Plenty of recreation options, both indoors and out


 Spring time in the Comox Valley, what a great time of year to get active!


Sure, the Valley may be best known for its beaches and its mountain, but it’s still an awesome place to recreate when the snow is disappearing, and the sun hasn’t yet heated things up.


Why look elsewhere for Spring Break options when there’s so much to do around here? Following are just a few suggestions to get you and your friends and family springing into action.



Hello hiking trails, it’s been a while!

It’s time to get back out on trails with your boots on and dog in tow. Sure, you both may need a soak afterward to get the mud off, but that’s part of the fun.


These local Comox Valley trails offer a nice variety of locations and are a good way to start the hiking season slowly. And if you want to avoid the mud, head up the Strathcona Parkway and pop on your snowshoes. The trails around Paradise Meadows will still be snowy until the end of April.



Get back on your bike and ride

Whether you’re a hard-core downhill mountain biker or a Sunday afternoon cruiser, there are a tonne of options when it comes to biking in the Comox Valley. And there are a good number of bike shops who are always willing to help offer route suggestions or mechanical expertise. Click here to connect with bike trail maps for areas from Hornby to Campbell River, as well as contact info for local shops.



Is it too early to start golfing? Not in the Comox Valley!

It’s no exaggeration to say it’s always golf season around here, after all, a late snowfall just means more of a challenge. But truthfully, this is the time of year that the local fairways start getting primed. And if you get out now, think of how much ahead of your friends you’ll be by the time June comes around. Here’s a link to contact info for many of the local courses.



And if the weather is not cooperating, hit the gym(s)

In fact, it might be a good idea to hit the gym before you start going crazy with the hiking and biking, just so your body doesn’t rebel. The Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland recreation centres are an affordable way to prep your body or maintain your edge on those “April showers” days.



Too cold to kayak? Why not paddle the pool!

Are you a fairweather kayaker but feel like you should work off some of the winter rust? No worries – take your kayak into the CV Aquatic Centre pool and get back into the saddle. Admittedly, the scenery won’t be quite what you’re used to, but it’s an excellent place to work on your rolls, entries and exits without being freezing cold.



And speaking of indoor training . . .

Get Swung is a new facility near Walmart that allows people to work on their batting, golfing and more any time of year. With indoor batting cages, golf simulators and a multi-sport training centre, there really is no excuse not to get moving.



Too many options? Sorry about that. But don’t blame me – it’s the Comox Valley’s fault for being so darn awesome. Hope you’re inspired to visit some of these great places and get active. And please feel free to share this list with friends who may be looking for recreation options this Spring.



As always, please contact me if you have any questions about local resources and real estate opportunities within the Comox Valley. And be sure to check out my website or visit my Facebook page to keep apprised of all the latest listings.


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And Mount Washington makes us proud, too!



If you’re anything like me, you love watching the Winter Olympics every four years. And this year it has been especially enjoyable since we’ve been able to follow the awesome pursuits of a few local athletes.


Cassie Sharpe, Carle Brenneman, Spencer O’Brien and Teal Harle are Islanders who have carved a name for themselves on the international scene with their pursuit of excellence on the slopes. As Comox Valley residents, we should always celebrate their accomplishments, but especially this Olympic year!



Cassie grabs the Gold!

In case you missed it, or just want to watch it again, here is a link to Comox’s Cassie Sharpe in her winning run on the halfpipe:


What a woman!



Islanders Carle Brenneman, Teal Harle and Spencer O’Brien compete with heart

Even though she didn’t end up on the podium, Spencer O’Brien showed determination and grit as she competed in the finals of Women’s Slope Style and Big Air, check out her work in this nice CBC feature:



Carle Brenneman also had a great showing, but just fell short of the final round. The Comox athlete competed in snowboard cross competition and recounted her experience with the Comox Valley Record, click here to read it:


And Teal Harle finished just out of the medals in fifth position in the Olympic Men’s Slopestyle Skiing. The twenty-one-year-old had a great experience and undoubtedly has a very bright future.



Mount Washington an excellent training ground

Of course, all these wonderful Island athletes have put in their share of time at Mt. Washington Alpine Resort. Vancouver Island’s largest year-round family resort can be proud of the contributions it made to helping these women succeed and inspire all of us.


Way to go, Washy! And way to go, Canada!



As always, feel free to contact me to find out more about local resources and real estate opportunities. And don’t forget to check out my website or visit my Facebook page.

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Governing board looking to protect consumers

As you may or may not be aware, the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (RECBC) is implementing some new regulations. Originally slated to start March 15, 2018, but now moved to June 15, Realtors will no longer be able to represent both a buyer and a seller at the same time in a single transaction.


The RECBC is the provincial governing board that licenses Realtors and regulates real estate in the public interest. Among their duties is the enforcement of standards of conduct, investigation of complaints and implementation of regulations that ensure the public is well served by BC Realtors.


I know there has been some confusion as to what dual agency is and why these rules are being implemented, so I’m passing along this information from the RECBC website that I found useful:




The Superintendent of Real Estate has created new Rules that generally prohibit the practice of dual agency, except in the rarest of circumstances. Dual agency refers to when a licensee represents, in a single transaction, two or more clients whose interests are in conflict. For example, a property seller and a prospective buyer for that property.


Why has dual agency been restricted?

