down slightly around the holiday season.

Expert Opinions

Canada’s top economists and real estate specialists are split about what these market conditions mean for pricing.

 

Here’s John Pasalis, president of Toronto-based Realosophy Realty Inc. in an interview with Nanaimo News Bulletin.

 

“The fall is going to be interesting because we’re going to see probably more buyers jumping into the market and you don’t need a ton more buyers to provide a little bit more stability to prices. Just a little bit of a bump in demand could be the difference between homes selling in three, four weeks versus selling in two weeks or selling a lot faster.” 

 

Other experts point to localized market factors that have big impacts – which is more reason to trust in a realtor with significant experience in your area. Sherry Cooper, chief economist at Dominion Lending Centres was also interviewed by the Nanaimo News Bulletin.

 

“It’s the markets that experienced the 50 per cent increase in home prices that have seen the biggest correction, and that’s what you’d expect because those are the most expensive homes in Canada with the largest outstanding mortgages.” 

 

However, there is one thing most experts will agree with on the record. If buyers don’t need to buy right now, it’s probably best to hold off.

Why This Matters To You

 

The Bank of Canada’s mortgage rate forecasts claim we are experiencing the worst of belt-tightening  measures right now. 

 

However, the reality is interest rates are changing too quickly for us to really know what to expect. 

 

In difficult economic times like these, there are a few caveats for buyers and sellers in the Nanaimo real estate market.

 

Even though prices are coming down, they are still high. Buyers who are thinking about moving to Vancouver Island from the mainland can afford to make a purchase and still have money left over. This could involve taking out a smaller mortgage to protect themselves from higher interest rates. 

 

In addition, now is a great time for younger buyers to take a page from their parents’ book and open themselves up to buying a fixer upper (tk fixer upper article). Take the time to search for hidden gems that may need a little work, but can be purchased for a better deal with a smaller mortgage.

 

Want to stay in the know with the latest in Nanaimo real estate news? Sign up for the Jeff King Real Estate newsletter for weekly updates. 

 

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. 

house in nanoose bay

Real Estate in Nanoose Bay: A Hidden Gem

house in nanoose bay

Nanoose Bay is one of the many hidden gems on Vancouver Island. It is a large area that is sparsely populated and it is situated on the edge of the spectacular Nanoose Bay. It is less than a 15-minute drive to Parksville and a 25-minute drive to Nanaimo. You can enjoy a more quiet pace of life out here while still being within easy driving distance of everything you need.

There is a really nice variety when it comes to Nanoose Bay real estate. There are many beautiful homes that sit right on the water, you can enjoy aerial views from properties set up in the hills, and there are plenty of single-family homes tucked in amongst clearings in the forest.

With such a diverse range of properties available and situated on such a pretty bay, Nanoose Bay is an excellent choice if you are looking to join the Vancouver Island real estate market. As a member of Sutton Realty Nanaimo, I can help you find the perfect home here. Check out all of the current listings in Nanoose Bay here.

Reasons To Buy In Nanoose Bay

In this post, I will share all of the reasons this is one of the hidden gems in British Columbia and why you should seriously consider buying a property here. I have lived and worked in the area for over 10 years and Nanoose Bay is a fantastic place to purchase a home.

1. The Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Is Thriving

Buying property on Vancouver Island is a sound investment to make. This has been a record-setting year for selling houses here and the forecast is for the market trends to remain strong in the coming year. 

 

With houses continuing to sell and prices looking like they will continue to climb, you can feel confident that you are buying in a secure market that is trending upwards. 

As Nanoose Bay is still a relatively well-kept secret here on the Island, house prices remain at an affordable level and are a sound investment for the future.

2. You Will Have Great Neighbours

Nanoose Bay seems to attract a wide range of people. You’ll find retirees, hobby farmers, tradespeople, and as there is an elementary school nearby, there are also lots of families. This eclectic mix of people makes for a fun and friendly neighbourhood to be a part of.

 

Nanoose Bay is the sort of place where you will get to know everyone fairly easily and you will have people to call on if you ever run into an issue. This isn’t usually the first thing you think of when looking to buy property, but surrounding yourself with such a good community will make your experience living here even better.

