Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski April 2017   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

It’s been a long time coming but spring is finally here so this month’s article takes a look at a few of the latest gardening trends that will be sprouting up!

There’s also some advice on what to do if you think your house may have a foundation problem as well as a few tips on how to give your home a good spring clean.

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...
Okanagan Real Estate Market Update 
March residential sales were similar to same time last year.

Residential sales totaled 824 across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland, generally on par with sales this time last year and a 58% increase over February, reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

Other key market indicators include average price, which was $475,172.74, comparable to February and just 10% over March last year.

Days on market, or the average length of time it takes to sell a home, crept down to 79 in March from 87 days in February and 96 a year ago.  Inventory, or the number of available homes for sale, remains low at 37% lower than this time last year.

“While sales volumes and other indicators are reflective of this time last year, our market continues to be hampered by a lack of properties for sale,” comments Tanis Read, recently inducted 2017 President of OMREB and active Central Okanagan REALTOR®.  “This means we will likely not have the volume of inventory needed to support the typically busy spring months.”

Read suggests that, with the growth in demand that generally occurs towards summer, the persistently low inventory is likely to create challenges for consumers and the REALTORS® serving them.  Prospective buyers may find themselves competing for those properties that are available for sale and REALTORS® may find themselves managing high-pressure multiple offer situations.

“While those selling their homes may benefit from this scenario, they are likely find themselves facing similar challenges if they are exchanging their current property for another one in the Okanagan market,” says Read.

Given these challenges, Read advises buyers and sellers alike to consider engaging a professional, a local REALTOR® to act as guide and trusted advisor throughout the buying or selling process.  Read stresses qualities to consider when choosing a REALTOR® include familiarity with local markets, regional anomalies, neighborhoods of interest and the type of home consumers wish to buy or sell (single family, condominium, etc.)

An OMREB survey concerning buyers of property sales that closed in February found first time buyers tying for first place with move-up buyers at 21.5%, edging out those relocating and moving to similar property types at 17.5%.  The top three buyer types were couples without children at 30.9%, two parent families with children at 25.8% and empty nesters or retired at 18.9%.

The majority of buyers continue to be those who already live here at 63.5%, followed by those from the lower Mainland and Vancouver Island at 12% and Alberta at 9.9%. Foreign buyers came in at just 3%.

The Latest Garden & Landscaping Trends 
Get the dirt on this year’s latest and greatest gardening trends!

It’s the time of year when many of us start coming up with ideas on how to jazz up our outdoor space.  If you’re the type who can’t wait to get your hands dirty, here are a few ideas to inspire you:

  1. Natural Materials - Wood and rocks are popular gardening materials as people are moving towards a more organic and authentic look.

  2. Cozy Comfort - The Danish concept of Hygge is about creating comfortable gathering areas for friends and family such as pillow chairs that surround an outdoor fireplace.

  3. Grow Local - Sprawling lawns are being replaced with edible landscapes so homeowners can organically grow their own fruits, vegetables and herbs.

  4. eGardening - Smartphone apps make it easy to plan and grow your garden based on your climate zone.  They can even alert you if a cold snap’s coming so you can cover your plants.

  5. Gardening Gadgets - Robot grass mowers and customizable sprinkler systems that monitor the weather and adjust watering schedules are helpful for those who love lush lawns.

  6. Polly Plants - Create an inviting garden by planting bright, nectar rich flowers that will attract a variety of pollinators such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Gardening is a great way to get outside and get in touch with mother nature so it’s no surprise in this ever-connected digital world that taking a break to work on our gardens is growing in popularity.  Regardless of whether or not you follow the latest trends this spring, here’s to digging in and getting your hands dirty!

Cracking Up is No Laughing Matter 
The foundation is the home’s most important structural component.

A serious foundation problem can quickly turn into an expensive nightmare.  Buyers realize this and won't purchase a home until it's been properly repaired or worse, they’ll simply walk away.

If you notice cracks, bowing or anything else that looks suspicious, you should have the foundation inspected by a qualified professional to determine just how serious the problem is.

Indications of possible foundation problems include uneven floors, windows/doors that are hard to open/shut and diagonal cracks on walls around the corners of doors and windows.  It's important to keep in mind though that many homes have cracks and defects which are purely cosmetic.

Foundation cracks are caused by hydrostatic pressure from water that soaks into the earth around the base of the home.  The foundation sinks as water spills out from the gutters and puddles around the perimeter putting pressure against the foundation which causes cracks that make the house settle more than it should.

If you're selling a home with a foundation problem, it’s usually best to get it fixed beforehand as a questionable foundation problem can often squash a sale.  If you don't plan on fixing the issue, at least get a few quotes so that you're able to show the approximate cost of repairs.

Spring New Life into Your Home 
It’s finally that time of year to refresh and reorganize your home!

Spring has sprung which means fresh scents, chirping birds and new life in the garden!  It's time to bring that spring fresh feeling into your home so open the windows, let the fresh air in and:

  • create a spring cleaning checklist
  • focus on only one room at a time
  • throw out all expired items
  • vacuum and rotate your mattresses
  • clean under the beds

With a clean, fresh home under your belt, you'll be all set to focus on cleaning up your outdoor furniture so that you can enjoy the summer months that are just around the corner!

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