The practice of limited dual agency raised a number of concerns for consumers, including that:

  • a licensee may not be able to be completely loyal and impartial to two clients with competing interests
  • a licensee may not be able to properly advise those clients without improperly disclosing their confidential information to each other
  • a licensee acting as a dual agent might prioritize his or her own interest in earning the whole commission, rather than acting in the best interest of his or her clients.

For these reasons, an Independent Advisory Group on real estate regulation in BC recommended that limited dual agency be banned in BC. Now, the Superintendent of Real Estate has created a Rule restricting limited dual agency (except in very limited circumstances).



So, what does this change mean to buyers and sellers?

If you have a Realtor you’ve been working with to buy a home and you notice that they have a listing of a property you’re interested in, they will no longer be able to act as your representative as a buyer.


Because of the new prohibition on limited dual agency, the licensee you’ve been working with can’t continue to act for you. However, you can choose a different Realtor to represent you going forward. Your licensee can suggest other licensees who will be able to assist you.


In locales where there are several licensed Realtors to choose from, this likely won’t have significant impact on buyers and sellers.


As noted, these changes are for the protection of the consumer. And although there may be an adjustment period throughout the province, the goal is to protect the public, which all Realtors can stand behind.


If you have any further queries regarding the new regulations, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


I’m available to discuss any aspect of buying, selling or moving in the Comox Valley and beyond. Please contact me, check out my website or visit my Facebook page if you want to have your real estate questions answered.

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Live at home longer with these ideas  


Living independently for as long as you can is something we all aspire to, but it can take a bit of work to ensure your home accommodates you. Fortunately, there are some great ways to make your house safer and more comfortable.


Here are a few ideas that will help ensure you’re able to age at home for as long as possible.



Small fixes and do-it-yourselfers

Little conveniences can make a significant difference, such as raising electrical boxes, installing better lighting and putting in lever door handles. It’s also important to declutter and get organized. Extra “stuff” can create tripping hazards, so tidy up, remove area rugs and keep walkways and door openings clear. And don’t forget to outsource the yard maintenance.


Some bigger jobs

As they say, safety first! So consider installing handrails and grab-bars in hallways, entrances and bathrooms. And speaking of bathrooms, install a walk-in shower (with seat or bench) or walk-in tub. For safety and convenience, you may want to move your master bedroom from the top floor to ground level. And installing motion-detection fall sensors and/or medical alert systems can be a wise move.


Hire home support and keep up connections

Depending on your needs, there are plenty of possibilities. Your doctor, senior services and local health authority should be able to suggest suitable options and let you know if any funding is available. Price things out carefully as homecare can add up and it may be less expensive to make a move to a development that offers different integrated living arrangements.


Both for safety and socially it’s important to keep connected, and technology and media devices are making that easier than ever. Find someone who can help set you up with a cell phone or tablet and you’ll be able to stay in touch with friends and family at the push of a button. Make sure you stay active by joining groups, going on outings and visiting the library. If mobility is an issue, consider transit options.



Like many communities on Vancouver Island, the Comox Valley is well suited to the older population both in terms of resources and housing options. For more information on any part of living in and moving to the Comox Valley, please contact me, check out my website or visit my Facebook page

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Some helpful hints to create space and lower stress

Clutter is something that happens to all of us – that accumulation of “stuff” that you don’t necessarily want or need. And it can creep up on you; before you know it, you have a pile of things in the corner or closet that adds to the chaos of a room and, maybe, your life. In fact, it’s been shown that the sense of disorganization from clutter can actually cause stress . . . who knew?


The good thing is, clearing away clutter can make you feel better and more in control. Not only that, it creates more space in your home for the things that are important.


Whether you’re decluttering for some extra space, purging before a move or just looking to relieve some stress, tidying and tightening is a good idea. And here are some tips to do it in an efficient and organized manner.



Make a plan

The key to getting organized is being organized. Have a plan and stick to it. Make a list of rooms or areas that need attention, prioritize them in terms of chaos and focus on the neediest first. Tackle one room/area at a time, and try to stick to a realistic timeline. If you’re concentrating on one room, break it into smaller tasks to keep the focus and to enjoy a sense of accomplishment when that task is done, e.g., sorting out a closet, organizing a couple drawers, clearing off a counter top, etc.



Change your mindset about “stuff”

Think of how great it will be to get organized – it truly is freeing once you commit to letting things go. So take a cold hard look at your clutter, and start by getting over sunk costs. The money has been spent, don’t dwell on that; think instead of the value you’ll get from eliminating “stuff” from your life. If you haven’t used it in a year, do you really need it? If it’s broken, fix it or dump it. Ask yourself, do you love it? If the answer is no, it should be gone. And don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.



Create a sorting system

Have three piles or, better yet, boxes. One is for keepers, one is for getting rid of (through recycling, donating or garbage) and one is for storage – then deal with the boxes! Your space is clean, now you must figure out where the items to be kept will go. Put the things to be recycled or discarded in your car. Label the items that are going into storage clearly on the outside of the box and put it into your storage place.



Clean flat surfaces

Be it your office desk, kitchen counter or bedside table, flat surfaces tend to get put upon. Keep frequently used small items out, and limit it to five, then find a new spot for the rest – drawers, tidy shelves, storage boxes, whatever it takes.



Speaking of drawers . . .

Drawers can quickly become a disaster if they’re not attended to. Start by emptying a drawer completely. Before you put something back in it, ask yourself if it’s a necessary item, if it belongs there and whether it has been used in the last six months. Then, put smaller boxes or storage bins in the drawer and keep like items together. 



