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

Hi Paul,

Saving energy around the home isn't just great for the environment -- it's great for your finances too!  This month, we share a few simple energy saving tips that will increase your home's efficiency.
We also discuss the importance of communicating effectively with your real estate agent so you can receive the best possible service as well as some "tricks" to Green your Halloween this year!
Thanks so much for checking out this month's newsletter.  Please drop me a line with any questions or comments you have -- I'd love to hear from you!

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 September 2011 shows a 19% increase in single family unit sales compared to September 2010.
The average price of a single family home sold in September 2011 through the VIREB MLS® system was $344,454 up 6% from the $325,336 posted in September 2010 and on par with August 2011’s $345,464.
VIREB President Jim Stewart says; “We are seeing stability with the market just treading water.  We are experiencing slow gradual growth and the VIREB market area continues to be an affordable place to buy a home.”
There were 682 single family homes listed in September, bringing the active single family homes available through the VIREB MLS® system to 2,960 up from 2,874 this time last year and down slightly from the 3,168 available at the end of August.  "Inventory levels allow buyer’s to be selective so it is important that sellers price their home competitively and consult a REALTOR® for current market conditions in their area“, Stewart adds.
For the 12-month period from the end of September 2010 to September 2011, average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw:  Campbell River up 11% to $289,794; the Comox Valley up 5% to $342,591; Nanaimo was up 3% to $359,821; Parksville/Qualicum slipped 1% to $388,952; Port Alberni/West Coast was down 18% to $203,486; and the Cowichan Valley rose 14% to $357,223.

Energy Saving Tips to Reduce Your Bills & Chills 
Utility costs are rising quicker than most people’s incomes so it pays now more than ever to pump up your home's energy efficiency.  The good news is that you don't need to spend that much in order to reduce your bills.
Start by using a "smart" thermostat for heating and cooling.  An adjustment of just a few degrees can produce major savings!  Don't forget to lower the thermostat on your water heater or better yet, buy an "on demand" system that only heats water when needed.
Landscaping is a naturally beautiful way to keep your home comfortable while decreasing your energy bills.  A few strategically placed trees or shrubs can save a fortune on heating and cooling as they provide shelter from the winter winds and shade in the summer.  Here are a few other ideas that will reduce your energy use:

  • switch from incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescents
  • use ceiling fans to save money on both heating and cooling
  • service your air conditioner and furnace every year to maintain efficiency
  • make sure your home's properly insulated and seal up any air leaks with foam
  • use a front loading washing machine and clean your dryer’s lint tray after each use

Higher energy bills are a harsh reality for the rising number of people who work from home.  To help minimize this expense, set up the sleep option so your computer automatically powers down when not in use and shut it off completely at the end of the day.  You can also cut costs by positioning your desk to take advantage of natural light.
It doesn’t take that much work to implement energy saving solutions around the home but often times, it's the simple things that are usually overlooked.  Make it your goal this year to take action!  It’s important to do what we can not only to save money but also to help conserve the environment.

When Pushy Comes To Shovy :( 
Nobody wants to deal with a pushy real estate agent.  At the same time, you don't want an agent who's never in touch and fails to service your needs in a timely manner.
Everyone's different -- some people prefer a passive approach while others require frequent updates.  As time goes on, circumstances will change so it's important to constantly reassess how often you'd like to receive updates and whether you prefer to communicate by phone, text or email.
In the early stages, many home buyers shy away from asking too many questions as they feel like they're wasting the agent's time.  The truth is, your agent wants to hear from you on a regular basis so they can grow with you as your house hunting journey matures.  The last thing an agent wants is to lose you as a client because you felt your needs weren't being met.
Effective communication is essential when it comes to forming and maintaining a solid working relationship.  As long as you and your agent constantly communicate with each other while you're on the road to homeownership, you'll feel neither pressured nor abandoned.

Enjoy an EEK-O Friendly Halloween! 
One of the scariest things about Halloween is how environmentally unfriendly the holiday has become! Here are few "tricks" to Green your Halloween this year:

  • use reusable grocery bags for collecting candy
  • make your own decorations and trade costumes with friends
  • make pumpkin pie or soup and/or roast the seeds from the "guts" of your jack-o-lantern

There’s so much waste associated with Halloween that implementing even a couple of eco-friendly practices will make a huge difference.  Just try to think outside of the (candy :) box and enjoy a ghoulishly, green Halloween!

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!
If you would like to keep up on the market and would like automatic email notifications of new listings, sales, etc. Click here or drop us an email at or give us a call:  250-468-1498

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