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.

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 Jeff today to learn about what makes this city so special. Jeff King Real Estate knows local communities and how to make the most of living in Nanaimo.


home living room

What to Look for When Viewing a Home

home living room

Conducting a walkthrough of a home can be a jarring experience. You have a wishlist, a set of expectations, and a list of red flags to avoid. Can you get everything you want? Unlikely. But, you can come pretty close.

If you aren’t an experienced home builder, some common red flags might slip past you. Thankfully, Jeff King Real Estate has seen it all when it comes to home walkthroughs and we’re here to help you get the most out of the process. 

Read on for our top things to look out for when viewing a home so that you can confidently shop the Nanaimo real estate market.

Cracks In Walls

Cracks in the wall of a home are one of the biggest red flags you can encounter. To be clear: cracks in drywall less than a few feet long are okay, but anything larger than that is a no go–especially if it is noticeably discoloured.

There is a low chance that a crack like this means nothing. It is often a sign of movement, indicating that there may be structural problems with the home. Inquire with the seller about the crack. If they can’t explain where it came from, it could end up being a big problem for you. 

roof of a house

Ask About The Roof

Since most home showings don’t include a visit to the rooftop, it is on you to inquire about what kind of shape it is in. Ask how long ago the roof was installed and what materials it is made out of (this could include tar and gravel, asphalt, steel, or wood). 

Jot down the average lifespans of some common roofing materials beforehand so you know when you may need to make replacements. For older homes, don’t be afraid to seek an expert’s opinion. Older homes often have more layers of roofing to replace, where it’s common to find problem areas.

Inspect Plumbing

Plumbing is an area that you should always be concerned about. Try out every faucet and showerhead in the house to make sure that they have adequate water pressure, and check toilets for backups.

Many home visitors will also check the smell, taste, and temperature of the water – which is something you will notice every day if something is wrong. While you are near the bathroom, check the flooring for unexpected sagging or dipping, which could be a sign of rot or other structural problems. 

Try Out Windows 

Low-quality windows creak and groan, and warped frames make it hard to close or lock them. This may not be a huge problem for one or two of your windows, but what if you need to replace windows for the whole house?

Window replacements are expensive but leaving those old single-pane windows in place results in a higher heating bill since they don’t keep the cold out. 

Explore Storage Options

If the owner is still living in the home, you may feel that it is inappropriate to peer into their belongings during your visit. Trust us, it isn’t.

You will need to know exactly how much storage there is in the home for your belongings when the time comes, so don’t stress about exploring closets, cabinets, and other storage spaces.

basement of a home

The Basement: Where Big Problems Begin

The basement is a great indicator of the structural integrity of the home. Moisture is a big problem whether it is dry or wet outside, so look for any wet spots (especially in dark, faraway corners). 

Chalky white substances on walls, discoloured paint, or rotting wood are also signs of water intrusion.

It’s not out of line to ask that stored belongings be moved so that you  can view every part of the basement. Even if the current owner isn’t meaning to “hide” anything, you deserve to know exactly what shape the space is in.

Examine Trees

A good home viewing isn’t just about what you find inside. The exterior is important too, especially what can damage the exterior. Look for tall, older trees near the property. These are at the highest risk of falling during a bad storm (anyone buying real estate in Nanaimo should know that these weather events do happen).

Aside from falling trees, roots growing into your basement and bug infestations are other less-known concerns with large trees on your property. Plus tree removal is an expensive process, especially if you live in a dense, hard-to-maneuver lot. 

Quick Flips

House flipping is prevalent wherever the market is hot, and Nanaimo’s real estate prices make the city attractive for many buyers.

Ask your real estate agent about how long the home was owned by its previous owners. A short turnaround time means that it will be important to “read between the lines”. Newer fixtures, flooring, and other aesthetic features could be hiding deeper structural problems

If you start to feel concerned about this, inquire about the existing warranties attached to the home, and whether they are transferable to a new owner.

Thinking About a Fixer Upper?

In our blog post on fixer upper homes, we talked about what to look out for when finding a home that you will be putting some work into.

If you notice the red flags listed above (especially if they are structural), we recommend bringing an architect or licenced home inspector around to a second home showing so that you can have a professional opinion of what you are getting into.

