Nanaimo Real Estate

Testimonials

Deirdre and Marie proved an invaluable help when helping us through the maze of buying a new home, especially when for us it was our 1st home in a new country. No problem was too big and their fun approachable demeanours meant that the whole process was a lot less stressful than it might’ve otherwise been.

Julie & Stuart Ockelford

I am a happy repeat client. Marie sold my two previous houses selling/buying and a lot purchase within a few years. She had lots of patience, listened to me and helped me figure out what do I want and what is the best for me. She was trying to find a real home for me and was not a just rush to push me to buy and move on type. I had a small budget to buy a lot to build on and Marie was an awesome negotiator. I went through many hurdles with these 3 sales and purchases. Every time I had an issue, Marie or Deirdre helped me out and I was able to carry on to get my home. Deirdre and Marie are not simply selling or buying a house for me, They made my dreams come true and can make yours come true as well. They are my tailor-fit realtors.

Eliah Kim

NEW MORTGAGE RULES COMING JANUARY 1ST, 2018

Published By: on October 24th, 2017 in Category Home Owners Hints, Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on October 24, 2017

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

If you are planning to do any of the following:
• Refinance your existing mortgage
• Switch your existing mortgage to a new lender
• Purchase an investment property
• Purchase with 20% or less down
• Purchase with 20% or more down (stress tests now apply to conventional mortgages too)

You may find it harder to qualify for the funding you require.

Although rates are still low, the “stress test” levels are rising. This means that you have to show that you can manage payments for a rate that is 2% higher than your actual rate.
For example if you are given a rate of 3.39% you will need to qualify at 5.39%.

There are good reasons for this stress test. The banks are trying to discourage buyers who are stretched to their limits at current rates and who may default on their mortgages if interests rates rise in the future. Lessons learned in 2008!

If you think that these new regulations are going to affect your borrowing power, and you are thinking of buying or refinancing in the new future – ACT NOW!
After Dec.31st your options will become more limited.

Please call the Love Real Estate Group for more information – 778.557.5640

October 2017 Nanaimo Real Estate Market Report

Published By: on October 11th, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on October 11, 2017

 

It’s now official – the tide is turning in the Nanaimo Real Estate Market.

The Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB) has published its statistics for September and there is a clear trend emerging. I have never been a person who is naturally drawn to statistics, but these ones have real life consequences for the families we work with, and that makes the monthly stats very interesting and relevant.

For the past 3 years we have seen our inventory go lower and lower, month after month there were fewer homes for sale. At the same time it seemed like the whole world had discovered Nanaimo. The demand for homes has steadily risen with sales increases every month. The result has been a very challenging market for Buyers- there was so little available and so much competition! Prices have been rising, sometimes by the week! The low inventory has had a snowball effect – on itself. People were afraid to sell their homes in case they had nowhere to move to – nothing to buy! The lower the inventory, the more frighten home owners were to venture out there. Gridlock!

Finally, in August 2017 we saw a reversal of this trend. For the first time in 3 years (maybe longer) there were more new listings than the previous year. Also, there were fewer sales than in 2016. Higher supply and lower demand (instead of lower supply and higher demand) have caused the market to begin to balance, and cause the rise in prices to begin to slow.

September stats have shown the same reversal – we now have an official trend.

Experts are not expecting a big drop in prices, just a slowing down of the increases.

A balanced market is one where the Buyer demand and the supply of homes for sale are approximately equal. A more balanced market will be a healthier market for everyone. Buyers can make better decisions when they are not rushed into making offers they are not ready for. When Buyers make more informed decisions, the deals go better for the Sellers too.

We expect the overall buyer demand for properties in Nanaimo to continue to be high. Nation-wide, baby-boomers are looking for fair-weather cities where they can buy for under $600,000. Nanaimo may be the only city of that description left! This factor alone will keep the Buyers coming to Nanaimo.

It’s time for us all to take a breath and enjoy a more civilized pace of business. That makes it a great time to list your home. Call us for more information:
Deirdre Love, Marie Burrows and Lisa Martin with
Love Real Estate Group 778-557-5640
RE/MAX of Nanaimo
1-5140 Metral Drive Nanaimo BC
250-751-1223
“Each office independently owned and operated”

THE WINDS OF CHANGE – THE MARKET IS SHIFTING!

