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

Hi Paul,

Now that summer's just around the corner, it's time to think about getting away.  If you’re wishing to purchase your own cottage or vacation property, we've got some important points to consider.

We also have some great ideas on how to plan the perfect camping trip as well as a few simple tips that'll make your home appear much more spacious.

Thanks for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please click the "Share on Facebook" button so your friends and family can check it out too!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
Vancouver Island Real Estate Report 
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) for May 2011 shows a 9% decline in single family unit sales compared to May 2010 and a 17% increase over last month.
The average price of a single family home sold in May 2011 through the VIREB MLS® system was $355,990 down 2% from the $362,976 posted in May 2010 and almost mirroring April 2011’s $353,613.
Jim Stewart, VIREB President says, “We are seeing continued normalization in our market with a fair selection of homes to choose from and a reasonable amount of buyer’s out there looking.”
There were 908 single family homes listed in May, bringing the active single family homes available through the VIREB MLS® system to 3,121 up slightly from 3,013 this time last year.
For the 12-month period from the end of May 2010 to May 2011, average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw: Campbell River down 13% to $289,300; the Comox Valley up 6% to $366,727; Nanaimo was down 2% to $379,405; Parksville/Qualicum was up 3% to $420,588; Port Alberni dipped 1% to $232,770 and the Cowichan Valley slid 9% to $329,221.
Guy Bezeau, VIREB’s President-elect says that, “Interest rates still remain at affordable levels which makes it easier for first time home buyers to enter the market.”
Cliff Moberg, VIREB’s Past President, added that, “Relying on the advice of a REALTOR® is vitally important to be properly informed on how the market conditions might affect an individual situation in the marketing of their home.

Advice on Buying a Vacation Property 
There’s something special about owning your very own piece of paradise whether it’s a ski chalet, a cabin in the woods or a luxurious cottage.  Here are some important points to consider when purchasing a vacation home:

  1. Motives - Determine whether you’re looking for a retreat to enjoy with friends and family or an investment property that you can rent out on a regular basis.

  2. Location -  Figure out how far you wish to travel and whether or not you need year round access.  Waterfront property comes at a premium so determine if it's absolutely essential.

  3. Cost - Looking for a vacation home is exciting but it shouldn't be an impulse decision.  Make sure you can afford the mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.  Don’t forget the impact rising gas prices have on travel costs.

  4. Co-Ownership - Purchasing your new getaway with someone else means you can share the upkeep and expenses.  Just make sure you agree on everything from day one so you can spend your time relaxing instead of arguing.

  5. Reno's - Buying a "fixer upper" is a great option as it allows you to add your own personal touch.  Major renovations often require permission though so make sure you’re familiar with local zoning rules and regulations.

Buying a vacation home is a huge decision so do lots of research, get your finances in order and seek professional advice before taking the plunge.  If you’re considering a few different locations, let me know so I can refer you to a local market specialist who can best assist you with your specific needs.

5 Tips for Safe Summer Camping Trips 
Camping's a great way to bond with nature!  Memories of roasting marshmallows around a crackling fire will last a lifetime but it's important to remember a few safety tips such as:

  1. Kitchen's Closed - Food attracts animals so empty your garbage and keep cooking equipment in your car.

  2. Smoke Signals - Make sure your fire can’t spread to ground cover or overhanging branches.  Keep water close by and extinguish it before going to bed.

  3. Lighten Up - Use an LED flashlight to help find your way around at night.  LEDs use less energy so you’ll minimize your carbon footprint.

  4. Be Prepared - Bring a fully stocked first aid kit as well as extra insect repellent, a whistle, flashlight, knife, map and compass.

  5. Be Aware - Check your campsite for sharp sticks, broken glass or jagged rocks.  Also, be aware of native wildlife, insects and poisonous plants.

Camping's a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life while creating memories that’ll last a lifetime.  If you're properly prepared and aware of potential hazards, you're sure to enjoy a wonderful outdoor adventure!

A Waste of Space... 
When it comes to selling your home, it’s often the small things that make a big difference.  Here are two very simple tips that’ll make your home seem more spacious:

  • Remove half the items from closets and cupboards so they appear larger.  People never have enough storage space!

  • Organize the remaining items so your closets and cupboards look neater and roomier.  Make sure to fold up towels and sheets.

The points above may seem obvious but they’re often overlooked.  Remember, space sells and if people see your closets bursting at the seams, they’ll wonder if there’s enough room for all their stuff.

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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