Work at preventing clutter

Before you buy something, think about how often you’ll use it and whether it’s better to borrow or rent. Create a time each day or once a week to deal with clutter, and get the family on board. Follow the “one in – one out” rule; if you buy something new, recycle or donate something else.


Do your best and you’ll see and feel the difference. If you’re anything like me, your home likely will never look perfect, but it can look better. Good luck!



For other ideas or more information on any part of buying, selling or moving in the Comox Valley, please contact me, check out my website or visit my Facebook page. If you’re thinking of listing your home, make sure to download my free Seller Guidebook for more tips and advice about getting what your home is worth.  

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Low inventory and levelling of prices mark end of a busy 2017


This past year has been another active one, through the province, on the Island and in the Comox Valley. Buyers and sellers were happy and local realtors were busy keeping up.

And, as the year draws to a close, we look back to see how things went and forward to see where we are headed for 2018.


Another year of record inventory lows

According to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), a lack of inventory continues to drive the housing market. Even though the supply of single-family homes for sale has been rising steadily every month since VIREB hit a historic low of 859 units in December of 2016, inventory dipped in October and once again in November. So, the VIREB area is still a sellers’ market, making it an optimal time to list.   


Provincially speaking . . .  

Strong economic fundamentals, such as robust retail sales, as well as job and population growth, mean that BC’s housing market is still doing very well, notes the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). The province’s economy continues to lead the country, with GDP in 2018 expected to hit 3.8 per cent. That being said, federal government policy decisions, including slightly higher interest rates and the new stress test for mortgages, could affect the housing market in 2018, but it’s too early to say what the effects will be.  


What does this mean for the Comox Valley market?

Consumer confidence remains high, as indicated by November statistics that show the Comox Valley’s benchmark price hit $467,200, 21 percent higher than last year. Don McClintock, VIREB President-Elect, reports that there are no apparent signs of buyer fatigue anywhere on the Island. However, multiple offers have decreased slightly in some markets, which could be good news for buyers.


Whether you’re thinking of moving in or out of the Comox Valley, work with an experienced Realtor® with specialized knowledge of the community to ensure the best possible outcome.


To find out more about our real estate opportunities in our wonderful Valley, contact me any time through my website or by visiting my Facebook page.


And, finally, I hope you and your loved ones have a happy and relaxing holiday season!

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The most wonderful time of the year . . . and Christmas is just the beginning!


Some people count down the days ‘til Christmas, but that’s just the start of the fun when you live in the Comox Valley. Wintertime in the Valley means never having to say you’re bored. So read on, and get an idea of just some of the things going on in the Valley this “off-season.”



December: markets, shows and merrymaking


Like many areas, Christmas fairs are in great abundance throughout the Valley during late fall and into December, but our spirited, artsy community ensures they’re a step above in terms of quality and quantity. As usual, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market runs Saturday mornings right up to Christmas at the Native Sons Hall. This year’s Elevate Winter Bazaar is being held December 8 & 9 at the Lower Native Sons Hall. And December 8, 9, and 10, the Touch of Class market takes place in Comox at the Little Red Church. For more info on local markets and other holiday activities, follow this link to the What’s On Digest listings.


If entertainment is more your style, check out the seasonal offerings at The Sid Williams Theatre. The Yellowpoint Christmas Spectacular, favourites James and Jamesy performing O Christmas Tea and Anne of Green Gables are just some of the selections to choose from. And be sure to take the kids or grandkids to check out the Gingerbread Village at Crown Isle. Speaking of children, the pool and skating rinks always have special events and extra hours for the public during the holidays, so find more details on the CVRD website at



January: resolve to get active

Obviously, with Mt. Washington Alpine Resort in the neighbourhood, there are plenty of offerings to help keep you moving during winter. Snowshoeing, snowboarding and downhill and cross-country skiing will do the trick up on Vancouver Island’s largest year-round family resort.



Down in the Valley, there are still lots of other options that we can enjoy year-round, such as golf, hiking, biking, kayaking and walking. Of course, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, so you may want to head indoors and see all the great programs offered through our awesome recreational facilities in Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland.


February: food, friends and fun 

Since you’re going to be so busy – not to mention diligent – about getting active, you might as well treat yourself to some of the wonderful things on offer at the various dining establishments around town. Why not take advantage of “Dine Around Comox Valley” a yearly celebration of food that runs from mid-February to mid-March! This annual, month-long event showcases local restaurants, which offer special menus at a special rate, and will leave you feeling satiated and satisfied.


And what an opportune time to reacquaint yourself with the local craft breweries and award-winning wineries. Visit them on your own or sign up for tours through the Discover Comox Valley website. Maybe for a special Valentine’s Day outing?



Yes, winter means fun in so many ways when you live in the Comox Valley. I don’t know about you, but it almost makes me wish winter came more than once a year . . . almost.


As always, feel free to contact me to find out more about local real estate opportunities. Please, check out my website or visit my Facebook page. And if you are thinking of listing your home, don’t forget to have a look at my free Seller Guidebook!



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Find out how to sell your home faster for the price you want


It’s still a seller’s market, so this is a prime time to list your home in the Comox Valley. And to help ensure you make the most of it, download my Seller Guidebook.


Yes, demand is high and inventory is low, but there are still some things you can do to get you house sold quickly and at the right price. If you’re thinking about listing your Courtenay or Comox home, you’ll want to have a read.


Click here to download my new Seller Guidebook.


