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Nanaimo Real Estate Blog


Oct
15
  Even as far back as 2006, I warned my clients about taking equity out of their homes to afford a "lifestyle" that they otherwise could not afford.  I stated quite clearly that home equity should not be used for purchasing a boat, motorhome, or family vacations.  Instead, I advised my clients that if they took equity from their primary residence, it was important to use those funds to "make more money" with it.  For a home that needed major updating, or using the equity (which could be set up like a STEP account whereby your line of credit is based on 75% of the equity in your home), to purchase an investment property to create a pension for yourself at time of retirement.  I remember seeing so many new boats and cars in the driveways of people who I knew had just purchased a home with little money down, and wondered if I was becoming jaded after 30 years in real estate.  Honestly, I think the basic financial strategies are the ones tested true year after year - save something from every paycheque (in case of emergencies such as job loss, new roof, etc), live within your means, pay your credit cards off, and don't drown yourself in debt acquiring things that depreciate as soon as you purchase them. "This economic crisis doesn't represent a cycle.  It represents a reset.  It's an emotional, raw social, economic reset," said General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt.  This great reset has caused noticeable differences in our approach to real estate today.  Less than 5 years ago, buyers active in the market were seeking the newest, largest and nicest homes to purchase - and using that same home as their personal ATM Machine.  Now, we are seeing the more affordable homes selling more quickly in this current market, and the more expensive executive homes taking longer to sell than before.   With real estate prices increasing at an unbelievable rate since 2001, home owners soon thought that real estate was no longer cyclical (as decades have always proven it to be), but rather, never-ending in its climb upwards.  In a newsletter that I sent out to my clients in October 2007, I stated "When clients are looking to get into the real estate market, I caution them to seek mortgage advice from a trusted professional. Be wary of "interest only payments" or ads proclaiming "100% financing options" as they may have hidden costs that do not insulate you from any minor change in market trends. Make sure you are comfortable with your payments and the length and terms of your mortgage. If you are buying your first residence and you are 45 years old, is it reasonable to want to have a long-term mortgage for perhaps 35 years since you would be 80 years old by the time you are mortgage-free? A good mortgage broker can help you make educated decisions."  I received a LOT of criticism from my real estate peers, telling me that I was being a negative voice for the real estate industry, and at times I really questioned if I was correct in telling my clients to be so "old school", especially when the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board had just released statistics that showed that by 2007, real estate prices for a single family home had risen 144% since only 2001. (If you would like a copy of the October 2007 newsletter that was sent to my clients, please feel free to email me at brian@mmshomes.com and I would be happy to email it to you.)Real estate is not dead, it is simply a "reset" in our mindset.  Our primary home should not be our sole source of a pension and only savings.  Certainly housing prices increase (as real estate is cyclical in nature) and the market will become very active, and cautious buyers will profit from this opportunity.  However, we need to be vigilant about living within our financial means, and not taking on debt that cannot be repaid.  This will allow us to be prosperous and worry less about interest rate fluctuations.Best Regards,Brian McCulloughBEST BUYS OF THE WEEK:Rancher on 1.17 acres in LIttle Qualicum River Village...$249,900 http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/9.htmlBreath-taking 2 bdrm condo with 2 underground parking stalls, stainless appliances, rentals ok, small pet ok (for owners), storage locker & 2 balconies...$259,900http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Condo_Strata/32.htmlWOW, WOW, WOW. Impeccable rancher in Diver Lake with NOTHING LEFT TO UPDATE.  Just move in and enjoy this 2 bdrm home with family room and covered patio overlooking majestic and private rear yard $324,900http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/40.htmlWhat more could you want? Prestigious level entry with full basement home in Pleasant Valley with gleaming wood floors, heat pump, family room and landscaped yard...$369,900 http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/11.html                                      Your Primary Home is Not                            Your Pension..or ATM Machine
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Oct
06
