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

Hi Paul,

Inspecting your home each season decreases the need for expensive repairs.  This month's article includes a fall maintenance checklist that will help keep your home in tip-top shape.

There are also some tips on how to save money at the pump as well as the lowdown on why you shouldn't "Like" everything you see on Facebook.

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...
Strong Vancouver Island Home Sales Suggest a Stabilizing Market 
Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) sales summary data for August released by the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) shows housing sales activity across Vancouver Island was up 38 per cent compared to last year.

The average price of a single family home sold within the VIREB region in August 2013 was $339,809 which is an increase of four per cent from the average sale price recorded in August 2012.

There was a significant increase in unit sales for August 2013, where 391 units were recorded, in comparison to August 2012, when 283 single family homes sold.  However, when looking at these same figures over a 12-month basis, units sold only grew by one per cent, while the average price actually dropped one per cent to $329,502.

In terms of unit sales year-over-year for the month of August, there continued to be a wide disparity among our different areas:  Campbell River witnessed continued growth, reporting a 55 per cent increase; Comox Valley unit sales were up 26 per cent; Nanaimo sales spiked by 62 per cent; Parksville/Qualicum sales rose by 14 per cent; Cowichan Valley saw a 31 per cent increase; and Port Alberni/West Coast experienced the largest growth, jumping 80 per cent from last year.

“Although we have seen significant month-over-month increases in both unit sales and average pricing in most of our markets this month, when looking at these numbers on a longer term basis, we are still seeing a gradual upward trend indicative of a more balanced and stable market,” said VIREB president, Gary Gray.  “We are encouraged that we have continued to experience slow and steady growth since the second quarter, and anticipate that consumer confidence will continue to increase leading into next year,” he stated.

At the end of August 2013 there were 2,805 single family homes available on the Multiple Listing Service® within VIREB’s coverage area, down from the 3,159 homes in the system at the end of August 2012.  Additionally, the number of new listings for the month of August was down 25 per cent from this time last year.

Cameron Muir, chief economist for the British Columbia Real Estate Association, felt that the 25 per cent drop in new listings this month was not a concern and suggested that it will lead to a more balanced market condition moving forward.  “As sales activity and demand come up, it is anticipated that supply will rise to meet that demand,” he stated.

Comparing August 2013 to August 2012, the average sale prices across VIREB’s six geographic areas saw:  Campbell River down two per cent with average sales price listed at $295,471; the Comox Valley dipped one per cent to $326,322; Nanaimo rose six per cent to $362,934; Parksville/Qualicum prices climbed 11 per cent to $404,998; the Cowichan Valley fell by seven per cent to 327,384; while Port Alberni/West Coast reported a 48 per cent increase in price with an average of $269,260.

Fall Fix-Ups: Don't Let Your Home Fall Apart 
Taking the time to regularly maintain your property is critical as it helps protect your most valuable investment.

It's also much more cost effective to pro-actively fix small problems as opposed to trying to fix them once they're past the point of no return.

Regular maintenance should be part of your routine so here's a fall home maintenance checklist to help keep you organized:

  • fix any cracks or gaps you see in the driveway

  • inspect your locks to make sure they're operating properly

  • test and clean your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors

  • inspect your furnace filter and schedule a furnace tune-up

  • check your roof for leaks and damaged shingles

  • inspect your chimney for obstructions such as bird's nests

  • check the weatherstripping on your windows and doors

  • rake up leaves and aerate/fertilize your lawn

  • clean leaves from gutters and test downspouts with a hose

  • ensure water doesn't pool around your home as it can damage your foundation

  • check your home's exterior for any holes that rodents could use to gain entry

Preventative maintenance will help ensure small problems don't turn into big headaches that need to be professionally attended to on short notice.  Just a little time and planning will help you maintain your home's value and you'll also save money each month as your home will be much more efficient.

Tips on How to Guzzle Less Gas 
Maximizing your vehicle's fuel efficiency will not only save you money but you'll also be doing your bit for the environment!  Here are a few tips that'll pay off at the pump:

  1. Turn it Off - Don't idle as it unnecessarily wastes fuel.

  2. Take it In - Regular tune-ups will increase your car's efficiency.

  3. Check & Inflate - Keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure.

  4. Slow Down - Speeding increases fuel consumption by as much as 50%!

  5. Don't Brake Down - Don't constantly jam on your brakes and then rapidly accelerate.

  6. There's an App for That! - Download an app that reports the cheapest local gas prices.

  7. Lighten Up - Remove unnecessary items from your vehicle as extra weight reduces fuel efficiency.

The best way to save on gas is to keep your car in the driveway so next time you climb behind the wheel, ask yourself if you can walk there instead.  Just a few small changes to your driving habits such as combining errands or carpooling to work will save you a small fortune over time!

"Like Farming" Facebook Scams 
You've probably seen those innocent looking Facebook posts that ask you to "Like" a page in order to "help so and so get her kidney transplant!".

You want to help so you click "Like" but most of these pages are scams and once you "Like" them, your friends will see you fell for it and worse yet, they may get roped in as well.

Once these pages have enough "Likes", they're sold to businesses who use them to make their own pages more popular or they're rebranded and sold to unscrupulous marketers who may even use them to spread malicious software.

Cybercriminals prey on Facebookers because people are much more likely to trust links that are unknowingly spread by their own friends.  Be careful what you "Like" on Facebook as scammers are everywhere!

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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