A little bit about my Seller Guide

With more than 25 years of experience as a Comox Valley Realtor, I know what it takes to help sellers close quickly and successfully in any market. So, I decided to put together a downloadable seller’s reference guide that offers numerous tips and suggestions for those entering the Vancouver Island real estate market.


In this 11-page document, you’ll learn about how to price your home for the market, which renovations are most likely to realize a higher selling price (and which renos to avoid), as well as home-staging tips that really work.


So, if you’re thinking about selling, make sure you get what you deserve and download my Seller Guidebook today!



Buying? Selling? Both?? Let me help you get what you want. For more information about real estate in the Comox Valley, please get in touch with me through my website or visit my Facebook page.


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Pointers from a long-time Comox Valley Realtor®


One of the main reasons people love the Comox Valley is its proximity to water – be it lakes, rivers or ocean. And for those who dream of living on waterfront, this beautiful area certainly offers plenty of options.


Buying a house is always a fairly involved process that takes research and patience, but when you add in the fact that a property is waterfront, things can get even more intricate. As a long-time Comox Valley Realtor®, I’ve sold my share of waterfront locations and guided numerous clients through the process. So, to help those who are thinking about jumping into waterfront, here’s a list of some of the things to consider when looking for that dream home on the water’s edge.


Look into house insurance at the beginning

Waterfront properties have increased exposure to weather-related issues from high tides, storm swells and winds, which can lead to flooded and damaged homes or neighbourhoods. Rivers, too, can swell and cause swamping of low-lying areas. Therefore, it’s essential to be aware of these potential issues and assess your need for insurance, what is available to you and at what price.


Put more weight on the property than the home

A home can be fixed or up-dated, but when it come to a piece of property, what you see is what you get. If the water is mucky and the property stays in the shade all day, there’s not much that can be done. Love the location and you’ll be set.


Be prepared for extra wear and tear

Wind-swept vistas and hot sunny days are what make so many properties on water ideal, but they also come at a cost. Saltwater can play havoc with your home’s siding, roof, fences and pretty much anything else facing the elements. The wear is significantly more than other more sheltered locations. Freshwater properties require less attention typically, but storms, wind and waves can still cause extra work, so be ready to spend more on upkeep.


Consider erosion and other environmental factors

Oftentimes, there are specific environmental regulations for waterfront properties or those sitting on bluffs overlooking the water? Check into local bylaws about any restrictions against building improvements near waterways. 


Erosion issues, wildlife, septic and underground irrigation systems are all items to be considered and investigated. The seller, your real estate agent, neighbours, local regulatory bodies and maybe even a geotechnical engineer should be called upon to shed light on the location and any particular issues.


Find out what your responsibilities are as an owner

Sometimes there are municipal bylaws that state certain responsibilities must be met in terms of maintenance, upkeep, storm surge protection, breakers, etc. Additionally, these bylaws may keep you from making changes to your home or property, so be aware of any such matters.


Make sure you’re working with an experienced Realtor®

Your Realtor® should be able to help you navigate all these issues and more. Put your trust into someone who has a good knowledge of the local market and neighbourhoods and you’ll be well cared for.


All that being said, you shouldn’t be scared of waterfront. Yes, there are a few more things to think about, but it will all be worth it in the end. As with buying any home, you need to be patient, do your research and listen more to your head than your heart.


There is something out there for you, and with the right help you’ll find it.


To find out about current waterfront listings for the Comox Valley, please get in touch through my website or Facebook page


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Pros and cons of reverse mortgages


Free up money from equity that you already have – sounds pretty good, right? And reverse mortgages can be a good thing for some people. But for anyone thinking about going down that road, it’s prudent to take a closer look at their advantages and disadvantages before making any moves.



What’s a reverse mortgage and who’s eligible for one

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan in which homeowners get money from their home equity without having to actually sell the home. Depending on age, location, existing financing and the type of property, you can get from 20 to 55 per cent of your home's value. In Canada, you (and your spouse, if you have one) must be at least 55 to be eligible.



Advantages of a reverse mortgage

  • You don't have to make any scheduled loan payments and the money you borrow is a tax-free source of income
  • This income doesn’t affect any Old-Age Security (OAS) or Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) benefits
  • You are still the owner of your home
  • You decide how to get the funds, i.e., lump sum, scheduled payments


Disadvantages of a reverse mortgage

  •  The interest rates charged are higher than most other mortgages
  • Your home’s equity may go down as your loan’s interest adds up
  • When you die, your estate must repay the loan and interest in full within a set time
  • The time necessary to settle an estate is often longer than the time allowed to repay the reverse mortgage
  • Your estate will likely have less to leave to children or other beneficiaries
  • Reverse mortgage fees and costs are also higher than those of regular mortgages. So, unless you’re sure you’re going to stay in your home until you pass away, it can really add up



You can visit the Government of Canada website here to find out more details about qualifying for, accessing and repaying the loan.


Make sure to talk to your lender about fees and repayment schedule. It may be right for you; then again, maybe you’d be better off downsizing to a condo or townhouse or considering a line of credit.


For information about this or other aspects of housing and real estate in the Comox Valley, please get in touch through my website or my Facebook page.

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A Realtor’s perspective on buying real estate that makes a profit

Whether you’re looking to diversify your holdings beyond the usual bonds and stocks or just hoping to cash in on a hot market and low interest rates, there are numerous reasons why you might be thinking about an investment property.


