The Vancouver real estate market continues to exhibit craziness in home prices and sales. Many homes coming on the market are there for only a few days and there is a swarm of activity to buy them through processes such as multiple offer situations. Often the home seller gets more than the asking price. This ctv news article cited a rise in the average price of a detached home by over 27% from last year to over $1.3M which is way beyond the reach of most people.

The sad thing about these exorbitant prices increases is the recent spill-over effect that is now occurring in outlying market areas such as Port Moody. Tales of a 2 bedroom starter home that sold for about $500K a couple of years ago going on the market and selling in a multiple offer situation for nearly $800K means that even these types of homes are looking towards the stratosphere and making these suburban area increasingly unaffordable for average families. An average house price in areas like Port Moody, Richmond, White Rock and Burnaby has easily crossed the 1 million dollar mark. What can people do now?

Unless people are willing to pile both working family salaries into paying for a mortgage, they can look towards Vancouver Island, and in particular, up island towards the Comox Valley where home prices are still affordable. While the average home prices of about $360K a year ago has risen to closer to $400K this year, 400 thousand dollars is a veritable bargain compared to well over a million for the same home in a suburban outlying area of Vancouver. An upscale home in the Comox Valley can still be purchased in the $500K range with hardwood floors, granite or quartz countertops, and other interior upgrades. And, the best part is that you do not have to put up with the stresses and traffic of the big city while still being able to enjoy the spectacular ocean and mountain views of the surrounding landscape.

If you are tired of the city treadmill and you are ready to consider a move to a more relaxed lifestyle in the Comox Valley contact Brett and set up an appointment with him to start your relocation process.

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While many luxury homes in the Comox Valley can be found within the urban confines of Courtenay and Comox, many others are located in rural areas nearby the ocean, wetlands or watercourses and where septic systems are often the norm.
Changes to BC law can and do affect real estate in the province. Two fairly recent major changes included the Riparian Areas Regulation (RAR) of 2006 and the Sewerage System Regulation (SSR) of 2005. These laws and their supporting regulations introduced new processes and restrictions that now apply to and affect many properties in the province.

Riparian fish habitat is protected by the federal Fisheries Act and the provincial Fish Protection Act (including the RAR), the Water Act and municipal bylaws. The RAR was enacted in 2004 and amended in 2006 to protect riparian areas (the areas bordering on streams, lakes and wetlands that link water to land) during residential, commercial and industrial development. The setbacks introduced by the RAR aim to protect fish habitat and for properties that are within or near riparian areas, they also affect where septic fields can be installed.

What most people commonly refer to as a septic system is now called a sewerage system in BC Law. The provincial government introduced a new Sewerage System Regulation (SSR) on May 31, 2005 which falls under the BC Public Health Act. Prior to the SSR, the generally accepted approach of septic systems was disposal but the new regulation focuses on treatment and dispersal and it requires that onsite system must be constructed with the result of not causing or contributing to a health hazard. The SSR contains prescriptive standards such as treatment standards and setback standards for horizontal separation to wells.

The SSR categorizes the onsite systems as either Type 1, Type 2 or Type 3. Type 1 is treatment by septic tank before the effluent is released into land. Type 2 and 3 systems introduce further treatment in order to produce a higher quality affluent that can be dispersed into the soil. For the more technically driven person, the differences between Type 2 and 3 systems are described in the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) Professional Practice Guidelines Onsite Sewerage Systems (dated Jan 7, 2013) as follows:

  • Type 2 is treatment that produces an effluent consistently containing less than 45mg/L of total suspended solids and having a five day biochemical oxygen demand of less than 45mg/L
  • Type 3 is treatment that produces an effluent consistently containing less than 10mg/L of total suspended solids and having a five day biochemical oxygen demand of less than 10mg/L and a median fecal coliform density of less than 400 Colony Forming Unites per 100 mL.

The SSR requires that system design, construction and maintenance only be undertaken by or under the supervision of Authorized Person who are either professionals or Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioners (ROWPs). Registered Onsite Wastewater Practitioners (ROWPs) can be Authorized Persons for Types 1 and 2 small flow (less than or equal to 9100 L/day daily design flow) systems. However, all Type 3 systems and all large flow (daily design flows of over 9100 L/day) must be designed, constructed and maintained by or under the supervision of a professional. A ROWP or other person may install and maintain Type 3 and large flow systems under the supervision of a professional.