The False Story of Oil Prices and Real Estate Bubble As we hear news stories lately of the "housing bubble" bursting, it is important to take a look at the bigger picture and how the media often reports stories without consequence when proven to be incorrect.  Let's take a step back in time and recall 2007, when media reports flooded the 6 o'clock news, newspapers, blogs, etc with reports that oil prices would go through the roof and hit $200 per barrel.  The fearmongers told us tales of how there would be oil shortages and we might not have fuel for vehicles.  The result....in 2010, oil prices are struggling to hit $80 per barrel and there are few news stories about oil reserves plummeting (even with the BP disaster in the US earlier this year).  In 2008, we were told by the media that "the end of the economic world was near" and it seemed that a day did not pass by without reminding us that we too, would soon lose our homes to foreclosure.  Of course, Canada's economy rebounded quicker than any almost any other country, and our banks even posted profits during this time.  Reported foreclosure numbers were not even close to those seen in parts of California and Florida. I caution my clients to read BEHIND the headlines, as news stories tend to be sensational (there is a reason why the news begins with all of the shooting, stabbing, abductions, rape and robbery stories), as they only have a limited time to catch your attention.  This type of media reporting not only causes us fear, but also often times prevents us from taking action.  Ask yourself this question - would you want to visit Surrey or Mexico based on the news stories?  This type of media reporting does have an affect on all of us. When housing prices are high, the media is quick to warn of a housing bubble being created, yet often times an increase in housing prices is more reflective as to the economy.  If people have jobs and are earning a decent wage, most people want to own their own home.  It is really that simple.  Demand affects supply, which in turn, affects price.  Similarly, when housing prices decline slightly, the media is quick to advise us that the housing bubble has burst when other factors are usually at play.  These factors can include tax increases (such as the HST), decline in jobs (economic factors) and housing demand, which then affects the sales prices.  An important factor that needs to be looked at is the time of year and how this relates to real estate.  We know that September is often a quieter month for sales than April or May (often referred to as the "Spring market"), so most professional Realtors expect this ebb and flow.  Since June 2010 was a busy month, many buyers may have purchased a property earlier than compared to other years, thereby afftecting the early Fall market.  Did you know that our sales are still HIGHER for the past 12 months than the year previous?  There were 1206 single family homes sold in Nanaimo in the past 12 months, compared to 1166 sales for the previous 12 months - an INCREASE of 3%!  Interesting that the media forgets to report this little fact isn't?  Be informed and seek professional real estate advice when considering making a purchase or selling a property.  We are here to guide you so that you do not become a "media story".
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Sep
29
Welcome home to this fabulous Diver Lake rancher! Leave the tool belt in the garage because everything has been done here. When you pull up you will immediately notice the beautifully landscaped yard which continues in the rear and includes a full irrigation system, new cedar fencing, and beautiful plants and flowers that even the greenest of thumbs will appreciate. Upon entry to this single level home you fall in love with the stunning designer color scheme, modern trim and baseboards, and the beautiful low maitenance laminate floors that flow through most of the home. As you move from the sunken living room to the spacious dining room you will love the abundance of natural light. At the rear of the home you will find the nicely sized kitchen with adjoining eating area and den space perfect for the home office. Through the sliding door off of the kitchen you find a large covered deck so you can bbq all year long. Other great features include a spacious master bedroom with ensuite and a nicely layed out 4 piece main bath. Book your appointment today!  View more details at: http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/40.html
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Sep
28
IS YOUR REALTOR AN "EXPERT"?  If you are serious about real estate, it is IMPERATIVE that you have an EXPERT assisting you with your purchase or sale.  Being in real estate for over 30 years, I have been able to spot trends when the market may be shifting and protect my clients as a result of decades of real estate knowledge and expertise.  I don't just sell real estate in Nanaimo, I invest in it and call Nanaimo my home as well.  A great question when interviewing a Realtor is to ask them what properties they have purchased over the past 24 months.  If they advise that they have not invested in real estate themselves, then it might be the same situation as a financial planner selling stocks that they would not own.  EVERY SINGLE member of the McCullough Marketing Team has purchased a primary or investment property over the past 20 MONTHS in Nanaimo - from Departure Bay, Central Nanaimo, Jinglepot to Chase River.  Because we are personally active and involved with real estate, we are better equipped to guide our clients. If we are willing to buy and invest in Nanaimo market, then I think that this is a key point in our ability to properly assist buyers, sellers and investors as well.  As noted in one of my earlier blogs, I was the keynote speaker at the recent Ozzie Jurock seminar in Vancouver and spoke about the real estate trends that I foresee for Vancouver Island.When the market is a bit uncertain, it is always best to turn to an expert for any of your financial needs. REBOUNDING IN THIS ECONOMY - A TRUE STORY. I met recently with a client of mine who retired a couple of years ago whose RRSP portfolio dropped by 35-50% with the stock market crash.  