Canadian Economy Grows in 2013

February 28th, 2014 by dgoertz@remax.net

BCREA ECONOMICS NOW

Canadian Real GDP Growth - February 28, 2014

The Canadian economy grew 2.9 per cent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter, and 2 per cent for all of 2013. Growth was led by strong household consumption expenditures and an uptick in exports of goods and services. However, an accumulation of business inventories also contributed significantly to growth in the fourth quarter, which may reverse to start 2014.

The Canadian economy grew at a robust average rate of 2.8 per cent in the second half of 2013. Stronger growth, along with the recent acceleration in inflation and a steep decline in the loonie, will likely quiet speculation of a Bank of Canada rate cut. We are forecasting that the Canadian economy will further improve in 2014 growing 2.5 per cent with the Bank of Canada on the sidelines until 2015.

For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir Brendon Ogmundson
Chief Economist Economist
Direct: 604.742.2780 Direct: 604.742.2796
Mobile: 778.229.1884 Mobile: 604.505.6793
Email: cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca Email: bogmundson@bcrea.bc.ca

The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) is the professional association for more than 18,500 REALTORS® in BC, focusing on provincial issues that impact real estate. Working with the province’s 11 real estate boards, BCREA provides continuing professional education, advocacy, economic research and standard forms to help REALTORS® provide value for their clients.

Real estate boards, real estate associations and REALTORS® may reprint this content, provided that credit is given to BCREA by including the following statement: “Copyright British Columbia Real Estate Association. Reprinted with permission.” BCREA makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of this information.

BC Home Sales – Strongest October in Four Years

November 15th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

For the complete news release, including detailed statistics, click here.

For immediate release

BC Home Sales Post Strongest October in Four Years

Vancouver, BC – November 15, 2013.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 6,673 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC during October, up 26.5 per cent from October 2012. Total sales dollar volume was 34.5 per cent higher than a year ago at $3.6 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $540,432, up 6.3 per cent from October 2012.

“The fall housing market is shaping up to be the most active in four years,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Persistently low mortgage interest rates and an element of pent-up demand have driven home sales higher in the province’s large Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island markets.”

“While the rebound in consumer demand has been significant, home sales are trending near the long-term average and any continued acceleration will depend on stronger economic and employment growth,” added Muir.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was up 8.2 per cent to $33.6 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were up 5.1 per cent to 63,020 units, while the average MLS® residential price was up 2.9 per cent at $533,321.

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For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir Damian Stathonikos
Chief Economist Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Direct: 604.742.2780 Direct: 604.742.2793
Mobile: 778.229.1884 Mobile: 778.990.1320
Email: cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca Email: dstathonikos@bcrea.bc.ca

BCREA represents 11 member real estate boards and their approximately 18,500 REALTORS® on all provincial issues, providing an extensive communications network, standard forms, economic research and analysis, government relations, applied practice courses and continuing professional education.

To demonstrate the profession’s commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

For detailed statistical information, contact your local real estate board. MLS® is a cooperative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

6 Weeks – 42 Days!

November 13th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

Don’t you get annoyed when someone reminds you how close we are to Christmas? You go to the Mall or other store and you are already hearing Christmas music. American Thanksgiving isn’t even finished yet. I’m like that so why am I writing about Christmas when there is still 6 weeks to get ready? I just want to remind you of some things that could help your Christmas season be safer and more enjoyable.

ChristmasVactionHouseChristmas Lights – Who out there likes Christmas Lights? I remember as a Kid growing up, that there always seemed to be a street where everyone got really involved in the Christmas spirit and set up thousands of lights. In fact, at Christmas, I sometime like to drive by that neighborhood to see if they have carried on the tradition. Alas, it doesn’t appear that they have but I want to remind you that my recommendation is that you put up your lights early. Don’t wait until the calendar says we only have 2 weeks or 14 days.  You might not like the weather we will be having. We still have a few days where we will have reasonable weather and that is one thing I remember not liking was putting up the lights when the wind and the rain were swirling around me and it seemed like I was doing it in a mini Hurricane. My advice; Don’t wait for the last weekend to do this. You don’t have to turn them on right away but at least you can stay warm and comfortable knowing that you are ahead of the game.