The maintenance of systems installed before May 31, 2005 does not require an Authorized Person but a significant alteration or repair of these systems is subject to the SSR and maintenance by or under the supervision of an Authorized Person.
Health Authorities and Environmental Health Officers have statutory authority to administer and enforce the SSR, receive and respond to complaints about health hazards, to inspect and take corrective action to alleviate health hazards related to an onsite sewerage system and to carry out legal remedies such as orders and tickets.

It is important to note that under the SSR, the owner is responsible for record keeping and ensuring maintenance is done in accordance with the time intervals defined in the sewerage system maintenance plan. This tidbit of information is just one of the ways a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you when you buy or sell a home.

The above short discussion just scratches the surface of these two important laws. There are many other laws that also can and do affect real estate in the province. Knowing what can and does affect the dream luxury property that you are thinking of making your own is an important part of the overall real estate home buying process. Turn to the Brett Cairns Comox Valley real estate team to help you with those important decisions.

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Comox Valley

Most homes purchased in the Comox Valley today do not have wood burning systems (stoves, fireplaces and chimneys) in them anymore. However when they do they are of sufficient concern to warrant additional due diligence on the part of the home buyer. Why is that?
 
Insurance companies may not insure your home you purchase it with a wood burning system in it that has not been inspected and certified as being safe to use. Other insurance companies may charge higher premiums for the use of wood burning devices and some may not insure homes that are full time heated with wood. Before buying a home with a wood burning device it is wise to consult with your home insurer on the existence of any issues related to these systems from their perspective. Most likely you will be asked to have to have the device professionally inspected.

Inspections on wood burning systems in Canada are conducted by certified WETT inspectors who are certified by WETT Inc., a non-profit training and education association. Inspections are normally done for real estate transactions, for insurances purposes and to investigate concerns with the way a wood burning system is functioning. These inspections are commonly referred to as WETT inspections but as wetbc.ca points out there is no such thing as a WETT inspection nor can any appliance be WETT certified. An inspection report is issued based on applicable codes and standards by someone who is WETT certified.

WETT has adopted a process called System Inspections and Technical Evaluation (SITE) which is a set of standardized guidelines recommended by WETT for the inspection and/or evaluation of wood-burning systems. The three levels of inspection are subsequently discussed.
 
Level 1. These inspections are generally requested (by homeowner or third party such as an insurance company or home buyer) to verify code compliance of the readily accessible components. A basic visual inspection is conducted of a solid fuel burning appliance, a site-built fireplace and the venting system for the proper use of required components, clearance to combustibles and readily visible obstructions or deposits;
 
Level 2. These inspections involve inspection of accessible system components which may include the possible disassembly of accessible system components as part of an installation or major system component repair process. These inspections are conducted when:

  • a Level 1 inspection is deemed insufficient because of a detected or suspected hazard;
  • verification of the suitability and integrity of the system components is required;
  • an operating malfunction or external event likely caused damage to the system;
  • the system experiences combustion spillage events;
  • an appliance is replaced; or
  • a major system component is replaced or requires significant repair.

 
Level 3. These inspections involve inspection by invasive means of concealed areas of the system including the removal of non-structural building components and/or the disassembly of parts of the system. These inspections are conducted when:

  • a level 2 inspection is deemed insufficient because of a detected or suspected hazard that cannot be fully verified without access to concealed areas; or
  • an incident that may have caused damage to any concealed parts of the system or building construction related to the system.

 
A WETT certified:

  • SITE basic inspector can perform a level 1 inspection. Most home inspectors who are WETT certified are certified at this level;
  • Technician can perform a level 1 or 2 inspection. They can also install or perform maintenance on wood burning systems;
  • Chimney Sweep can perform a level 1 or 2 inspection. They can also clean and maintain your entire wood burning system including sweeping the chimney; and
  • SITE Comprehensive Inspector can perform level 1, 2 or 3 inspections. They are also technicians and/or sweeps.

