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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! 

 

Healthcare

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.  

 

Amenities

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!

 

Weather

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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Part of my Seniors Real Estate Series

  

As a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES), I know that heath care concerns are at the top of the list when older adults consider making a move.

 

But as a Comox Valley Realtor, I also know that moving to this part of Vancouver Island means your health – and that of your loved ones – will be well cared for.

 

As part of my ongoing series of articles on Seniors Real Estate, I've gathered some information on many of the local health resources and services available in the Comox Valley. With our new hospital and plenty of practitioner and wellness options, you can rest assured that relocating to the Comox Valley benefits everyone’s health.

 

The new Comox Valley hospital

In consultation with local and provincial governments, the new 153-bed hospital is in East Courtenay near the Valley’s main population base. Located near the North Island College and a future fire hall, it is on major arterial roads and is easily accessed. Construction is slated to be complete in September 2017. Click here to take a virtual tour of the construction and site.

 

With a price tag of more than $330 million, the new hospital will continue to offer all the services currently available in the region and promises to introduce new, specialized services. This will also improve Island Health’s ability to recruit and retain physicians and other health care professionals. 

 

St. Joseph’s General Hospital is the current regional hospital; it and the Hospice Society will continue with their partnership for the development of a Hospice/Palliative Unit on the St. Joseph’s site.

 

 

Finding a family physician in the Comox Valley

While finding a family doctor can be a challenge in some Vancouver Island communities, this is not typically the case in the Comox Valley. Often your own physician, family friends and relatives will make suggestions, but if you don’t have any recommendations, visit the BC Doctor Directory for contact information.

 

For listings and contact data for local dentists and eye doctors, visit BC Dental Association and Optometry BC websites.

 

Island Health

The publicly funded body that provides health care and support services to Island residents is Island Health, formerly known as the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA). With more than 18,000 healthcare professionals, 1,900 physicians, and over 150 care centres, their motto is “Excellent health and care for everyone, everywhere, every time.”

 

Through a network of hospitals, clinics, centres, health units and residential facilities, Island health provides a wide range of services, including tests and treatments; ongoing care and wellness; end of life care; Aboriginal and First Nations; children and youth; and seniors. For a comprehensive list of their services, click here.

  

Other Comox Valley Health resources

The Comox Valley Nursing Centre is also a great local health resource. A service of VIHA’s Primary Care portfolio, the Nursing Centre provides care in the following areas, chronic disease management; health promotion; provision of health information, including a lending library and web access; and community development and community empowerment. They can be reached by calling (250) 331-8502.

 

Home and Community Care provides a range of health care and support services to eligible clients living in the community. In-home and community-based services offer support for improving health and quality of life, and helping people remain independent and in their own home for as long as possible. They can also offer advice on options for residential care and assisted living. Get in touch with the Comox Valley office at (250) 331-8522.

 

Comox Valley Senior Peer Counseling – Seniors Supporting Seniors can be contacted at (250) 871-5940.

 

The Comox Valley Diabetes Education Centre can be reached at (250) 339-1568.

 

Know that whatever your health concerns may be, there are professionals in the Comox Valley who are willing and able to support you and your family.

 

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.

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Plus a look at the Comox Valley real estate market

One of the questions I commonly get asked is, “How’s the Vancouver Island real estate market these days?”

 

In my 25 years as a Comox Valley Realtor I can honestly say that the past few years have been some of the best for both Vancouver Island and the Comox Valley specifically, and the future continues to look positive.

 

But don’t just take my word for it, let’s look at some numbers from the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB).

 

Home prices have gone up across Vancouver Island

Demand for housing on the Island and throughout BC is being driven by a provincial economy that is outperforming much of the rest of the country, which has had a net positive effect on the housing market.

 

Across Vancouver Island, benchmark prices for houses, condos and apartments are up from 2016. In fact, according to VIREB, the benchmark price of a single-family home in the Comox Valley in January 2017 was $400,000, up 20 per cent from that period the previous year!

