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Nanaimo Real Estate Blog


Sep
22
Determining Happiness…What You Do Can Affect Your HappinessDo you ever wonder why some people seem happier than others?  In a recent seminar attended by our team, the main topic was about determining personal happiness.  Studies have shown that 50% of our happiness is pre-determined – yes, some people are really “born” happier than others.  However, did you know that 40% of our happiness comes from “intentional activities”?  What this means is that 40% of our total happiness is really about what we do to create happiness.  What is even more astonishing is that only 10% of our happiness is a result of events or circumstances (whether positive or negative).  Simply by doing activities that are done for the purpose of bringing us happiness matters. It can be as simple as hugging your wife or child, reading a good book or sharing something with others.  What about our job?  Can doing what we love (or hate) determine how happy we are? Have you ever felt you are not cut out to do what you currently do for a living or career? Have you told yourself that the spark of what you previously loved to do is just not there anymore?  I think that if you are a normal person, the prospect of change will pop into your mind from time to time. If it has never happened to you then you are lucky, and I would suggest in an elite group of probably less than 1% of the entire population. Anyone who knows me knows that I truly love what I do and I often joke that I will probably never retire (which gets Myles’ eyes rolling). I see what I do as being very meaningful to me, as are the people that I have the good fortune to deal with every day. It is a huge spark in my life….but it was not always that way.  I truly have had to become “intentionally active” in my pursuit of happiness. I entered this profession in early 1979 against the better advice of many close to me, but I wanted to do something where I had control over my destiny.  Back in those days you were pretty much thrown in at the deep end to “sink or swim”.  I worked tirelessly, building my business and becoming the top realtor in the area, and was feeling fairly cocky when all of a sudden the 1980’s rolled around. The real estate and mortgage crisis of the 1980’s taught me that I had been ill-prepared for the future, and I lost almost everything.   I had not put money aside for a rainy day, made poor investments (against my better judgment), and ended up broke.  I lost everything through my own actions (and inactions).  The interesting thing about this time was that although I was unhappy, I also was smart enough to be thankful that I realized my mistakes and chose to learn from them.  I guess it is true that circumstances only account for 10% of your happiness.  A study conducted on lottery winners showed that their happiness increased when they won, but after only one year, their happiness level returned to what it had been PRIOR to winning the lottery.  The 1980’s felt like I had LOST the lottery, but perhaps, in retrospect, it actually was better for me than actually winning the lottery. I realized that no one else was going to sort this mess out for me and that I had better grow up, put on my “big boy pants” and deal with it. But how?   I had to shape up, stop feeling sorry for myself and just deal with. In the back of mind though was, is this really what I should be doing?  I came to understand that working 7 days a week, 18 hour days was starting to wear me down.  However, when I asked myself if I would rather work a different job 8 hours a day instead (NO!!!), I realized that it wasn’t the job of real estate I disliked, it was the way that I was managing my job.  I learned that my family deserved my time and attention, and that being with my family made me happy.  I realized that working in real estate made me happy, and I just needed to set some boundaries to balance my life. My life changed that day.  I realized that occasionally I need to step back, look at the whole picture, what is important and what is not and to follow instincts. Sooner or later we all end up periodically in a place where we question ourselves and need to reassess.  Choose a path in business and life that brings you happiness and you can mold it to fit you and the people that are closest to you while still serving others. Do your job right, be accountable as we all make mistakes (don’t ever think you won’t) but learn from those mistakes and take measures to not make them again. When you do make mistakes, own up to them, and be honest with yourself about it. Life is run by people who show up. Show up!!!!  Do EVERYTHING in your life so that you don’t have a problem when you look in the mirror in the morning. The bottom line is that if you do what truly makes you happy, surround yourselves with people who want to be happy, it is likely that these “intentionally activities” will increase your happiness by at least 40%.  Always plan for a rainy day, so that that 10% of happiness that is determined by circumstance/events, becomes a safety net for financial security.  “Being happy doesn’t mean that everything is perfect.  