 
The next time you are ready to purchase a Comox Valley luxury home aim high and contact Brett Cairns of REMAX Ocean Pacific Realty.

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Comox Valley executive home

Here is a scenario. You just bought a luxury home and you love it but shortly thereafter you are told by your boss that you are moving. Now what? You can sell that lovely home or you can rent it and hope to come back to the area that you fought so hard to get to.

Know Your Options
The Residential Tenancy Act of BC establishes a number of rights for tenants. These often result in obligations for a landlord. If you decide to rent now and sell down the road, it is important to understand what this means for a home that is for sale with a renter in it. The law does require that you provide significant notice to have the renter vacate. Month to month leases and longer term leases each have different rules and restrictions. Some buyers will not wait too long to take vacant possession of a home that they plan to buy and occupy. Having a renter in the home may make it less desirable for a prospective buyer. Start by knowing what your rights, responsibilities and options are to make an informed decision.

The Renter
Renting a home can be a nightmare if the proper precautions are not made ahead of time. Getting the right renter for your prized palace is the first step. Do not jump at the first offer to rent. Place the ad and ask applicants to provide at least 3 different references. Check them out thoroughly before making any decisions. Go talk to the references face to face if possible. It is often enlightening and the other person’s body language can say a lot. As well, do a google search for the person and see what comes up. As well, check major social media sites to see if the person is on the up and up. Finally, interview the person and ask them to bring a resume with them to share with you. Time spent on this part of the process is seldom wasted.

The Money
When renting or planning to rent find out what the market rates are for your area and type of home. Check out the local vacancy rates in your city or town and talk to other people who have recently rented or are renting. Ask a fair price, get a good renter and you will be able to sleep better at night not having to worry about your decision to rent. This is your castle and you should get adequate compensation for letting someone else live in it while you are away.

Ability to Pay
Qualifying the person and their character is one important aspect. A second is ensuring that they have an ability to pay you what you are asking each and every month. Ask for proof of their ability to pay you and who they work for. Ask for their permission to talk to their boss. Even the best person can be a problem if they do not have enough money to pay your asking rent.

Check Up on the Home
Find a trustworthy and competent person or agency to check up on your home and renter from time to time to ensure that your expectations are being met. Anyone can collect the rent for you but not everyone will take the time to ensure your most valuable possession is being properly cared for. You do not want to find horses grazing on your golf course manicured front lawn when your drop by for a visit.

The Contract
Protect yourself and your property with a properly crafted rental contact. Verbal agreements among friends are not worth their salt if things start to go bad. Have a lawyer review the contract before putting it to use.

Insurance
Talk to your insurer and ask about the changes that will have to be made when you rent your home and what the costs will be. Each insurer may have different views and policies on this topic. Know what they are before you even place an ad.

What if You Decide to Sell
If you do later decide to sell your home turn to the Brett Cairns Comox Valley real estate team and make an appointment to have it listed.

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Comox Valley homes luxury at Christmas

How many times have buyers used the Property Tax Assessed Value of a home as an indicator of its market value? As a realtor I hear this metric used far too frequently by buyers as justification to make a low offer on a property. While the property tax assessed value of a property may come close to market value is some circumstances, it is not a reliable measure on which to base any decision as a home buyer.

Property Tax Assessments

Let’s talk about property tax assessments. They are completed on an annual basis in British Columbia by BC Assessmenton the following schedule:
• July 1st of the previous year – the assessed value is estimated for most properties as of this date;
• Oct 31st of the previous year – the assessed value is supposed to reflect the physical condition and permitted us of the property as of this date;
• January of the current year – Property assessment notices are distributed;
• February 2nd of the current year – deadline for filing a notice of complaint for the assessment;
• February 3rd to March 15th – hearings are held on the complaints
• Spring of the current year – tax rates are set by municipalities; and
• July 2nd of the current year – taxes are payable on the property by this date.

A few observations about this process

Assessed value. Assessments are only done once a year by a handful of assessors in the BC Assessment office. In the Comox Valley Last year the BC Assessment Courtenay office issued about 34,000 assessments. Excluding weekends and holidays there are about 250 business days in a calendar year. The BC Assessment office is open on business days from 8:30am to 4:30pm. With time off for lunch and breaks that means they are working about 7 hours a day. How much time do you think each assessor spent on an individual home? Not much based on the math.