Published By: on October 5th, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

 

Written on Octber 5, 2017

In Nanaimo real estate we have been experiencing a strong Seller’s market for the past 3 years. Rising prices and multiple offers have been a constant challenge for Buyers and a bonus for Sellers. Along with the frantic pace, both Buyers and Sellers have been experiencing a lot of stress. The time pressure experienced by Buyers has caused some to make offers that they could not follow through with. At one point we were finding that, across the market, a full third of contracts were failing due to lack of financing, low appraisal rates and, for some, just cold feet. Hasty decisions are not good for anyone.

There is a change in the wind. The market statistics as well as our everyday experience in the marketplace show that, for the 1st time in years, there are more homes being listed than have sold. The biggest problem that we have faced in this Seller’s market has been lack of inventory. In August we saw that shift, with more listings on the market and fewer sales. The average sale price was still up and the number of days on market was down, but in time, higher inventory and lower demand will bring balance to the market.

We are not anticipating a drastic drop in prices, just a cooling of the pace and levelling off of prices. So far, this is being felt most in the higher priced properties. There is still a lot of competition for the $300-600,000 priced properties.
In fact, there is a lot of demand from across the country for properties under $600,000 homes in “fair weather cities”. That’s us! Nanaimo is one of the few fair weather Canadian cities with average sale prices under $600,000. This will keep up buyer demand for the future.

We seem to be heading into a more balanced market where the pressure is equalized between Buyers and Sellers. This will be a healthier market for all sides, resulting in deals that are based on solid financing and thoughtful decision-making.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home, now is an excellent time. Please call us for a no-obligation consultation.

Deirdre Love, Marie Burrows & Lisa Martin – The Love Real Estate Group [email protected]
778-557-5640

Rising Interest Rates – What does it mean to you?

Published By: on September 14th, 2017 in Category Buyer Information, Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on September 14, 2017

Last week the Bank of Canada raised their interest rates, again, by a quarter of a percent. Financial experts are expecting one more similar hike before the end of 2017.

Why are they rising? Interest rates are rising because of Canada’s strong economy. Business is good. Low interest rates are meant to stimulate the economy and they have done their job.

The good news: Rising interest rates mean greater return on investment dollars. For those who already own their own home and are living off their investments, they will be breathing easier.

The bad news: We are still 3% below 2008 rates but with higher prices and higher stress tests. The stress test means that you must qualify for an interest rate that is 2% higher than what you will actually be paying. This is to protect consumers from getting caught paying more than they can afford if rates continue to rise.

If you are trying to get into the market, you need to lock in current rates before they rise again. Get a 3 month written approval from your lender. You’ll need to go through a full credit review in order to get a guaranteed rate. Then it’s time to shop!

Call us at Love Real Estate Group to help you find your new home. We’d love to help you through the process.  Call 778 557-5640

Pros & Cons of Buying New Construction

Published By: on July 28th, 2017 in Category Buyer Information, Buying new construction, Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on July 28, 2017

Moving to Vancouver Island? Great idea!

Here’s some things you may want to consider:

The logistics of moving into a new town, city or province are challenging.

Often Buyers come to Nanaimo (commercial center of Vancouver Island) to stay for a weekend or even a week, to shop for a future home. They are planning a move in a month or two and need to find their new home.

Competition for resale homes in Nanaimo and much of Vancouver Island is fierce. Most homes are selling within the first few days. That makes it very difficult for Buyers who are coming from afar. You may find a suitable home online, book a flight and race out here to view it in person, only to find that the home is sold by the time you arrive.

One solution to this dilemma is purchasing new construction.

When you buy new construction you can buy yourself the time you need. There is less competition for new homes, so as an out-of-towner you will have a little more time to consider your purchase and a little more time to organize your move.