And if you happen to be considering making such a purchase, here are a few key things to consider when buying an investment property.



Buy property that is in demand. This takes some research – speak to a Realtor®, talk to property managers, look at the want ads. Find out what other people want in order to figure out what you might want.


Buy something that doesn’t require a bunch of time or management. As they say, time is money. Some properties take too much time or attention to make them good investments. Think long and hard before you commence with a vacation or college rentals, likewise with a low-quality property in a less than desirable location.


Buy something that’s central and easily accessible. Don’t underestimate the importance of a convenient location that is near transit.


Beware the fixer-upper. It may be worth getting something that you’re willing to put the time, money and effort into when you will be the one living there; however, fixing something up for other people to enjoy is a whole other proposition. And along those lines . . .


Don’t get overly attached to an investment property. Yes, it’s something you own, but the reason you bought it is for the rental returns and the eventual growth in capital upon selling. Don’t go overboard with making changes or doing renos. Sure, it should be clean and treated well by tenants, but that’s where the relationship ends.


If you’re considering a townhouse or condo, talk to people who live there now and see what they like about the place or what potential problems may be. Check on the parking situation, strata board, rental rates, etc.


If the condo is new, look into the developer and builder and do some research into how their previous projects have been received. 



A few other things to think about

Figure out what you want for a projected income. Of course, you want a good return, but you need to know what your minimum is – likely at little more than what you need to cover the monthly mortgage payment. That then determines what you want to rent something for and if that figure is realistic. Many people go with the “One-Percent Rule” in that case. For example, if you buy a property for $300,000 with a $20,000 downpayment, you should aim for getting around $2,700 to $3,200 a month in rent. Of course, much depends on your location and the local rental availability. It’s also a good idea to talk with your banker or mortgage professional to discuss the purchase of an investment property and run the numbers with them. 


Seriously consider whether you’re prepared to be a landlord. There will be issues to address, so think about whether you have the right temperament to deal with the matters that will arise. Good tenants mean less management, and treating them fairly and with respect leads to good relations.


Do your research, take your time and make good decisions and you’ll end up with a cash flow-positive property. A decent, plain, well-situated property can be a solid investment. And they’re out there if you know where to look or have an experienced local Realtor in your corner.


Please visit my website to look at local listings, or get in touch with questions about the local real estate market through my website or my Facebook page!


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SRES® designation stands for expertise and experience

As we get older our needs change. If you look for someone who specializes in later-in-life clients for your health, physical or financial needs, why wouldn’t you do the same when looking for someone to help with your housing needs?


Are you 55+ and thinking of buying or selling? Consider working with a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®).


An SRES® agent has had specialized training to help you every step of the way, from financing to marketing to understanding emotions involved in making certain life changes. As an SRES® Realtor®, I have both the expertise and experience to help with every aspect of your move.


How an SRES® agent differs from a regular agent

While all agents work for their client, those with the SRES designation have specific training in working with seniors and dealing with senior issues in a compassionate, understanding way. You can expect a no-pressure approach and we will take the necessary time to explain the process step by step. As an SRES® agent, I understand there is often an emotional toll when selling a home and will do my utmost to minimize stress and alleviate any anxiety.


Additionally, SRES® agents are knowledgeable about local senior housing options and services. In fact, I have a good network of other senior-focused professionals who also specialize in various aspects of later-in-life moves. 


Not only that, as an SRES® designee, I bring a customized approach to marketing and selling your property. I will work closely with you to explore housing options that serve your current and future needs.


Through my work as a Realtor, and previously as a nurse, I’ve always been committed to helping people. Patience, experience and knowledge – that’s what you can expect from me as your SRES® Realtor.



Let me help with your later-in-life move. No matter what questions you may have, I will have the answers. If you, your friends or your family are looking for a Realtor® who understands the seniors housing market, please get in touch.


For help with this or any aspect of real estate in the Comox Valley, contact me through my website or my Facebook page.

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And why the Comox Valley might be your perfect fit


If you talk to people about what makes a place a good spot to retire, you’ll get a variety of answers. (And as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and long-time Comox Valley Realtor, it’s actually something I’ve done quite a bit of.) But when it comes right down to it, there are a few things that most people agree upon – access to good healthcare and amenities, a strong sense of community and, of course, decent weather.


While everyone has a different idea of what their retirement will be like, most people are looking for a place that will meet their financial, physical and social needs. So, if you’re starting to think about making a move for retirement, here are some things to consider and some reasons why the Comox Valley is a wonderful place to be! 



The fact is, as we get older, our need for healthcare increases. So, it’s important to find a place that has the facilities and physicians to meet your needs. Before moving to a community, consider stats about doctor availability and physician-to-patient ratios and see what kind of facilities are located within the region.


Fortunately for us in the Valley, finding a physician isn’t usually a problem. And the opening of the Comox Valley campus of the North Island Hospital project means we have the latest and greatest in equipment. Coming in at more than $330 million and opening October 1, 2017, the new hospital ensures Valley residents will be well cared for today and into the future.


For more information on a range of local healthcare topics, check out my blog entitled: Keeping healthy: Comox Valley health services and resources for retirees.  



Good transit, walking and biking trails, public libraries and good recreation facilities are all at the top of the list with retirees. While the thought of settling into a rural community may sound good in theory, the practicalities of it all may start to sink in once a move has been made. Think long and hard about what you want to do with the extra time that you now have. If you’re hoping to get out and about, a community of less than 10,000 may not meet your needs.


