Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski September 2016   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

Assurance Realty Ltd.
#100 - 1634 Harvey Avenue
Kelowna, BC
250-808-5508 or 1-888-301-2121

Negotiating skills are useful for just about any situation but there are certain scenarios that may require a professional.  This month’s main article discusses the importance of strong negotiating skills.
There are also some strategies to help your kids settle into a new school as well as a few apps to help you manage your stress levels.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you have any questions or comments regarding the articles, or real estate in general -- it'd be great to hear from you!

Bo Skapski

In this issue...
The Okanagan Real Estate Market Report 
Sales activity continues to gradually slow-down.

Residential sales in the region spanning Peachland to Revelstoke were fewer this past month at 1020, as compared to July sales of 1042 posted to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS®), down just 2.1 percent from the previous month but still a 25.8 percent increase over August of last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“Overall, the market slowed somewhat in August as compared to previous months, but was still livelier than this time last year,” comments Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan, adding “These results are not surprising.  They’re typical of this time of year, with folks in vacation mode and, towards the latter part of August, focused on getting the kids settled into school.”

Average price in August, at $464,981.64, was 2.42 percent lower than July but 11.52 percent higher than August of last year.  New listings remained relatively unchanged from the previous month while days on market rose to 85 from 80 in July across the entire region OMREB serves.

“All indications suggest the market is moderating, although at a relatively slow pace,” comments Bastiaanssen.  “While these conditions may take some of the pressure off, we are unlikely to see much of a shift in market conditions until more inventory becomes available.”

Despite the slow-down, the Okanagan market remains a challenging one and Bastiaanssen advises that prospective buyers and sellers talk to their REALTOR to better understand the particular characteristics of this market and the best buying or selling strategy under these conditions.

Shifting to buyers, two-parent families with children were the largest group buying homes, followed by couples without children at 22 percent and empty nesters or retired at 21 percent, according July results for OMREB’s survey of buyers.

First time buyers, those upgrading, those downsizing and those relocating to similar-type properties were represented in relatively equal proportions and, collectively, made up 69 percent of the buying population.

Those already residing in the Okanagan continued to make up the largest percentage of buyers at 60 percent, followed by buyers from the Lower Mainland or Vancouver Island at 18 percent, 9 percent from Alberta and 7 percent from elsewhere in BC.

“Despite the introduction of a 15 percent increase on Property Transfer Tax for foreign buyers purchasing property in the Lower Mainland, we saw no change in foreign buyers here, who continue to make up about 2 percent of buyers,” says Bastiaanssen.

Responding to some confusion that exists in the marketplace, Bastiaanssen stresses that the increase in Property Transfer Tax only applies to foreign buyers and only on the purchase of properties in regions of the Lower Mainland and not anywhere else in the province.

The Importance of Strong Negotiating Skills 
Strong negotiation skills aren’t just for business transactions.

You often don’t realize you’re using them but whether you're renting a car, asking for a raise or trying to get your kids to clean up their room, strong negotiating skills are essential.
Negotiating is a life skill that can be easily learned and eventually perfected.  Your success is partly based on how well you're prepared so it’s important to do your homework.

Also, never make assumptions but instead ask questions and listen to the other party’s perspective in order to gain their trust and to gather valuable information that may come in handy later.
There are certain scenarios where it’s best to use a third party negotiator.  The home buying/selling process can be very complex.  In order to successfully negotiate, you need to understand local market conditions but you also need to be able to identify specific psychological aspects in order to work around certain fears and motivations and turn them into advantages.

Even if you consider yourself the world’s greatest negotiator, emotions can often tear things apart.  If you negotiate with someone directly in such an emotionally charged situation as selling a home, chances are that negative personal feelings will get in the way.  It's hard to recover once that happens and oftentimes, the home of your dreams will be lost due to ego, pride or principle.
Emotions run very high when it comes to buying or selling a home which is why it's important to have a real estate agent represent you as a third party negotiator.  Professionals are able to see things through to the end by remaining calm and not letting their emotions get in the way.  If you're thinking about making a move, please get in touch so that we can discuss your options.

Helping Your Kids Adjust to a New School 
Starting fresh at a new school can sometimes be a challenge.

Switching to a new school can cause children considerable stress and anxiety.  If your child has just started at a new school, the following tips will help them settle in:

  1. Be Positive - Discuss your children's fears while encouraging a confident approach to making new friends

  2. Fear Not - Chances are you'll be a little nervous too.  Be careful not to transfer your anxieties over to them.

  3. Join Up - Encourage your children to join school clubs/teams and participate in after-school activities in order to meet new friends and have fun.

  4. Join In - Parent teacher groups are a great way for you to connect with the school community.  Attending field trips is another great way to get involved!

Moving to a new school can be a difficult transition so try to emphasize the positive when discussing the challenges and opportunities your children face.  By encouraging them to share their feelings with you, it'll be much easier for them to adjust to their new surroundings.

A Few Apps to Help You Keep Your Cool 
So many emotional and physical illnesses are related to stress.

Instead of being the source of your stress, your smartphone can actually help you relax with some great apps designed to relieve stress and anxiety.

Meditation is a huge stress reliever and apps such as Headspace are great at helping to guide you through the process.

Being grateful also reduces stress and increases happiness.  There are various apps like Grateful Journal to help you record your moments each day.

Finally, exercise is a great stress reliever but it can be hard to find the time.  Apps such as the 7 Minute Workout contain bodyweight resistant exercises including squats and push-ups to pump up your endorphins and help you feel great!

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