He did not know how he would be able to recoup his loss, especially now he was no longer employed.  With our guidance and expertise, we were able to find him an ideal investment property in central Nanaimo that needed paint, flooring and minor updating.  His plan was to fix it up and sell it, but he ended up securing a long-term tenant for the home and actually has a positive cash flow each month.  Yesterday, he advised that he has built over $200,000 in equity in the course of 18 months - through simple sweat equity, and professional assistance from our team.  ERRATIC HOME SALES. Some of these erratic sale trends really are indicative of sellers' motivation levels.  When homeowners won’t reduce their price in accordance with market demand (if there is a lot of similar property at a lower price), their home or property will remain unsold. By contrast, people who adapt to changes in the market have had more success.  The sellers understand that buyers are more cautious now, (some fueled by unfounded statements that real estate prices will drop 30-40% over the next few months).  These sellers will price their home at a price that the current market will bear, and similarly, purchase another home or property at the price that the market will also bear.  That seller will more likely understand the mindsest of the buyer who has put an offer on their home and will perhaps be more open to price, appliances being included, etc.  They understand that they will be able to negotiate more aggressively when they assume the role of buyer for their next home or property. WHY DID REAL ESTATE REBOUND EARLIER THIS YEAR? If we look back at the real estate stats earlier this year, we will note that supply was minimal, and a lot of buyers plunged into the real estate market to get ahead of the HST and the prospect of rising interest rates. The upside to owning real estate is that it is an "invisible savings plan", whereby you pay rent each month, yet you are able to build equity in your home over time.  Feel free to send your comments or submit a question about real estate.
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Sep
27
   The History & Meaning of the Word "OK"                                  (contributed by one of our clients)The origin of “OK” during the civil war is based on the fact that the telegraph office would post each day the number of people killed in the city or town – so in the window they would hang 1 killed or 2 killed and after a while if no one died they would put in the window  zero killed then after a while they shortened it up and put “OK” .Now you know...
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Sep
24
Real Estate, Economics and Effects on Family and Relationships Recently, I was approached by a friend who was discussing his upcoming divorce and how the economy and his job setback had been major factors in his split.  I really started thinking about this, and recalled a similar situation with another client back in the 1980's.  I thought it might be interesting to look at real estate and income from a different perspective and sought some advice from leading experts in the marital and family counseling field.  One thing that I learned was that many people react negatively towards their spouse or partner when a job loss, bankruptcy or lower than anticipated real estate return occurs.  Experts agree that the best way to deal with these high stress situations is to address the PROBLEM, rather than ATTACK each other.  According to Gary Neuman, author of "In Good Times and Bad", he states "..the most important step in managing  life's struggles as a couple is to decide that you will focus on the struggle as a team, not as two individuals ready to blame each other".  It seems that this is where couples start heading in opposite directions.  I have met countless couples (regardless of age or income) who, when considering purchasing a home, have 2 very different ideas when it comes to their dream home.  One might want a newer executive home with a smaller yard to ensure a low maintenance lifestyle, while the other partner envisions a slightly older home that they can update to suit their tastes and a good-sized yard for resale.  Often times, just being "on the same page" when considering a real estate purchase can ease the level of stress for a couple. A very insightful (and simple) exercise that Mr. Neumand suggests everyone complete is called "The Meaning of Money".  Simply answer this one question - "What does money mean to you?"  Common answers include: control, power & strength, being able to care for others, fun, social acceptance, health, diversion from other issues, feeling better than others, safety and being right. If someone considers money to mean safety and security, then they are more apt to buy a home within their means and probably pay it off as soon as possible, thereby fulfilling their need for safety and security.  However, if someone views money as representing success, then they might be more inclined to purchase an executive home with higher-end finishings and feel that it is better to pay a little more for a home that they truly feel represents their tastes and accomplishments.  I know that my wife and I have built a home that we designed, and enjoy entertaining clients and friends in our own home.  For me, our home represents calm and peace. It really is interesting that real estate can be seen from so many different viewpoints, and it is how we deal with the stress and react accordingly, that often determines how happy we are with our home and even to some degree, our investment properties. If you are thinking about making a real estate move, whether it be a purchase or a sale of your existing property, it may be worth checking in with your partner and doing the simply money exercise.  McCullough Marketing is dedicated to assisting our clients and providing professional advice and guidance throughout each step in the real estate process.  Feel free to contact us anytime at 250-758-7653 or email us at info@mmshomes.com. Best Regards,Brian McCullough
