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Nanaimo Real Estate Blog


Nov
19
  Email: brian@mmshomes.com    Taking Advantage of Outstanding Real Estate   Deals in Nanaimo   Warren Buffet once coined the phrase "be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful".  It applies very aptly to the real estate market in Nanaimo.  There are some excellent deals out there right now as motivated sellers are encouraging buyers to select their property over others - whether it be by setting a competitive price, including appliances, or offering updates or upgrades at no cost to the buyer.  I thought that I would share some of McCullough Marketing's client stories from the past 2 weeks to illustrate these points. We listed a beautiful home for sale in Nanaimo, and the home consistently had showings each week, but resulted in no offers.  When we sat down with the client, we encouraged them to price the home as sharply as possible to attract the highest number of buyers possible.  Once the seller agreed to this, it resulted in not ONE but TWO offers on the home, creating a multiple offer situation (which has been uncommon in recent months).  The home sold for ABOVE asking price last Friday, with a backup offer in place that was also over the asking price.  Needless to say, this seller benefited from a strong marketing program and consistent communication about the market and honest feedback from showings.Just last week, we negotiated a deal for a client whereby they were able to use the equity in their existing home and purchase an investment property in Central Nanaimo with a suite and ocean view that has POSITIVE CASH FLOW of $300 per month after all expenses are paid.  Six months ago, this would not have been the case.  With the assistance of Greg Nowik of Universal Mortgage Architects, our client was able to obtain an excellent rate of his mortgage and have the peace of mind that his rate is secured for many years so that he can enjoy the benefit of earning money on his investment. As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, we had another client (who is looking for a fixer upper in Nanaimo under $300k) 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.  He also built a legal suite in the home to garner additional revenue.   Recently, the client 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. I cannot stress how important it is to be financially prudent in this day and age.  The clients that we recommend using the equity in their existing homes are clients who would have a larger amount of equity tied up in their home, tend to be fiscally responsible, and want a long-term investment rather than a "buy and flip" mentality.   It is also important for buyers AND sellers to recognize that although housing prices have pulled back a bit in the past year, buyers who purchased prior to 2007 are still seeing excellent gains on their real estate purchases.  For those who purchased after 2007, home owners have seen their house prices remain steady and for investors, rents have increased with demand and have ensured a secure investment is realized for investors.  It is untrue to simply buy into the "housing bubble bursting" theory for Nanaimo as the average single family home has not dropped from $800,000 to $300,000 as we have seen in parts of the US.  Once again, the slight pricing adjustment that our market has seen has stabilized the market, making it more balanced.  If you purchased a home for $195,000 in 2002, it is probably worth $375,000 today - making your real estate investment for your home still $180,000!   There are several ways to look at the real estate market.  A lot of people are quick to state that home prices have dropped off dramatically, while still others see the opportunity in locking into a mortgage at a rate that even the most savvy of investors would never have predicted.  I think that life really is what you make it, and how you see yourself as being part of a larger whole.  Real estate prices will ebb and flow, interest rates will rise, yet if you position yourself right, you can benefit from these cycles.  Ask yourself this - why do so many people invest in the stock market when it goes up and down repeatedly yet the stock market is still seen as the place to trust your pension or retirement savings for later in life?  It is all in how you look at things. For a comprehensive market evaluation of your home or property, please feel free to contact me anytime at 250-758-7653 or email me at brian@mmshomes.com. Best Regards,Brian McCulloughDEAL OF THE WEEK  - $299,500 JUST LISTED -  PL05 - 38 Front Street - 2 Bedroom & 2 Bath Condo in Pacifica  NO HST.  Located on the inner harbor in downtown Nanaimo. Above the court yard, you will fall in love with this exceptional suite with all the luxury that you would expect on the ocean front PLUS an oversized balcony ideal for entertaining. The kitchen has granite counter tops, stainless appliances, natural gas stove and eating bar. The expansive great room is tranquil with gas fireplace and has separate areas for TV. This area also has access to the court yard garden patio and a few steps down to the ocean promenade. Off the great room is the master suite with tiled bath, double sinks, and large glass encased shower plus laundry area with stacking washer & drier and double closet area. The 2nd bedroom has its own walk-in closet and is adjacent to the main bath room. The suite has forced air electric heat to warm quickly and air conditioning for those warm summer nights. Underground secure parking and storage is included. www.mmshomes.com McCullough Marketing Services Coast Realty Group Ltd.4200 Island Highway North, Nanaimo BC V9T 1W6p: 250.758.7653 | tf: 1.800.779.4966 | fax: 1.866.505.1121 (This email is intended only for the individual to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and privileged information. If you receive this email in error or if you are not the intended recipient, please notify Brian McCullough immediately by reply email and delete the original and any copies from your computer and any storage device that may contain this email. Any review, disclosure, use, copying, dissemination, or reliance on any information contained herein is forbidden).      