It means that you have decided to look beyond the imperfections” - unknown. Best Regards,Brian McCulloughHOME OF THE WEEK: 5671 Muggies Way - $494,900                     Sprawling rancher located on 1/4 acre useable lot overlooking the Straits of Georgia. Enjoy the beautiful ocean & mountain views of the Sunshine Coast. This custom built rancher has an open plan with huge windows to take advantage of the view. Enter the spacious entry with desert gold slate & hardwood flooring plus a 3x4 skylite. The livingroom, dining room & kitchen are on your right with the 3 bedrooms are strategically located on the left. A 3 sided glass fireplace with desert gold slate separates the living room & dining room. The master bedroom is spacious with walk in closet & has double French doors leading to the 14x40 patio. The stunning ensuite has a large soaker tub, double sinks, separate shower with custom glass doors & an abundance of custom tile work. The maple kitchen has 18 cabinets, 9 drawers, numerous pull out drawers, 2 lazy susan, pantry, wine rack & an 11' eating bar. In addition to the double garage, the driveway has room for 4 vehicles.PROJECT OF THE WEEK:Hawthorne – Homes from only…$438,900                   Lots from only…$156,400                     READY FOR OCCUPANCY! Great location in the sought after premier development of "Hawthorne" with close proximity to the University, aquatic center, downtown and built by the premier development company "Insight Developments". These 4 custom designed homes have a warm cozy feel and allows for an open concept great rooms with oversized windows, bright gourmet kitchens which is a chef's delight and features a large island or counters and beautiful cabinetry. Homes are located on Sarum Rise Way and Poets Trail.  www.mmshomes.com/current-projectsVIEW THESE HOMES SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1ST FROM 10AM TO 1PM AT CHBA-CVI’S 1ST ANNUAL PARADE OF HOMES.  View www.chbaparadeofhomes.ca for more information 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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Sep
16
                                   A Personal Perspective to 9/11 Tragedy     With September 11th taking place this past Sunday, I wanted to share a personal story of just how 9/11 affected not only the world, but even real estate in Nanaimo.  One of our team members had been working with a client to sell a home that they owned in central Nanaimo.  The seller was a journalist who traveled quite a bit, but loved the West Coast.  Her home had been viewed several times, but the right buyer had not been found for a few weeks since the listing had hit MLS.  Ironically, in the evening of Sept. 10, 2001, a  buyer had finally stepped “up to the plate” and written an offer as this home met both their needs and wants.  Since it was quite late in the evening, a voice mail message was left on the seller’s cell phone to call so that the offer could be negotiated.  The seller had advised the realtor the week prior, that she was in New York on assignment, and no one had thought anything more about this until that fateful day of September 11th.  The client had been in the World Trade Centre that morning, preparing for a busy day of interviews, and had no inkling of what was about to happen.  She had been in the second World Trade Tower that was attacked.  Here is the amazing story of what happened next. When an “explosion” occurred in the tower she was in, she had begun running down the stairs with many others.  She later shared with the realtor that most people had thought that there was a small fire in the building and some were not even bothering to go downstairs, since they felt that everything would be fine and that it was just a “false alarm”.  Her cell phone rang, and when she looked down to see who would be calling, she was amazed to see her husband as the caller.  He was away in Australia and it was unusual for him to call her while she was working, especially given the time difference.  She quickly answered his call and he began yelling at her to get out of the building and to “keep running”.  He had actually been watching CNN in Australia and seen footage of the second plane hit the tower!  While she was running down the stairs, several managers and personnel actually told her that everything was fine, and that she should go upstairs.  However, the concern of her husband propelled her down the stairs, and she saw many people walking back up the stairs laughing at the commotion.  She continued to run and run and run until she was near the bridge.  It was then that everything hit her – terrorists had attacked the World Trade Centre! In the days that followed, she called and relayed to the realtor that she was safe, but that no faxes were available in the city of New York unless for emergency purposes.  It was surreal to try and negotiate an offer on real estate in Nanaimo with someone who living through the unbelievable carnage in New York.  A week or two later, the offer was finally able to be faxed to the seller, agreed to and, the property was sold by October. What has always stayed with me from this story, is not only how small our world really is, but how something so far away can affect us forever.  I recall watching the skies soon after the World Trade Centers collapsed, and remember thinking how strange it was to not see any planes in the sky.  