Nanaimo Real Estate Blog
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.
The news seems to have a never-ending stream of stories of buyers making unconditional offers on homes that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars over asking price. Simply put, this is a dangerous game for buyers to play as it can end up costing them thousands of dollars after the fact. Some sellers have decided that even full-price offers are undesirable! Lindsie Tomlinson, a realtor in Vancouver, recently wrote about a North Vancouver seller who turned down 4 offers and then contacted one of the potential buyers the next day and advised that if the buyers added an additional $100,000 to their offer (which was already well above asking price), that they would accept it. Needless to say the buyer walked away from the property. We are hearing more stories from Mainland agents that suggest that home sellers are not seeing the dozens of offers on a home far above asking price as they were even 6-9 months ago. Sellers who fail to heed the changing market are beginning to see their home sit unsold on the market.
Muhammad Ali was passionate about real estate. When he visited Vancouver in 1972, he was awestruck by the beauty of Stanley Park and commented that “it would be a great place to train”. In fact, when he returned 2 years later, he stood outside his hotel and did magic tricks for the children walking down the street – much to the amazement of the parents! Earlier this year, Ali’s childhood family home was purchased and renovated so that it looked identical to when a young Cassius Clay lived there in Louisville, Kentucky in 1955. It is a 2 bedroom, one bathroom home and has been repainted the bright pink color it originally was. A Las Vegas investor and longtime Ali fan co-own the home and have turned it into a museum whereby visitors can tour the home exactly as it was when Ali lived there. They also purchased the home next door and have turned it into the gift store. Interestingly, the museum opened for business in May, shortly before Ali’s passing.
Happy Canada Day to all of you! While you enjoy the holiday to mark the start of summer, I hope that you read a book, spend time with family or get out and explore our beautiful city. If you are going to read over this long weekend, I have a book selection that I would like to share with you. I read a fascinating book entitled "Decisive" by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. Psychology research has shown that it is "hair trigger" or "short term emotions" that really do affect our decisions in life. In the blink of an eye, our brains literally scan our biases, irrational fears, beliefs and replay past experiences to create the catalyst for our decisions. With the internet now a source for everything, most of us actually use it to reaffirm the beliefs that we already hold, and simply ignore or downplay any information which we deem not in alignment with our beliefs. A good example of this (which can also be quite dangerous without seeking the professional advice of a doctor) is when you have a rash suddenly appear on your arm. A quick search of this condition on the internet, and you can easily confirm that the rash appears to be similar in nature to that of a heat rash, or if you are a little more pessimistic, you can find another website that will confirm that you are indeed dying of a rare disease.
Canadians are avoiding a record high household debt SOLELY due to the increased home values seen across many parts of Canada. Stats Canada reports that for every $1.00 of disposable income, Canadian households possess $1.65 in total household credit market debt. What is household credit market debt? This type of debt includes consumer credit (all types of credit cards including stores), mortgage and non-mortgage loans. It really means that many of us are adding to our debt to maintain a standard of living that is simply not aligned with our earning ability. What has changed? For many Canadians, we are buying into the notion that our credit cards REWARD us for our thrifty actions. A lot of consumers use credit cards like debit cards – whether it is to buy a coffee at Tim Horton's or groceries. If we use our credit cards, we earn "reward points" that can be used for things that we often want (but likely don't need). What most people don't realize is that UNLESS you diligently pay off your credit card in full each month, the potential "reward" from using your credit card is overshadowed by the excessive interest charges that continue to accrue. Credit card companies market a lifestyle to consumers that is false and can be dangerous to your finances and relationships.
I hope that you enjoy this week’s article which I dedicate to Father’s Day this coming Sunday about what the toughest SOB taught me about real life, and in turn, anything you do. “Muscles McCullough” as he was infamously known in our working class neighbourhood of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was not a tall man, maybe 6 ft, was head of the boxing club and school gymnastics and probably not the guy you would want to fight. He also happened to be my dad.
It’s official. The Playboy mansion, owned by Hugh Hefner, has finally been sold. At 90 years of age, Hefner had added a clause to the listing that would require any owner to allow Hefner to occupy the property for the balance of his life AND keep the famous Hefner bedroom untouched until after his death. Originally listed for $200 million, the selling price has not yet been revealed, although the name of the buyer has. It turns out that the next door neighbor, Daren Metropoulos, who is only 32 years old, purchased the Playboy Mansion because he wants to reconnect the 2 estates which was the original concept of the architect and original owner. The Metropoulos family has owned Pabst Brewing Company and co-owner of the Hostess Brands (company who makes Twinkies) and an investment company. Did you know? The first owner of the “Playboy Mansion” was Louis D. Statham, a celebrated chess player who worked for NASA as an engineer.