How to Have a Successful House Viewing

There’s no better way to feel confident about your house viewing than working with a realtor that you can trust. At Jeff King Real Estate, we understand the Nanaimo real estate market deeply and bring over a decade of experience helping buyers buy property in B.C

Want to learn more about working with us? Get in touch today. 

kitchen being renovated

Buying a Fixer-Upper: Is It Really Worth It?

kitchen being renovated

Should you buy a fully finished home or put money into a fixer-upper? This is a big question for people buying property in BC. 

The right renos can boost a home’s value significantly, but there are risks too. Renovations are expensive and unforeseen setbacks can cost you big.  That said, even if it doesn’t seem like you are saving much buying a fixer-upper (especially with recent Nanaimo real estate prices) it can still be tempting to leave your mark. 

Want to make the right choice when buying a fixer upper in BC? Here is our guide to choosing the right option, and knowing how to spot the right property in your local real estate listings

Advantages of Fixer Upper Homes

The main reason that buyers are interested in fixer uppers is lower cost. Buyers will weigh the savings they make against the approximate spend of all the renovations that need to be completed.

Buyers are also concerned with the value they can add to the home, especially when viewing it as an investment property. This can be a tough calculation to make on the spot, so it is best to be conservative when crunching the numbers. 

As well, many buyers also assume they can save money with “do-it-yourself” fixes for all but the most major renovations. 

Drawbacks of Fixer Upper Homes

Renovating a new home is exciting. It’s an opportunity to put your vision into action and learn some DIY skills along the way.

But, anyone who has purchased a fixer upper before knows that renovating can also mean ballooning budgets and blown timelines. This  can eat up time and money, and you will need to consider these costs when you decide whether to buy the home.

Recent price hikes for building materials have been a lesson for home renovators. Disruptions in the supply chain should be expected at some point during your home renovation journey. 

When prices of lumber and other building materials rise, you may be put in a tough position: wait in your unfinished home until prices eventually settle, or “bite the bullet” and get your renos done on time for a higher cost.

As well, finding reputable contractors can be hard work. The best local teams will often be booked up for months in advance, and delays can be common.

It can also be hard to live in a home that is being renovated. Think of the last time  you went without a kitchen or bathroom for a day, then imagine  you will be spending months with at least something being worked on in your home. 

If these factors aren’t enough to make you think twice, remember that renovations need to comply with your local building codes, and additional costs come in the form of building permits, disposal fees, architectural drawings, and much more. 

In conclusion: a lot can go wrong when you buy a fixer upper. The only way to know what to expect is by experiencing it firsthand.

Finding the Right Fixer Upper

If you decide on buying a fixer upper, you will need to know what to look for when checking your local real estate listings.  Here are a few things to keep in mind.

First, confirm whether the renovations you would make are cosmetic or structural. Cosmetic renovations are easier for you to do yourself, like drywall repair or floor finishing.

Structural renovations will likely require the help of a contractor. This includes anything to do with the plumbing, electrical, roof system, or foundation of the home. Many experienced renovators shy away from homes requiring any structural work due to the excessively high cost.

Next,consider the location of the home. If the neighbourhood is becoming more desirable, you could see a larger increase in the value of your home aside from the renovations you are doing.

Be realistic about your DIY skills. A willingness to be “handy” goes a long way, but you should ask the opinion of experienced friends and family so you don’t get in over your head.

Above all, take the time to complete a full home inspection before you put an offer in on a home. There’s nothing worse than starting off a renovation by finding out about some unexpected problems.

Ready to Get Renovating?

assorted tools arranged on surface

Fixing up older or underutilized homes is a passion project for some and also a way to earn a profit. Nanaimo real estate prices are strong, and many buyers are getting into the market by investing in fixer uppers. 

Have you caught the reno bug? Learn about the best fixer upper homes on the market by getting in touch with Jeff King Real Estate. We know how to find great deals on homes with potential in some of Nanaimo’s up-and-coming neighbourhoods–and we love working with people who don’t mind getting their hands dirty or cooking dinner on the back porch for a few weeks. 

nanaimo harbour

Guide to Moving to Nanaimo: What to Expect

nanaimo harbour

After all the work of finding the right property and budgeting for the costs of your new home, getting ready to make your move to Vancouver Island is a cause for celebration. 