Only 10 years ago, most of us were glued to our television sets, watching CNN with any updates about survivors or stories of inspiration and courage.  I think that had it not been for her husband’s love and concern, that this person may have just been another tragedy that would have gone unreported.  It is this lesson that makes me truly want to hug my wife and son every day and tell them that they are loved, because you never know if tomorrow will grant you this opportunity. In memory of all of those brave and courageous souls lost on September 11, 2001.  Your stories and lives will never be forgotten. Best Regards,Brian McCulloughFEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK: 451 Heron Place - $394,900http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/77.html   This private level entry home is located in picturesque Long Lake Heights where there is little traffic on a no thru road. You will feel like you are perched above the world in this 2 level home. Perched above the treed valley below and coastal mountains beyond, the sunsets here are simply stunning. Enjoy the tucked away feeling of this private community yet only seconds to city amenities. The home has an open & functional floor plan with a living room, eating areas and kitchen with the focal point on the views and access to the large deck area. The kitchen is open and has an island which is great for entertaining. Off the master bedroom is a 5 piece ensuite with jetted tub and separate shower. The basement has another huge bedroom or family room depending on your preferences plus a 4 piece bath and a great area to add another bedroom or media room. This is a great value in a much sought after area. FEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK: 2035 Healy Road - $349,900                                        This beautiful home is ready for occupancy and was built by award-winning builder Westmark Construction, offers a 2/5/10 home warranty and features worry-free vinyl siding with custom wood trim and stone accents.  This home is designed to impress even the most discerning of buyers.  The main portion of the home offers 3 bedrooms,  2 bathrooms including a full ensuite with walk-in shower and large walk-in closet.  The maple kitchen boasts a central island to give the cook an opportunity to talk to guests while preparing the meal and has a generous-sized pantry.  The open plan living areas are ideal for casual, contemporary living.  The living room, dining room and kitchen  are combined in one full-sized room to give the illusion of more space.  The overheight full basement is left to your imagination...in-law accomodation, theatre room - you decide. http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/5.html   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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Sep
09
                                            How Different Countries Handle Real Estate Deals Many people think that it can be very difficult to purchase real estate in Nanaimo and throughout of Canada.  However, this does not seem to be true when we look at how other countries handle real estate transactions.  Typically, when you make an offer on a home in Nanaimo, you will review the Property Disclosure Statement from the sellers, get approved for a mortgage,  have a building inspection done on the home, review the title and perform tests on things such as septic systems, wells, etc.  Normally, all conditions can be removed in 2 weeks or so, with common completion timeframes ranging from 1 to 2 months. In Egypt, it can take 10 years to obtain legal title to a vacant plot of land.  If you are trying to register a bakery in Egypt, it can take 500 days to register!  It is no wonder that Egypt’s economy is now underground and without licenses and permits taken for business and real estate! In South Africa, it is most common that real estate transactions are in favor of the seller.  Realtors represent the seller, and lawyers are referred by the seller to handle both sides of the closing! In Cuba, citizens are not allowed to own any real estate at all.  As I mentioned in an earlier newsletter, it has been 50 years since Cubans were allowed by the government to buy or sell homes.  A major change is set to take place by the end of this year, when Cubans will finally be able to enter the realm of property ownership.  We will certainly be watching closely and let you know how this effects the culture and economic climate of this country. In Ecuador, prices are more reasonable than in North America.  You can buy a 1,170 sq ft condo for less than $50,000 with a large balcony and view of the Andes! In China, Canadian citizens need permission from the government to purchase real estate and you will be required to put down a minimum of 40% of the property sale price at time of offer. Even in the United States, purchasing real estate has changed with short sales and foreclosures being commonplace in many states. Often times, it can take MONTHS to negotiate a purchase of a short sale with a bank.  