Christmas Tree’s – Each year, around the beginning of December, usually the first weekend.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Suat Eman at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

We would go to the Christmas Tree Farm, search for our special tree, have the attendant cut it down and take it home. Once we got the tree home, I would cut the base again and place it in the stand and ensure that our tree had a continual supply of water. I didn’t want it to dry out and leave a trail of needles when we dragged it out of the living room. Every year, it dried out and we had a trail of needles. It took months for the vacuum to find them all. What I was more fearful of, was that this tree would become a fire Hazard. (By the Way, Have you replaced the battery on your smoke alarm? The battery powered one I mean.) I have linked a video of what I mean to the picture of this beautiful tree. Just click on the tree and it will take you to the video. One year I took our tree, which had been watered everyday to the back yard. I Lit one match. Held the match to the needles and within seconds this tree had exploded into a ball of flame. I was indeed made very aware of the danger of a live tree in the house. The next year, we replaced our traditional live tree with a fake one. They make them so good now, I don’t even know if I can tell them apart.  Please be very aware of the risk associated with a live tree.

Stuffed Animals - Christmas Traditions

Stuffed Animals – Christmas Traditions

Christmas Traditions – I’m sure that many of  you had a family tradition that you had to go through and these always make Christmas more enjoyable. Well most of the time, they are enjoyable. Sonya has a tradition, where she likes to pull out a Jig Saw Puzzle and over the course of a couple of weeks, we have this puzzle spread out on our coffee table. I don’t like Jig Saw Puzzles. Sorry. Just can’t do them. The traditions I like are the ones on how we get together. Jenny, our daughter in law, is from El Salvador. It is their tradition to celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve. I know some of our other friends it is the same. For me growing up it was always Christmas morning and we had to have breakfast first before we could even look at the presents under the tree. I think next year, I would like to establish a new tradition for Sonya and I. Christmas in the Tropics. How does that sound?  Sounds good to me but I really think that I would like to do something with more meaning and significance. So many people are in need in our community and around the world and many of us have so much. I think that we should each look in our heart and see what it is that we would be willing to do for someone that doesn’t have anything. Give the gift of hope to someone this year.

Christmas Dinner – I could have put this one in with the previous paragraph because Dinner around our place seems to have become a dinner of epic proportions. What I mean is that, It is so important for us to have everyone together, that we are willing to change the date and time to accommodate the schedules of others. This year will be a bit disappointing since our Daughter and her family will not be able to make it. It will give them an opportunity to establish a new tradition of their own. Our new tradition, should include me not eating so much! But it all tastes so good! I just can’t help myself. Reminds me of Christmas one year at my Grandmothers home. Mom’s side. Everyone always was there on the afternoon of the big day and Christmas dinner was a big deal. After all we had a big family. There was always ton’s of food and  you would think that we wouldn’t run out of any thing except this one year, my cousin and I were sitting together and we were probably around 12 or 13 years old. You know the age, when boys seem to have hollow legs and could eat enormous amounts of food. Well that year, the stuffing got passed to only two people. First to him and then to me. I definitely ate too much that day.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of hin255 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I know it is a bit early to talk about Christmas but it has this way of sneaking up on you. And on that thought, I have one other piece of advice for all the husbands out there. Don’t wait till the 24th. I know it is a Tuesday and the stores will be open late but you don’t need the extra stress in your life. Listen to your wife and decide early what you are going to get her. Research where it will be. Be discreet and one day, say December 2, casually announce that you are going out and quickly get the desired object. I hope to be able to report that I successfully used this strategy rather than wait till the last minute and be relegated to wandering through the mall with all the other hapless men.

That concludes my advice for this time around. Enjoy the season this year and I really encourage you to establish a strong tradition of helping someone else out who is less fortunate than yourself. Most of us are able to do that without to much difficulty. Watch for my upcoming Post were we will be offering our forecast for what the Real Estate Market in 2014 will hold. If you need some advice or information before then, please feel free to contact me at in your own time. All the best.