3. Nanoose Bay Is Beautiful

A large and deep bay that is overlooked by hilly terrain means that you get spectacular views from all around the bay. Whether you are walking along the edge of the water, or are further up in the hills, you’ll enjoy fantastic views out over the water.

 

Even if you want to buy a property that is a bit more secluded and surrounded by trees, you don’t have to walk far to take in the surrounding beauty. A quick hike up the Notch will offer you some of the best views of Nanoose Bay. 

 

As well as being great to look at, Nanoose Bay is also home to lots of wildlife. As it is a deep bay it is not uncommon to see whales swimming right into the bay and close to the shoreline. This is an absolutely amazing experience and it can all happen right on your doorstep if you live here.

4. The Perfect Mix Of Nature And Convenience

While it is extremely pleasant to enjoy the peace and quiet of a semi-rural area, you don’t want to be cut off from civilization. Nanoose Bay is situated perfectly as it is less than a 15-minute drive to Parksville, which has pretty much everything you need.

 

You’ll find shops, grocery stores, medical centres, dentists, restaurants, and almost everything you need in Parksville. And what you can’t find in Parksville, you can find in Nanaimo, which is only a 25-minute drive away. From here you can even catch a flight or take a ferry back to the mainland or the Gulf Islands. 

 

This mid-island location also offers relatively easy access to the rest of the amazing places on Vancouver Island. You are just under 2 hours from Victoria, 1 hour 10 minutes from Mount Washington for skiing in the winter, and 2 hours 30 minutes from the funky surf town of Tofino. With all of these great places within easy driving distance, you’ll have plenty of options for planning fun weekend getaways. 

5. There Are Lots Of Activities To Keep You Busy

During your free time, you want to make sure there are things you can enjoy right on your doorstep or fairly close by. Nanoose Bay has an abundance of activities to keep you entertained throughout the year. 

 

Walkers and hikers will enjoy many of the local trails, and oceanside paths can be found in Beachcomber Regional Park and Rathtrevor Provincial Park. As it is on the ocean you can partake in water-based activities like kayaking, sailing, and fishing. 

 

Due to the excellent, mild weather in this part of Vancouver Island, you can play golf year-round. Join the Fairwinds Golf Club and play on an award-winning course in an absolutely breathtaking setting.

Is It Time To Buy In Nanoose Bay?

Nanoose Bay really is one of the best-kept secrets on Vancouver Island but it may not stay that way for too much longer. With a moderate climate, beautiful scenery, lots of wildlife, activities to keep you busy, and a wonderful community, it’s no wonder more and more people are choosing to call this part of the world home.

 

I would be delighted to discuss the many opportunities for you in Nanoose Bay. There are plenty of homes for sale in Nanoose Bay and there is something for everyone here. As a long-time local I can give you the inside scoop on what life is really like here and help you find the perfect place to call home.

selling a home in nanaimo

A Seasonal Guide To Selling your Home

selling a home in nanaimo

Selling your home can be an exhausting process, but knowing when and how to sell will help ease the process!. Choosing the right season to sell is an important factor that can be easily  overlooked when putting your home on the market.

Taking the right actions to ensure your home matches the season, at least to a certain level, should make it much easier to sell. There are several things you can do to make your house more appealing to seasonal buyers and these can have a big impact on the selling process.

I’ve been operating in the Nanaimo real estate market for over 10 years and I have managed Nanaimo real estate listings in all 4 seasons for all these years. This has given me a fantastic insight into the simple things that you can do to get your home ready to sell. Here are some of my best-kept secrets.

Selling In The Spring

Let’s start with one of the most popular times to sell your home, which is in the spring. As the weather warms up so does the real estate market. I’ve seen this with the spring often being a busy time with homes for sale in Nanaimo. 

 

You’ll want to match your home to the general thoughts of the spring season which is light, bright and clean. The long, cold and dark winter months are behind you so you’ll want to make sure your home attracts prospective buyers by being bright and welcoming.

Sell The Outside

The best thing you can do is to spruce up your outside spaces. Your garden always looks its best in spring, so make the most of it. Ensure your garden is in top shape and mow your grass regularly.