BC Assessment has our properties in an online database called e-value BC. On their website they encourage homeowners to update the database when homeowners renovate, update, or add to their home or property. They place a great deal of emphasis on keeping this database up to date. The problem with statistics is this. Two homes that are statistically similar may have dramatically different finishing inside each of them so much so that one home can be worth $100K more than the other. How many homes did the assessors actually visit the 34,000 homes before they did an assessment? When was the last time an assessor came to your home before doing an assessment on it? How, then can they ensure that the assessment reflects the physical condition and permitted use of the property if they do not actually visit the property? The plain and simple answer is they cannot.

Last year the assessment office issued a press release that said “most homeowners in the Comox Valley will see modest changes in the -5% to +10% range. I do not know about you but a +10% change in a year is not modest.

Let’s say a homeowner receives an assessment that indicates their home is greatly undervalued. How many homeowners receiving this type of assessment will complain about it? Not many, and why would they? Increased assessed value generally means higher property taxes. Lower assessed value means lower property taxes. A system that relies primarily on statistics for assessments and on homeowners to update a public database especially when renovations and improvements are made to their home or property is fundamentally flawed. How many homeowners actually use or update the database, or for that matter are even aware of it?

In some parts of the Comox Valley real estate market homes can and do sell for close to assessed value. A typical split level home in Comox is one example of where this is often the case. These 1960s built homes are plentiful and most have the same features, are located on similar sized properties and sell for very similar prices unless they are substantially updated. However, in many other segments of the market assessed values can be found between $100K low and $200K high without much effort. Much more significant variances have also occurred especially in higher end listings.

A Practical Example

A case in point. A short while ago a buyer asked me to write an offer for them on a home that was built a few years ago. They told me what they thought a fair price for their offer. They based the offering price on what they claimed was a comprehensive statistical analysis of property tax assessed values and homes sales. Their conclusion was that most homes in the Comox Valley sold in the past year close to assessed value. In the price range, location and type of home they were considering, they were dead wrong. Of 17 comparable home sales over the past year only 3 sold for within 5% of their assessed values. The other 14 sold for between 40K and 120K over their assessed values.

Property Tax Assessments serve a purpose. They are used as the basis for the property tax notices that we all receive once a year. However, they are all too frequently NOT a good metric with which to determine the market value of a home for sale on the Comox Valley real estate market. Experiences in other markets may vary. It is important to remember that all real estate markets are local and comparisons with other markets are too often an apples to oranges comparison.

Other Estimates of Home Value

Home valuations can appear in a variety of different forms. Actual value, Insured value, Lending value, Appraised value, Assessed value and Market value are most of them. In a perfect world each of these would be the same for the same home. The world is not perfect and they all too often are not the same. Moreover, in some instances they are quite different. They each serve a different purpose, but the methods by which they are calculated often differ along with some of the underlying assumptions and constraints that are associated with their valuation processes.

Home Market Value

Market value is the only reliable metric for determining the price that a home might reasonably be expected to realize when sold by a willing seller to a willing buyer after adequate time and exposure to the market. The BC Assessment website acknowledges this metric as the best one and they probably strive to base assessments on market value but as discussed above the process is flawed.
Even market valuations are not without their challenges. First, not all Realtors have the same level and type of education, training and experience. Second, not all Realtors will go beyond a statistical search of comparable sales to generate a market valuation. Remember what I said earlier about the need to visit homes being assessed?

Experienced, conscientious and competent Realtors who know the market well can often provide a reasonably precise market valuation of a home. The next time you need advice on market value as either a buyer or as a seller, turn to the Brett Cairns real estate team.

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Comox Valley Real Estate Market The Cairns Report logo

The Comox Valley real estate market is now passed the lows of 2014 and it is gathering strength. Last year we recorded a record number of sales. Year to date sales are brisk and prices are either firming or increasing (depending on the hyper-local area). Over the past 12 months our team was involved in 5 competing offer situations compared to none the previous 4 years.