Don

 

Random Acts of Kindness!

October 28th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

As we near the end of October, we traditionally begin to see our inventory levels go down 2 Billion hours spent volunteeringin anticipation that we are entering into the Holiday Season and people tend to have their focus on other things. Not always the case as sometimes we cannot always control when we need to move or stay put but generally a reasonable assumption. November is usually noted for containing the Day known as Black Friday and it is one of the largest retail shopping events North America seems to enjoy. The day, week and month after US Thanksgiving seem to be when our focus is on celebration and anticipating great times to be held with our family and others that we care about. Excessive amounts of time are spent searching for those elusive perfect gifts, at least they seem to be elusive to me, massive amounts of money are exchanged for them and then they are taken home and carefully wrapped and prepared to be given to those individuals that we care about.

Another focus that changes, is our philanthropic focus. We seem to become a little bit more aware that there are people out there that are not as blessed as we are and that some might need some extra help. That this time of celebration is not generally a happy time for them and adds excess stress to their lives. I would like to encourage us all to not forget about these persons. They are part of the fabric of our society and due to whatever circumstances that they find themselves in, they need some help. I want to encourage us all to participate in those endeavors that offer some relief to those in need. There are a number of ways that we can help out  that might not even cost us very much money.

Here are 10 Random Acts of Kindness that cost less than $10.00 (reprinted from Brian Buffini IOV Oct/Nov 2013)

1. Put change in someone else’s parking meterScott Adams Quote

2. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the line at the coffee shop

3. Buy a few extra groceries and drop them off at the nearest food bank

4. Pay the toll of the car behind you

5. Give a homeless person a large plastic storage bag containing a bottle of water, a couple of granola bars, tissues, a comb a toothbrush and toothpaste. ( I saw some packages at Safeway that were perfect gifts for some homeless person. Some for $5.00 some for $10.00)

6. Send a handwritten note and small memento to a friend, family member, neighbour or someone you haven’t spoken with in a while. It’s sure to make their day.

7. Offer your change when the person in front of you at the register is short of cash.

8. Buy an inspirational book for a friend who needs encouragement.

9. Buy a dozen daisies or sunflowers to give to the women at your office or to strangers on the street.

10. Surprise a friend loved one or coworker with their favourite beverage or snack.

Try some of these out! you might find them fun to do!

November and December might be the time for celebration, but we are also coming to the time early in the New Year when some of us try to make the decision on whether it is time to stay put or time to move on. If you are contemplating a Real Estate move in the future or know of someone that is, why not give me a call. Put my 29 years of Real Estate experience to work for you. My desire is to be able to provide you with accurate information and insight into our market place and how that impacts your real estate decisions so that you are able to make informed ones. If you think you might find yourself in this position, it is not too early to start the ball rolling. Being prepared in advance is a good way to position yourself and your property to take full advantage of our generally more robust Spring Market. Being aware of market conditions as they are and trends that may be develop are all part of this process.

Just drop me an email, and I can begin the preparation for you. mailto:dgoertz@remax.net

 

Renovation Paybacks – Buy? Sell? or Stay Put?

October 7th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

Our Markets have seemed to be on a bit of a Roller Coaster ride of late and sometimes we don’t know if we should Buy, Sell or Stay put. Traditionally, for most Canadians, a home is a solid, familiar investment. Over time, your home will increase in value at a steady, safe rate. This is important to consider when you are trying to answer that question of Buy or Sell. Here is some info that we found might be useful to you as you ponder your needs.

Make sure you Plan well

Make sure you Plan well

Some renovations can help to improve the value of your home. Whether you are updating that 40′s style kitchen, removing green shag carpeting from the bedroom, or adding exterior curb appeal by applying attractive, maintenance-free siding, you will increase the market value of your home.

When renovating your home, here are few things to consider.

If you are financing an improvement, consider your budget. Keep your monthly payments within your limit.

