Trying to attract the attention of potential homebuyers? Two words: curb appeal. The outside of your home is where most people will make their first impression, meaning your entryway, garden and other outdoor features must be top notch. Here are eleven cost effective tips to improve your home’s curb appeal quickly.


Decorate Your Door

When it comes to improving your home’s curb appeal, the first place you’ll want to start is your front door. As far as outdoor features go, the front door is your home’s proverbial centre piece, meaning all eyes will be on it. If you can’t install a nice, new custom door, you can always throw on a fresh coat of paint, making sure to polish the metal fixtures also. This will work wonders for your home’s curb appeal.


Hike Up Your Hardware

If you’re finding that your door’s metal fixtures, such as the knob, knocker and hinges, are all a bit out of date, you may be better off replacing them. Same goes for your house numbers, mailbox and overhead light. This is your opportunity to improve your entryway and establish a stylish aesthetic.


Put In Some Potted Plants

Gussy up your front entrance with a number of potted plants. This will go a long way when you want to improve your home’s exterior, introducing a colourful and cute feel. It doesn’t need to be difficult either. Head to your nearest garden centre for some ready-made potted plants.


Brighten Up Your Backyard

Whether you want to add accent lighting to the trees, lamp posts to your walkway, or a fancy installation on the porch, outdoor lighting will brighten up your yard and improve its look and feel.


Introduce Outdoor Art

Your yard is a lot like an empty canvas...it’s just waiting for you to add a little colour. Introduce some weather resistant outdoor art, such as birdbaths, sculptures, fountains or wind chimes. Make sure they’re set somewhere that others can see them from the street.


Replace Gutters and Downspouts

On Vancouver Island, our gutters have gone through the wringer, what with all the heavy rain and wind we’ve been experiencing. So it goes without saying that there’s a good chance they’ve been left with peeling paint, rust spots or other mechanical problems. Replace your old systems with new ones, or, at the very least, unclog them as quickly as you can!


Repaint

In the same way a fresh coat of paint can brighten up any bedroom, giving your home’s exterior a makeover will uplift the look of your house.


Redo Your Driveway

Don’t worry, when it comes to redoing your driveway, you don’t have to start from scratch. If there are any cracks, stains or weeds running wild, you can simply repair those areas. If you’re in need of more room, you can always add stone, brick or pavers to the sides to widen the area.


Work in a Walkway

What good is a fantastic looking front door without a proper walkway leading to it? A well thought out walkway will make your home seem much more inviting for buyers and other interested individuals.


Restore those Railings

Porch railings have a tendency to wear down in heavy rain when not properly protected. If you plan on replacing them, keep an eye out for quality wood or metal components.


Shingle All the Way

Replacing your roof isn’t exactly an inexpensive home improvement project, but if it’s beginning to look worse for wear, it will 100% be worth it. Not only will it improve the look of your house, but it’ll increase the value overall.


 

It’s amazing how a little bit of hard work can improve your home’s curb appeal dramatically. Each of these projects are sure to increase your property’s value, as well as shorten the time it takes for you to sell. On the flip side, if you’re simply looking for some fun DIY projects, these will certainly be a great use of your time. For those looking to buy or sell, don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact me today!

 
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If you’re wondering where the best place to live is in Victoria, BC, you’re going to have a tough time choosing. There are so many awesome areas that you could fall in love with and call home! Whether you want to raise a family, keep close to all kinds of cool shops or take advantage of the great outdoors, there’s no shortage of sweet spots to purchase property. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular neighbourhoods in Victoria, BC.

Fernwood

Just west of Downtown Victoria, Fernwood is one of the funkier areas on the entire Island. Featuring an eclectic collection of shops, cafes, and art galleries, it has more character than you'll know what to do with. Home to all kinds of interesting people, including artists and young families, Fernwood is known primarily as a residential district. All along the tree lined streets, you’ll find historic homes and other heritage sites. It is also homebase to the oldest public high school west of Winnipeg and north of San Francisco: Vic High.