 

Inventory continues to be a challenge for Comox Valley Realtors

The past year has seen a decrease in the number of units for sale in the Comox Valley, and stats for Vancouver Island show a reduction of available properties of more than 35 per cent.

 

What does this mean for you?

If you’re a buyer, you need to act right away when you find the right home and be prepared for the possibility of multiple offers. The buying process may take a little longer because the inventory is low. Essentially, be patient but also be prepared to act quickly.

 

If you’re a seller, the ball is in your court because it’s a seller’s market. So act now – because real estate is cyclical and this won’t last forever! My new seller’s guide offers great tips on how to sell your home fast and get what it's really worth; click here to download it.

 

Whether you are buying, selling or both, let me help you get what you want. For information on Comox Valley Real Estate, get in touch through my website or visit my Facebook page.

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Part of my Seniors Real Estate Series

 

 

The Comox Valley has tonnes of recreation options for people of all ages.

 

One of the best things about being retired is that you finally have the time to try some new activities or spend more time doing the things you love. And, in fact, studies show that keeping our brains and bodies active goes a long way to ensuring a successful and healthy retirement lifestyle.

 

Living in the Comox Valley makes it easy to ensure you get the physical, mental and social stimulation you need as you enjoy this new phase of your life.

 

In speaking with my clients, the area’s multitude of leisure and recreational options is a big part of why so many people choose to retire in the Comox Valley. Well, that and the weather, the location, the nature, the beauty . . .

 

Here’s a sampling of just some of the many local recreation associations, groups and activities for folks who are 55-plus.

 

 

Comox Valley clubs and hobby groups for seniors

Without a doubt, one of the best places to find out about or take part in events, clubs and general goings-on for retirees in the Comox Valley is through the Evergreen Club.

 

Based out of the Filberg Centre in downtown Courtenay, the club provides leisure activities for those 55 and over. Activities and resources include a computer lab, with training available; special events, such as dinners, dances and presentations; as well as sports & fitness activities, like table tennis, cycling, golf, snooker and more.

 

Evergreen also offers members a chance to take part in musical pursuits, such as recorder and ukulele clubs, choirs, dances and singalongs. Cards and games, a broad range of hobby and craft clubs – cameras, books, stamps, genealogy – not to mention quilting, knitting, painting and other opportunities ensure there’s something for everyone’s tastes!

 

For a nominal annual fee, members have a chance to participate is numerous activities, get discounts on trips and special events, receive a monthly newsletter and more. Contact the Evergreen Club directly at 250-338-1000 or visit their website at www.evergreenclub.ca.

 

D’Esterre House in Comox offers similar recreational pursuits. Located on Beaufort Avenue near the Comox Marina, the club opened in 1975 with ten members and has grown to about 800 current members. With a broad range of clubs and activities including everything from yoga and tai chi to soapstone carving and carpet bowling, it’s no wonder the centre is so popular!

 

Join in the fun and become a member for $30 a year and you’ll get access to a variety of clubs and activities, as well as food services and the chance to guide the direction of the Association as a member of the Board of Directors. Contact them at 250-339-5133 or through their website www.comoxseniors.ca. And make sure to check out their monthly newsletter and activity schedule.

 

 

Volunteering

For some people, retirement means the opportunity to give back to the community and volunteering is the perfect avenue. Not only is volunteering in the Comox Valley a great way to meet people and make a difference, but it provides a means to develop or build upon skills and knowledge.

 

Whether you live in Comox, Courtenay or Cumberland, there are organizations that would love to make the most of your volunteer contributions. Volunteer Comox Valley is a quick and convenient way to see what openings are out there. Be sure to check out their community directory, events calendar, training and educational opportunities and volunteer registry.

  

 

Recreation rules in the Comox Valley

Keeping active keeps you younger – so maybe that’s why recreation rules. Whatever your background or interests, the local recreation centres have got you covered. Simply click on the links in this sentence you’ll get connected to Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland recreation facilities and programs. Find out about all the different ways you can keep involved in community while promoting your own health and well-being.