Consider the type of renovation. You could overdo a good thing if you spend too much on less favorable items. Perhaps you are planning to move in a few years and hoping to recover the costs. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation suggests the following as a payback range of typical renovations:

  • Kitchen 68-74%Assembling kitchen units.
  • Bathroom 64-71%
  • Interior painting 62-66%
  • Exterior painting 62%
  • Main floor family room 49-56%
  • Finished basement 50-52%
  • Upgraded heating system 48-50%
  • Landscaping 45-49%
  • In-law or rental suite 40-42%
  • Central air conditioning 38-43%
  • Energy-efficient upgrades 33-39%

craftsman dogWhen you are considering purchasing a home you can also use a Mortgage program from CMHC that will allow for the financing the renovation of a home you have found to buy. Your Mortgage professional will be able to help you out with this type of mortgage but it can be useful if you are starting out and have the money for a down payment but not the extra cash to renovate that Great “Handyman” special that you found.

Whatever you decide to do, we can help. With nearly 30 years of experience in the field of Real Estate, we have come across many different circumstances and can help you evaluate what might be the best answers in your situation. Please contact me for a more personal look into your Real Estate Needs, Wants and Desires.

Don Goertz

dgoertz@remax.net or 604-807-4442

You and Your Mortgage

August 27th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

So a big question today in the minds of many people is “what is going to happen to mortgage rates in the near future?” The answer to that seems to have the country pretty evenly divided.  46% of Canadians think that rates will remain low for the next 12 months and 49% expect the rates to remain low through to 2014. (source CIBC + RBC) That follows that for the last couple of years we have seen (and enjoyed) some very low interest rates. Recently we had a bit of a spurt where the rates went up. This was apparently do to something happening in the bond market that I don’t understand. You need to contact your financial guy on that one for an explanation. All I know is there doesn’t seem to be as much downward pressure on our interest rates as their used to be. Our Federal finance minister, Jim Flaherty, is encouraging banks not to lower interest rates too much

Mortgage Rate

Mortgage Rate

because we don’t want Canadians to accumulate too much debt. Neither do I!! ;-) I used to joke that the banks weren’t about to offer to pay us to borrow their money. So it seems Interest rates have pretty much bottomed out. The only way for them to go would be up but how quickly. It is amazing how many people remember the days of the early 80′s when rates skyrocketed to 21.75%. Many of you might not have been born yet but I remember. Sonya and I had pretty much decided that we were never going to be able to afford a house. The thing that people don’t always remember is that house prices had virtually doubled in price. Now those of you that are younger than 30 will probably laugh when I tell you that you could have bought a pretty nice house at the peak of that market cycle for the extravagant price of around $100,000.00.iStock_000008538351Large Then within a very short time the prices dropped to around $70,000. So much for a bit of History.

So what about today. What could happen and what will happen are really  up for grabs here but I thought I might be able to add a bit of perspective for you. Supposing that you are wanting to purchase a 500,000 house. Not an unusually high price for a nice house in Abbotsford. You have accumulated a 10% down payment and are looking at mortgages. While  you are looking and considering when is the right time to buy, that bond market does something crazy and it drives mortgage rates up by another 1%. All of a sudden, unless you have a brilliant Mortgage broker (Click Here if you Don’t have one) that has given you a rate guarantee, you will now have lost about $40,000 in buying power. Conversely the opposite would be true if mortgage rates dropped by 1%. your buying power would increase by about $40,000. Another way to put that would be that that 1% is either an increase in your payment by about $270.00 or a decrease in you payment. I think that is why our prices have remained relatively firm in light of our sagging market. Even though we have been in a buyers market for the past several years, prices have been maintained because with the low interest rates, the payments were still in reach and reasonable for the average family to absorb. As stated earlier, whether or not that will continue, only time will tell. It is interesting to note that the last 20 years our rates have averaged below 10%. For the 20 years prior to that they were averaging over 10%.

As each person or families situation and housing requirements are different I think that it is important to get some solid advice from your real estate professional as well as your mortgage specialist on how these scenarios will impact you. Whether buying or selling or just remortgaging, there are always things that will be more significant for you than they may be for the guy down the street. When you are mortgage shopping, it is also important not to just shop for the lowest rate. Sometimes there are disadvantages to one plan vs the other depending on your circumstance. Sometimes your prepayment privileges are quite different and should your circumstances change, you might find that you are unable to make the changes that you would like. That is why it is always a good practice to get all the information before you make an important decision.