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Sep
20
Amazing Opportunity for Buyers Looking for Executive Waterfront Condo - $470,000 We have just dropped the list price of our premiere listing condo in "Pacifica", located on the 14th floor on the waterfront seawall in Nanaimo.  For only $470,000, this is ocean front style at its best!! Imagine waking in the morning to the rays of the sun as they bounce up from the ocean below. A 180 degree view of parks, walkways, ocean, coastal mountains, islands, sailboats, sea life and float planes makes a collage that will take your breath away. This is one of the most desirable suites in the building with sweeping views and wide open living space. Beautiful cabinetry, granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, gas cook stove and fireplace, wood floors, lush Berber in the bedroom and tile floors in the baths. Both bedrooms have walk-in closets and the master suite has a large tile and glass walk-in shower. The huge deck is a stunning place to entertain and will add to your living area in the summer. Enjoy the walks around the waterfront and to all the quaint shops and restaurants downtown. Feel like zipping over to Vancouver for the afternoon, just hop on the float plane at your door.View the full listing now with interior and exterior photos by clicking here. 
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Sep
20
BRIAN MCCULLOUGH SERVES AS GUEST SPEAKER AT OZZIE JUROCK INVESTMENT SEMINAR Brian & Myles participated in the 18th annual full-day conference in Vancouver on successfully manoeuvring through the creast and mire of the real estate market.  The conference addressed a number of special areas that included: 1) What will 2011 look like for real estate investors in Canada? 2) What are the best buying opportunities in both the US and Canada? 3) Special buying opportunities in foreclosures? 4) Tips on mortgages for investors in a difficult credit climate 5) Buying apartment buildings in Canada. Brian was the guest speaker for 2 expert panels that took place that day and spoke about the issues affecting real estate on Vancouver Island, market trends and investment opportunities with positive cash flow.  We are very thankful to Ozzie Jurock for asking Brian to participate as Vancouver Island's real estate expert, and with over 30 years in real estate, Brian was able to share with the hundreds of attendees at the seminar the cycles that he personally has experienced through the decades in real estate. We will be uploading video of the Ozzie Jurock seminar in the coming weeks, so please make sure to check back on our website under the multi-media section with our other videos on Nanaimo. Got a real estate question?  Feel free to contact us anytime at 250-758-7653 or toll-free at 1-800-779-4966.  We are here to assist you with all of your real estate needs.  
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Sep
15
 WHAT HAS INFLUENCED THE REAL ESTATE MARKET IN NANAIMO FOR 2010?  Several  factors have shaped the real estate market in Nanaimo for 2010. Before I discuss these in detail, I wanted to share a bit of my own personal experience in real estate.  When I was buying my first home, I looked for a home in a good area that was LESS than the amount I had been pre-qualified for by my lender, but needed a bit of TLC.  I thought that I could add value through a bit of "sweat equity" (otherwise referred to as "elbow grease").  I bought it and fixed it up over time and resold it, and then used the money I made to purchase another home which I then fixed up, and in time, sold.  I was able to use this process to gain more equity in each home that I bought, until I was able to purchase a really nice home with a healthy down payment and the "sweat equity" (doing the work myself).  The funny thing is that the nice home that I ended up with was the same sized mortgage as my first "fixer upper" home!  The lesson that I learned was that it is so important to add equity, but not accumulate debt.     Many of the same issues that I faced many years ago still exist for buyers of real estate today.  The real estate market is (and probably always will be) cyclical - meaning that it goes in cycles, yet increases overall in the long-term.  We have seen a slight decrease in active buyers since July as many are "sitting back" as they feel that the market will burst and prices will drop by as much as 20%.  Their information is garnered from the media and the 20 second "news clips" about the real estate market in Vancouver (which is vastly different than Nanaimo and the balance of the Island).  However, it is often times such as the market now, that is ideal for buyers to negotiate excellent deals with motivated sellers, since often times, those same sellers will go on to purchase another property that they can negotiate a strong offer on as well. This was also the same situation in 2008 and as we know, our real estate market recovered very quickly and housing prices dropped only 3% at its worst.  However, as Warren Buffet has always maintained "be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful".  