Fairfield

South of Fernwood, you’ll find the scenic community of Fairfield. Located right along the water, those that live here make use of a number of parks and walkways looking out over the Juan de Fuca Strait. Bordered by Beacon Hill Park on its west, Fairfield is known for all sorts of expansive gardens, green spaces, and lagoons. Besides it’s natural beauty, one can appreciate its vibrant atmosphere, heritage homes, and great selection of locally owned pubs and restaurants. It also happens to include Cook Street Village: an always enjoyable hub of activity.

James Bay

Only a stone’s throw from our aforementioned area, James Bay is the oldest residential district on North America’s west coast...outside of San Fran, that is. It also happens to be Victoria’s most elegant. Families will find a number of elementary schools scattered amongst the old homes and charming city streets. Make sure to admire the old school residential details, such as spires, truss work, and wrap-around porches. If you’re thinking about living in James Bay, remember that tourism also plays a large part in the area. The Parliament Buildings, Royal BC Museum and Fisherman's Wharf are all right there.

Uplands

Situated inside of Oak Bay - a great neighbourhood in itself - the Uplands is for those who are interested in high end luxury homes. Here you’ll come across huge plots of land looking out over the ocean. And as another example of old school Victoria, it’s impossible to ignore some of the stately houses. Other features include Cattle Point (an ocean lookout riddled with cattle history), Uplands Park (a 76 acre nature reserve), and The Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

Sidney

Head north, and you’ll pass through Sidney, a seaside expanse known for all kinds of cool stuff. Whatever your interests are, you are sure to find it in either South or North Sidney. From boutique clothes shops to second hand bookstores, this lively community has so much to offer its inhabitants and those just passing through. What with its selection of public and private schools, the area is perfect for families trying to raise their kids.



As you can see, there are so many amazing neighbourhoods in Victoria, BC. I hope I’ve made it easier on you when it comes to choosing. If you’re wondering where to live, contact me today at Sold in Victoria.

 
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It should come at no surprise that condos are quickly becoming the most popular housing choice in Victoria. According to Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Residential Builders Association, “the future of housing in the Capital Region will be condos and townhomes.” As more and more people invest in local Victoria real estate, it’s important that they understand all the associated fees that come with condos.


Condo fees are a regular, non-negotiable sum of money that every condo owner must pay. Also known as a “strata fee,” the total is calculated based on your share of the building (square footage). This means that the more space you take up, the more money you’ll pay.

What do my condo fees cover?

Although this will vary, condo fees are typically divided into three main categories: utilities, common areas and the reserve fund.


A good portion of your monthly payment will go towards things such as hydro, water, and (if you’re living in an older building): heat.


For those moving into a newly constructed condo: each individual unit comes equipped with its own heat pump, paid for by the individual owner. In other words, it won’t be included in your condo fee.


Condo fees will also go towards the general upkeep of your building’s common areas. Your common areas include everything from the lobby to the indoor and outdoor areas, as well as the parking lot and hallways. If it weren’t for your monthly payments, these areas would be left unmaintained. Your condo fees will also go towards services such as garbage removal, window washing and repairs.


Last but not least, there’s the reserve fund. Think of this like an emergency savings account which the strata council can dip into whenever there’s need for an unexpected repair or upgrade.


Remember, the reserve fund isn’t used for any old thing, but is put towards projects that could make or break your building. For instance, if the building’s roof needs to be replaced - which could cost upwards of one million dollars - the reserve fund is there to finance it.

How much will my condo fees cost?

Good question, but the answer will depend on a number of variables. Not only can condo fees vary building to building, they’ll be different depending on what city you’re living in.


In Victoria, you can expect to pay roughly $0.30 to $0.40 per square foot. This means that a 600 square foot apartment will be paying $210 per month on average. This fee will go up or down based on other factors, such as the building’s size, age and amenities available.


For instance, those living in bigger buildings will oftentimes (but not always!) be required to pay a reduced fee, as the total cost will be split between a great number of units.


On the flip side, those living in an older building may be required to pay more. This is because repairs and upgrades will likely be needed more regularly or the strata is building a fund to make a large expenditure from.


If you’re thinking about becoming a new condo owner, make sure to account for condo fees in your budget. It’s also important you consider the possibility of your condo fees increasing, which can happen as the building ages.