Within the Comox Valley there are plenty of excellent ways to keep busy and getting there isn’t a problem with the help of BC Transit. Have a look at my blog about local recreation and leisure options. Clubs and hobby groups, recreation and volunteering are part of what make the retirement years enjoyable, and this region doesn’t disappoint!



Well, what can you do about the weather? Not much, other than move west.


Located on the inner coast of the Island means we enjoy the occasionally wet, yet comfortable, days for which places like Victoria and Vancouver are renowned. Generally speaking, we’re a couple degrees cooler in the winter and a couple degrees hotter in the summer than down-island. Here is a good link that describes what our yearly weather trends tend to be. 


Sense of Community

While, admittedly, a “sense of community” is open to interpretation, I think that some of the things that contribute to it include a vibrant and inclusive arts scene and an established downtown core or gathering area. Live in a big city and you can feel lost, live in a rural location and you can feel isolated. Talk to residents to find out about “the feel” of a place before you make any decisions.


Even though the Town of Comox, the Village of Cumberland and the City of Courtenay, as well as their various outlying communities, all have their own distinct feel, they come together to create a general warm sense of community. Known for its cultural and recreational opportunities, this region is a welcoming and inviting place to make a home. 



Interested in seeing what the area presents in terms of housing? Read my blog about local retirement housing options to see how the Comox Valley may suit you. In fact, I encourage you visit my website to look at local listings or to browse more of my blogs to find out more about all the Comox Valley offers and learn about the local real estate market.


And make sure to get in touch with any questions for me through my website or my Facebook page!


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Is it a good time to join the Comox Valley real estate market?

And just like that, summer is winding down. But what a great season it has been in the Comox Valley, both in terms of weather and the real estate market.


Well, the weather may be cooling but the market is just as hot as ever. So if you’re thinking it’s too late to list, think again!


People often have the mistaken impression that unless you list in spring, you’re missing the boat. But that’s not the case, and the numbers bear that out.



It’s still a seller’s market

According to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), a continuing lack of inventory means houses are selling faster and for more money.


“Consumer demand is high, and buyers are snapping up well-priced properties quickly once they hit the market,” says Don McClintock, 2017 VIREB President-Elect. “Multiple offers are commonplace, which is frustrating for buyers and their agents. In fact, we’re now seeing multiple offers on condominiums and townhouses, which is virtually unprecedented for the VIREB area.”


In fact, the BC Real Estate Association notes that the supply of homes for sale in the province has dropped to its lowest level in over a decade.


These days, when it comes to listing there is no time like the present. It’s a seller’s market, so why not act now?


And if you are thinking of selling, make sure to get a copy of my seller’s guide. Offering useful tips on how to sell your home fast and get what it's really worth, just click here to download it.


No matter if you’re buying, selling or both, I can help you get the results that you are looking for. Get information on Comox Valley Real Estate by visiting my website or get in touch through my Facebook page.

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 These ideas will make trimming down and tightening up a snap!


Moving can be a bit of a trial, but going from a larger home to a “cozier” space makes it even more challenging. However, like so many aspects of moving, a little research and a plan can help make the change more manageable.


So, if you’re moving into a smaller dwelling, still getting used to your reduced space or thinking of making a move in the future, here are some ideas for organizing and/or downsizing that will ensure the transition to a smaller space proceeds smoothly for you.


#1. Start the process early (and often)

In a best-case scenario, you should start downsizing about three months before you plan to move. Devote some time to this every day – even 15 minutes of sorting and discarding photos or clothes can help things from becoming overwhelming.


#2. Make a list

Start with an idea of the things that are your must-haves and go from there. A list will keep things on track and in perspective. If an item isn’t useful, sentimentally valuable or unique in some way, it shouldn’t make the list.


#3. Get a second opinion

Sometimes the view from “outside” is clearer; call on a friend or family member to talk you into or out of keeping things. Often, having a conversation about an item or listing pros and cons brings clarity to a situation.


#4. Get a floor plan of your new location

Take measurements and think ahead. There’s nothing worse than finding out on moving day that the king-size bed means the bureau has to stay in the hallway!


#5. Get ruthless in the kitchen and the garage

These are two areas where stuff tends to accumulate. Do you really need five mixing bowls? How about that pasta maker that gets used as often as the Olympics come around? Maybe sell off some of your tools and just rent when a need arises. Or give things to friends with the proviso that you can use them every now and then – after all, power washers only come out once or twice a year.


#6. And while you’re being ruthless, hit your closet

If you haven’t worn something in the past year, it’s time to let it go . . . yes, even your “skinny clothes” for when you get back down to your ideal weight. Come up with a plan: 6 pairs of pants, 6 sweaters, 10 pairs of shoes, 5 skirts, and so on. Then, when you buy new clothes, choose one item to be donated or sent to consignment.


#7. Speaking of donations . . .

Try to organize with these three categories in mind: Keepers; Things to Sell; Things to Donate. Some places, like the Canadian Diabetes Association, will come and pick things up if you give them a call. Or look into local “freecycle” groups. When selling, craigslist and yard sales are a good way to go. Consider auctions for high-end items.


#8. Multifunction and space-saving furniture

If you’re thinking of buying any new furniture, try to find items that offer multifunctionality. Ottomans that also act as storage, couches that can fold out (especially helpful if you no longer have a guest room), beds with underneath storage options and drop-leaf tables are just some great options. Look on-line for more awesome ideas.  


