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Victoria Community Blog

Introducing Pets To Your (New) Home Category: New Homeowners

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: New Homeowners

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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Septic Tanks 101: Maintenance & Repair Category: New Homeowners

Schematic of a standard septic tank. Credit to Tilley, E., Ulrich, L., Lüthi, C., Reymond, Ph., and Zurbrügg, C.

Safe disposal of human waste is a concern of any town or city. Wastewater can contain dangerous pathogens like bacteria and viruses (such as hepatitis, salmonella, E. coli, and cholera), and elements like nitrogen and phosphates which can harm wildlife and local water quality.

Municipal sewer systems and water treatment facilities have a number of ways to counteract these dangers, but what about houses that are off the sewage grid? In the Greater Victoria area, houses without sewer service typically have a septic tank system on their property — which the homeowners are responsible for.

In this post I'll be going over the general workings of a septic tank system, and what you as a homeowner might need to know to keep your tank safe and maintained.

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Moving Day: What To Remember Category: New Homeowners

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: New Homeowners

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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Renting To Your Kids Category: New Homeowners

A photo of a finished laneway house next to several more under development in Vancouver. Photo by Matthew Blackett, feat. by Spacing Magazine on Flickr.

A couple of months ago I posted an entry addressing the benefits and complications of co-owning a home with a friend. While most of those tips also apply to family members entering co-ownership, they don't address the particular nuances of renting to family, especially when sharing the same home.

Renting to relatives can be a great way to help provide for them if you have the space and the funds. You know them personally and have an idea of how they'll take care of your property. But there are rules to be aware of when you take on the role of landlord, even if it's to your kids or a parent.

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

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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8 Spring Home Improvements Category: New Homeowners

A photo of a clean, sunlit room with a couch and pillow, potted plants, and out-of-focus bottles.

As spring approaches, so does the ideal home selling season. The period right after the cold starts to wane and before the market starts to pick up is the perfect opportunity to prepare your home for staging, as well as add some value to your property.

Starting on the outside and moving in, I'll help you take a look at the top 8 ways to spruce up your home this spring.

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Homebuying With Kids Category: New Homeowners

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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