Buying new has some great advantages and also some significant drawbacks. Here’s some things you should keep in mind:

Top 3 Advantages when buying new construction:

1. AVAILABILITY – On the top of the advantages is availability. If you are not able to stay in the area for an extended period of time, you may not be able to access a resale home that meets your needs. Inventory is very low and timing is everything when you have this much competition.

2. NEW HOME WARRANTY – All new homes in BC must be covered by a New Home Warranty or an Owner-Builder Declaration. The New Home Warranty is a 10-year warranty for your home, but it is better to call it a 2-5-10 warranty. There is a 2-year warranty on labor and materials. A 5-year warranty on the building envelope, including water penetration and a 10-year warranty on the structure of the home. Owner-Builders who build their own homes and occupy them are not required to purchase a New Home Warranty. If they sell their home within 10 years then they are personally liable for any defects that would be covered by a New Home Warranty. As you can imagine, this comes with its challenges.

3. CHOICES – If you buy early enough you may have some choice regarding colours, finishes and appliances. Most new construction homes are Spec Homes. These are homes where the builder has planned and some times completed the home before having a committed buyer. In this case you will be buying the home as planned by the builder. You may have some input, but it will be limited. If you want to have control over more detail you will need to hire a custom builder. This comes with a higher price tag because it is very time consuming for the builder.

Top 3 Disadvantages when buying new construction:

1. TIME DELAY – While the timing may have been easier for you at the time of purchase, the timing of completion is much harder to predict. There is no way around the unpredictability of construction. Weather, illness, supply problems, labour shortages can all slow a project down. As a Buyer you must have a contingency plan in mind in case your move in date is delayed. Be prepared to put your goods into storage and find a vacation rental while you wait. Make sure you’ve allowed yourself some cash reserves to cover any delays. Possible delays and their consequences should be dealt with in your contract of purchase and sale.

2. SURPRIZES – It’s possible that you may arrive and find that the home is not as you expected. When you are negotiating your contract, make sure that you signing off on a specific floor plan and finishes list. Significant variation from these specifications may then be a breach of contract. However, in a rising market, the builder may be happy to back out of a contract and put the finished home back on the market to sell at a higher price.

3. CONSTRUCTION ZONES – If you are one of many new homes in a development you may be moving into a construction zone. This can be trying. Noise, dirt and congestion are the top 3 of many challenges.

Top 3 Pieces of Advice when buying new construction:

1. BUYER’S AGENT – Get an experienced Realtor to act as your Buyer’s Agent on your side. This will not cost you anything extra. The Seller usually pays buyer’s Agent fees.

2. LEGAL ADVICE – Ask a local lawyer (one who knows the local market) to look over your contract to make sure that you are protected in case of major delays or departures from your plans.

3. RESEARCH YOUR BUILDER AND THEN PLAN IN SOME FLEXIBILITY – Most builders have great intentions and take pride in their work. Their reputations are very important to them. Even the best builder cannot control every aspect of your project. A bit of flexibility on your part can keep communications open and cooperative getting you moved in as soon as possible.

Mortgage Insurance VS Life Insurance

Published By: on July 20th, 2017 in Category Home Owners Hints, Nanaimo Real Estate

 

 

Written on July 20, 2017

When you arrange a mortgage with your bank or other lender you will be offered Mortgage Insurance. It is hard to know what to say. It reminds me of standing at the Rent-a-Car counter trying to determine if I need their “strongly recommended extra insurance”. What to do!!

Yesterday an insurance agent explain it to me like this:

Here’s the concept:

In case of death, Mortgage Insurance will pay off your mortgage.

Here’s the catch:

1. Mortgage Insurance does not underwrite your policy until you apply to have the policy paid out. Underwriting means that they accept liability under an insurance policy, thus guaranteeing payment in case loss or damage occurs. This means that even though you have paid for the insurance, it still may be denied. Apparently only 66% of policies will ever pay out.
2. It’s expensive.
3. The bank is the beneficiary.
4. The cost is the same no matter how much is remaining on your mortgage.
5. You may not be able to insure both you and your spouse.