#9. Think vertical

Utilize the space you have in your new smaller home by thinking vertically. Wall space tends to be underused so research shelving options and consider hanging more than one picture above the couch.



#10. Embrace storage options

Smaller living spaces tend to get cluttered easily, so look for ways to store things that works for you. Places like IKEA have plenty of suggestions.



For other ideas or more information on any part of living in and moving to the Comox Valley, please contact me, check out my website or visit my Facebook page. And before you list your home, don’t forget to have a look at my free Seller Guidebook!


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Interested in Vancouver Island properties? Visit my website!


If you’re thinking of entering the Comox Valley real estate market – as a buyer or a seller – it’s important to arm yourself with knowledge. Visiting my website is a great place to start.


Having been a Comox Valley Realtor for 25 years, I know what people have questions about – and my website offers plenty of answers. Here are just a few of the things you can find out about when you take the time to look around my site.


Buying a home in the Comox Valley

Click on my Buying tab and you can start the homebuying process there and then. With information about where to begin, a mortgage calculator and the option to sign up for Private Client Services (PCS) to find out when properties meeting your criteria have come on the market, you’re already ahead of the game.


Free Home Seller's Guide

I'm proud to offer my popular realty document, "Seller Guidebook," as a free download.  Click here to download the guide.


Selling your Comox Valley real estate

Go to the Selling menu and you’re invited to submit a Home Evaluation form. Sign up and I’ll do a free Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) on your property. Finding out your home’s value is a vital first step in the selling process. The Selling tab also connects you with info on selling and background on my Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation.


Comox Valley realty blogs keep you informed

Keep up on all things related to Valley real estate with my realty blogs. Click on the Blog tab and you can read about things like recreation ideas, seniors’ resources, market outlooks and more. In fact, you may want to make it a “favourite.”


Find out “About Me,” “About the Comox Valley,” “Property Listings” and more . . .

Whether you’re looking for info on Brookfield Relocation Services, my listings (or those of my office or MLS) or Comox Valley resources and contact info, you can find it here!


Visit my website and enter the Vancouver Island real estate market, today!  And don’t forget to have a look at my Facebook page.

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Ready to reduce your square footage? Look at these possibilities


Wondering why you’re paying for space you don’t use? It might be time to downsize.


Whether it’s because your kids have all finally left the nest or you’re looking to spend less time maintaining your large home and yard, there are plenty of reasons why you might decide to downsize.


Saving time, money and energy are three of the top rationales for moving to something a bit smaller. But figuring out a housing option for your own situation will take some research. To help you start thinking about what might work best for you, here are a few pros and cons about townhouses, condos and patio homes. And, needless to say, for specific options within the Comox Valley, just ask!



Townhouse living – is it for you?

When buying a townhome, you’re paying to own the unit and you also have a percentage ownership of common area.  Typically, though, they are two or sometimes three levels and have shared common walls on either side with other units.


Some of the best things about living in a townhouse are that purchase prices are less than what you’d pay for a comparable amount of square footage in a detached home. Additionally, you share the maintenance cost of common areas, such as lawns, gardens, playgrounds and picnic areas with work usually contracted to outside firms specializing in grounds maintenance. No more weeding and pruning! You also can get extra amenities, such as guest suite or meeting rooms.


But for some people, the thought of sharing walls with another unit is a concern. Parking may be assigned somewhere else on the property. And often, there is just a small outdoor space.



Condominiums – a good fit for many

Like an apartment, condos can have other units above, below or to either side of you. You legally own your individual unit, as well as a proportional ownership share of any common areas. 


The pros and cons are like those of the townhouse, but because there are also people above and below the noise factor can be greater. Security tends to be greatest in a condo with less accessibility for strangers. And, typically, you have more neighbours or people within your strata corporation.



Patio homes – what exactly are they?

Patio homes are much like townhomes – usually one level, and may or may not share common walls with other units. Constructed much like free-standing homes, patio homes are usually very close together or connected in a limited manner. Parking is generally part of the unit. As with the other two housing options mentioned, ownership comes with a percentage share ownership of the development’s common areas.


Obviously, noise is less and privacy is greater than with condos, as is reflected by their price. Typically, there are more options for adult-oriented patio home developments than there are for condos and townhouses. 


One other thing . . .

With all these options, there are strata fees and regulations. Residents are often expected to take part in the strata council as board members, secretaries or accountants. Usually, there won't be any compensation for your contributions, and these associations can become a source of concern if disputes arise, such as over exterior appearances of your home.



Having been a Comox Valley Realtor for 25 years, as well as being a Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES), I am very knowledgeable about what the Comox Valley has for folks looking to downsize. I’d love to be able to help you find a home that works for you.


For more information on any part of living in and moving to the Comox Valley, please contact me, visit my website or go to my Facebook page.


And before you list your home, have a look at my free Seller Guidebook!


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A recap of my Seniors Real Estate article series


Moving to the Comox Valley is a great idea – especially if you're 55-plus!


And, like any great idea, there are plenty of good questions to be answered, too. That’s why I recently wrote a series of articles all about moving to the Comox Valley as an older adult.


As a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and long-time Comox Valley Realtor, I have a good handle both on the local market and all that’s involved in making a move later in life.


Following are some of the topics covered as well as links to my retirement series blogs.


Comox Valley housing market for those 55-plus

As noted in my article about local retirement housing options, the Comox Valley has something for every situation. Whether you already live in the Valley or are entering the Vancouver Island real estate market for the first time, I can help you find what you want.