 

You can spruce up the garden by adding a few extra potted plans, buying some patio furniture (or repainting older furniture), cleaning the driveway, and making sure the exterior painting is in good shape.

Keep Fresh Scents Inside

Throw the windows open and let all of the natural scents of spring into your home, especially if you have recently mowed the lawn. If the weather doesn’t permit this then you can add flowers or light-scented candles throughout your home to fit the season. 

Spring Clean

The winter months can often be full of muddy and dirty boots getting traipsed through your home. Plus it is likely you will have spent much more time indoors in the preceding months which can lead to more stains and smells in the carpet.

 

This is the perfect opportunity to give your house a deep clean from top to bottom.Plus, it gives you the added benefit of the clean and fresh smell you are looking for. You can also hire a professional to do it for you.

Selling In The Summer

Summer can often be seen as a tough time to sell, especially to families. Parents have to look after their kids during the school holidays, lots of people are away on vacation and others would rather lie in the sun than go and view houses. 

 

You can still have great success selling in the summer and you are likely to encounter less competition during these months. Use the tips below to increase the appeal of your home.

Let Some Light In

Take advantage of the extra natural light on offer during the long summer nights. Replace dark curtains with much lighter fabrics, tie back existing curtains and open your blinds and shutters fully to let all that wonderful natural light in.

 

Air Out The Property

While the heat of the summer is generally a good thing, you will want to make sure you let air flow through the property to keep it cool and feeling nice and summery. Keep windows open on opposite sides of your home to allow air to easily flow through.

 

Airflow is particularly important in rooms that tend to get a lot of sunlight throughout the day. Warm homes are good but you don’t want the heat to become stifling. Try to avoid cooking anything too smelly before any viewings as this will overpower the lovely fresh summer smells that will naturally occur.

 

Increase Curb Appeal

Similar to the spring season, the summer months will show off the exterior of your house at its best. The garden should be in top shape and your house will always look better with blue skies in the background. This can be an ideal time to have photos taken of your house even if the sale runs into the fall season.

Selling In The Fall

Along with the spring, fall is considered the best time of year to sell your home. Buyers want to be in their new home by Christmas and it is a great time for you to put your house on the market.


Even though fall is an ideal time of year to sell your home, you will still want to follow these actionable tips to maximize the appeal of your home.

 

Keep Your Garden Clean

This is definitely a theme in this guide but the garden is the first thing people see when they arrive at your home. In the spring and summer, it is about making sure the grass is cut and you have fresh, blooming flowers on show. 

 

In fall, the most important thing is to keep your garden tidy. This can be as simple as raking up the leaves in your garden to help you stand out from the competition. You’ll also want to make sure your gutters and drainage areas are clear of leaves so there are no blockages that can easily put a buyer off.

Get The Lighting Right

If possible, try and show your home in the daytime as everything looks better with natural light. Keep curtains and blinds open wherever possible to let as much natural light into your home as you can.

 

If you have to show it in the evenings ensure that you have your home well lit so it looks welcoming, even when it is dark outside. Adding in some extra table lamps in areas like the living room and bedrooms can make a big difference. In the kitchen, bathrooms, and hallways you can put new daylight bulbs to brighten up the space with minimal effort.

 

Add A Touch Of Fall Colour

Smple accents of fall colours throughout your house are relatively cheap and easy ways to have your home match the season. Use deep reds, greens, and browns on accessories like pillows, cushions and blankets. 

 

These seasonal colours can really make your home feel more inviting and cozy.

Selling In The Winter 

Winter can often be a quiet time in the real estate market, although you’ll still find homes for sale in Nanaimo at this time of year. You can use this quiet period of the year to your advantage as there is less competition around. Make your home stand out this winter with some simple and easy steps.

Keep Your Home Warm

Viewers in your home will not appreciate it if they are freezing cold. Arrive at least half an hour before any viewings to turn the heat on so that potential buyers will be able to focus on your home, and not how cold they are.

 

If you have a fireplace, and want to go the extra mile, then you can light it to make your home feel even more welcoming. Be careful not to go too far in the other direction and make it stifling hot either. A warm temperature throughout will be perfect.