 

And if you still haven’t found something that suits your own particular interests or skill levels, grab a copy of the Comox Valley Recreation Guide and have a look in the Community Directory on the last couple pages. There you’ll find a comprehensive listing of scores of clubs, organizations, groups and services. While the listing isn’t available online, the recreation guides are available at the all the community recreation facilities.

 

As a Comox Valley Realtor for 25 years, I know that recreation, volunteer and leisure activities are a great way to quickly feel like you’re part of your new community – and our region certainly has plenty of options! Hopefully this resource will help make a move to the Valley easier for you, your family or friends.

 

Buying, selling or considering your options? Please feel free to contact me about any aspects of Comox Valley living. Visit my website to look at other informational blogs or find out more about my experience and qualifications as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist®. Keep up to date with current listings and make sure to check out my Facebook page. And, finally, don't forget to download my new guide, Seller Guidebook – Information for Home Sellers.

 

 

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Part of my Seniors Real Estate Series

When it comes to real estate and housing options in the retirement years, it’s usually about downsizing and being closer to amenities and activity opportunities.

 

Fortunately, here in the Comox Valley, there is a wide spectrum of housing options available to those who are 55-plus.

 

At one end of the range, there are simply smaller homes or adult developments that offer little or no care; at the other end of the spectrum, one can find facilities that provide continuous care. And then there are numerous options in between. Regardless of your situation, we can find something that works.

 

Whether you’re looking for independent living options, adult orientated or assisted living complexes, as a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®) and long-time Comox Valley Realtor, I have the inside scoop on all the area has to offer. Following are just some of the many possibilities for your current and future needs.

 

Retiring in Comox

Of course, the great thing about most of the retirement options in Comox is that they’re within walking distance of all amenities in the downtown core or just a short drive! You will find groceries, medical professionals, the library, restaurants, coffee shops, bus stops, the marina and a golf course!

 

In terms of independent living, there are many selections to choose from within Comox for condos, townhouses and single family homes that are smaller and require less maintenance. Apartment-type condos and patio homes can start around $250,000 and go up to the $600,000 range depending on location and views. Cambria Gardens, Capistrano, Comox Place, The Landmark, Fairway Place, The Portside, Harbour Place, Comox Quay and Emerald Shores are just some of the condo options. Parkwood Estates, Brookside Estates, Spinnaker West, Abbey Lane, Balmoral Manor, Windsor Court and Chelsea Court make up a few of the patio home options. Ocean Pointe in downtown Comox offers condos and patio homes!

 

For those interested in forms of assisted living or care homes, Comox is home to Berwick Comox Valley, Stevenson Place and Quadra Gardens. Want to find out more about any of these Comox retirement options? Just ask!

 

Retirement and 55-plus living in Courtenay


Like Comox, Courtenay has a wide variety of choices for those looking for independent living.  Corinthia Estates, Britannia Place and Crown Pointe in Crown Isle Golf Course Community are popular choices, with their location on the golf course and close to the Crown Isle Shopping Centre, Costco, Home Depot, the community college, the new hospital and the aquatic centre!

 

In downtown Courtenay, Parkside at Riverglen offers a combination of condos and patio homes along the picturesque Puntledge River. Centrally located across the bridge from Lewis Park, it also features easy access to shops, the library, Sid Williams Theatre and bus stops. Price ranges for condos, townhouses and patio home in Courtenay are similar to (and sometimes lower than) those in Comox.

 

Other retirement concept residences that offer varying levels of assistance include Comox Valley Seniors Village and Casa Loma, Glacier Lodge, Abbeyfield House and Cummings Home. Feel free to contact me to find out more about any of these!

 

Retirement and real estate in Cumberland

While Cumberland doesn’t have any specific adult developments, there are new subdivisions that feature attached townhouses as well as smaller single-family ranchers. For those seeking increased care, there is some subsidized housing (Centennial Place and Union Square) within the village for folks 55 and over, as well as the Cumberland Lodge.

 

Whether you’re thinking about listing your Courtenay or Comox home for sale or you're looking forward to an Island retirement in the Comox Valley, please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me help with this new transitions phase.

 

As an SRES Realtor, I know what’s involved in every aspect of selling your existing house and finding the perfect new home for your situation.