As well, some mortgagees are starting to refuse to leave their foreclosed homes and so the condition of a home may be vastly different when a buyer finally completes on the home months later. What is considered the worst place to purchase real estate in the US?  According to businesweek.com, this notorious honor is bestowed upon Grand Junction, Colorado!  I was surprised that it was not a city in California or Florida to be quite honest.  However, after reviewing the data, it is clear why Grand Junction was the leader in the “worst” category.  The price-to-income ratio for this city is 133% above historical numbers.  Home values year-over-year have dropped by 12%!  The foreclosure resales account for a staggering 31% of all real estate transactions!  This means that one in three home sales are a foreclosure. Real estate can be stressful, but by selecting a Realtor who has the experience and expertise, buying or selling a property can be a very exciting experience.  With over 30+ years in real estate and consistently recognized as the #1 Selling Realtor for Coast Realty Nanaimo, I can help my clients have the negotiating edge.  Call me today for a no-obligation, free and accurate market evaluation of your home or property.  You can reach me at 250-758-7653 or email me at: [email protected]  If you are thinking about buying a property, I will send you all of the listings that match your buying price and criteria and ensure you are updated consistently to keep you “in the loop”  until you find the right property. 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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Sep
02
What is the Origin of "Labour Day Weekend"? Many of us refer to Labour Day as “the weekend before kids return to school”.  After Labour Day, trailers and boats are parked back beside the house and lakeside cottages are once again empty.  However, most of us do not know the origin of the Labor Day and I thought that I would share it with you.The origins of Labour Day actually began on April 15, 1872, when the Toronto Trades Assembly organized Canada's first demonstration  to release the 24 leaders of the Toronto Typographical Union who were imprisoned for striking to campaign for a nine-hour working day. In 1872, trade unions were actually illegal and the Toronto Trades Assembly had been recognized as a powerful organization that encouraged workers to form trade unions and looked after disputes between employers and employees.Because of the overwhelming public support, and parades and demonstrations that continued that same year throughout Canada, Sir John MacDonald eventually promised to repeal all of the Canadian laws that barred trade unions.  Labour Day became known as a time to campaign for and celebrate workers' rights during parades and picnics organized by trade unions.Labour Day was originally celebrated in the Spring but it was moved to the Fall after 1894. A similar holiday, Labor Day is held on the same day in the US. This year, Labour Day will be an opportunity for our team to continue serving the needs of our own clients – whether it be assisting a buyer negotiate their new investment property, or getting a client’s home sold.  We will be working hard for our clients this Labour Day weekend and if you have a question about a property, please feel free to call us at 250-758-7653 or email us at [email protected] Our office will be closed on Monday to allow our staff to enjoy a much-deserved “Labour Day” celebration, but you can reach Brian and Myles anytime by calling us at 250-758-7653 as we will be paged and return your call in a timely manner.We wish each of you a happy and safe long weekend and don't "labour" when it comes to getting your home sold - call McCullough Marketing for all of you real estate needs! Best Regards,Brian McCulloughFEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK – 3726 Sundown $869,900Spectacular estate style property with ocean views across the Georgia Strait. This classically styled west coast home is truly one of a kind. This custom designed residence overlooks the ocean into Piper's Lagoonand is set in a very sought after location off of Oakridge Drive. This home was built by one of Nanaimo'spremier custom home builders, Georgiaview Home Builders, and was strategically designed for its 0.40 acre building site. A truly rare combination of break taking views and privacy makes this home a must see. Custom crafted and unique, this multi-level home has main level living with bedrooms upand the lower level has a guest bedroom and bathroom with walk out access to the yard. You will absolutely fall in love with the top floor sitting room with its beautiful detailing and floor to ceiling windowstaking in a view that must be seen to be appreciated. Truly a home for discriminating tastes.  FOR INTERACTIVE FLOOR PLANS OF THIS HOME AND TO VIEW ALL PHOTOS,PLEASE CLICK ON THIS LINK: http://www.albertodominguez.org/images/McCullough_Sundown3726.htmlFEATURED PROJECT OF THE WEEK – WESTRidge - New Homes Only…$419,900 Welcome to WestRIDGE, the master-planned community of Architecturally Designed Homes proudly built by Westmark Construction.   Located in a park-like setting, these architecturally designed homes feature 4 bedrooms, vaulted ceilings, open concept design with generous dining and living rooms with a gas fireplace. The gourmet kitchen offers an island & eating bar.  The upper level boasts 3 bedrooms including a large master retreat with private spa-inspired ensuite. There is an optional full one bedroom LEGAL suite with bonus media room on the lower level.  This home is located on a walking trail within walking distance to the Aquatic Centre, Westwood Lake, Vancouver Island University and downtown Nanaimo, plus easy access to the Highway.  Uniquely positioned to provide privacy and a striking street scape, these homes feature top quality construction and new home warranty.   Visit www.mmshomes.com for more information and floor plans. 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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Aug
