Well, February is here and hopefully we will start to see less rain and cloud and a lot more sun! Once that happens, Sellers start to think of listing and Buyers think of looking around and seeing what is available.
I like the slide show/video format as a great way to show a property so I have posted two slide show videos here so you can see what they look like. Every property I list has a slide show video and I love them! Additions to the slide show video can be drone photos as well...but not all properties work with a drone photo. If you home is in the trees and hard to see then likely a drone photo is not a good idea.
My partner, Jana, does my slide shows, photography, brochures and floor plans...she is also a fantastic cook! :-) Here is a link to her website. westcoastimagesbyjana.ca
181 Maliview is now for sale and 110 Douglas will be listed soon. More listings coming in the next few weeks and months.
It's early January so many might think it is a bit early to think of listing your home on Salt Spring but preparation is needed before putting your property up for sale in the very busy late Winter/early Spring market.
First thing to do is to view your property from the road/driveway as if you have never seen it before and might be interested in buying it.
Is there any clutter around that distracts from the home? Is the outside paint or stain in poor shape. What about the roof...does it need to be cleaned and/or de-mossed? Is the garden looking pretty weedy or uncared for? Buyers have a first impression of your home and you only get one chance to make a first impression so make it a good one. Clean, paint, weed, tidy up, etc. Do you have trees blocking a gorgeous view. Consider having them removed, topped of limbed to show the view. A great view can be worth a lot to a Buyer.
What about the inside? Perhaps you can have someone come over and enter your house and tell you what they can smell. Owners of homes get so used to the particular smell of their home that they don't notice it but sometimes smells can be offensive to Buyers. Pet smells and cat litter, for example are major problems. Tobacco odours have been enough to stop Buyers from even entering a home! Try cleaning with a lemon scented cleaner and scrubbing everything. Don't use a heavy perfumed cleaner...Buyers will wonder what you are trying to hide.
Declutter the inside. Remove as much as you can and perhaps store it somewhere else. Personal pictures should be removed if possible...Buyers want to imagine the home as becoming theirs and they like to imagine their pictures on the wall. Floors can be scrubbed and perhaps scratches touched up. Carpets can be steam cleaned.
Lighting fixtures and paint are the cheapest improvements you can make to the inside and they can make a huge difference. Neutral colours are best. Painting the ceiling can really brighten up a house. Take a good look at your lighting fixtures. I have seen far too many very old lights and Swedish balls in homes and for a few hundred dollars they could be upgraded. Bright lighting in the kitchen is especially important and If you don't want to change the light fixtures then perhaps put brighter bulbs in the fixtures.
Lastly, call a Realtor...preferably me, of course! :-) I would come out and give suggestions and explain my Marketing Plan.
So what happens after Labour Day? Well, the Real Estate market on Salt Spring usually experiences a rise in sales and listings as Sellers decide to sell after enjoying the summer and Buyers are back at work after a summer holiday and are now thinking about moving. Spring is often a time when families look at moving so their children can start their new school in September. Fall is when we see more couples or retirees looking for homes.
Prices? At this time we are seeing significant price reductions, especially at the higher end of the Market. Sellers who listed in the Spring and haven't sold are now contemplating not selling till Spring (our busiest time) unless they lower their prices and sell now. Buyers are waiting for the price reductions they know are likely, so Fall can be a busy time for Buying and Selling.
How best to buy? Salt Spring is a varied market and has greatly varied topography, views, acreage, etc. A local Realtor will be knowledgeable about septics, zoning, Islands Trust regulations, soils, water supply, comparable sales, etc. so you best bet is to have a local Realtor on your side. It doesn't cost you anything.
Selling? You want to know the best listing price. Too high and the home sits on the Market and many potential Buyers don't view because they feel the price is too high. Wait too long to lower the price and then the home gets fewer views because Buyers think there must be something wrong with it as it hasn't sold. Too low and you don't realize full value. As with Goldilocks and the porridges, you need to find what is "just right". And "just right" changes, given supply and market conditions. Right now, lower end homes are popular, mid-range is balanced market/somewhat Buyer's market and high end homes are definitely a "Buyer's market.
I often get asked, "What is the Real Estate Market doing?" and I struggle with an explanation that can be made in a minute or two....but I will try.
Real Estate on Salt Spring is seasonal, given lots of people move here for the warm, dry weather and the nearby oceans and beaches so Spring till about Thanksgiving is our busy time. That said, our sales were slow to start due to a Christmas storm and then a heavy snowfall...Salt Springers have to admit, even though we have the mildest climate in Canada, sometimes it does snow! Those 2 events seemed to cause Sellers and Buyers to put their plans on hold for an extra month or two.
