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

Bo Skapski

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

If you're planning on selling your home, it’s important to be aware of some common mistakes that sellers often fall victim to.  This month’s feature article discusses what not to do when selling your home.

There’s also some advice on how to spot online scams that are so popular during the holiday season as well as a few tips on how to avoid the flu.

Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please get in touch if you ever have any questions or comments.  In the meantime, here’s wishing you all the best during the holiday season!

Bo Skapski

In this issue...
The Okanagan Real Estate Market Report 
Okanagan residential sales continue to normalize.

Residential sales across the region of Revelstoke to Peachland continued to decline in November, with 571 sales posted to the MLS® in November, as compared to 779 in October, a 26.7 percent decrease over the previous month while still 4.19 percent over this time last year.

“While sales over the past several months have consistently been ahead of the same timeframe last year, we are experiencing a gradual return to more historically normal levels after a particularly lively first part of the year,” Bastiaanssen says.

Days on market, which is an average of how long it takes to sell a home, rose slightly from October, from 92 days to 97 and new listings were 701 compared to 884 in October, also indications of a market that is slowly, but surely, moving to more of a balanced one, according to Bastiaanssen.

Average price in November was $467,815.36, a 2.85 percent increase over October and a 16.71 percent increase over this time last year.  “Likely, the increase in average price over October is due to the mix of product that sold this past month,” explains Bastiaanssen.

Bastiaanssen notes that there have been a number of recent Federal government changes to borrowing requirements aimed at ensuring Canadians aren’t taking on bigger mortgages than they can afford, given today’s low interest rates.  The changes are intended to address concerns about foreign buyers who buy and flip homes in Canada.

“Some of these took effect earlier, but new restrictions on when government will provide insurance for low-ratio mortgages came into effect November 30th,” he comments.  “Only time will tell what effect these actions will have,” he adds, noting that market conditions are also fluid.

“Shifting regulatory and market conditions can make it challenging for real estate consumers to stay current, and can play a significant role in their real estate decision making which is why I advise both buyers and sellers to consult a local REALTOR whose job it is to be well-versed and familiar with conditions that affect the local market.”

According to an October OMREB survey, the significant majority of recent buyers of residential property in the region was individuals from within the Okanagan, at 60.7 percent up from 52.3 percent in September.

“Year over year, the vast majority of buyers of property here continues to be folks who already live here,” comments Bastiaanssen.  13.4 percent of buyers were from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island areas, down from 21.5 percent in September, and 11.6 percent were from Alberta, down from 12.8 percent.

 “Even though buyers from the Lower Mainland/Vancouver Island areas were fewer, we’ve seen a general increase of buyers from this region over the past several years, just as we’ve seen a decrease in buyers from Alberta in the same timeframe,” says Bastiaanssen.  Foreign buyers made up 2.1 percent, up from 1.6 percent previously.

Other buyer demographical data remains relatively constant, with most buyers comprising couples with or without children and empty nesters or retired individuals.  Likewise, motivations to buy have remained relatively consistent, with those moving up, relocating and moving to a similar-type property making up the largest proportion of buyers, followed by first time buyers who edged up slightly to 17.9 percent from the previous month’s survey.

Sellers Behaving Badly 
There are various emotional side effects to selling your home.

Mistakes mean your home will sit on the market longer and eventually sell for less.  Try and get it right the first time by avoiding the following:

  1. Overpricing - Home sellers are often tempted to price their home way above market value but this tactic usually backfires.  The longer a home sits on the market, the more of a stigma it'll develop.

  2. Restricted Access - It’s easy for buyers to skip your home if it's not easily accessible.  The goal is to show your home to as many people as possible so using a lockbox is key, pardon the pun :)

  3. Hanging Around - Owners should always leave before a showing so buyers can browse without distractions.  If a buyer can make themselves feel at home, they’ll be better able to envision themselves living there.

  4. Poor Staging - You may love the statement your pink bathroom makes but odds are others won’t so consider a more neutral shade.  Also, make sure to get rid of excess clutter and take care of any outstanding repairs to portray pride of ownership.

  5. Going It Alone - Selling your home can be an overwhelming experience.  A real estate agent’s job is not only to expose your home to the masses but also to act as a 3rd party negotiator to help you get the highest price in the shortest amount of time.

Your home is most likely your biggest asset so when you decide to sell, it’s important that you do it right. Viewing the sale of your home as a business transaction and putting aside any emotional ties you may have is a great start to ensuring you sell your home quickly, easily and for top dollar!

Shopping Scams are Coming to Town 
Make sure to be on high alert for online scams this holiday season.

It’s convenient to shop online from the comfort of your home during this busy time of year but the hectic holiday season is also a popular time for cybercriminals.  Here are a few scams to be aware of:

  1. Delivery Details - Be wary of emails claiming “you have a parcel delivery but your address needs to be verified” as it’s likely a scam.

  2. The Hot Ticket - Desperate shoppers eager to score hot holiday gifts are easy prey for cybercrooks who set up legitimate looking websites that show the popular item in stock.

  3. Fake Shopping Apps - Fake retail and product apps designed to steal your personal or financial details are increasingly common and hard to recognize as they closely resemble popular brands.

  4. Holiday eCards - Don’t open eCards if you're not sure who they’re from.  Instead of a warm holiday greeting, it could be a cyber scammer whose gift comes in the form of a virus or spyware.

Unfortunately, there are many people out there who aren’t thinking about holiday cheer and goodwill to all.  Keep yourself safe by updating your antivirus software, visit only trusted, secure sites and never open messages from people you don't know.

Forgotten Flu Spots 
Your home could be a breeding ground for the flu.

It’s no fun having the flu, especially during the holidays, so it’s important to clean shared spaces and frequently touched surfaces.  Here are a few spots to focus on:

  • smartphones & tablets
  • computer keyboard & mouse
  • light switches and remote controls
  • door knobs and handles on appliances and cupboards
  • car steering wheel, seat belts and shifter

Washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to fight germs but regularly sanitizing common germ infested hot spots is also key.  Remember to keep the hand sanitizer on hand (pardon the pun :) and hopefully you’ll be able to avoid the flu this year!

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