 

Selling, buying or just looking for more info on Comox Valley Real Estate? Let’s work together. Contact me, have a look at my website or visit my Facebook page.

 

And if you are thinking about selling, don't forget to download the following:

SELLER GUIDEBOOK – Information for Home Sellers.

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Thinking of selling? Now is the time to list!

Is your family ready to move to something bigger? Maybe your knees are telling you it’s time to find a rancher. Whatever the reason, if you’ve been thinking about listing your Courtenay, Comox or Cumberland home for sale, the time to act is now!

 

Here are three good reasons to list your Comox Valley property today!

 

Beat the rush – Summer is coming!

Generally, spring and early summer are thought of as the prime selling seasons, with good reason – longer days, more sunshine, warmer weather and the approaching end of the school year.

 

Not only is spring a nice time to be out looking at houses, many home buyers are thinking ahead to the summer. It’s a good time to move for the kids as they don’t want to spend their summer holidays house hunting instead of playing in the sun. The sooner the better, both for Buyers and Sellers!

 

Demand is high – especially for Vancouver Island homes and properties

As we all know, buying in the Lower Mainland is becoming more difficult. As such, the Island has seen an influx of buyers within the local real estate market. People are looking at homes from Victoria to Campbell River. As prices increase in the bigger cities, smaller communities are looking more and more attractive.

 

Supply is low – it’s tough to leave the Comox Valley!

As a Comox Valley Realtor, it’s difficult when there is a lack of supply on the market! After all, people are moving into, not out of, our fabulous region. When supply is low it becomes a Seller’s market – so you’re in the driver’s seat. Hopefully you will receive your listing price and your home will remain on the market for only a short time.

Whether you’re a retiree looking to downsize or you have a growing family that needs more legroom, I can help sell your existing home and find you the perfect new home to meet your situation.

 

Selling, buying or just looking for more info on Comox Valley Real Estate? I can help. Contact me, visit my website or go to my Facebook page.

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Work with a Seniors Real Estate Specialist®

How my SRES® designation helps clients

 

Photo: Nathalia Bariani                

 

If you’re a senior and thinking of buying or selling, you may want to consider working with a designated Seniors Real Estate Specialist® (SRES®). Something, conveniently, I happen to be!

 

Whether you’re retiring and down-sizing, moving to be closer to grandchildren or finally getting that view property you’ve always dreamed of, as an SRES® Realtor® I have the knowledge and experience to help with every aspect of your move.

 

What SRES® (Seniors Real Estate Specialist®) means

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® 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.

 

Additionally, I also have working relationships with numerous other professionals – such as Anne Delaney of Delaney Relocation and Home Support Services – who are also well versed in helping people with their later life moves.

 

No matter what questions you may have, I can help you find answers. 

 

Why I became an SRES® Realtor®

Becoming an SRES® real estate agent just made sense for me. I continually strive to upgrade my education to better serve my clients. As a former registered nurse, I have always been drawn to caring for people in all aspects of their lives. So being recognized as a Realtor® who works with seniors or people nearing retirement is something that seemed a natural fit.

 

If you or your friends and family are looking for a Realtor® who understands the seniors housing market, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

 

In fact, I can help with any inquiries about real estate in the Comox Valley. Be sure to check out my Comox Valley Real Estate and MLS listings and visit my Facebook page.

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As a relocation specialist, I know how to help with your move

 

For members of the military and RCMP, moving is a necessary – not to mention hectic – part of life. As an Approved Service Provider of the Integrated Relocation Program and registered with Brookfield Global Relocation Services, I’ve been helping military and RCMP families relocate throughout my career.

 

I know military transfers can be stressful and that no two moves are alike. But I also know the process and understand how to help.

 

Whether you’re moving cross-province or cross-country, in the summer or in the winter, there are steps that you can take to make this change as smooth as possible. And the great thing is, once you get here you will love all that the Comox Valley has to offer!

 

Relocation Step 1: Get started right away

Obviously, you will receive plenty of information regarding all aspects of your transfer through your relocation advisor. It can seem overwhelming, but it’s important that you get the ball rolling right away. From doing paperwork to gathering moving boxes, keeping on top of things will make you feel more organized and in control.

