Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven May 2013   

Hi Paul,

Preparing your home for showings can be a lot of work, especially if you have kids running around.  This month's article discusses strategies to help you prepare your home for show with kids in tow.

We also share a few valuable debt management strategies as well as some tips on how to seasonally transform your home with a fresh spring theme.

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...
Consumer Confidence Grows on Vancouver Island 
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data for April released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island was up seven per cent compared to last year, while average sale prices were down 6 per cent.

The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in April was $323,973 down from April 2012 average price of $343,083. In April 2012 there were 383 single family homes sold, in comparison 410 unit sales were recorded in April 2013.

“It appears consumer confidence is growing based on the fact that REALTORS® have definitely seen an increase in market activity over the last several weeks,” suggested VIREB President Gary Gray.  “With stable pricing, reasonably strong inventory levels and historically low mortgage rates, buyers are realizing that this is a good time to buy a home.  As each area is unique, it’s important to contact your local REALTOR® to better understand market conditions in your area.”

“We anticipate residential sales activity to continue growing through the second quarter,” said Cameron Muir, chief economist of the British Columbia Real Estate Association, “however we are not expecting corresponding price increases.”

As of the end of April 2013, there were 2773 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, down from the 3,007 homes in the system at the end of April 2012.

Comparing April 2013 to April 2012, the average sale prices across VIREB's six geographic areas saw:  Campbell River increase two per cent to $283,032; the Comox Valley was down five per cent to $341,211; Nanaimo’s average sales price was down nine per cent to $334,486; Parksville/Qualicum prices were up four per cent to $404,889; Port Alberni/West Coast was down 14 per cent at $209,625 while the Cowichan Valley was down four per cent to $334,680.

In terms of unit sales year to year for the month of April, there continued to be a wide disparity between the different areas: Campbell River recorded a 46 per cent increase; Comox Valley unit sales were off 24 per cent; Nanaimo recorded a 12 per cent increase; Parksville/Qualicum sales were unchanged; Port Alberni/West Coast increased nine per cent and Cowichan Valley sales decreased nine per cent.

Preparing a Home for Show with Kids in Tow 
Getting your home ready for showings can be a real challenge but it's even harder when you share your home with little ones.

The trick to selling a house with kids is to make it appeal to buyers who don't have any children.  Here are a few tips to help you prepare your home for show with kids in tow:

  1. Depersonalize - It's important that buyers are able to imagine themselves living in your home so clear the artwork off the fridge and take down photos, awards and mementoes.

  2. Play Time's Over - Keep just one box of toys on hand and pack up the rest as they not only look unappealing but they also make rooms appear smaller.

  3. Go Clean Your Room! - Pack up stuffed animals, books and trophies.  Any remaining items should be placed on shelves instead of the floor.

  4. Behind Closed Doors - Buyers can never get enough closet space so get rid of any clothes that your kids have outgrown or that are out-of-season.

  5. It's Time to Grow Up - Buyers should be able to visualize your playroom as their rec room so get rid of excess toys so that it will appear larger enough for their pool table.

  6. Curb Appeal - Don't leave toys, sidewalk chalk or bikes strewn outside your home as drive by viewings can occur at any time.

Selling your home is a great opportunity to de-clutter plus if you do it now, you won't have to worry about it when it comes time to move.  Showings can happen in an instant so make sure you have a system in place that enables you to have everything ready to go in a matter of minutes.  Although keeping everything perfectly staged with kids can be a challenge, it'll be well worth the effort in the end!

Paying Off Debt Pays Off 
Almost everyone feels the credit crunch at some point in their life but with a little planning, it can almost always be overcome.

Debt management isn't a very popular family topic but talking about it with your kids and loved ones can pro-actively help them avoid a lifetime of financial woes.  Here are a few of the basics:

  1. Open Book - Examine all debt at once so the focus can be directed towards paying off high interest, non-deductible debt first.

  2. Budget Crunch - List all income and fixed expenses such as house and car payments.  Next, list variable expenses to see what can be cut back on.

  3. Consolidate - Monthly payments can likely be lowered by consolidating debt through a home equity loan as the interest rate will be much lower.

  4. Reach Out - Creditors will often reduce monthly payments if a debt repayment plan is entered into with a reputable organization.

Managing debt may seem like a daunting task but it can help avoid a financial crisis that could devastate a person's credit rating and ability to borrow money at attractive rates.  Deciding which options work best depends on the individual's level of debt, level of discipline and their future prospects.

Spring Your Home Decor Into Action 
Spring is a time of renewal so why not bring the season's vitality into your home by making some simple decorating changes.  Here are a few ideas that'll help you create a fresh spring feel:

  • Change your window coverings to light sheers or blinds.

  • Bring nature inside with indoor plants, flowering bulbs and fresh cut flowers.

  • Switch your cushion covers to lighter spring shades such as yellows and purples.

Celebrate spring's arrival by bringing a breath of fresh air into your home.  Just a few simple changes can reflect the season’s sunny, fresh energy!

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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