Here’s the alternative method of securing your mortgage:
Buy Life Insurance:

1. Life Insurance is underwritten at the beginning of the process, ensuring that you qualify before you pay.
2. The cost is less expensive (half) compared to mortgage insurance.
3. You are the beneficiary and you can choose how best to apply the funds.
4. The policy does not depreciate with the mortgage.
5. You can insure both you and your spouse.

Conclusion – The only thing that mortgage insurance has going for it is convenience – point of sale. Clearly purchasing Life Insurance instead of Mortgage Insurance will give you a more secure, higher pay out at less cost.

Interest rates are rising – what does it mean?

Published By: on July 17th, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on July 17, 2017

As many of you know, the Bank of Canada raised its interest rates on Wednesday, for the first time in seven years. Rates went up ¼% – not a drastic rise, but certainly a sign of change. Experts expect more gradual increases in the coming months, with mortgage rates stabilizing again at around 3-4%.

This is good news for investors and bad news for buyers. It is important to keep these increased rates in perspective. 3-4% is still a historically low rate. No one is forecasting a return to the 18-20% rates of the past.

The rate change is due to the strengthening Canadian economy and concerns about increasing consumer debt. Last fall the banks brought in a tougher stress test for mortgage qualification. In order to qualify for a mortgage at 2.4% interest, you had to qualify for at 4.8%. This measure was to insure that borrowers would be able to make their payments should rates increase.

HERE’S WHAT IT MEANS:

  • If you have a fixed mortgage, your interest rate will remain the same until it is time to renew your mortgage.
  • If you have a variable mortgage or a home equity loan, your rates will go up, and your payments will be increased.
  • Expect another increase in the stress test.
  • Expect several more small increases.
  • If you are thinking of buying a home – now’s the time. Lock in the current rates for your mortgage but also make sure that you do not over extend yourself. You’ll need to leave room to absorb slightly higher monthly payments.
  • If you are thinking of selling a home – now’s the time. There will be a flurry of buyers trying to lock in the lower rates before more increases come. More Buyers = a stronger Seller’s Market and rising prices.

If you have questions about how these changes affect your situation, let’s talk.  Call Deirdre Love with RE/MAX of Nanaimo at 250-802-9810

Unauthorized Suites in Nanaimo 2017

Published By: on March 3rd, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on March 3, 2017

What’s New with Unauthorized Suites in Nanaimo?

Unauthorized Suites have been long tolerated by the City of Nanaimo as they were considered an important part of our rental housing stock. Until recently the City investigated unauthorized suites on a complaint basis only. That is, if a neighbour complained about an unauthorized suite, then a City inspector would investigate. The home owner would be given the choice to upgrade their fire safety or decommission the suite. Continue reading

2017 Vacancy and Rental Rates Nanaimo

Published By: on February 26th, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate, Rental Rates

Written on February 26, 2017

How much will my home or suite rent for and what is the vacancy rate in Nanaimo? Listed below are typical rental rates in Nanaimo.

Many home owners are looking for guidance about what income they can expect from their rental property, be it a basement suite or a 2nd home. At Remax of Nanaimo we are fortunate to have a very experienced property manager, Guy Litton,  who helps us out in this area.

Rental Rates Nanaimo

Continue reading

BC Loans for First Time Home Buyers – Here’s what you need to know!

Published By: on February 1st, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on February 1, 2017

As of January 16, 2017, The BC Government is offering loans to help 1st time homebuyers with their down payments. Many people would like to buy a home and have the income to support mortgage payments, but cannot manage to save the required minimum of 5% for the down payment. The BC government is offering to match the buyer’s down payment up to a maximum of  $37,500. Continue reading

Great Family Home Near Westwood Lake in Nanaimo BC

Published By: on January 13th, 2017 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on January 13, 2017

This wonderful family home with an in-law suite has 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms – there is room for everyone! This Nanaimo home has great curb appeal with its classic styling, a lovely bay window and south facing front porch- just waiting for your porch swing.

With a level entry, the front door opens into the main living area. Beautiful engineered hardwood floors extend through the living room, dining room and family room. The cozy and attractive wood-burning insert in the living room efficiently heats the upper two floors of the house – a great energy savings.