If I can be of any help to you, either with more info or an evaluation of your current real estate needs, let me know. I am only too pleased to be of service.

Don

mailto:dgoertz@remax.net

604-807-4442

BCREA reports Home Sales Continue Upward Trend

July 16th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

I thought you might be interested in this bit of info on the Real Estate Market in BC. If you need more specific info regarding your property I would be happy to help you out.

BC Home Sales Continue on Upward Trend

Vancouver, BC – July 16, 2013.  The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) reports that a total of 7,196 residential sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) in BC in the month of June, up 5.6 per cent from June of 2012. Total sales dollar volume was 11.9 per cent higher at $3.84 billion. The average MLS® residential price in the province was $533,219, up 6 per cent from a year ago.

“BC home sales rose 6.7 per cent from May, on a seasonally adjusted basis, with June being the fourth consecutive month of increasing sales activity,” said Cameron Muir, BCREA Chief Economist. “Since February, home sales across the province have climbed by 23 per cent, on a seasonally adjusted basis,” added Muir.

On a quarterly basis, MLS® residential sales climbed 15 per cent in the second quarter, while the inventory of homes for sale has moved down 5 per cent over the last two quarters, creating improved market conditions in many regions of the province.

Year-to-date, BC residential sales dollar volume was down 8.2 per cent to $18.8 billion, compared to the same period last year. Residential unit sales were down 7.8 per cent to 35,336 units, while the average MLS® residential price was down 0.4 per cent at $531,401.

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For more information, please contact: 

Cameron Muir Damian Stathonikos
Chief Economist Director of Communications and Public Affairs
Direct: 604.742.2780 Direct: 604.742.2793
Mobile: 778.229.1884 Mobile: 778.990.1320
Email: cmuir@bcrea.bc.ca Email: dstathonikos@bcrea.bc.ca

BCREA represents 11 member real estate boards and their approximately 18,000 REALTORS® on all provincial issues, providing an extensive communications network, standard forms, economic research and analysis, government relations, applied practice courses and continuing professional education (cpe).

To demonstrate the profession’s commitment to improving Quality of Life in BC communities, BCREA supports policies that help ensure economic vitality, provide housing opportunities, preserve the environment, protect property owners and build better communities with good schools and safe neighbourhoods.

For detailed statistical information, contact your local real estate board. MLS® is a cooperative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

To subscribe to receive BCREA publications such as this one, or to update your email address or current subscriptions, click here.

Real Estate Market Update Fraser Valley June 2013

July 3rd, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

News Release: July 3, 2013

PROPERTY SALES IN THE FRASER VALLEY REMAIN STATIC WITH LOCALIZED BRIGHT SPOTS

(Surrey, BC) – Property sales in the Fraser Valley were 9 per cent lower in June compared to last year – 1,327 compared to 1,463 in June 2012 – remaining significantly below 10 and 20 year averages. However, data from the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) reveals localized bright spots where sales have rebounded since May.

Ron Todson is the Board’s president. “In the last month, sales of single family detached homes have picked up in North Delta, North Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford, and in some neighbourhoods where we’ve seen a decrease in new listings, we now have a shortage of quality inventory.

“It’s too soon to know if this trend shows increased consumer demand in general, or if it’s specific to those communities, property types and price points, but it does speak to the importance of getting local real estate expertise if you’re thinking of buying or selling because of the wide variance in the market depending on neighbourhood and property type.”

The Board received 2,625 new listings in June – 9 per cent fewer than received during the same month last year – leaving the volume of active properties at 10,515 a decrease of 1 per cent compared to June 2012 and 1 per cent fewer than were available in May.

Todson adds, “In general, prices are flat and firm. They remain on par with what they were a year ago and that stability is thanks to inventory levels remaining in check, but again similar to sales, price increases or decreases vary.

