Okanagan Real Estate News from Bo Skapski March 2015   
  Real Estate News

Bo Skapski

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

A positive first impression of your home can make a huge impact on your selling price!  This month’s article shares some simple tips on how to prepare your home for a successful sale.

There’s also a spring checklist to get your home ready for the gorgeous weather that’s just ahead as well as some body language tips that’ll instantly boost your confidence.

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‐Shuswap Housing Market Rallies in February 
The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported February 2015 sales activity of all MLS® property types improved 34 per cent compared to the same month in 2014 – bouncing back 53 per cent from sluggish results in January.

“After a more than usual slowdown in January, Okanagan-Shuswap home sales rallied along with consumer confidence during February despite weaker economic conditions in Alberta," says Darcy Griffiths, OMREB President and active REALTOR® in the North Okanagan.

"While not at the record pace seen at the close of 2014, the year has started off at a much stronger level than we saw during the first six months last year.  However, days on market in our Board area is now at 95 days on average compared to 141 last year at this time.”

“The Shuswap lead the way in February with single family residential sales improving 71 per cent compared to 2014,” Griffiths reports.  “In the Central Okanagan, single family residential sales were up 68 per cent while the North Okanagan saw an 18 per cent increase over this time last year.”

An increase in demand and fewer homes for sale has edged the OMREB market from balanced into seller’s market conditions for some segments where demand outpaces supply.  While the selection of single family homes has been reduced with the ongoing decline in inventory and fewer new listings, especially for entry-level homes, the price of single family homes is steady and strong in most areas with modest gains seen in some locations where supply has tightened.

“Desirable, well-positioned and well-presented units are selling quickly,” Griffiths notes.  “Home sellers listing early this year will have the edge and see results.”  Experiencing ups and downs at different times and locations, sales activity and prices within OMREB’s three diverse market areas tends to vary among property types, zone-by-zone and month-by-month, Griffiths explains.

Board-wide (Peachland to Revelstoke):  Overall sales of all property types reported in OMREB’s Board area during February 2015 improved by 33.8 per cent compared to 2014 (to 511 units from 382) – up 53 per cent compared to January (from 334).  Total residential sales for the month jumped by 33.3 per cent (462 units board-wide compared to 339 in 2014) while single family home sales were up 57.4 per cent compared to February 2014 (to 244 from 155).

The 1,447 new listings taken board-wide for the month were up 15.2 per cent compared to the 1,256 listings posted in February 2014, while inventory (active listings) declined 10.5 per cent to 6,226 from 6,954.  The average number of days to sell a single family home in February was 95 days Board-wide – down 32.5 per cent from 141 days at this time last year – and ranged from 85 days (from 110) in the Central Okanagan, to 100 (from 148) in the North Okanagan, and 102 (from 167) in the Shuswap.

Central Zone (Peachland to Lake Country):  During February, overall sales in the Central Zone were up 43.0 per cent -- to 379 units from 265 in 2014.  Total residential sales for the month jumped by 45.2 per cent to 347 units compared to 239 in 2014.  The sale of 181 single family homes saw a 67.6 per cent improvement over the 108 in February 2014 while townhouse sales improved by 66.7 per cent (to 50 from 30).  The 932 new listings taken in the Central Okanagan during the month saw an 11.1 per cent increase compared to 839 in 2014, and total inventory was reduced by 13.2 per cent to 3,211 units from 3,698.

North Zone (Predator Ridge to Enderby):  Overall sales for February in the North Zone rose 15.8 per cent to 88 units compared to 76 units sold the previous year at this time.  Total residential sales for the month were up 13.4 per cent from last year with 76 units sold compared to 67.  Single family home sales (39 units) improved by 18.2 per cent compared to February 2014 (33).  The 301 new listings taken for the month were up 9.5 per cent from the 2014 level of 275.  Inventory for February saw a 5.2 per cent dip to 1,767 from 1,863 in February of 2014.