Create A Cozy Atmosphere

Winter is the season when people want to bundle up and feel warm and cozy at home so you will want to create this atmosphere for your viewers. Add in some rugs and throws and light a few candles to entice people in to the space.

Add Outdoor Lighting 

The winter is when you will have the least natural light to sell your home and many of your viewings may happen when it is dark outside. It doesn’t help if buyers are turning up to a dark silhouette of a house on a dark and dreary evening.

 

Invest in some exterior lights to brighten up the front of the house and add winter curb appeal. Don’t forget the back garden either. You can add a couple of lights to highlight a nice corner of the garden or any decorative plants you may have. This means your viewers won’t just be looking into a vast black expanse when they look out your back windows.

Sell Your House In Any Season

Don’t let the time of year put you off selling your home. Homes will sell year-round and the tips above will help you stand out without requiring a big investment. These small things really can go a long way. 

 

No matter the season, I can help you sell your home or assist in finding the perfect investment opportunity for you. Check out my latest listings and contact me if you have any Nanaimo real estate questions.

moving in nanaimo stressfree

How To Make Your Moving Experience Stress Free

moving in nanaimo stressfree

Moving to a new home comes with a strange mix of excitement and stress. It is a fantastic new opportunity and you get a chance to make a new place your own. Even with this exciting move there is a lot to think about which can cause it to be stressful if you don’t make a plan and do some preparation in advance.

As a realtor in Nanaimo, I have helped countless people deal with their moves and I understand there are plenty of things that you can do to make this experience much more relaxing for you and your family.

You should be able to enjoy your move and that is why I wanted to put together this guide. It will show the steps you can take towards a stress-free move (or as stress-free as possible) so you can look forward to moving day instead of dreading it.

Top Tips For A Stress-Free Move

Moving doesn’t have to be stressful! Follow these tips to make your next move a breeze.

Make A Moving Plan Early On

The single biggest thing you can do to ensure a less stressful move is to make a moving plan and to make it early. This not only helps to keep you organized but by doing it early you allow yourself some wiggle room in case you hit an unexpected snag, which is almost inevitable.

 

Planning a moving schedule doesn’t have to be very difficult or time-consuming but you should try and do it well. You will need to plan the time it will take for you to pack, load, clean, move and unload all of your belongings. If you are planning on hiring professional movers (more on this below), make sure you book them early to get your desired dates.

 

You will also need to speak to your landlords and employers to arrange the necessary time to complete all of this work. Some people often have an overlapping month between the two places, but we recommend renting a storage unit if you need the extra time as this is a much cheaper option.

 

Make an in-depth moving checklist as part of your moving plan so you don’t forget anything!

Pick A Reliable Moving Company In Advance

Hire an expert moving company to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you. Research moving companies and find one that has plenty of good reviews. The last thing you want is any damage to your possessions or your property during a move. 

 

Be sure to get multiple quotes as professional movers can often be more expensive than you think. You will want to make sure you know exactly what is included in your quote so you aren’t left with any surprises on the day either.

 

Try and do this as far in advance of your moving date as possible as movers tend to be busy on dates like weekends, holidays or at the end of the month. 

 

Have Each Member Of The Family Pack Their Own Survival Suitcase

Have each member of your family pack their own suitcase with the essentials they will need to get through the first few days in your new home. Unpacking can often take several days and you don’t want to have to dig through boxes to find an essential item on your first night.

 

Items to include in this suitcase are toiletries, phone and laptop chargers, medication, and some snacks and water to keep you going. Keep these survival suitcases separate from the rest of your boxes so that you can access them easily at any time. 

Declutter Your Home

Before you start to pack it is a great idea to thoroughly declutter your home. Get rid of any old, unnecessary, or unwanted items as this will save you time, money, and stress when it comes to packing and moving.

 

Donate, recycle, sell, or throw away as many items as you can. This leaves fewer things for you to pack and organize and it will make your move cheaper as you might only need a smaller van and fewer moving hours. 