Canadian Economy

So where are we headed? Our market is affected by a number of things to various degrees so let’s first consider the Canadian economy and Canada as a high tech industrial society in the trillion dollar class. Canada’s banks emerged from the 2008 financial crisis among the strongest in the world based on a number of things that included appropriate regulations in the country at the time.

Canada has the 10th largest economy in the world based on Gross Domestic Product. Moreover, our country is ranked #3 behind only Saudi Arabia and Venezuela for proven oil reserves. Pretty good performance and possibilities for a country of about 35 million people.

However, we are ranked 16th for Purchasing Power Parity and the rapid decline of our dollar compared to the US dollar over the past 6 months is troubling. This factor alone has driven many consumer goods higher for us. Why is that? About 85% of what we export goes to the US and about 25% of what the US exports comes to Canada. So we are highly dependent on the US and sensitive to that market. Equally troubling for us is the rapid decline of oil prices.

While Alberta has been hit particularly hard, the BC economy has been holding its own. Looking ahead forecasters are predicting that Canada’s economy will grow from between 0.7 and 1.1% in 2016. The Bank of Canada is a bit more optimistic at 1.5%. These figures place us at the bottom of the G7 nations. Add to this large deficit spending by the new federal government and we are not in great shape as a country moving forward in the near term.

British Columbia Economy

Most institutions and agencies are predicting that BC’s economy will outpace other provinces with gains for 2016 around 2.5% to 3%. However, slowdowns in China and other emerging markets will likely result in an expanding alignment with the US markets and we will continue to feel the adverse economic impact of the falling Canadian dollar on our pocket books.

Demographics

Demographic trends can and do have an impact on us and our local economy. Last year we experienced rising inflows of people into BC. Some due to the Alberta oil situation and others due to generational trends such as baby boomer retirements and the desire by many to seek quality of life and a more temperate climate such as that offered by coastal BC.

The median age in Canada is 39.5 and the median age in BC is 41.9 years while the median age in the Comox Valley is 48.3 years. In contrast the median age in Qualicum Beach is 63.9 years. Nearly 70% of families in the Comox Valley are married, 15% are common law and 15% are single parents. Almost 91% report English as their mother tongue. About 2.5% speak French and about 6.5% speak a non-official language (German, Dutch and Spanish being the most prevalent.

Interest Rates

Interest rates remain at 50 year lows with the overnight prime maintained at 0.5% by the Bank of Canada
Home Ownership Profile
About 66% of private household families live in single detached homes in the Comox Valley. About 15% live in semi-detached or row houses, 15% in apartments and 4% in mobile homes.

Local Market Factors
A number of factors above our local market level have the potential to affect us. At the federal level, low interest rates remain a positive factor. A low dollar is a negative factor. Alberta’s troubles may mean more people coming to BC assuming they can find jobs here but it also may mean people who planned to move here near retirement from areas like Calgary who cannot sell their homes may be prevented from doing so.

Overall, our market is well past the last peak of 2007 and it is sufficiently past the lows of 2014 for it to be considered a different market this year. Overall listings are down about 11% over a year ago and sales were up about 7% compared to last year.

Comox Valley Real Estate Market Outlook

There are opportunities for both sellers and buyers in the current market but buyers should not expect to be successful with low offers that may have been accepted a few years ago. The heart of our market is no longer a buyer’s market. Some parts are now favouring sellers and other parts have become more neutral. Barring some unforeseen major issue, market prices are poised to increase about 1% to 2% this year and sales are expected to continue to be brisk.

While these overall statistics are informative, experience shows that good inventory is down more than the figures show and that sales are brisk for homes that are well priced (based on current market value and not based on other measures such as property tax assessed value), in a good location, and well taken care of. Each hyper-local segment of our market will experience variances to the general market conditions just discussed. For more specific information on opportunities for buyers and sellers of real estate in the Comox Valley please contact Brett directly.