We have seen many of our clients purchase properties at exceptional prices and seen a very healthy profit when selling, even during this more balanced market.  It is fair to say that a good, quality product will always sell at a fair price, and the experience of your Realtor can go a long way in helping you achieve a stronger investment (whether it is your home or rental property) because of this expertise.  With over 30 years in real estate, I can truly say that I have seen the many cycles of the market and have worked with many of the same clients throughout these decades. Even though mortgage rates did creep up slightly in the second quarter of 2010, they remained low in a historical perspective. The second factor has been an aging population. While this may not seem as important as the job forecast, it is imperative to the real estate balance in Nanaimo. Many retirees bring financial resources obtained elsewhere into our region, and one of the areas they spend those resources is on real estate. These retirees often have taken full advantage of the strong sales prices, and used the proceeds from the healthy sale price of their family home to buy a home or condo in Nanaimo. One direction that some retirees have taken is to acquire a secondary home for investment purposes, and generating a personal pension plan for themselves. One way that they have been able to do this is by leveraging the equity in their existing home to use as the down payment, helping finance the purchase of the second home. We have also seen the move towards multi-family developments, that allows first-time buyers and those wanting to downsize an opportunity to purchase a home without the hassles or additional costs of maintenance and upkeep. The slight downward shift in new multi-family development sales has been seen since July 1st, when the HST was implemented and affected the price for a new home, condo or townhome. WARNING TO HEED IN REAL ESTATE. What can you to protect your real estate investment? Nanaimo offers a diverse employment sector, easy access to main cities (such as Victoria and Vancouver) and amenities suited for retirees and soon to be retirees. Because of this, Nanaimo remains an excellent location for buying an investing in. When clients are looking to get into the real estate market, I caution them to seek mortgage advice from a trusted professional. Be wary of "interest only payments" or ads proclaiming "100% financing options" as they may have hidden costs that do not insulate you from any minor change in market trends. Make sure you are comfortable with your payments and the length and terms of your mortgage. If you are buying your first residence and you are 45 years old, is it reasonable to want to have a long-term mortgage for perhaps 35 years since you would be 80 years old by the time you are mortgage-free? A good mortgage broker can help you make educated decisions. I can provide you with a list of proven professionals with excellent track records for our clients.  My advice whether it is for your principal residence or an investment property is to "get it paid off as soon as possible" as life is a lot less stressful for people with less debt. SELLING? If you are interested in selling your home or property, please feel free to contact me to get a FREE market evaluation of your home and learn the current value of it in today's market. This is completely at NO COST to you and you are under NO OBLIGATION to list your home. However, like any investment, it is wise to know the value of your home so that you can make informed decisions when making any changes to your investment plan or portfolio. BUYING? If you are interested in buying or investing in real estate, view some of my featured listings on my website at www.mmshomes.com . Feel free to call me anytime at 758-7653 or toll-free at 1-800-779-4966. I look forward to hearing from you. Best Regards,Brian* & Myles McCulloughFEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK:   501 Otter Place - $339,900THIS MAGNIFICENT VIEW home offers the luxury & elegance one would expect upon arrival. Located in Long Lake Heights with amazing views extending from Newcastle Island to glass calm Long Lake to spectacular snow - capped coastal mountains, this open floor plan is perfect for entertaining. Views are simply spectacular & there is no yard maintenance to concern yourself with. With privacy guaranteed by large mature trees & cul de sac location, outdoor living (including spacious sun deck for BBQ's) blends with indoor living to create perfect atmosphere. The kitchen is sure to suit the gourmet chef with an abundance of cabinetry & eating area. The home's oversized picturesque windows in main living areas & dramatic master suite on main level with double closets were designed to maximize views from almost every room in the home. The master bath features large shower/tub combination & neutral decor throughout. Downstairs, 2 guest bedrooms & rec room ensure private enjoyment.                                                                                               *Personal Real Estate Corporation  
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Aug
24
Brian & Myles McCullough have built their real estate business on the simple principle that "business is nothing without client trust and respect". Since 1979, Brian has helped thousands of home buyers, home sellers, investors and businesses achieve their real estate goals. His commitment to providing unparalleled customer service, leading edge marketing approaches, expertise in commercial and residential development sales, and skilled contract negotiations is unrivaled.
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