Looking for more information? Contact me today at Sold in Victoria. We’ll get you started ASAP.

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They don’t call it the City of Gardens for nothing. From James Bay to Burnside, Victoria is home to over 100 parks and other green spaces, making this city one of the most family friendly in Canada. No matter where you are in Victoria, there’s always somewhere to take the kids or walk the dog. Let’s look at some of the hot spots that contribute towards this vibrant landscape.

Beacon Hill Park

With over 200 acres of accessible park land, Beacon Hill has got to be Victoria’s MVP: Most Valuable Park. Nestled between Fairfield and James Bay, people from all over enjoy its large selection of amenities. Including features such as sport fields, playgrounds, natural areas, and even a petting zoo, Beacon Hill Park has a ton to offer. Along with its breathtaking views of the Juan De Fuca Strait, the park has an incredibly rich history spanning thousands of years - being named a municipal heritage site in 2009.

Topaz Park

Located in the Hillside Quadra neighbourhood, Topaz Park is Victoria’s third largest. And much like Beacon Hill, it provides its visitors a variety of activities. If baseball or lacrosse are your cup of tea, come and make use of its diamond and four other sport fields. In fact, Topaz Park has Victoria’s only artificial turf. For those that would rather play with their kids, there is also plenty of open space and a playground for you to make use of.

Victoria West Park

If you’re living on the west side of town, nothing beats Victoria West Park. Another multi-use facility, visitors can find everything from the city’s only skate park to an awesome off-leash dog walking area. If you and your pooch are interested in meeting other friendly furballs, this will be the place for you. Basketball, soccer and baseball players are also all welcome, as Vic West has a recently resurfaced court and versatile sports field.


Gonzales Park

It may be small - five acres, in fact - but Gonzales Park is perfect for those hoping to take a stroll or soak up the scenic views of the ocean and Olympic Mountains in Washington state. For a little slice of history, check out the Gonzales Observatory, which served as a weather station for 75 years before being converted into a heritage site.

Abkhazi Park

Only five minutes from the observatory, one will find Abkhazi Park. Originally erected by Prince and Princess Abkhazi in 1946 - a Georgian Royal family - the park has since become a prime example of West Coast design. Along with the stunning heritage home that still stands to this day, feast your eyes on an amazing floral display. Visitors will enjoy the sweeping flower beds and Japanese maples which make use of the landscape’s natural features.

Fernwood

Fernwood is littered with public parks, so no matter where you’re at, you are sure to run into something. With nearly 30 acres at your disposal, residents have their choice between Stadacona, Alexander, and a handful of others.


If you’re interested in finding the closest public park to your home, click here. And if you are looking for a home near any of these parks (or anywhere else!), contact me now!

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Ask any hardened homeowner and they’ll tell you that there’s more to moving than just finding a house. Depending on your interests, you’ll want to make sure there are adequate amenities close by and that you can access them easily.


For instance, being by the mountains may be crucial for outdoor enthusiasts Or, for those that are raising kids, living by a great selection of schools will be a must.


Whether you’re making the move from elsewhere in BC or are simply deciding to switch things up, knowing where to live in Victoria all comes down to personal preference. Here are five different categories you may want to consider before deciding where to buy a new house.

Restaurants/Nightlife

For those who are interested in wining and dining, you’ll want to be nearby Downtown Victoria. Full of fantastic bars and even better food, a night on the town is easily accessible.  Neighbourhoods like James Bay, Fairfield and Fernwood are all in close proximity, so keep an eye out for houses in these areas.

Infrastructure

When deciding where to live in Victoria, it’s important to consider the nearest available infrastructure, such as schools, hospitals and transportation. For those that are raising kids, you’ll want to be by the best educational institutions, either public or private. Click here to find the nearest available elementary schools.


Likewise, if you are often in need of medical assistance, being by a health facility will be critical. Most medical centres are located close to Downtown Victoria, so any of the surrounding neighborhoods should do.