 

Relocation Step 2: Choose the right Realtor®

Having the right Comox Valley Realtor® will make your military or RCMP transfer so much easier. First and foremost, make sure you find someone who has relocation experience. It’s a busy time so you want to ensure your needs will be well looked after. Testimonials and referrals from friends and work associates are always a good place to start.

 

You may want to interview a few real estate agents before settling on a final choice. Things to keep in mind during your initial conversations: are they listening to your thoughts and concerns; do they respond in a timely manner; are they well versed in the process and knowledgeable about the community; are they someone who works well with your family?

 

Relocation Step 3: When house hunting, know what you want but keep an open mind

Having chosen your Comox Valley Realtor®, make sure you have had a good conversation prior to your trip about what your requirements are. Let them know your itinerary to ensure they’re able to promptly and effectively serve your needs. That being said, don’t be afraid to “look outside the box” if they suggest new ideas. When you have the right Realtor®, you feel good about putting your trust in them to find the right place for you.

 

Relocation Step 4: Do your homework about your new community

A little knowledge is a good thing; a lot is even better. Don’t wait until your House Hunting Trip to find out about your new community. By learning about all that your new location has to offer, you can feel less overwhelmed upon your arrival. From recreation opportunities to the local shopping and entertainment options, it’s nice to have a lay of the land and get excited about future plans! In fact, feel free to check out some of my recent blogs about what makes Comox and the rest of the Comox Valley so great, including its beaches, hiking areas, festivals and entertainment.

 

 

I’d be happy to guide you through this busy time with confidence. My knowledge of the process will take the worry out of this part of your relocation.

Please contact me to find out more about local real estate opportunities or have a look at my Comox Valley real estate and MLS listings.

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Kerr

A time of year when the Valley really shines!

 

Finally, it’s winter . . . YAY!

 

Unlike the rest of Canada, Comox Valley residents count the days to its arrival rather than its exit. Of course, the rest of Canada can’t boast about a world-class alpine resort, year-round golf, all-terrain biking options, snowmobile trails galore and clearest visibility scuba diving!

 

Mount Washington – winter wonderland, indeed!

Obviously, Mt. Washington Alpine Resort offers many of the things we love about winter. Snowshoeing, tubing, snowboarding, and downhill and cross-country skiing will keep you fit and busy throughout the winter months. No matter the weather or day of the week, there is plenty to see and do slopeside on Vancouver Island’s largest year-round family resort.

 

Felgenhauer

Other Comox Valley winter recreation

 

Valley-wise – meaning sub-alpine – there are numerous other activities to choose from throughout the year, such as golf, hiking, biking and kayaking. But have you ever tried winter scuba diving? As they say, it’s always a nice day below the waves, and wintertime offers excellent visibility.

 

And for your dining pleasure . . . Dine Around Comox Valley

 

In my books, it’s also always a good time to eat. But Dine Around Comox Valley means mid-February to mid-March is an especially good time! During this annual month-long event, local restaurants offer special menus at a special rate, leaving your palate pleased and senses satisfied.

 

Kerr

 

Yes, around here winter means a whole lot more than cozying up with books near a fireplace, although we make sure to fit that in, too! With all this, you’ll find yourself wishing winter in the Comox Valley came more than once a year!

 

Isn’t it time you started looking forward to winter? Feel free to contact me to find out about real estate options in the Comox Valley. Or check out my Comox Valley real estate and MLS listings.

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Congratulations to Nicole Abbott, winner of last month's photo contest giveaway with the amazing shot above! I loved the contest entires so much, I've decided to do another contest.

 

I'm giving away a $100 gift certificate to local garden centre Art Knapp!


To enter, upload your photo through THIS LINK

 

I want to see your best outdoorsy photos. Do you have a great shot of your last hike, run, bike, kayak adventure? Submit it for a chance to win! Contest ends November 30th and winner will be drawn in early December.

 

Check out the other awesome entries from our last contest below:

 

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