Nanaimo Real Estate Blog
With Thanksgiving this weekend, it was interesting to watch shoppers in grocery stores put a pumpkin into their carts along with their turkeys and fixings in preparation for family feasts. Does anyone really know the history of this orange vegetable/fruit and its significance culturally? The history of a pumpkin (often called a jack-o-lantern when carved during the Halloween season), dates back all the way to early Greece. In fact, the word “pumpkin” got its name from the Greek word “pepon” meaning large melon! The early pumpkins were not round and resembled a large turnip in shape. In fact, pumpkins and other squash types were often grown along riverbanks with beans and sunflowers long before corn was cultivated. A pumpkin is not considered a vegetable, but a fruit because of its seeds, although when it is cooked, it is often referred to as a vegetable
Have you ever viewed a home that was listed for sale and tried to figure out what the odd aroma emanating from the property was? By the end of the tour, you have convinced yourself that the seller just might be a serial killer or a secret hoarder who has rotting food tucked away for the next zombie apocalypse. A smelly home can be one of the first things that buyers notice and can immediately turn someone off making an offer. People who have pets such as cats or dogs may not even notice that Muffy might be the cause of an odor. On the flip side, if you enter a home and notice an abundance of air fresheners plugged into every outlet, this may also cause a buyer to RUN, not walk away from a property. I always tell clients that too many air fresheners can be a bit of a red flag as it is usually a sign that the owners are trying to hide a particular smell. Natural scents are the most appealing to buyers. Having fresh cinnamon rolls or freshly baked cookies can really create an inviting and pleasing first impression for buyers.
Although it seemed as though Summer was going to last forever, the cooler nights and rain appear to indicate that it may be a bittersweet memory. Today, our weather resembles a monsoon season, so a good idea is to shake the dust off that old umbrella! As the leaves change color, and we move inside our homes to entertain friends and family, there are several things that home sellers need to pay careful attention to when selling their home in Fall. Often times, there is less inventory compared to the summer months, and those buyers looking to buy are usually serious buyers during the last few months of the year. Ensuring that your home is in top condition is the #1 priority for a home seller. Feel free to browse our website: www.mmshomes.com for more articles and helpful tips for buying and selling.
Why does Switzerland have one of the lowest rates of home ownership? This seems unfathomable as the Swiss are ranked as the wealthiest country in the world per capita (per Wikipedia), yet have a home ownership rate of only 44%. The Swiss tend to have a high household savings rate compared to North Americans. According to several studies, retirements savings are woefully inadequate for most North Americans, and that people nearing retirement claim that their wealth is achieved solely through the equity in their home. The mindset becomes one of selling your family home and using the equity to provide financially in the later years. This is quite a different perspective compared to the Swiss. They tend to have a very high rate of savings per household and seem to prepare for retirement during their working years more steadfastly than North Americans. There is no social stigma attributed to renting, and real estate speculation in Switzerland have not seen the meteoric rise as in the US (nor the “housing bubble burst” in the late 2000’s). Swiss profit from real estate is minimal and homes can sit on the market for years without an offer.
It is hard to believe that it has been 15 years since the tragedy of 9/11. For most of us, we were shaken to our core as the world held its breath and silently wondered if any of us would survive unscathed. However, for others, their personal loss during 9/11 has been something that they could not have imagined as they sent their loved ones onto a plane or off to work that day. Each year, I do try to share my personal story of 9/11 in hopes of showing respect for those men and women who did not survive and for all of the first responders who acted heroically during those harrowing hours and days while New York City was covered with ash and rubble.
Many of us refer to Labour Day as “the weekend before kids return to school” and this is the case this year for BC families. The tradition of celebrating Labour Day weekend continues as many hotels on the Island are already fully booked After Labour Day, trailers and boats are parked back beside the house and lakeside cottages are once again empty. What about the tradition of not wearing white after Labour Day? It seems that this fashion rule was born in the late 1800's by wealthy high society who had an appetite for snobbery. The thought was that white was worn for summer weddings and resort outfits, while Fall parties required darker colored attire. By the 1950's, many magazines seem to pander to middle class families that Labour Day was the last weekend to enjoy your white clothing. One person who was celebrated by the fashion world, but proudly wore white year-round, was Coco Chanel, who is considered one of the great fashionistas of all time. You can blame your hesitation to don your white pants next week on a bunch of snobby millionaires who lived 100 years ago before television was even created!
Have you ever felt completely stressed out and have difficulty making the “right” decision whether it be a new job, selling your existing home or even building a new home? For many of us, this is called life and although at times, it can feel downright scary and isolating. However, we plow through the pitfalls and face adversity head on. We innately know that things will somehow get better, but we struggle to get through those darker days. Many people react negatively towards their spouse or partner when a job loss, or stress that arises from selling, remodeling or building a home. In fact, according to a study of married couples done by Houzz found that home renovating can be an extremely stressful time for couples with a “surprising 12% even admitted that their projects led them to consider a separation or divorce”!
Have you ever wondered how computer games select the names of their characters? Back in 1981, when Nintendo was still renting space in the US for their headquarters, the landlord made a visit to the location and demanded the late rent be paid. According to Wikipedia, a “heated argument” ensued, and the US president of Nintendo promised Mario Sengale, the landlord, that rent would be paid shortly. Minoru Arakawa, head of the Nintendo US operations, decided to pay homage to the landlord and changed the name of their character in Donkey Kong from “Jumpman” to “Mario”. It has been estimated that over 240 million Mario games sold to date and Mario has appeared in over 200 games since the release of Donkey Kong in 1981! Mario Segale does not speak very much about his iconicly named character, but he may not have the time. He was named as one of the top 50 political donors in Washington State and owns a 490 acre development site in Tukwila, Washington!
The BC Government announced that golf carts will soon be permitted on municipal roads as part of a pilot project in 2 cities in BC - including one on Vancouver Island! Premier Christy Clark said in a statement that golf carts will allow seniors another option in terms of transportation and allow them to maintain their independence. Before you rush out and grab your grandpa's golf cart, please be aware of the many restrictions. Firstly, you can forget about messing with the motor so that you can drive at highway speeds as the carts will max out at 30 km per hour, require seat belts, insurance from the municipality, daytime driving only, possess a valid drivers license, and not drive on any highways. This pilot project is being offered as of September in Qualicum Beach and Chase (located in the southern BC interior).
Vancouver is quickly moving closer to implementing a tax on properties that are left vacant for 12 months or longer. In fact, BC Finance Minister, Mike de Jong, will be hosting a meeting on July 25th to discuss how the taxation rules for Vancouver can be amended to permit this tax. According to the latest Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, house prices in Vancouver have increased by 23.4% since last year. In 2013, a Vancouver housing researcher, Andre Yan, sparked a firestorm of controversy when he stated that at least 25% of downtown Vancouver condos were either not occupied or occupied by non-residents for a fraction of the year. Meena Wong introduced this “tax concept” during her mayoral campaign. Vancouver is not alone in contemplating this “surcharge” as Britain has permitted councils to impose up to 150% of the tax rate for an owner leaving a property empty for more than two years. The Guardian newspaper reports that 70% of housing in central London is being purchased by foreign investors.