19
                 Does Size Really Matter?  Canada’s Gross Public Debt is Pretty Small. Does size matter?  Is an Italian’s bigger than a Canadian’s?  When discussing gross public debt, size does matter and Canada’s debt is far smaller than most other countries which has contributed to a strong loonie versus the US dollar lately. Which country has the largest gross public debt?  Calculated as a percentage of a nation’s gross domestic product, it would surprise many to learn that Japan takes the No. 1 spot. Japan's debt is more than DOUBLE its annual gross domestic product, according to many estimates.  Canada’s gross national debt is estimated to be closer to 100 percent of gross domestic product. Greece and several European countries have seen recent riots, protesting and general public outrage as unemployment has soared.  Their high debt levels have raised concerns in recent months, and this also has included the US as their economic recovery seems to be struggling.  The Dow has continued its rollercoaster ride (as I mentioned last week) again this week, and it seems that Canada’s financial institutions have done a good job to insulate themselves by tightening up lending and mortgage requirements. Here are the 10 developed countries with the most gross debt, compared to GDP, based on the OECD's projections for 2011: Japan - 213 percent of GDP Greece - 157 percent Italy - 129 percent Iceland - 121 percent Ireland - 120 percent Portugal - 111 percent United States - 101 percent Belgium - 101 percent France - 97 percent United Kingdom - 89 percent “Although Japan carries a lot of debt, much of the nation’s debt is held domestically”, said Jan Randolph, director of sovereign risk for economic research firm IHS Global Insight. By contrast, much of the United States’ debt is held by other countries, such as China. The U.S. also is different in that its debt levels rose quickly in the past few years as the country faced an economic recession. If you are selling in a “buyer’s market”, it is imperative to price your home at the current market value as properties priced even 5% over this will not sell.  For sellers who are purchasing another home, it is important to recognize that when you purchase another home, it will also be less expensive than in a “seller’s market” (when you typically see multiple offers or home sales within 2 days of listing). Savvy home sellers often can take advantage of the swings in the market – particularly when moving up to a more expensive home or downsizing. For buyers and investors, it is a great time to purchase real estate.  However, it is important to know that our prices are not expected to drop 20-30% as some buyers are thinking.  This mindset first evolved when we saw the US announce it was in a recession and the floodgates opened for US foreclosures.  The foreclosures in Nanaimo were not even comparable to those of California and Nevada, and the buyers waiting for homes to drop to $100k in Nanaimo lost out.  I do not foresee prices increasing in the next while, but I think that it is much more stable than the stock market! If you would like a FREE, no-obligation market evaluation of your property to determine the current and accurate value, please contact me today at 250-758-7653 or email me at [email protected]  I am here to answer all of your real estate needs. Best Regards,Brian McCulloughwww.mmshomes.comwww.nanaimo-real-estate-for-sale.com                   FEATURED HOME OF THE WEEK: 3125 Meadow Drive - $675,000TRANQUIL COUNTRY SIDE living. Rarely does a residence come to the market that combines warmth of nature with functional family living. This residence combines those & many other unique features. Located in the highly renowned Benson Meadows Estates, you will first notice how the residence is nicely tucked away from prying eyes by a treed buffer. The 1.60 acre property is mainly flat with a gentle slope to one side to offer privacy and lots of room for the kids to play. The landscaped yard has many flowers and shrubs as well as apple, pear, plum & cherry trees and is fenced but offers much more land beyond the fencing. To the side of the residence is the over sized double car garage of approx. 