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Nov
15
  I wanted to take a moment today and let everyone know that the world lost a wonderful person this weekend.  Malcolm Johnson, a fellow Coast Realty Realtor, was killed in a gas explosion at the resort he was staying at in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. He was there to celebrate his wedding to his new bride Heather, and was joined by their 1 year old daughter, family and friends. Sometimes it is easy to pass through weeks, months or even years, without telling your children, spouse or friends how much they mean to you.  The loss of Malcolm is a sad and painful reminder that it is so important to take each day and live as if it might be your last.  Don't wait until tomorrow to hug your child or tell your wife how much you love her.  Don't wait until it is too late to share a laugh with a friend.  I would like to tell my family and friends today how much they are loved by me.  I am thankful for the opportunity to work alongside my son Myles, and I am thankful to have the love of my life, Johanna, as my wonderful wife and best friend.  I am thankful for all of my exceptional and inspiring friends and clients whom I have had the privilege to know.  I just did not want to wait until tomorrow to say to them how important they are to me. My heart and thoughts go out to Heather and Malcolm's family during this difficult time.  Malcolm was a passionate about our community and volunteered time to the Nanaimo City Center Association, the DNPS Business and Development Committee and was the Chair of the partnerships Housing, Design and Development Committee. We forever are in debited to you Malcolm, for your service, dedication to your profession, and love for your.  You are forever in my heart. Brian McCullough  
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Nov
04
Customer Referrals...Redefined LOYALTY.Brian & Myles McCullough are proud that over 70% of their business each year comes from past clients asking Brian and Myles to assist them, a friend, family member or co-worker with their real estate needs. Success in real estate is based on listening to and meeting the needs of each client.  That is why working with Brian and Myles is like working with close friends.  It is also why Brian has been awarded the “Most Professional Realtor Award” by his real  estate peers more than any other Coast Realtor.  Brian & Myles’ reputation and experience produce results; their integrity and creative approach guarantee your satisfaction.  McCullough Marketing would not be the success it is today without the loyal support of our wonderful clients.  We appreciate our loyal clients and want to "pay it forward" to you now.REWARDS.In appreciation of our existing clients, we would like to offer you the opportunity to receive $250 cash for simply referring a new client to the McCullough Marketing Team.  If they purchase or sell a property through Brian & Myles, you will receive $250 when their sale completes.  It is that simple.STAY CONNECTED.Today's consumers stay connected with friends, family and colleagues by sharing information in person, by phone, and the social web that includes Twitter and Facebook.  You can now share your experience about working with the McCullough Marketing Team with others AND have the opportunity to earn money. ADAPTABILITY.With over 35 years of real estate experience, Brian & Myles understand the changing needs of their clients and strive to provide the highest level of service each and every time.  We understand that in today's changing times, it is critical to adapt, and ensure that our clients know how important they are.CONTACT US.For more information about our Customer Referral Program and the rules, please feel free to contact us anytime at 250-758-7653 or email us at brian@mmshomes.com  
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Nov
02
ALMOST 3200 SQ FT!  This is a wonderfully cared for level entry home and owned by the seller since new. You will enjoy the wide open living space with rich laminate floors through the majority of the home for easy care. Master bedroom is off the entrance with its own ensuite and large walk in closet. The living room/dining room area is bright and spacious with a natural gas fireplace for those cool winter nights. Adjoining this is the large kitchen with eating nook and family room with its own ensuite and large walk in closet. The living room/dining room area is bright and spacious with a natural gas fireplace for those cool winter nights. Adjoining this is the large kitchen with eating nook and family room with access to a huge wrap around deck and natural gas fireplace. Also on this level is a second bath and 2 more bedrooms. On the lower level is a huge games room with gas fireplace 4th bedroom & huge workshop area. This home has a heat pump, new roof, RV parking, sprinkler & vacuum system.  ONLY $349,000.  Visit http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/11.html
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Oct
29
              MY CONCERNS ABOUT "WET HOUSING" IN                                       CENTRAL NANAIMO In response to the proposed wet house on Dufferin, Diane Brennan (former City Councillor) stated in the Nanaimo Daily News today the following: "If council decides to cancel the plan, they will almost certainly lose the next 100 units, not just the 35 planned for the area. If they break the deal they will suffer the wrath of Coleman, ...who holds the portfolio for housing & who, I am told, has a long political memory".  The very thought that Nanaimo residents are being "blackmailed" into  accepting this type of housing near schools is incredibly scary, with fear of reprisal by Mr. Coleman.Ms. Brennan then goes on to state "If council goes ahead with the plan, they will earn the wrath of an organized group of voters who sincerely believe this plan will make their neighbourhood less safe. With an election coming, council will be supersensitive to the political risk of offending a densely populated, highly organized neighbourhood that has clearly demonstrated they can mobilize their members. This is a bad thing for council."  I truly believe that we need to take care of those who face addiction & mental health issues, but building high-density "low barrier" housing near schools such as Quarterway, etc without any guarantee for the safety of the children is not only dangerous, it fails to take the safety of a concerned community into consideration. Suffering the wrath of Mr.Coleman I can deal with by making my vote heard loud and clear in the next election. The thought of having children and hard working citizens placed at risk, I simply cannot live with.   There needs to be more discussion with the community before this is undertaken as many who own businesses and property in the area have expressed legitimate concern for their property values, safety of children attending nearby schools, etc. I understand that after November 8th council meeting, the proposed location for a similar development will be announced for North Nanaimo as well as per Mr. Horn, the City of Nanaimo's social planner.
