Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven May 2011   

Hi Paul,

Major home repairs are the last thing you want to deal with when the nice weather hits.  This month, we've got a few general spring maintenance tips that'll help keep your home in tip-top shape.

We also share some ideas on how to start your own vegetable and herb garden as well as what to look for when buying an energy efficient refrigerator.

Thanks for checking out this month's newsletter.  If you enjoy it, please click the "Share on Facebook" button so your friends can check it out too!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Market Report 
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) for April 2011, shows a 13% decline in single family unit sales compared to April 2010 and an almost 9% decrease from last month.
The average price of a single family home sold in April 2011 through the VIREB MLS® system was $353,613 up 1% from the $348,423 posted in April 2010, similar to March 2011 which was $347,522.
Jim Stewart, president of VIREB says; “We are seeing long term stability in the market with no dramatic upward pressure on prices expected.  Although you need to look at a larger window than one month to establish a trend it is encouraging to see consumer interest in our smaller markets of Campbell River and Port Alberni” he adds.
There were 868 single family homes listed in April, bringing the active single family homes available through the VIREB MLS® system to 2944 up from 2,818 this time last year.
For the 12-month period from the end of April 2010 to April 2011, average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River down 1% to $292,949, the Comox Valley up 2% to $355,976, Nanaimo also up 2% to $374,501, Parksville/Qualicum was up 2% to $408,162, Port Alberni jumped 38% to $296,552 and the Cowichan Valley was up 2% to $360,029.
Guy Bezeau, VIREB’s President elect says that, “We have seen long term interest rates move up slightly with more increases expected which impacts affordability.  With the amount of inventory available on the market now is a great time to invest on Vancouver Island,” he adds.

Top 10 Spring Home Maintenance Tips 
The arrival of warm weather signals fun in the backyard with family and friends.  The last thing you want to deal with are unexpected home repairs.  To ensure you're able to enjoy a relaxing summer, now's the time to take care of the following:

  1. Clear away debris and dead foliage from flowerbeds.

  2. Inspect hose connections to ensure there are no leaks.

  3. Fix or replace damaged window screens and weatherstripping.

  4. Examine and clean your fireplace and/or wood-burning stove and flue.

  5. Make sure your lawn mower and other tools are in good working order.

  6. Repair patio furniture and inspect your deck for loose or rotting boards.

  7. Trim back shrubs and vines that are growing near your air conditioning unit.

  8. Clean your gutters and make sure downspouts drain away from your foundation.

  9. Inspect your roof for cracked or missing shingles and trim branches that hang over top.

  10. Patch up cracks around the foundation and on your driveway before they spread further.

Proactive home maintenance helps prevent small issues from getting out of hand.  Your home is an investment and minimizing repair bills will help you realize your highest rate of return.  When you're done, you'll be able to relax in your hammock and enjoy the lazy days of summer knowing that everything's been taken care of.

Growing Your Own Veggies 
There’s nothing more delicious than a summer meal made from sun ripened vegetables and herbs from your own garden.  If you're thinking about growing your own veggies this year, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Grow Your Own - Food prices are on the rise so it makes ¢ents to grow vegetables and herbs that are expensive to purchase at the store.

  2. Smaller Spaces - If you have limited space, you can use pots or window boxes.  Cherry tomatoes, lettuce and herbs do really well in pots.

  3. Go Organic - Growing your own produce is the best way to ensure your vegetables aren't full of chemicals.  It's also less expensive, more convenient and very rewarding.

  4. It's Child's Play - Gardening with your kids is a fun learning experience that will likely inspire them to try new veggies!  Pumpkins are great as kids can decorate their very own jack-o-lantern at Halloween.

The idea of buying and eating locally doesn't get any closer than your own backyard!  Your local nursery will have a variety of seeds, plants and other tools to help you get started.  If this is your first time gardening, make sure to keep notes on which plants flourish so you can plan ahead for next year.

Energy Efficient Refrigerator Buying Tips 
Refrigerators are very power hungry so it pays to make sure they're energy efficient.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind when shopping for a new fridge:

  • over/under models are more efficient
  • automatic ice makers use more energy
  • manual defrost freezers use less energy
  • 16 to 20 cubic foot models are the most efficient
  • you may qualify for a government rebate program

A good ENERGY STAR® rating means you'll save money while protecting the environment.  Regular maintenance will also help increase efficiency so check the seal to ensure cold air isn’t escaping and vacuum the dust off the rear coils.

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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