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

Bo Skapski

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

Saving energy around the home isn't just good for the environment -- it's great for your finances too!  This month’s feature article shares a few simple energy saving tips to help you increase your home's efficiency.

There are also some tips on how to communicate effectively with your real estate agent so you’ll be able to receive the best possible service as well as a few ideas on how to host a successful clothing swap!

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 
The Okanagan residential market summer sizzle ceases.

Residential sales in the Okanagan slowed in September, with 884 sales posted to the MLS® as compared to 1020 the previous month, down 13.3 % from August but still a 25.4% increase over September of last year reports the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB).

“While fewer sales indicate that the market may be starting to moderate, pricing and days on market are still relatively consistent, suggesting that our move towards a balanced market is likely to be a slow one,” comments Anthony Bastiaanssen, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the central Okanagan.

“Product inventory and new listings are also factors to consider,” adds Bastiaanssen.  “When we see low inventories coupled with fewer new listings, we know that it is likely to be a while before the market balances.  When we take all factors into account, we are still faced with a market where there are more buyers than homes to buy.”

Across the region spanning Peachland to Revelstoke, the average MLS® residential price in September was $477,844.09, a 2.76% increase over August, likely due to the make-up of product sold, and a 13.44% increase over the same month last year.  New residential listings dropped 9% from August, while days on market stayed relatively constant at 84.

Taking a look at recent buyers of Okanagan properties, the largest buying groups are two parent families with children, at 28.9%, those from within the Okanagan at 54%, and first time buyers who, at 18.4%, edged out those moving to a similar-type property, at 18.2%, according to August results of an OMREB Buyer Survey.

“While there are slight shifts in the results, month over month, the profile of the Okanagan property buyer has remained relatively constant in the six years we’ve been conducting the survey,” says Bastiaanssen.

Bastiaanssen comments that there was anticipation that the 15% increase in Property Transfer Tax for foreign buyers of Vancouver-area properties could result in a spike of foreign buyers purchasing Okanagan property.

“We thought we might see more foreign buyers, because the 15% increase only applies when they purchase Vancouver-area property, but nothing, so far,” says Bastiaanssen.

Reduce your Bills and Chills 
It’s important to do everything we can to reduce our energy use.

A few small changes can make a huge difference to your monthly energy bill.  For instance, adjusting your “smart” thermostat by just a few degrees can produce major savings!

Also, don’t forget to lower the thermostat on your water heater or better yet, get an "on demand" system that only heats up water as it’s needed.  Here are a few other ideas to consider:

  • switch over to LED bulbs
  • install energy efficient shower heads
  • clean out your dryer’s lint tray after each use
  • seal up air leaks around your windows and doors
  • use ceiling fans to save money on both heating and cooling
  • service your air conditioner and furnace each year to maintain efficiency

Landscaping is a naturally beautiful way to keep your home comfortable.  A few strategically placed trees or shrubs can save a fortune on heating and cooling as they shelter against the cold winter winds and provide shade during the summer months.

Higher energy bills are a harsh reality for the rising number of people who work from home.  To help minimize this expense, power down your computer when it’s not in use and shut it off completely at the end of the day.  You can also cut costs by positioning your desk to take advantage of natural light.

It doesn’t take much to implement a few energy saving solutions around the home but oftentimes, it's the simple things that are overlooked.  It’s important to do whatever we can, not only to save money but also to help conserve the environment.

When Pushy Comes to Shovy 
Clear communication is an important element in any relationship.

Nobody wants to deal with a pushy real estate agent.  At the same time, you don't want an agent who's never in touch and fails to service your needs in a timely fashion.

In the early stages, many home buyers shy away from asking too many questions as they don’t want to waste the agent's time.  The truth is, your agent wants to hear from you on a regular basis so they can grow with you as your house hunting journey matures.

Everyone's different.  Some require daily property updates while others prefer a more relaxed approach.  Circumstances may change as time goes on so it's important to constantly reassess how often you'd like to receive market updates and what your preferred method of communication is.

Effective communication is essential when it comes to forming and maintaining any relationship and a client/agent relationship is no different.  As long as you and your agent regularly communicate with one another during your house hunting journey, you'll feel neither pressured nor abandoned.

How to Host a Successful Clothing Swap 
It’s time for a change – a change of clothes that is!

If your closets are bursting at the seams, you may want to organize a clothing swap.  It’s a great local event to host in your ‘hood!  Here are a few tips to ensure its success:

  • organize clothing by size
  • create space for a few private change rooms
  • have a few full length mirrors with decent lighting
  • refreshments, appetizers and music are a nice touch

If you're looking to clear out the clutter in your closets, meet new people and update your wardrobe, a clothing swap might just be the answer!  It’ll be a win-win situation if you donate the remaining clothing items to a local homeless shelter as well as ask attendees to bring along a small food bank donation.

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