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Oct
22
  Email: brian@mmshomes.com                 The Real Meaning of "Handyman Special" in Real Estate I thought that I would put my own humorous spin on "buzz" words usually found in real estate ads, and wanted to share them with my clients.    Real estate ads are used to highlight the features of a home, so that buyers are able to visualize what the home might be like and decide to view it.  Obviously, these are not the true meanings, but I think real estate buyers and investors can appreciate them as I recall showing a property to a client that was advertised as "ocean view", but unless you were standing on the roof line, I think the only view of any "water" was of the neighbor's kiddie pool. Enjoy and feel free to send me some of your own "definitions" that may be posted on our blog! MY DEFINITIONS:Handyman Special - you are not handy enough to tackle this project unless you are Mike Holmes, Shell Busey or Bob Villa.Cozy -- small, until the ex moves out and then home description is amended to read as  "spacious and open"Unique -- not a style most would appreciateFamily room -- basement from the 1970'sImmaculate - you could eat off the floors, but why would you when you have a dining room?Wet bar -- basement has a sink (not to be confused with a toilet when the teenage son throws a party)In-law suite -- basement apartment for the college student who doesn't want to live at home, but doesn't want to pay rent either.  County-like -- you will be mowing the lawn every day, and eventually give upWon't last -- it will be going to be condemned by the city soonLots of storage -- under height basementHalf bath -- you can wash your hands while on the toilet Landscaped - 4 garden gnomes and a rose bushSprinkler system - 4 garden gnomes and a garden hoseOld charmer -- Ugly (see above "won't last long")Historic -- something horrible happened in the 1800's thereSmall town feel -- high taxes (Nanaimo)Sweat Equity -- you will never get it done, until you decide to sell it!The market has picked up this past week and we are starting to see a marked increase in the number of higher end homes being sold.  This indicates that buyers from outside Nanaimo are taking advantage of some excellent deals and sharply priced inventory is selling well.  Once again, the main reason for the slip in sales has simply been a result of the overstock in listings.  Simply put, there are too many properties out there for the number of active buyers, and of those large number of listings, many of them are not priced according to what the current market will bear.So far, during the month of October (as of Oct. 22/10), there have been 105 sales reported.  Of these sales, we have seen 5 mobile homes sell that were priced under $75,000.  On the other end of the spectrum, there have been 12 home sales for properties priced at $450,000 and upwards with the highest sale being $1,160,000 for a waterfront home on Fillinger. If you have any questions, or would like a current and accurate market evaluation of your home or property, please feel free to contact us anytime at 250-758-7653 or toll-free at 1-800-779-4966.  You can also send us an email, visit us on twitter (mmshomes.com) or add us on Facebook. Wishing you a fantastic week!Best Regards,Brian McCullough  www.mmshomes.com   McCullough Marketing Services Coast Realty Group Ltd.4200 Island Highway North, Nanaimo BC V9T 1W6p: 250.758.7653 | tf: 1.800.779.4966 | fax: 1.866.505.1121 (This email is intended only for the individual to whom it is addressed and may contain confidential and privileged information. If you receive this email in error or if you are not the intended recipient, please notify Brian McCullough immediately by reply email and delete the original and any copies from your computer and any storage device that may contain this email. Any review, disclosure, use, copying, dissemination, or reliance on any information contained herein is forbidden).
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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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