“For example, the price of a typical detached home in Langley has increased 3.5 per cent over the last year while detached homes in South Surrey/White Rock have decreased in value by the same amount. That variation is the same whether we’re talking about single family homes, townhouses or apartments. Real estate is local.”

In June, the benchmark price of single family detached homes in the Fraser Valley was $552,200, an increase of 0.2 per cent compared to $551,000 during the same month last year. For townhouses, the benchmark price was $298,700, a decrease of 2.1 per cent compared to $305,000 in June 2012 and the benchmark price of apartments was $202,500, 0.8 per cent less than in June 2012 when it was $204,200.

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The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board is an association of 2,789 real estate professionals who live and work in the BC communities of North Delta, Surrey, White Rock, Langley, Abbotsford, and Mission.  The FVREB marked its 90-year anniversary in 2011

Renovating and My Budget

June 26th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

Our recent increase in the cost of a 5 year mortgage could be a wake up call to some who have been sitting on the fence on whether or not now is a good time to buy, sell or renovate or stand pat. This blog is going to be a short discussion on the benefits of renovation for the first three. Should I; Buy? Sell? Renovate? Actually the idea of renovating is applicable to the first two as well so lets just start out with the assumption that renovating will enhance all three of the above choices. If we are in the market to buy we might find the right house but it needs a bit of work. Where would we start? Are you going to pursue the idea of selling, what quick renovations would we need to make to enhance our property and make it more salable. Third maybe we love our place and just want to renovate so that we keep our property in top condition or that we want to do some updating. Considering that 51% of Canadian households have decided to do some renovating this year there should be some sort of plan for doing so. I can think of a couple of projects around town where they likely didn’t spend enough time on the planning process.

A good place to start would be to ask ‘why do you want to renovate?’ Another way to look at it is what is important to you. If you are a buyer a good guideline might be that you consider a property if the renovations would be limited to 5% of your purchase price.  Sometimes we refer to this as ‘sweat equity’. If the property you are looking at can be purchased for around $400,000 then a budget of $20,000 might be in order. If more work than this is required then I would recommend that you have a good understanding of what added value your reno’s would place on the property in question. Your REALTOR will be able to help you with this question. You might also want to consider getting quotes from a contractor for bigger jobs. A good idea to make sure you use a reputable licensed contractor who has some solid recommendations. We don’t want to be the subject of an upcoming  ‘Holmes on Homes’ episode. A seller will want to look at their property through a buyers eyes and get advice from their REALTOR  and determine what they could do to enhance it and make it more attractive than other competitive properties. But how much do we want to spend and what difference will it make to our eventual sale price. Will we get more money in our pocket or will it make our property more appealing than the other properties that are comparable. A good example is that a fresh paint job will generally give you about a 300% return on your investment. Maybe you have outgrown your home or it is in need of some upgrades. You like where you are at but it is not bright and shiny any more. Renovating for your own personal enjoyment and maintenance of your asset have another set of criteria that should be considered. A key consideration would be not to renovate beyond the price range of the surrounding properties. By this I mean that you don’t want to spend $100,000 upgrading a $300,000 property in a neighborhood of $325,000 homes. Well you might, but just be aware of what you are doing. You might want to stay there for a while to fully appreciate your investment. The principle here is to understand the Why of your reason for the renovation.

The next thing we might want to consider would be the what. Where do we start. Usually you will want to start in the area that needs it the most. Persons buying might have to consider the cost of a new roof, paint and floors. We pretty much spent the 5% budget with those 3 and maybe more. The point being that it is important to prioritize. This will help us to not spend more than we need to. It is easy to go to the lighting store and pick out a couple of fixtures that will use up our budget or be adding just $.50 to the price of that new laminate floor could add another $1000 to our project. Another question would be am I able to do any of the work myself. For me the answer to this question would be a resounding no. I am not ‘handy’. Break down the categories and prioritize and set boundaries for your self on what you can afford on each of these projects. Many people will begin a project not fully understanding the full scope of what they are attempting only to find that it has placed a lot of undo stress and pressure on the family in other areas. Know before your go.