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Comox Valley homes luxury at Christmas

Most Canadians are employed in the service industries in Canada. As a result most of us provide and rely on many different services during the course of our days and year. We expect that the services that we receive will be dependable, and of a high standard. In reality, some are and some are not. Kudos to the people who go the extra mile and who go above & beyond to meet the requirements of their customers and clients.
The customer – service provider relationship is based on a monetary exchange for services provided. Salespeople who work for a car dealership try to sell you a car for profit. Make no mistake that they are working for the car dealership and not for you. However, if you are put off by the services that either they or anyone else at the dealership provides, you may not be back as a repeat customer. Most people understand that businesses must make money to stay in business and that as long as the deal agreed is deemed fair all is good.

The client – service provider relationship is based on a professional relationship that reliant on much more than a fair deal. Clients are represented by the people who take them on as clients and they rely on the advice that they good during the course of their decision making. In this context, service providers work for their clients first and foremost (or at least they should) and the monetary compensation is (or at least it should be) secondary. Real estate is a business that purports to value client relationships. This is the case with the better agents but some agents view the people that they deal with as customers. Agency law (such as Designated Agency in BC) provides for either a customer or client relationship. People are best served by a client relationship that focuses exclusively on them and their needs but unfortunately this distinction is not well understood by that many people in the general public. Just as lawyers do not work for both sides of a dispute, neither should realtors work for home buyers and sellers at the same time yet this does happen.

A number of safeguards are often put into place by overseeing and regulating agencies in the service industry. Codes of ethics and standards of business practices are among them. Not every service industry or sector has these but many do. The challenge is to find people who put them into practice as part of their daily business and professional dealings with people. The next time you work with a realtor ask them to show you both of these. They do exist and they should be using them without having to have someone enforce their use. In their simplest and most basic forms, these guidelines are all about doing the right thing for the right reasons even, and especially, when nobody is looking. Like integrity in business, it is either a fundamental aspect of how the person conducts business or it is not. Few things in life are black and white but business ethics and integrity are.

As Confucious said a long time ago “meet the virtuous and think how to be their match; meet those not virtuous and examine yourself”. The concept espoused is especially applicable to leadership. Effective leaders value the people that they lead and they show this through their words, behaviour and actions. Confucious clearly understood this as he said “I used to take a man at his word and trusted he would act accordingly. But now I listen to his words and note his actions. Actions take precedence over words. A gentleman is ashamed if his words outshine his actions.”

Clearly we would be all better off if we were served by true leaders in business. People who truly care about their clients are out there in many walks of life and business. Once you find them hang onto them. It should not matter if you need a hair salon in Port Moody, a doctor in Vancouver or a lawyer in the Comox Valley. Every professional who provides services should be driven by a desire to go Above & Beyond to meet the needs of their clients.

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Comox Valley homes luxury at Christmas

For most people the term luxury is quite relative. A luxurious surrounding to one person may not be to another. There are a number of reasons for this. First, it often depends what one person is used to experiencing relative to another. Second personal taste is often a discriminator. Also having a bearing on the overall perception created is what is important in life to any particular person. Since we are all individuals it is only natural that our tastes, priorities and our experiences will combine differently for each and every one of us.

The Comox Valley luxury real estate market is no different. What appeals to one person may not appeal to another. When it comes to luxury homes, location is very important to many people. A stunning home with high quality finishing may lose some of its appeal if is located in the wrong area or an area that is too far away from the necessities of day to day life. Living in a million dollar oceanfront home with spectacular ocean and mountain views loses some of the appeal to people who do not want to drive 20 minutes to town just to get milk and eggs. Nest to location, layout is one of the most sought after aspects of a luxury home. An open concept is a term used by the majority of buyers. However, what is open to can be tied to things like ceiling height, the proximity and access to major rooms like the great room, kitchen and living room.

First impressions are also often either compelling or a turn off to people looking for a luxury home. What impression is created by the drive up to the home? What impression is created when a person enters the home? Is a welcoming feeling generated? What generates the feeling? Is it an abundance of natural light in the home? Is it a large airy space inside the home when one first enters it? Is it the paint colours and tones? Is it the intricate finishing details? Is it all of the above?

When Comox Valley home buyers are asked to describe what they want in a luxury home some are very good at painting an accurate picture. Luxury is often a feeling that is generated but is can also be related to function and craftsmanship. The challenge is putting it all together and being able to describe it ensemble to another person so that your Comox Valley realtor can help you find your next high end home.