There are many reasons why so many people are choosing to relocate to the Nanaimo area. Retirement, job prospects, and a relaxed West Coast lifestyle are common motivators. But there are also some important factors to consider when gearing up for the big move, and this article will make sure that you are on the right path.

We’re not just talking about packing a good rain jacket (although that is very important). Here is your full guide on moving to Nanaimo, from the realtor that knows the market better than anyone else!

Preparing for the Big Move

man moving into a new home

Moving may be exciting, but that doesn’t make it easy. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve moved before, a big move comes with its share of curveballs.

Here are some tips for getting your move done right.

  • Label your boxes with the rooms  they will be going into.
  • Pack an “essentials” box. This will include a few sets of cutlery and plates, kitchenware, cleaning supplies, dish towels, and anything else you will need for your first night in your new home. 
  • Use larger sized moving boxes instead of a range of different sizes. This makes them easier to stack and means fewer trips to the truck for you or your moving company.
  • Give yourself lots of time to move properly. Start at least 1-2 weeks before your moving date and try to make an inventory of what items you are packing and how many boxes are packed. This will help you track in case anything gets lost along the way.

Getting to Nanaimo

Living in Nanaimo offers unique experiences and a laid back lifestyle (not to mention some amazing seafood). But Vancouver Island does present one challenge that takes a bit of getting used to: transportation.

Moving to the Island means that you will need to transport the majority of your possessions using the BC Ferries system. Uhaul and other moving trucks qualify as an oversized fare, so you will need to budget for this additional cost. 

Also, it’s always a good idea to book a reservation and avoid travel on summer weekends and holidays year round. The Island is a popular holiday destination, and traffic surges during these times.

If you are travelling with personal luggage, you can opt to get to Nanaimo by seaplane, helicopter, or by flying into Nanaimo Airport from Vancouver or select local cities.

Worried about the cost and time of traveling to the mainland in the future? Thankfully, Nanaimo and nearby Victoria are home to all services that you could need. 

A high-speed commuter ferry is currently in the works, which will take passengers directly to Vancouver’s Waterfront Station – just in case business or personal reasons mean that you will have to travel often to the big city. 

So You Made it to Nanaimo. Now What?

There’s not much more tiring after a long day of moving. Reward yourself with a takeout meal from one of the local favourites like Smokin’ George’s BBQ, sushi from Nori Japanese, or Pizza from Mambo.

Then you can start getting settled, unpacking those neatly packed moving boxes and furnishing your new home just how you like it. 

You only get to be a “newcomer” once in Nanaimo, and thankfully there are several local organizations that are dedicated to making you feel at home

The Nanaimo Newcomers Club is an organization for women to get involved socially, and the City of Nanaimo keeps a record of hundreds of social, cultural, and sports clubs for anyone to join. The benefits of living in a city of 100,000+ people are that there are probably others who share the same interests as you, yet there is still a feeling of small town charm.

Weather in Nanaimo

Nanaimo has a reputation for having one of the mildest climates in Canada. It’s location in Vancouver Island’s rainforest means that the average winter temperature is approximately 8 degrees celsius.

Although you don’t need to prepare for the worst like Canadians in the rest of the country, there are still some things to consider. 

Although snow is rare, it does happen in Nanaimo. Keep a snow shovel and sidewalk salt stash, as these items sell out quickly in stores when snow does fall. 

Most Nanaimo residents don’t own snow tires, unless they plan on travelling to other regions in the winter (like the Mt. Washington ski resort, only a 90 minute drive from Nanaimo).

Of course, the rainy climate means that you should prepare by having decent raingear, and ensuring that the drainage around your home is adequate.

Enjoying Your New Life in Nanaimo

kayaks beside the ocean in nanaimo

“The Harbour City” offers an excellent quality of life and access to amenities without the “big city hustle” that is the fast-growing Victoria region directly to the south.

This has led to increased demand in the Nanaimo real estate market and an influx of new residents. The city is slated for growth for years to come, so come be a part of it!

Have any more questions about Nanaimo real estate or living in Nanaimo? Get in touch with Jeff today. We know the market, and we love helping people start a new life in Nanaimo.