Gather Your Packing Supplies

Before you start packing, you will want to get all of your supplies in advance, allowing you to pack quickly and efficiently when the time comes. You will need:

  • boxes
  • newspaper
  • packing paper
  • tape
  • old rags
  • moving blankets
  • scissors
  • markers

 

Having a centralized packing location can also help you feel less stressed during your move. Use a spare room to set up a station to easily pack away all of your items. This keeps the rest of your house from becoming cluttered with packing equipment in the lead-up to your move.

Start Packing Weeks In Advance 

How early you have to start packing depends on the size of your house but for larger homes, it can take 8 – 12 weeks. Packing always takes longer than expected so it is a good idea to start as early as possible. This way you aren’t running behind closer to moving day which will certainly make things feel more stressful. 

 

While it may go without saying, categorize everything and pack it together. It is usually a good idea to start early with the rooms that you use the least and leave areas like the kitchen and living room right to the end.

 

Even when packing items that are from the same room, be specific with your labelling. It may seem quick and easy to just write “kitchen” on the box but it is a good idea to list a couple of the items that are included in each box like plates, bowls, or cutlery. That way when you have 10 different boxes labelled kitchen you will still be able to find what you are looking for. Some people even use colour-coded tape, cards or markers to make the unpacking process even simpler.

 

Pack heavy items in small boxes and light items in larger boxes to avoid boxes breaking or ripping as you move. And while it is recommended to generally keep similar items together, you should keep fragile items separate and clearly mark them so extra caution is taken with them during the move.

Ask Your Moving Company For A List Of Items They Won’t Move

Most moving companies will have a list of items that they will not transport for you. This can include things like bleach, pesticides, fertilizers, plants with soil in them, open paint cans, and a whole host of other items. 

 

Check with your moving company in advance to ensure you know what they won’t be able to move. You can then make alternative arrangements for these items or donate, sell, recycle, or throw them away.

Organize Utilities

Settle all of the utilities for your current home before you leave if you can, or at least be aware of any final utility bills you will need to pay. Cancel any existing subscriptions you will not be taking to your new home, like internet and cable services.

 

For your new home, you can often set up accounts for yourself in advance so you are ready to go the day you move in. Set up electricity accounts, transfer your internet or cable if you are keeping it, set up accounts for water, gas, or heat wherever necessary. This will save you having to do all of this once you have actually moved as you will already have your hands full.

Take Time To Clean Your New Home Before Moving In

If you can get access to your new home a few days before moving in then you should give it a good clean and assess it before you move. It is much easier to clean an empty home and you will be glad you took the time to do so when you finally get to move in. Make sure to keep your cleaning supplies separate from the rest of your packed belongings.

 

Take advantage of the empty space to take deliveries for the likes of white goods or measure for blinds, carpets or rugs. 

Stress Less With Nanaimo Real Estate

Planning your move well in advance will lead to a much more enjoyable process. By following the advice above you can greatly reduce your stress levels and you can actually appreciate your new home.

 

Have you got any questions about moving to Nanaimo? Get in touch with me and I would be more than happy to help answer any questions or to help you look for Nanaimo real estate opportunities

nanaimo winter activities

Top Things to Do in Nanaimo in Winter

nanaimo winter activities

Living in Nanaimo is such a pleasure. We’re surrounded by the ocean, mountains and plenty of wildlife. Not to mention, the this amazing island life doesn’t have to end once the summer does.

Due to the temperate climate we get here in Nanaimo, winters are fairly mild and this is one of the best places in Canada to escape the cold.  This means we can include plenty of outdoor as well as indoor activities on our list of the top things to do in Nanaimo in the winter. 

Whether you want to stay cozy and warm indoors, or you are still yearning to get outside and explore, this guide will have plenty of inspiration for you. With over 10 years of experience in the Nanaimo real estate market operating as part of Sutton Realty Nanaimo, as well as calling this place home, I am happy to share my top winter activities in and around Nanaimo with you. 

1. Visit Ammonite Falls

Vancouver Island has no shortage of beautiful waterfalls and Ammonite Falls is one of the best. Located less than a 20-minute drive from downtown Nanaimo in Benson Creek Falls Regional Park, this is easy to get to and the trail itself is a fairly easy hike.