The living room features a large bay window that looks onto the quiet cul-de-sac and towering Mount Benson. The kitchen offers long stretches of counter space, loads of cabinets, gleaming stainless steel appliances and a great view of the mainland mountains. The patio doors lead out to a large deck for entertaining and enjoying the vistas. Continue reading

iBoards from RE/MAX of Nanaimo

Published By: on March 17th, 2016 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

iBoards   

Written on March 17, 2016

INTRODUCING iBOARDS – another unfair advantage from RE/MAX of Nanaimo

This week RE/MAX of Nanaimo is introducing iBoards- for RE/MAX of Nanaimo Realtors only. With over 100 Realtors and constantly more than 50% of the market share, we sell many of our listings to other RE/MAX Realtors. iBoards will help maximize this advantage in today’s market conditions. When the really sweet listings come on the market, they are selling very fast. It is advantageous for our Buyers’ Agents to hear about new listings early – before they are published on MLS. Of course, it is one more extra advantage for Sellers who list with RE/MAX of Nanaimo too. iBoards is yet another great way to promote new listings!

RE/MAX of Nanaimo’s head IT guy, Greg Matthews, has developed a new site for our Realtors called the Remax of Nanaimo Intranet. On this site we can access iBoards. This portal will allow us to post new listings immediately. Then can they be viewed by all RE/MAX of Nanaimo Realtors – right away. The old school system consisted of 12+ feet of white boards on which all new listings were posted. This has been a great tool for the Realtors who are in and out of the office all day. The problem has been that not all of our Realtors work out of the main RE/MAX building. Plus, a lot can happen within just a few hours while your Realtor is out of the office.

With the iBoards app and immediate notifications, iBoards will keep us all informed with the latest action on the market – giving our Buyers and Sellers one more extra advantage.

 

Now in Effect – New Rules for Minimum Down Payments on BC Homes

Published By: on February 17th, 2016 in Category Buyer Information, Nanaimo Real Estate, Nanaimo Real Estate News

 

money

Written on February 17, 2016

INCREASED MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENTS FOR BC HOMES OF MORE THAT $500K  The new  down payment rules are now in effect for those purchasing BC homes over $500K. Up to $500K a buyer is required to have a 5% down payment. On purchases over that price, the buyer will be required to put down 10% of the amount over $500k.

For example: on the purchase of a $700k home. 5% of $500k is $25k plus 10% of the extra $200k is $20k for a total minimum down payment of $45k. That’s up $10k from the previous rules.

The intent is to prevent buyers from taking on more debt than they can afford.

BC Budget 2016 – What’s in it for Home Buyers?

Published By: on February 17th, 2016 in Category Buyer Information, Nanaimo Real Estate, Nanaimo Real Estate News

new home

Written on February 17, 2016

 Important Real Estate News:

There are some significant changes in the BC Budget for 2016. If you are thinking of buying in BC this year, you’ll need to know how these changes affect your bottom-line.

Yesterday’s budget includes several measures intended to increase housing supply, allow first-time buyers to enter the market, and finally measure the prevalence of foreign ownership.

They include:

INCREASED PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX ON LUXURY PROPERTIES      

An increase in the property transfer tax for luxury homes with a new tier of three per cent on the portion of a purchase above $2-million. That is on top of the current rates, which impose a one per cent tax on the first $200,000 and two per cent for the portion between $200,000 and $2-million.

EXEMPTION FROM PROPERTY TRANSFER TAX ON ALL NEW CONSTRUCTION BELOW $750K    Exemption for newly constructed homes, which will mean the property transfer tax won’t apply to new homes below $750,000. A partial exemption will apply for homes between $750,000 and $800,000. Those exemptions only apply for Canadian citizens and permanent residents purchasing their primary residence. The first-time home buyer program, which provides exemptions and reductions for houses below $475,000, remains in effect. Great news! On a $500k home that is a savings of $8K. That is a significant savings.

TRACKING FOREIGN OWNERSHIP                                                                                  

The province will track foreign ownership by requiring anyone purchasing a residential property to disclose whether they are a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident– and, if not, where they are from. The requirement also applies to directors of corporate owners.