My last suggestion on this idea of renovation is to make sure that you allow for contingencies.  Invariably, you will spend more money than you anticipate and if you have already planned for this with a 15 – 20% contingency fund, then you will not place other important areas of your home budget in jeopardy. Drawing lines or setting tripwires and agreeing that you will not go beyond a certain point are also recommended. A tripwire would be that you won’t start a new project until the ones already started are complete. If you are redoing the Kitchen cabinets, then you might want to wait until they are finished before you start that bathroom addition or reno. Finish painting the main living areas before you tackle the bedrooms or smaller areas.

The top 3 highest return reno’s to consider are; 1 Paint, 2 Kitchen, 3 Bathroom additions or renos. Buyers will need to make sure of their resources so they can finish what they start and not stretch themselves too thin. Sellers will want to start with projects like updating your paint, (inside and out), front door, house numbers, cabinet hardware, door hardware. plumbing leaks or faucet upgrades, yard clean up etc. etc. Renovating to stay will want to consider the whole idea and consider the surrounding neighborhood as well. I don’t generally recommend going too much beyond the value of the typical house available in the neighborhood without some strong alternate reasons.

There is a ton of information on renovating on the internet and I would recommend that you do your research before you leap. Most of all, enjoy your home. It is the place where you will hopefully create some pretty cool memories of your time spent in that property.

 

When it Rains!

June 20th, 2013 by dgoertz@remax.net

It seems odd to begin this blog on a day that has been non stop rain but around here when the rain stops and the sun eventually comes out, our lawns and forests can dry up pretty quick. We need to be aware and conserve our water supply. I think that we all understand that water is the lifeblood of our planet and that we need to make sure that we have enough clean water to sustain our way of life here in the valley. I ran across this interesting tidbit recently from the Environment Canada Site. They state “Canada has a significant amount of fresh water, we possess only 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater supply. In Canada, 84% of the population lives in a narrow southern band, while 60% of our water supply flows north to the Arctic Circle.” So even though it seems as if we will never run out of water (especially today) we can see the importance of why we need to be conserving our water supply.

Maybe because of our climate here in the South West that we tend to abuse our water system and really don’t take notice until it starts to really hit our pocket book. An example would be that we spend less on our water systems than most other countries. I know that I probably take our water too much for granted

 

But we have one of the highest uses of water

 

So given that we see the value in conserving our water, we need to know where to start. Environment Canada supplies a great deal more info at their site than I have space or time to duplicate so if you want more info, Check them out here. http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=F25C70EC-1#introduction

 

From the above chart we can easy see where most of our water goes and I think that we could greatly reduce our water consumption by concentrating our efforts in a few key areas that are simple fixes.

1. Many of our shower heads can be replace for not a lot of money to be a low flow type of shower head.

2. Same thing with our Bathrooms. Upgrading the toilets that we have can save a lot of water.

3. When it comes time to upgrade your washing machine, there are numerous models out there that are designed to use less water. Likewise for dishwashers.

4. When it comes to laundry, maybe we don’t have to do our laundry as often. Most of us will recall the suggestion at the last hotel we stayed at that we can conserve water by agreeing to reuse the towel we used after our shower.

5. Of course there is the municipal bylaws that restrict the days we are allowed to water our lawns and gardens.

For the more energetic and conservational types we have in a local company, Barr Plastics, that has designed many different types of systems for harvesting rain water. These systems work well for irrigation and other outdoor uses. Check them out at the above noted link.

We really need to be concentrating on conserving our planet. These issues are going to become more significant to our society in the future and the sooner we start paying attention the better. It is wonderful to hear of the organizations that are raising money to put in wells in underdeveloped countries and to hear the progress we are making in other areas of our environment. You and I need to do our part. That starts with being informed. I would really encourage you to check out the Environment Canada Site at http://www.ec.gc.ca/eau-water/default.asp?lang=En&n=F25C70EC-1#introduction

You will be surprised at how much information there is on our water situation and how a few simple ideas can save some water and likely you some money as well. Next time maybe we will talk about clean air!

 

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