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Introducing Pets To Your (New) Home Category: Buying A Home

Two labrador retrievers in the bed of a pickup truck. Photo credit @MikeBaird on Flickr.

Pets are an important part of many people's lives, offering unconditional love and acceptance. When moving, homeowners often wouldn't consider leaving their furry family members behind any more than they would their own kids.

But there's no escaping the fact that pets don't understand moving the way that humans do. Packing and travelling can be frightening and stressful to them, and telling them that it's “only for a few days” doesn't work very well.

Just like moving with kids, if you're moving house with pets you'll want to take special steps to make the process as comfortable as possible — for them and for yourself. So try out some of these tips, and share any pet travelling stories of your own in the comments!

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Choosing A Victoria Neighbourhood Category: Buying A Home

A map of the Greater Victoria area

The capital of BC and home of Vancouver Island's largest municipality, the Greater Victoria Area is home to historical properties and a vast array of homes and neighbourhoods ready to charm new residents. With vibrant gardens, detailed history, and rich culture, Victoria is a city worth living in.

Today we'll be taking a look at the various districts, municipalities, and neighbourhoods to be found in Victoria BC, and the different reasons why you might want to call each one home.

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Moving Day: What To Remember Category: Buying A Home

A stylish kitchen filled with packed moving boxes. Credit to Thad Zajdowicz on Flickr.

When it's time to move, it always feels like there's a million things to do and not enough time to keep track of them, much less get them done. But if you start the process early enough, keep yourself organized, and have a checklist of items to follow, the process becomes much less overwhelming.

Here is a list of important items to cover before and during a move, including links to change of address forms and tips on how to pack.

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The Bones Of A House: What Makes A Good Home Category: Buying A Home

The wood frame of a house under construction. Credit to Jaksmata on Wikimedia.

As one of the biggest investments one can make in a lifetime, homeowners want and expect their homes to last a long time. But not all buildings — or building materials — are made equal.

Homes of a certain age in BC are more prone to some issues than others. Condos built in the 1990s often have leaking issues, while those built in the 70s can have poor plumbing and elevators. Homes built from the 1960s all the way up until the early 90s can contain harmful asbestos. Buildings constructed prior to the 1950s, the start of official building codes, can have everything from poor foundations to faulty wiring.

Everything is fixable for a price, but many home buyers may not have the budget to replace or upgrade the core "bones" of a house. I'll be reviewing some of the warning signs to watch out for when touring a home, as well as what kind of systems and materials are preferred.

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What To Do In A Bidding War Category: Buying A Home

Sotheby's auctioneer Adrian Biddell takes bids for Eamonn McCabe's 'Herbie Hancock' at the FT & Sightsavers Seasonal Appeal Photography Auction at Getty Images Gallery, London.

In a hot real estate market, emotions often run high and tough situations are common. And more often than not, you'll find a bidding war at the heart of those situations. Bidding wars can be high-stress for both the buyers and the seller, and contrary to popular belief, they aren't always the way to get the best price for your home.

With that in mind, there are ways to minimize the stress and increase your chances of getting the home you really want.

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Co-Ownership: Home Buying With A Friend Category: Buying A Home

Two young hands with chipped nail polish locked in a pinky swear in front of a brick wall.

In today's competitive west coast real estate market, many solo young adults and students are having difficulty getting the funds for a down payment on a home, forcing them to rent or otherwise settle for less. Sometimes parents won't or can't assist their children with co-signs or payments. Sometimes those in casual relationships don't like the idea of sharing property value with someone they might not be together with in a few years.

Whatever the reason, more and more people are considering co-buying with good friends or family members. Unlike co-operatives, where buyers purchase shares in a corporation that owns the building, co-ownership lets buyers purchase a percentage of the property title and become "owners in common" of the same home.

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2017 Victoria Housing Market Forecast Category: Buying A Home

Total Area Sales for Victoria in 2016 from Macdonald Realty

In 2016, the Victoria real estate market broke records across the board: over 10,000 transactions took place, the most ever since the Board began tracking the number in 1990. Real estate values for single family homes increased 20% overall, with increases ranging as high as 37% in the Victoria core.

The Canadian Housing Market Association (HMA) has warned of the problems arising from real estate price increases and overbuilding across the country, but predictions are hopeful that the market will slow and stabilize by 2018.

I'll be taking a detailed look at the real estate market forecast for Victoria in 2017, as predicted by a number of leaders in the industry.

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Homebuying With Kids Category: Buying A Home

Navy family members relax on their front lawn while movers deliver household goods to their new home on Ford Island. Credit US Navy.

Deciding on a new home can be a huge, frustrating project when you're new parents or your family has recently grown. How do you tell when your current home is too small for your kids? What will your kids need in a new home or neighbourhood, and how can you make it fit your budget? How do you tour houses when you have an infant or a toddler and no way to get a babysitter?

Psychologists say that involving kids of any age in the house selection and moving process will help them adjust to their new home better, faster, and happier — but it's not easy. As a real estate agent with children of my own, I've been around the block (literally) on both sides of the issue, and I've learned some tricks over the years that I hope will help other young families searching for a home in Victoria.

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Victoria Housing Forecast For 2016 Category: Buying A Home

Rooftop photo of downtown Victoria BC in spring, facing Wharf St.

With the release of housing market reports from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), VREB, TD Bank, Royal LePage, and other real estate and economic organizations over the past few months, a picture of the Victoria housing market in 2016 is slowly starting to come together. The majority of available reports focus on Vancouver and BC as a whole, but as the Victoria market takes cues from the mainland, our outlook doesn't look to be too different. Here's what we keep seeing.

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