The intent here is to make it easier for Canadian buyers to purchase moderately priced homes, while increasing the tax burden on luxury buyers. Also, the government is making a commitment to track foreign buyers so that they can manage the situation based on facts not perceptions.

 

Nanaimo Real Estate Market Heats Up – Spring 2015

Published By: on March 31st, 2015 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

Written on March 31, 2015

Nanaimo Market Heats Up – Spring 2015

sold

There has been a real change in the Nanaimo Real Estate Market in this past year.

Nanaimo home prices were slowing drifting down since 2008, and have now turned around and are steadily rising. Market values for homes have now recovered to pre-2008 levels. The average sale price of a single-family home in Nanaimo is up 5% from this time last year. The number of homes sold is also up 5%. Improved confidence in the economy, low interest rates and pent up demand have resulted in busy buyer activity.

In terms of inventory, (the number of homes available), Nanaimo is at a 10 year low. There are 12% fewer active listing compared to Feb. 2014.

The basic rule of supply and demand can be seen in action. Low supply and high demand is pushing prices up. Gradually we are moving from a Buyer’s market into more of a Seller’s market.

What does this mean for the Home Buyer?

There are many buyers out there – just watching and waiting for the right home to come on the market. It is important to have your Realtor put you on to a direct Private Client Services feed so that you can see new listings as soon as they hit the market. There is a 2-3 days delay before these listings reach the Realtor.ca website. When you are competing for a desirable home, you will have competition and a speedy response to a new listing can be crucial.

There is a higher likelihood of competing with other offers (multiple-offers). If this happens, then each buyer is asked to present their best offer and the Seller can choose to accept the best one, or negotiate an offer (but only one at a time).

When there is a possibility of multiple offers the Buyer needs to present as strong an offer as possible. An important aspect of this is having your financing fully pre-approved. This will allow a quick subject removal period which is attractive to Sellers.

Of course, a subject –free, cash offer is the most attractive offer to a Seller, but that is not always realistic or wise. It is particularly important, even as a cash buyer, to allow yourself time to have a thorough home inspection, so that you know exactly what you are buying. Having said that, Buyers in Vancouver are making subject-free offers every day because that is the only way to win a multiple offer. As our Nanaimo market heats up that will become more commonplace here too. Also, we have many Vancouver and Calgary Buyers competing for properties here in Nanaimo. They are used to a hot market and they can be challenging to compete with.

In Summary:

  1. Be prepared financially – Make sure you are fully pre-approved for financing so that you can make a strong offer.
  2. If you need to sell your home before Buying, you may need to go ahead and get your place on the market. Offers with a “Subject-to-Sale” clause are not attractive to Sellers in this faster market.
  3. Ask your Realtor about PCS, to see new listings sooner.
  4. Watch for new listings that suit your needs and ask your Realtor to book a showing without delay.
  5. When you see a house that meets your needs, make a quick and strong offer to avoid competition.
  6. Call or email Marie Burrows or Deirdre Love to guide you through the challenge of buying and/or selling your home. 

 

BC Energy Code Changes – Again!!

Published By: on March 18th, 2015 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate

BUILT GREEN

Written on March 18, 2015

As of December 19, 2014 there is another set of changes to the BC Building Code. These are aimed at increasing the energy efficiency of new homes. While we all support the promotion of more energy efficient homes as a part of our environmental responsibility, there is a limit to what the industry can realistically absorb. The last set of changes was in 2012. Builders and suppliers have just adapted to those building practice changes, as well as the increased costs. It is too much too soon. Some of the changes make good sense, and some are downright unrealistic. It will take another year or two of seminars just to sort out what the changes all mean for builders and for the cost of new housing in BC.  How about saving up all these great ideas and having a minimum of 5 years between code changes?

Here’s the link to a summary of the changes:

http://www.bccodes.ca/BCBC_9%2036%20EnergyEfficiency.pdf

And here’s the link to the Canadian Home builder’s association website where you can find information about webinars to update you on the changes.

http://chbabc.org/media/docs/Energy%20Code%20Webinar_Registration.pdf