Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven January 2012   

Hi Paul,

If you're taking on a home renovation, make sure you're well prepared as it'll prove to be a bit messy and chaotic at times!  This month we offer some advice on how to plan your renovation so that things go smoothly.

We also discuss the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning as well as tips on how to keep your New Year's resolutions.

I hope that 2012 is treating you great so far!  Please drop us a line with any questions or comments you may have -- we'd love to hear from you!

Your friends in Real Estate
Rudi & Trish W.

In this issue...
2011 Vancouver Island Real Estate Sales Remain Stable 
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows that 2011 was a solid and stable year for real estate activity on Vancouver Island.

Across VIREB’s six zones, average sales prices remained virtually unchanged from what they were in 2010.  The 2011 average sales price for a home sold within VIREB’s coverage area was $341,537, down incrementally from 2010’s $342,324 average price.
“Stability in the marketplace is the word of the day,” said outgoing VIREB President Jim Stewart.  “Across the region the housing inventory remains stable.  Homes that are priced competitively continue to sell.  The opportunity for continued growth in 2012 is very strong, especially when compared to a lot of places in Canada.”
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) statistics for December 2011 indicated a seasonal drop in sales activity for the month.  Across the VIREB area there were 182 single family units sold in December, a decrease of 19% compared to December 2010 when 264 homes were sold.  The average price of a single family home sold in December 2011 through the VIREB MLS® system was $315,239 down 6% from the $333,710 posted in December 2010.
However the MLS® stats also report that there were 5.5% more listings on the market in VIREB’s coverage area then at the same point in 2010.  Currently there are 2,022 single family homes listed on the MLS® system as compared to the 1,912 homes listed for sale at the end of December 2010.
“Because we have a good foundation in our Real Estate market this is a good time to get into the marketplace,” explained VIREB President Guy Bezeau.  “Price wise we’re pretty much unchanged when compared to last year.  Overall there is stabilized, cautious optimism for 2012.”
Comparing December 2010 to December 2011, the average sale prices across VIREB's six zones saw:  Campbell River drop 11% to $271,220; the Comox Valley went up 13% to $364,422; Nanaimo went down 7% to $332,400; Parksville/Qualicum was down 9% to $343,292; Port Alberni/West Coast was down 26% to $177,179; and the Cowichan Valley was down 1% to $363,172.

How to Survive the Stress of a Renovation 
If you're thinking about renovating, make sure to consider every detail in advance.  Careful planning will not only keep you sane during the upheaval but will also ensure you get the most for your money.  Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Be Flexible - Aside from a lack of privacy, you'll be dealing with dust, noise, mess and disorganization.  If you expect delays, you won’t be quite so frustrated when they occur.

  2. Time Is Money - Make sure you agree (in writing) on a completion date.  Consider offering a bonus if the work's done before the date and a penalty for every day beyond.

  3. Stay In the Loop - Communication is key so schedule regular progress reports that include details on behind the scenes work such as wiring.  Contractors don't like to be micromanaged but they shouldn't mind keeping you up date throughout the process.

  4. Kidding Around - Be sure to set aside some toys for the kids.  Also, line up some playdates so you're able to escape the construction zone chaos.  Finally, make a list of local outings for fun family getaways.

  5. Plan Ahead - Prepare and freeze meals in bulk for quick and easy dinners.  Also, take this opportunity to donate unwanted items to charity so that your newly renovated home isn't full of  unnecessary clutter.

Watching your home transform into something new is an exciting experience but it's also very inconvenient.  The secret to making sure everything goes smoothly is to remain calm throughout the process and to plan ahead.  If you keep that in mind, your dream home will be a reality before you know it!

Avoiding the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide 
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious threat that affects families each and every day.  Lower gas levels produce symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and nausea while higher levels can be fatal.
To help protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, ensure exhaust gases are properly vented from the central home heating unit.  It’s also important to have your furnace, chimney and vents regularly inspected by a trained professional.
You should have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed on each floor.  Qualified professionals can advise you on different types of detectors but remember that a detector doesn't replace the need to maintain your furnace.
Most cities offer environmental services that measure indoor air quality.  Prevention is key to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning as this silent killer is difficult to detect.

The Trick to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions 
The start of a new year inspires many people to set goals and resolutions.  While most of us enjoy the challenge, others are filled with the dread of potential failure.
Goals shouldn't be set in stone.  If you start to realize that your goals aren't achievable, don't get frustrated and give up.  Take a few moments instead to modify them.
Our lives are constantly changing so it’s important that our goals change as well.  Be flexible and remember that there's no law that says you can't set new resolutions throughout the year!
Good luck to you throughout 2012 -- I hope it's your best year ever!!  Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help contribute to your success.

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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