Shuswap Zone (Salmon Arm to Revelstoke):  During February, overall unit sales in the Shuswap-Revelstoke Zone improved by 7.3 per cent over 2014 at 44 units compared to 41.  Total residential unit sales for the month were up 18.2 per cent at 39 units compared to 33 in 2014 while the sale of single family homes jumped 71.4 per cent (to 24 units from 14).  The 212 new listings taken in the Zone were down 51.4 per cent compared to 140 in February 2014.  Overall inventory dipped 10.5 per cent to 1,242 from 1,388 last year.

”The competition for buyers can still be a challenge for sellers if properties are not priced well and presented attractively from the start,” Griffiths warns. “The key to a successful sale is being realistic about the market value of your home and willing to negotiate for the best offer.”

Preparing Your Home for a Successful Sale 
A properly prepared home will reap huge rewards!

Preparing your home for sale requires some planning but it’s well worth the effort as it’ll help your home sell quickly and for top dollar.  The following points can be implemented quickly and with little or no money:

  1. Curb Appeal - Home buyers form their opinions as soon as they pull up so first class curb appeal is key.  Create the best first impression possible by cutting the grass, tidying the yard, painting or washing the exterior and cleaning all windows.

  2. Clear the Clutter - Too much “stuff” makes your home appear smaller than it really is and most buyers can’t see past other people’s clutter.  Clean out your closets, garage, basement and attic.  Put what you’re keeping in storage and donate the rest.

  3. De-personalize - Buying a home is an emotional experience so it’s important that buyers are able to imagine themselves living in your home.  De-personalize each room by taking down family photos, knick-knacks and anything else that’ll make them feel like they're intruding.

  4. Fix it First - Buyers always inflate repair costs so make sure you take care of repairs ahead of time.  Even small things such as leaky faucets and ripped carpeting make your home appear neglected and a possible money pit in the eyes of buyers.

  5. Peeking Allowed - Buyers will size up each and every room but they'll also be snooping in your cupboards, drawers and closets so make sure they’re organized, de-cluttered and clean.  Hang clothes up neatly, leave open space and clear floor areas.

It’s often the little things that make a huge difference when it comes to creating a winning first impression.  If you want to get top dollar for your property, invest some time and money into fixing and freshening up your home before it hits the market.  It’s an investment that will definitely pay off!

Get Your Home in Shape for Spring 
Homes need regular check-ups in order to stay healthy.

Spring’s right around the corner so it’ll soon be time to identify and correct minor issues so you can avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.  This simple spring checklist will help protect the health of your home:

  1. Roof - Repair missing or cracked shingles.

  2. Outdoor Wiring - Check thoroughly for wear and tear.

  3. Deck/Patio - Check for safety hazards such as loose railings and rotten boards.

  4. Foundation - Inspect interior/exterior walls for cracks and signs of moisture.

  5. Gutters - Clean gutters/downspouts and make sure they direct water away from your home.

  6. Safety - Inspect smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and review your family’s fire plan.

  7. Landscaping - Cut back trees/bushes that touch the house and remove any dead branches.

Home is where the heart is so do your best to keep it healthy.  Regular maintenance of your home and yard will save you time and money in the future and you’ll be much more relaxed come summer knowing you won’t be in for any nasty surprises.

The Body Language of Confidence 
A person's body language usually says more than their words.

Projecting positive body language is a skill that should be mastered by all of us from corporate bigwigs to children on the playground.  Here are a few basic tips that’ll help boost your confidence:

  • use a natural tone, volume and pace when you speak

  • use your hands for gesturing instead of sticking them in your pockets

  • avoid fidgeting as it shows you're disinterested, bored and/or nervous

  • stand up straight in a relaxed posture with your head held high

  • give a strong handshake while looking into the person’s eyes with a relaxed smile

Studies have shown that our poses can actually change our body chemistry.  High power poses where the body is open and relaxed actually increases your confidence levels.  Stand tall and be proud!

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