24 X 28 ft. The 3 year young residence itself has a warm and welcoming feel with the use of quality finishing, fir beams and doors and light oak, carpet, tile and slate floors. As you enter the residence you will be impressed with the open floor plan with 9 ft and vaulted ceilings. The kitchen is a culinary delight with beautiful maple cabinetry, granite counter tops and built in professional series stainless appliances and double combined full sized fridge and freezer with Granite Island which overlooks the great room with soaring vaulted ceiling and massive ledge stone gas fireplace. Also on this level is a den, office area, bedroom with a full ensuite and laundry area. The upper level overlooks the great room below and has a huge master suite and ensuite as well as another bedroom with full ensuite plus a huge family room/ reading area which overlooks the great room. This residence also has a huge crawl space that ranges in height from approx. 5 feet 6 feet at one side which will handle any storage needs you could possibly have. Sprinkler system, vacuum system, garden boxes are a few more things that will make this home easy to like.  http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/80.html       FEATURED PROJECT OF THE WEEK: Pacifica…Waterfront Living from $314,925 A gleaming tower of aqua-blue glass offering the most spectacular townhomes and condominium residences Nanaimo has ever seen. Concierge service, beautiful terraces, spacious designs, a landscaped courtyard, your own private park and Nanaimo's magnificent waterfront promenade at your doorstep.  Visit our Open Houses every Saturday & Sunday from  1-4pm at 38 Front Street. www.pacificananaimo.ca       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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Jul
29
  Email: [email protected]                                      Drowning in a Sea of Personal Debt?                                             When It Makes Sense to Sell Your Home.      Home ownership represents the North American dream for most people.  The notion that you are now your own landlord and can one day be rent-free when your home is paid off is appealing.  When does home ownership become something that DOES NOT work?  Why should some people rent, rather than buy a home of their own.  In several newsletters, I have discussed the high credit card debt and personal consumer debt that Canadians have taken on.  The ratio of household debt to personal disposable income increased to $1.47 of debt for every $1.00 of income between January and March 2011. Household debt includes mortgages, consumer credit and loans.  Most consumers who are faced with the choice of selling their home to decrease their debt realize that this did not happen overnight.  A lot of home owners is this predicament utilized their easy access to lines of credit by refinancing their homes and pulling the equity from their home when house values skyrocketed in the mid 2000's.  This money was spent on home renovations, vehicles, and other items, that, in most cases has not been repaid.  Coupled with housing prices that have not continued to rise dramatically, these types of homeowners now face owning a home with a mortgage that far exceeds the current value of their home,  without any equity, and the lack of ability to refinance as the Bank of Canada implemented stricter rules for equity-takeout in early 2011.  These home owners likely will have other unsecured lines of credit, credit cards and probably some type of department store credit cards with high balances and even higher interest rates.  The problem with having a high debt amount is often times the interest rates charged.  If you have a credit card with 28% interest rates on  it, your minimum payment can be several hundreds of dollars each month - and it never goes towards the actual amount you owe, it just covers the interest costs.   If your housing costs leave you penniless at the end of the month and you are unable to save for home repairs and general maintenance, it may be time to consider selling your home, paying off your debt,  and renting.  This way, you can eliminate a lot of the unforeseen costs (such as new roof, broken stairs, etc) and allow yourself the peace of mind of knowing precisely what your housing cost will be each and every month.  You can then start saving for a down payment for a new home once you have tackled your personal debt.For most people, home ownership is the best decision, and they are able to manage both mortgage and consumer debt.  However, for others, selling a home and having a new direction in their financial future can ensure that they are not drowning any longer.     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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Jul
07
