Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven September 2015   

Hi Paul,

When having an open house, it's important to ensure your home's in perfect order.  This month’s article offers some simple yet effective tips on how to plan a successful open house.

There are also a few ideas to help you easily kick start conversations as well as a list of important items that you should always have in your first aid kit.

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!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Healthy Summer Market Expected to Continue Into Fall 
The VIREB housing market continues to do well, with the healthy sales seen this summer expected to continue into the fall.

Last month, 439 single-family homes sold on the MLS® system compared to 361 in August 2014, an increase of 22 per cent.

Although sales dipped approximately 15 per cent from July, the decrease reflects typically slower August sales volume rather than being an indicator of a weakening market.  Inventory levels are still declining, with active listings down nearly 17 per cent from one year ago.

BCREA Chief Economist Cameron Muir states that although low interest rates continue to be a contributing factor behind B.C.’s robust housing market, consumer confidence is the primary driver.

“We’ve had low interest rates for a long time now, so consumer confidence is what’s pushing average sales activity into the above-average range,” says Muir.

Despite fears of a “technical recession,” flat economic conditions are largely regional, with provinces affected by a weak oil patch taking the brunt.

“British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec thus far haven’t been affected by problems in the oil patch,” says Muir.  “In fact, our provincial economy is still the strongest in the country.  We expect that trend to continue for the rest of the year and into 2016, and that growth will underpin the housing market.”

Muir emphasized that the services of a REALTOR® are especially valuable in an active housing market to ensure consumers make smart decisions when buying or selling a home.

VIREB President Jason Finlayson confirms that REALTORS® were busier than usual in June, July and August but our market remains balanced overall.

“We’ve had a stronger summer compared to other years but our market didn’t see the feverish activity experienced on the Lower Mainland,” says Finlayson.  “And, despite steadily declining inventory throughout the Board area, our benchmark price increased by only six per cent over August 2014.  Sellers still need to price their home correctly for buyers to bite.”

In August 2015, the benchmark price for a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $338,700, the same as July and up approximately six per cent from 2014.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The average price of a single-family home was $359,497 compared to $339,547 in August 2014, an increase of six per cent.

The August 2015 benchmark price of a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $275,400, an increase of 3.21 per cent from last year.  In the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $339,200, up 4.22 per cent from 2014.  Duncan reported a benchmark price of $299,800, an increase of 8.32 per cent over the same month in 2014.  Nanaimo’s benchmark price rose 7.77 per cent to $356,900 while the Parksville-Qualicum area saw its benchmark price rise by 4.87 per cent to $375,500, unchanged from last month.  The price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni was $192,200, a decrease of 1.49 per cent since August 2014.

How to Plan a Successful Open House 
It’s critical that your home has the WOW factor during your open house!

Despite the popularity of online virtual tours, open houses are still important as buyers like to get a “feel” for the home in person.  Here are a few open house tips that are essential for success:

  1. De-Clutter - Remove personal items like photos and souvenirs and put away small kitchen appliances to increase counter space.

  2. Deep Clean - Thoroughly clean your home from top to bottom.  Serious buyers will look everywhere including under the kitchen sink and inside closets so make sure everything's in order.

  3. Lighten Up - Wash the windows and open up the blinds to let in as much natural light as possible.  Flowers also help brighten things up and they’re a great way to draw attention to a feature such as a bay window.

  4. Hype Up the Curb Appeal - Buyers are looking for a tranquil outdoor setting to relax in so cut the grass and pick up the kid's toys.  A few planters on the porch will also boost your home’s curb appeal.

  5. The Nose Knows - Baking just before an open house will leave a pleasant aroma that'll remind people they’re in a home rather than just a house.  You can even leave some out for your visitors!

  6. Hide Pet Clutter - Pets and their associated smells will be off-putting to many buyers.  Put away pet dishes, toys, beds, etc. before your open house and if possible, remove Fido and Fluffy.

  7. Seasonal Pics - If your open house occurs during the winter, make sure to showcase your garden by displaying some photos during the summer when your home’s at its best.

The day of your open house should find your home sparkling clean and completely de-cluttered.  It’s always best if the homeowners aren’t present during the open house as potential buyers need to be able to envision themselves living in your home and be able to voice concerns openly.

The Gift of the Gab 
Starting conversations with complete strangers can sometimes be difficult.

Making conversation is easier than you probably think but it can be daunting if you can't think of anything to say or you fear awkward silences.  Here are a few helpful tips that'll have you chatting up a storm in no time:

  1. Listen Actively - Rather than worrying about how to respond, listen to what others are saying so you’ll be able to respond naturally.

  2. Weather the Storm - We may think it’s boring to start a conversation with small talk such as the weather but it can relax you enough to trigger a more meaningful conversation.

  3. Find Commonalities - Try and find similarities so that you can build upon them.  It might be as simple as the fact you’re at the same party or live in the same area.

  4. Be Open Ended - Ask questions as people love to talk about themselves but try to always make sure that they’re open ended questions.

  5. You Name It - When you’re introduced to someone, use their name right away as people love to hear their name and by saying it out loud, you’re more likely to remember it.

  6. Smile and Be Positive - Most individuals are drawn to positive people so watch your body language, smile and keep your conversation upbeat.  Don’t fill them in on your woes and worries!

Making conversation is actually really easy -- you just need the confidence to pull it off.  Instead of awkwardly fidgeting when you’re introduced to someone, just remember to relax, listen carefully so you can try to find something in common with them and above all, be yourself!

Medical Must-Haves 
A well-stocked first aid kit shouldn’t be an afterthought.

If you’re faced with an emergency, you need to be confident that your first aid kit has everything you need.  Here are some of the most important items your first aid kit should include:

  • a first aid manual
  • an assortment of bandages & sterile gauze pads
  • cleansing agent/soap/antiseptic
  • adhesive tape
  • instant ice packs
  • safety pins, scissors and tweezers
  • an epi-pen

Store your first aid kit in a dry place and always replace used or outdated items straight away.  It’s also important to review the first aid manual so you’ll know how to use the contents should the need ever arise.

PS Oh by the way, we always appreciate any of your introductions.  If you know of anyone that may benefit from our individualised help please contact us with their name and number and let them know that we will be in touch.  We would be privileged to assist them!
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