Cultural Centres

Victoria has a rich history, and as such, is overflowing with cultural landmarks, art galleries and museums. You can find a number of these institutions just north of Beacon Hill Park, making James Bay the ideal neighbourhood if you’re passionate about the arts.

Outdoor Activities

We touched on this one already, but it’s worth going over in greater detail. Vancouver Island is an absolute eden for anyone interested in outdoor activities and adventure. From our huge selection of world-class hiking, to the beautiful beaches and amazing surf, there are no shortage of outdoor things to do in Victoria. The best part? Anywhere you decide to buy a new house will have access to these outdoor amenities.


But getting outside doesn’t need to be extreme. Check here for the nearest parks and playgrounds in each neighbourhood before settling on something for good.

Ferry/Airport

Depending on how often you travel, you may want to live closer to a major transportation hub such as the Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal or YYJ. There’s nothing worse than sitting in crosstown traffic, unsure whether you’ll make your flight. For those coming from Oak Bay, Esquimalt and Downtown Victoria, this commute may be tough. Consider purchasing property further north such North Saanich, Sidney and Brentwood Bay.


By now, you should have a sense for the sort of things you can expect from different areas of Victoria. When you are deciding where to live, make sure to consider what it is you want. If you’re looking to buy or sell your home, contact me at Sold in Victoria.

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When it comes to renovation, great ideas start from the ground up...literally! Here are seven flooring ideas for your next home improvement project.

Hardwood

Although the price may seem steep for some homeowners, hardwood is an easy choice when deciding to refloor your home. Along with its classic look, hardwood is fairly simple to maintain and will only ever require a vacuum to clean. If one can handle its cost per square foot (typically around $7) and installation fees, homeowners will be happy to know of its great resale value. In fact, certain flooring-pros estimate that the return on investment can be as much as double when you decide to sell.

Carpet

Although carpet may get messy, there’s no better feeling than stripping off your socks and rubbing your feet on the floor. Even if it is bound to stain, there are plenty of other positives that may sway you towards shag. For instance, carpet is quiet to walk on and will prevent any reverberation throughout your home. On top of that, if you have uneven floors, carpet is simple to instal and can be put over top of practically any shaped surface.

Cork

While cork can’t compete with carpet in the comfort department, it is a stylish, natural alternative that can help absorb sound and work as an insulator. Due to its composition, it also happens to be environmentally friendly, antimicrobial and resistant to mold.


Unfortunately, its organic nature is also what can cause problems. Vulnerable to fade in direct sunlight, it has a tendency to turn yellow over time. Homeowners should also be aware of creating pressure points in its malleable surface. Heavy furniture may cause damage and require you to call in for repairs.

Vinyl

The main advantage of vinyl is its price point, which will have you spending a fraction of what you would on hardwood or other surfaces. A suitable option in your laundry room, bathroom and kitchen, vinyl will help soften any noise from appliances. The one thing to look out for with vinyl is its flimsiness, as it can dent and tear easily.

Rubber

Chances are you won’t be installing rubber floors in the living room any time soon. That’s okay, that’s not what it’s here for. Because of its durability, rubber works great in other areas of the house, such as a gym or basement. Furthermore, as it is stain and water resistance, rubber is ideal in any room that’s frequented by children or animals.

Laminate

If you’re planning on redoing your floors, there are a ton of reasons to fall in love with laminate. For starters, it’s cheap - roughly $2 per square foot on average. Second, it’s incredibly durable and is tough to scratch. But the most appealing point is its ability to appear like other types of flooring such as hardwood or tile. But homeowners beware: if laminate is ever damaged by water, it may need to be replaced entirely.

Slate

It’s easy to fall head over heels when talking about installing slate. Not only is it amazing to look at, it is one of the stronger surfaces. Slate comes in many shapes and sizes, so whatever your sense of style may be, there will be a type of slate for you. Better yet, this type of flooring retains heat and is comfortable on your feet.


As you can tell, there are a ton of different flooring options for you to choose from. Whether you’ve recently bought a new home in Victoria, or are talking about home renovations, you’ve got plenty of options. Contact me at my site for any additional info.

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NOTE: MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification. This website may only be used by consumers for the purpose of locating and purchasing real estate.