Vancouver Island Real Estate News from Rudi & Trish Widdershoven November 2014   

Hi Paul,

One of the first things you’ll want to do before you start house hunting is get pre-approved for a mortgage.  This month’s main article examines how pre-approval can save you thousands of dollars and provide you with peace of mind.

The latest hi-tech kitchen gizmos are also revealed as well as a few tips that’ll help keep your online photos safe and secure.

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...
Steady Growth and Low Inventory Placing Upward Pressure on Prices 
Sales activity throughout the VIREB coverage area in October 2014 was down slightly from September, but still significantly higher than October of last year, resulting in our strongest October since 2009.

Although the higher sales posted this October are encouraging, sales last fall were weak by comparison.  As a result, balanced market conditions continue, which is good news for both buyers and sellers.

VIREB President Blair Herbert is encouraged by the numbers and reports that REALTORS® in the VIREB coverage area are consistently busy.  “October sales indicate that our market remains balanced,” says Herbert.  “But as the year draws to a close, we’re seeing lower inventory levels and housing sales sitting at 15 per cent higher than this time last year, which is beginning to place upward pressure on the market.”

A total of 401 single-family homes sold on the MLS® system in October 2014.  This represents a 1.25 per cent decrease from the 406 sales recorded last month and a 15 per cent increase from this time last year.  Inventory levels are lower than last year, with active listings down approximately five per cent.

BCREA’s chief economist, Cameron Muir, reports that although job growth isn’t as strong as hoped, consumer spending is on the upswing, which indicates optimism regarding the economy and has a positive effect on home sales.  “We’re seeing continued economic growth year over year, but do expect that rate of growth to relax somewhat in the coming months,” says Muir.  “However, we nevertheless expect balanced market conditions in line with inflation to continue into 2015.”

In October 2014, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the VIREB coverage area was $317,900.  Benchmark pricing tracks the value of a typical home in the reported area.  The average price of a single-family home was $349,270, an increase of six per cent over this time last year.

The benchmark price for a single-family home in the Campbell River area was $268,900, up 3.43 per cent from October 2013; in the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $315,500, which is nearly the same as a year ago; Duncan reports a benchmark price of $284,500, which is almost identical to last year; Nanaimo’s benchmark price was $341,200, up 4.81 per cent from last year; Parksville/Qualicum has a benchmark price of $360,100, which is 3.70 per cent higher than this time last year; and the price for a benchmark home in Port Alberni is listed at $185,900, a 3.97 per cent decrease from October 2013.

The Importance of Mortgage Pre-approval 
Mortgage pre-approval should be your first step when house hunting.

You wouldn't shop around for a vacation without having a budget in mind and it shouldn’t be any different when it comes to buying a house.

Readjusting to homes that are less expensive is disappointing and takes all the fun out of the home buying process so it’s important to know where you stand from the outset.

Online qualifying tools only give estimations so it’s best to visit a mortgage specialist for an accurate assessment.  They’ll also lay out the differences between different types of mortgages so you can make an educated decision on which one complements your current and future financial goals.

Most lenders can place a hold on the current interest rate for a certain time period to protect you against increases.  This step can save you thousands of dollars but many buyers will foolishly leave it until the last minute and miss out.  Long-term thinking is key so seek advice and take advantage of any available home buyer programs.

A pre-approval also makes your offer much more attractive which can potentially save you thousands off the purchase price.  In a multiple offer situation, it can even be the difference between getting the home or losing it.  If you still need to make the offer conditional on financing, you can at least attach the pre-approval.

A mortgage pre-approval can save you thousands of dollars and eliminate countless hours of stress during a time when you should be having fun.  Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is easy, there’s no obligation and it doesn’t cost a cent.  If you have any questions about mortgages, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Kitchen Automation Trends 
Your kitchen’s technological gizmos are smarter than ever!

The kitchen is fast becoming one of the most connected rooms in the home.  Here’s a run-down of a few new and exciting products made especially for the heart of the home:

  1. Cool Fridges - Smart refrigerators can tell you when products are about to expire as well as recommend recipes based on its contents.

  2. Smart Walls - Homeowners are installing digital backsplashes instead of traditional tiles.  This hi-tech canvas can connect with other smart systems throughout your home.

  3. Water On Tap - Automatic faucets are becoming commonplace as they’re convenient and more importantly help prevent the spread of bacteria.

  4. Fire It Up - Your smartphone can preheat your smart oven remotely and if you pick a recipe from the recipe bank, it’ll even preheat it to the correct temperature!

  5. Do the Dishes - Smart dishwashers can assess soil levels and adjust themselves to clean in the most efficient manner. You can also switch it on right from your smartphone!

Homeowners are embracing smart home technology and it’s no surprise that the kitchen is a key part of this trend.  Staying on top of innovative home automation will help ensure your home is the smartest one on the block.

Online Photo Security Tips 
The buzz around stolen celebrity pics has everyone on high alert!

Having your photos out there in cyberspace is commonplace these days but how worried should you be?  Here are a few tips if you store photos online:

  1. Be Aware - If your social networking settings are “open” then your photos can be downloaded and stored on anyone’s device.

  2. Password Protection - Use a password that’s hard to crack.  Most sites offer extra layers of security so take the time to research and implement them.

  3. Delete 2.0 - When you delete your photos from your phone, they may still remain online so you’ll need to delete them from your cloud based service as well.

If your photos are uploaded to cloud servers such as iCloud, Dropbox or Google Drive, there’s always a risk of someone accessing them.  If you have something that you don’t wish to share, it’s best to store it on a USB stick.



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 team@teamw.ca or give us a call:  250-468-1498

 For the latest real estate updates, including new listings, price changes and upcoming open houses follow me on  Twitter  and "LIKE" us on Facebook

Not meant to solicit clients already under contract.