I discuss adult-living communities, townhouses, patio homes and care facilities in Comox, Cumberland and Courtenay. So, if you or friends or family are interested in knowing what’s out there, read the blog, then contact me directly and just ask!

Read article.


Recreation and activity resources for Comox Valley retirees

If this blog about local recreation and leisure options doesn’t get you excited about moving to the Comox Valley, nothing will!


Clubs and hobby groups, recreation and volunteering are part of what make the retirement years great, so make sure to check out the myriad options awaiting you here!

Read article.


Comox Valley health resources for Seniors

My May blog, Keeping healthy: Comox Valley health services and resources for retirees, covers a range of topics. With information on the new hospital, contacts for Island Health and suggestions on finding a local physician, you will want to make this article a “favourite.”

Read article.



I encourage you to browse more articles on my blog to find out more about all that the Comox Valley offers and learn more about the Comox Valley real estate market. Questions about the local area and Comox Valley real estate? Get in touch with me through my website or my Facebook page.


Oh, and if you’re thinking about selling, don’t forget to download my free Seller Guidebook!

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A round-up of cultural activities, festivals, recreation and more

Some people look forward to summer because it means a chance to get away. In the Comox Valley, we look forward to summer because it means a chance to stay put!!


There is so much fun stuff happening in this spectacular part of Vancouver Island, why would you want to go anywhere else?!


Ready to make some Comox Valley summer plans? Let’s get started!


Festival fun for everyone in Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland!

Where to begin? Well, Vancouver Island MusicFest is always a good jumping off point. This three-day music festival has been attracting awesome bands from around the world for two decades. This year’s dates are July 14-16 and headliners include Bruce Cockburn and Emmylou Harris. From Bluegrass to reggae, indie rock and country blues, there atmosphere is always electric and often eclectic.


The Filberg Festival and Comox Nautical Days share the stage in the Town of Comox on the August long weekend. The internationally recognized Filberg Festival offers arts and music in a beautiful sea-side setting, while Nautical Days features vendors, performers and family fun down at the Comox Harbour.


Cumberland’s Atmosphere Gathering is promoted as an intimate West Coast gathering of live and electronic music during which musical mastery, mind tingling workshops take place upon a beautiful landscape sprinkled heavily with art and splendour. Not to mention the culinary and market-type vendors.


Oh, and don’t forget about the BC Shellfish and Seafood Festival, held for 10 days in the middle of June. Plenty of good eats to be had there!


Summer recreation in the Comox Valley

As residents know, there are always abundant recreational opportunities throughout the year in the Comox Valley. Summertime fun means getting back in the water, be it in a kayak, on a kite-board, stand-up paddleboard, windsurfer, canoe or just floating around on your back amongst the gentle waves. 


Away from the water, the long days and great weather lend themselves to numerous activities throughout the valley, such as walking and hiking, golf and biking, disc golf, tennis and so much more.


If you are looking for something to do in the summer as part of a team, the Comox Valley Sports and Social Club has many options. Slo-pitch, ultimate frisbee, beach volleyball, dodge ball and soccer are just some of the leagues available. The Club offers adults a variety of recreational sports leagues, tournaments and social events that get people out of the house and having fun. Fielding more than 300 teams a year, they give weekend warriors, weekday workers and college students a chance to play a wide range of great sports.

For the kids, Comox Recreation and Courtenay Recreation have a wide range of summer camps and other fun for children of all ages.


Arts, culture and things to do in the Comox Valley this summer

Summer is a great time to check out some of the local galleries and museums that highlight the culture and heritage of our area. And what better time to enjoy some of the local charters and tours that range from fishing and wildlife tours to biking around local farms and enjoying various culinary treats and libations.


Speaking of food, the award-winning Comox Valley Farmers’ Market runs on Saturdays and Wednesdays through the summer so take advantage of that. Don’t forget to go down to Comox Pier and buy fresh seafood straight from the fishing boats. And be sure to visit the longhouse, have some salmon and bannock and take part in the celebrations with the K’omoks First Nation on National Aboriginal Day (June 21).



If you're looking for more information on the Comox Valley or its real estate, please feel free to contact me, have a look at my website or visit my Facebook page.


And if you’re thinking of selling, don't forget to download my free Seller Guidebook!

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Tips to get what you deserve

It’s a great time to sell your home in the Comox Valley. Demand is high and inventory is low, meaning it’s a seller’s market.


But even though the conditions are prime, there are still some things you can do to ensure you get the most bang for your buck when it comes to listing your Courtenay or Comox home.


Get the most for your Comox Valley home

To help clients make sure they get what they deserve, I’ve put together a downloadable seller’s reference guide that offers numerous tips and suggestions for those entering the Vancouver Island real estate market. So, if you’re thinking about selling, download my Seller Guidebook.


Download my Seller Guide and you’ll be glad you did!

Drawing upon my 25 years of experience as a Comox Valley Realtor, I’ve come up with some ideas to help sellers close quickly and successfully in any market.


In this 11-page document, you’ll find out how to price your home right for the market, which renovations are most likely to fetch a higher selling price (and which renos to avoid), as well as home-staging tips that really work.


Whether you are buying, selling or both, I can make sure get what you want and deserve. For more information on this or on Comox Valley Real Estate in general, please get in touch with me through my website or visit my Facebook page.


Click here to download my new Seller Guidebook.

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