Christmas is fast approaching and the Comox valley homes market is sluggish at this time of the year. New listings are way down compared to the peak summer months but there still are some great luxury homes available. The list to sell ratio of the high end property market in our region dwells in the 10 to 20% range in most years. This means that most of these homes do not sell in a specific year, not because there is anything wrong with them but because they are simply out of reach of most Comox Valley home buyers. So if you are looking for a luxury home you may be able to find what you are looking for at a bargain price at this time of the year. Perhaps it is time to contact Brett and take a serious look at finding your next luxury home in an area that offers quality of life that is unrivaled in most parts of Canada.

is a Realtor with REMAX Ocean Pacific Realty and he goes Above & Beyond for clients to meet their real estate needs. Brett is also active informing and updating people on the Comox Valley luxury homes market. His office is located in the town of Comox in the Comox Valley region of Vancouver Island.

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Comox Valley luxury homes options

The Comox Valley offers a vast array of luxury homes options. Luxury homes are located in both urban and rural neighbourhoods. Let’s start with the urban areas.

The luxury home neighbourhood of Crown Isle located in East Courtenay offers the most luxury homes located in a single area in the Comox Valley. Homes in this upscale subdivision are mostly Freehold owned and many are custom built. The newer ones are easy to spot by their tile roofs and HardiePlank exteriors. The entry level price for single family homes generally starts in the mid 400K range and goes up to over $1M. This enclave of luxury homes is close to many conveniences including the new hospital currently under construction in just past the Ryan Road and Lerwick Road intersection. The development of this high end neighbourhood began in the early 1990s and the area continues to expand and be developed – a trend that is expected to last for many more years.

The Valley View Estates area also located in Courtenay East also offers a number of luxury homes, some of which offer captivating views of the Comox Glacier and surrounding mountain range as well as the City of Courtenay. More luxury homes can be found in the Mission Ridge and Mission Hill areas of East Courtenay. Some located in the Mission Ridge area offer views of the Georgia Strait and Coastal Mountain Range. A sprinkling of luxury homes can also be found in the Aberdeen Heights area.

Right next door is the desirable Town of Comox that borders the Comox Bay area. Luxury homes can be found in a few areas of Foxxwood Heights as well as the newer areas of Lancaster Heights and Beckton Estates. There are, of course, many other luxury homes that are tucked away in many different smaller areas throughout Comox that do not constitute neighbourhoods. Some are located along streets that contain mostly luxury homes while others may be single homes located in an area of finer homes.

The Comox Peninsula also contains many different luxury home options that are generally found on rural properties that are larger than what are offered in the urban areas. Forest Grove Estates, Sand Pines, Harwood Beach Estates, Claddagh Estates, Seal Bay and many different individual streets offer some exclusive and private home options.

More rural areas to the South, North and West of Courtenay also offer many different luxury home properties. Some are very secluded yet close to the City while others are tucked away in more remote areas. There is not much you cannot find in the Comox Valley. Current luxury homes start near the ½ million dollar mark and surpass the million dollar mark all the way to $4.5M. If you can dream it you may just already find it here in one of the most beautiful areas of Canada.

If your next dream home is not currently on the market contact Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty and let him know what you are looking for so that you can be advised as soon as the one matching your search criteria comes on the market

is a Realtor with REMAX Ocean Pacific Realty and he goes Above & Beyond for clients to meet their real estate needs. Brett is also active informing and updating people on the Comox Valley luxury homes market. His office is located in the town of Comox in the Comox Valley region of Vancouver Island.

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Brett with Clients

Many home buyers are adequately prepared for the home buying process but too many are not. Knowing what to do, in what order to do things, and when to do things can help reduce the stresses associated with buying a home. When things are done out of order or not done at all, buyers run the risk of major disappointment. Consider a few real world examples.