After a slow start, the Market got very busy and that was exacerbated by a shortage of listings, especially in the high-demand part of the Market, under approximately $600,000. Nice homes under that price were greatly in demand and we sometimes had multiple offers...usually rare on Salt Spring.
The mid-range pricing (about $600,000 to $900,000) was fairly busy as there was low inventory but now seems to be into a "balanced market".
Above $900,000 seems to be a "Buyer's Market" with a fair amount of inventory.
However, we have motivated off-island Buyers, often with lots of money, having sold their expensive Vancouver or Victoria homes, so if they find the "perfect house" they will often move very quickly to purchase. The "perfect house" is often one that shows very well, including beautiful gardens, recent new paint and "staging" where appropriate.
Lastly, given we are a small market, our sales can fluctuate a fair bit and in some weeks sales are slow and in others, quite busy.
Check my Blog again in a few weeks for an update...things can change fairly quickly on Salt Spring.
Hard to believe but we got a lot of snow. Rumours that Victoria residents called 911 to report the strange white stuff falling from the sky are untrue...but make a great story! :-) Yes, we do sometimes get snow but it is pretty rare. I had geraniums winter over for years on my sundeck before a freak frost ( - 8 C.) did them in.
So we do get a bit of cold and snow here but not much and winter is short and usually pretty mild. So mild in fact, that people can grow a "winter garden" and a local resident, Linda Gilkeson writes gardening books on how to grow vegetables that you can harvest in the winter months....nothing like getting lettuce from your garden in January and February. Of course, if it happens to snow then you have to cover them.
So, if you want to move here and enjoy the Island lifestyle (I just bottled 30 bottles of rhubarb wine using my own rhubarb and it is a lovely light wine with a hint of rhubarb smell) then let me know. I can put you on my Private Client Services (PCS) and that way whoever a property comes up for sale on MLS then you get an immediate email if the property meets your criteria as to price, rooms, etc.
Take care...Spring will be here soon!
Well, I keep saying that the Real Estate Market will be slowing...it's mid-October after all! However, it just isn't slowing as much as I thought. When people ask about "off shore Buyers" I jokingly point out they come by ferry from Vancouver and sometimes Victoria. The reality is that I am seeing a fair number of Vancouver (and sometimes Victoria) Buyers coming to Salt Spring to Buy. They range from retirees who want to escape the city to young families who cannot afford a home and often not even an apartment. They come here, buy a nice house with some land and they are very happy. Salt Spring has 3 ferry terminals so if you really need to head back to the city for a visit...no problem. However, you may end up staying and enjoying the island. I like the fact I usually know the person serving me my coffee or meal...we do have 10,500 residents but after a while, certain ones you end up seeing regularly. If you're interested in Salt Spring...contact me.
Well, the market certainly seems to be slowing in the cities but what about little Salt Spring?
So far we have lots of Buyer interest (mainly from Vancouver with Victoria and other parts of Canada also in the mix). Our prices are rising sharply in the lower to middle range of housing, likely because the stress test has reduced the borrowing power of many so they can borrow less and thus need to look for less expensive properties....I'm talking in the $600,000 and under properties.
Above $600,000 up to around $1,000,000 has steady interest and over $1,000,000 is more of a "Buyers' Market.
Contact me if you want more information/advice on buying on Salt Spring. The comments I get from Buyers coming from Vancouver is that they need to get out of a noisy, crowded and very expensive city. We have 10,500 people, three ferry terminals and the noise is pretty minimal...those chickens can cause a bit of noise at feeding time, of course. :-) Oh...and no traffic lights!
Well, that's a good question! I also get asked, "Do you have many off-shore Buyers here?" I usually answer, "Lots!...they come over from Vancouver by ferry!" And that's the truth. Lots of Vancouver (and some Victoria) Buyers who are tired of living in Vancouver with all the noise, traffic, crowding and incredibly expensive homes/apartments/condominiums.
The Market is busy because of the Vancouver "refugees". I see young couples with a child moving here from a small apartment to a nice home on an acre of land with trees, flowers and grass. I see middle aged couples with high school children coming to get away from the "rat race". I also see retirees coming here because they also want to get away from the city and spend some quiet time relaxing and enjoying the views...and we have a lot of views, ranging from lake, mountain, fields, ocean or a combination of some of those.
Back to the question about the Market...it's busy, we have fewer properties than usual for sale and there are a lot of different things Buyers need to be aware of and informed about. Do you know how a septic system works, a well, how to check water quality? Do you know if the asking price is reasonable or way too high? Do you know about bus routes, the school system, best places for amenities? No? That's why you need to have a Realtor working for you! Call me...I work for FREE! (Seller's Realtor pays my commission)