The winter is actually one of the best times of year to see this waterfall as the flow of water is much higher than in the drier summer months  Watch the water cascade over the edge and enjoy the refreshing feeling of the spray swirling around you. 

2. Eat Your Way Along The Nanaimo Bar Trail

This city is famous for the delicious sweet treat known as the Nanaimo Bar. It is made up of chocolate, graham crackers, nuts, butter and custard powder. If you haven’t tried one yet you need to get your hands on one ASAP.

 

But why stop at one? Find the absolute best of these bars by going to as many of the 39 stops as possible along the Nanaimo Bar Trail. There are plenty of choices ranging from the classic style all the way to deep-fried and ice cream variations too. A tasty way to spend your winter!

3. See A Nanaimo Clippers Hockey Game

The Nanaimo Clippers are a Junior A hockey team that has been playing in the BCHL since 1972. You’ll catch their games at the Frank Crane Arena. The atmosphere at local hockey games is brilliant and you will enjoy watching some of Canada’s future stars take to the ice throughout the winter months.

4. Go Ice Skating  

If watching ice hockey isn’t good enough for you then why not take to the ice yourself. There are three public ice arenas to choose from and they include community events and programs that will help you learn to skate if you have never tried it before.

Depending on where you are in Nanaimo you can check out the Frank Crane Arena, Nanaimo Ice Centre and the Cliff McNabb Arena. 

 

5. Go Shopping

What better way to stave off the winter blues than with some retail therapy? Nanaimo has lots of great shopping and there is a little something for everyone. Check out some of the specialty shops and boutique stores in Nanaimo’s historic Old City Quarter.

 

If you fancy pottering around the largest mall on Vancouver Island then head to Woodgrove. Here you will find over 140 stores to choose from, with a wide variety of products and services on offer.

 

6. Eat Comfort Food In The Cities Best Restaurants

Another great way to spend a cold winter’s evening is to wine and dine with friends or family in one of the amazing restaurants we have littered across Nanaimo. Whether you want some amazing Greek food from Asteras, wood-fired pies and housemade pasta from La Stella Trattoria or some vegan food at Eve Olive, there is no shortage of delicious restaurants to choose from. 

 

Wash it all down with a couple of glasses of local BC wine and you have the perfect winter evening. 

 

7. Walk Along The Water By The Harbour

If you don’t fancy going for a hike but still want to stretch your legs, you can walk along the path that runs along the cities harbour. You can start at the southern end where there is a marina full of pleasure boats and a commercial fishing dock.

 

As you walk north you will pass by shops and restaurants before coming to Swy-A-Lana Lagoon which is a fishing pier and a children’s park. The walkway does continue on to the Departure Bay ferry terminal if you would like to walk even further.

 

8. Visit the Local Museums And Art Galleries

Soak in some of the local culture and explore some of the museums and art galleries around Nanaimo. The Nanaimo Museum showcases some interesting pieces of local and regional history as well as feature exhibits from the National Gallery, the Canadian History Museum, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

 

The Vancouver Island Military Museum is full of interesting artifacts from the navy, army and air force such as uniforms, weapons and medals and the view from the museum is incredible.

 

If art is more your type of thing then head to the Nanaimo Art Gallery which showcases local and contemporary art. It also offers lectures and workshops, plus you can even buy some of your own local artwork. 

 

9. Entertain the Kids 

For some family friendly fun in the winter, you can take your kids to the water park at Beban Park. With a lazy river, spray features and a water-slide the kids will be kept well entertained and you can enjoy some time in the full length pool, steam room and hot tub.

 

Another great choice is the kids fun house at Jumping Jiminy’s. There is a large play area, games room and a climbing wall and is for kids up to the age of 15. 

 

Enjoy Winter in One of the Best Cities in BC 

There are plenty of amazing things to do in Nanaimo in the winter, both indoors and outdoors. And whether you like to relax with some good food or explore the outdoors, there is plenty to keep you entertained in this amazing part of Vancouver Island.

 

If you’re ready to sell, or looking for a new investment opportunity, Jeff King Real Estate is here to help! Check out our latest listings and contact me if you have any Nanaimo real estate questions.