Get a Mortgage Pre-Approval

Buyer A flew out to a new area and asked to view homes after filling out a buyer questionnaire stating that they were pre-approved for a mortgage to a specified amount. After meeting with the realtor who had lined up a number of homes for the couple to view, it became obvious that the couple was not actually pre-approved. Because they were from out of the local area, the realtor agreed to show them the homes that had been booked for them to view but asked them to talk to a local mortgage broker as soon as possible to get pre-approved. After viewing quite a number of homes over the subsequent few days the couple fell in love with one and wanted to place an offer on it. About the same time they received news from the mortgage broker who told them that they could not be qualified for a mortgage because of the credit history of the husband. They were devastated. Before viewing any homes buyers should talk to a mortgage broker and to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Know the difference between pre-qualification and pre-approval. Know your personal financial circumstances and what you can afford even before you even start looking at homes online.

Sell Before You Buy

Buyer B drove up to a new area for a weekend after filling out a buyer questionnaire stating that they were pre-approved for a mortgage. They viewed homes for several days and found one that met all of their stated needs. When discussing what kind of things that should go into an offer they only then disclosed that they had a home to sell before they could buy the new one. They placed an offer on the home that was flatly refused by the seller. The market was a seller’s market and homes were selling fairly quickly. This couple was extremely disappointed to find their dream home was not available to them because they had a home to sell. Offers can and do get written and accepted subject to the sale of a buyer’s home but not all sellers will agree to accepting offers with such a condition. While these type of offers only technically tie up the seller’s home for the period of the time clause, the practical effect can be more significant. Many agents will not show homes that have accepted offers on them and some buyers may not be willing to wait or have the time to wait on a time clause. Buyers are often advised to sell their existing home before they place an offer on a new home in order to place them in a better position to have their offer accepted.

Do not Shop Online

After looking online for months Buyer C contacted a realtor and flew out to a new area to view a specific home with the intention of buying it. When the young couple arrived they were anxious and excited to view the home that they had chosen online. After viewing it they discovered that it was not at all what they expected and their hopes were dashed. Fortunately the agent had asked them to fill out a buyer questionnaire and spoke to them in advance about their needs and wants so he arranged a few other viewings based on their inputs. They ended up placing an offer on one of the others later that day and were extremely pleased that it not only met all of their needs it also met most of their wants and was within their price range. Local knowledge of the area and homes and accurate impressions of homes and the local area can only be formed through first-hand experience. It is impossible to get an accurate sense of an area, neighbourhood or home, or to develop a feeling on a home by merely looking at an online listing. Internet listings only present limited information that can be useful to get a general sense of a local market. Nothing beats first-hand experience and knowledge for decision making. Browse but do not shop online.

Location First

Buyer D called up a real estate agent and told the agent that they were planning a house hunting trip to the area the following week. The agent sent them a buyer questionnaire which they filled out and the agent moved a number of things around to accommodate their short notice request. While many of the homes they viewed came close to meeting their needs, the wife seemed to always come up with a very small thing on each home that did not quite work for them. After spending a week with the realtor, they returned home. The agent followed up with them but the agent did not receive any response from them. Later the agent discovered that they had decided to buy a home in a different area. It is important to choose a location before choosing a home but there is a right way and a wrong way to do this. If you are moving or thinking of moving to a new area there is nothing better than a visit to that area and to see what is has to offer. Realtors are not tour guides but when you are up front with the best ones they will often find time to show you the area. If you feel a need to view homes in the area while location browsing, there are often show homes and open houses to look at to help you with your location decision. The location decision should always be made before you ask to venture into anyone’s private residence. If you were a home seller would you want someone walking through your private residence that was “just looking”?

Working with a Realtor

Buyer E decided to buy a home without the services of a realtor. After purchasing the rural property he discovered that the zoning did not allow him to build the home of his dreams on the property. Zoning is just one of many things that can and does impact the use and development of a specific property. Realtors can and do provide many different real estate services to buyers along with advice and information to help with decision making. Just like homes, however, realtors are not all the same. Their capabilities, knowledge, training, education, experience, and character of the real estate agents can and do vary widely. If you are looking for an agent who will go Above and Beyond to meet your real estate needs contact < href="http:www.brettcairns.ca">Brett Cairns of RE/MAX Ocean Pacific Realty in the Comox Valley.

is a Realtor with REMAX Ocean Pacific Realty and he goes Above & Beyond for clients to meet their real estate needs. Brett is also active informing and updating people on the Comox Valley luxury homes market. His office is located in the town of Comox in the Comox Valley region of Vancouver Island.

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