  Email: [email protected]              Interesting Real Estate Trivia From Around the Globe That  Will Astound  You & Your Family                                                    I thought that it might be interesting to share with you some real estate facts that I have collected over the past 30 years as a Realtor.  I must admit, that I was surprised to learn a few new things, and hope that you enjoy becoming "enlightened".  If nothing else, hopefully one fact will appear on Jeopardy and you will astound your friends and family!1. Monopoly is the most popular board game in the world and has sold over 200 million copies.  Did you know that Charles  Darrow, the inventor, created Monopoly in 1934 to cheer himself up while unemployed during the Great Depression?2. Speaking about the game Monopoly, the world's most expensive Monopoly set was created by San Francisco jeweler Sidney Mobell that boasted 23 carat gold houses,  chimneys with rubies and sapphires and dice with 42 diamonds for spots.  Did you know that the game was valued at two million dollars? 3. The term "skyscraper" was first used in the 1880s when office buildings of 10 stories or more were built in Chicago and New York.  Did you know that skyscraper actually means "a high-flying flag on a ship"? 4. Mongolia has the highest percentage of private housing of ANY country in the entire world.  Did you know that 100% of all Mongolian properties are owner-occupied? 5. Celion Dion was recognzied as the highest private water consumer in Florida last year.  Did you know that she used 6.5 million gallons of water in a year on her 5.7 acre Florida property, according to a study by the Palm Beach Post? 6. The recession in the US has far-reaching effects on the golf course communities.  Did you know that in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a once-booming 70-mile strip of beachfront property nicknamed "Golftown, USA,"  has seen the number of golf courses drop from 125 (in 2006), to only 100?  In 2010, 140 of the America's 16,000 golf courses closed, while only 50 new courses opened.7. According to Feng Shui, the art of home placement, the five elements that are needed to create a happy and prosperous home are: wood, fire, earth, metal and water.  Did you know that "feng shui" actually means in Chinese "wind" and "water"? 8. The most expensive "fixer-upper" home listed for sale in 2010 in Canada was located in Haileybury, Ontario, about 140 kilometres north of North Bay. The house sits on 40 acres along the shores of Lake Temiskaming and it's about the same size as Bill Gates's property near Seattle.   At a mere $25 million, you can fix up this 65,000 square foot Ontario property for another $1 million!   Did you know that the home is far from finished. There's no flooring, no finished bathrooms and few wall coverings?9. Considered to be one of the smallest houses in Canada, the "Little House" in Toronto was built in 1912 and is approximately 312 square feet.  Did you know that talk show host Ellen DeGeneres even mentioned it in her press tour in 2010?10. The Bastion in downtown Nanaimo is renowned for its history and is a popular spot for local ghost hunters.  Did you know that the Bastion is the location of BC's very first hanging in 1868 and the unlucky person was actually an outlaw from Butch Cassidy's gang? Now that you have some interesting real estate related trivia, please feel free to share it with your friends and family.  Real estate is one of the largest investments your family will ever make, so if you are thinking about buying or selling, get a professional working with you to ensure that you receive sound advice.  Please feel free to contact me anytime at 250-758-7653 or email me at [email protected] view the latest real estate graph stats and home sales map, simply visit our team's website link here: http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-selling-services/current-market-trends/ where you can see the trends each month (dating back to mid 2010).  Having access to the real estate facts is critical for every home buyer, home seller or investor. I look forward to speaking with you. Best Regards,Brian [email protected]                                 HOME OF THE WEEK-521 Otter Place...$429,900                                                                                        Very unique Long Lake Heights home with views of Departure Bay, and spectacular sunsets over the Winchelsea Islands. Step outside “of the average” with this beautifully appointed 5 year old level entry home. Enjoying complete privacy with no neighbors to the rear is just one of the many highlights of this residence. Features include: 4 bedrooms with an exceptionally large master bedroom with new carpeting and 3 full baths with room on the lower level for a 5th bedroom if desired. The main level features an enormous kitchen with solid wood cabinetry, brand new countertops, granite sink, stainless steel appliances and oversized eating bar which is perfect for entertaining. You will immediately notice the huge 12 foot vaulted ceilings which encompass the kitchen, dining room and living room. Beautiful oak hardwood covers nearly every foot of the main living area and gives a warm and inviting feel. Oversized windows and skylights make this home very bright any time of the day. The massive family room on the lower level is great for a theater room with lots of room left to spare for a pool table or anything else you can imagine. Rounding out the lower level is 2 bedrooms, one large enough to be a master bedroom, and a 4pc bathroom. As an added bonus, there is over 1000 sq/ft of full height storage under the house that would also work as a great work shop! A low maintenance yard and nearly 500 sq/ft of decking round out this spectacular and unique Long Lake Heights residence. Make your appointment today and prepare to be impressed. Click the link below to view interior & exterior photos and for more information on this incredible home:http://www.mmshomes.com/real-estate-listings/Listing/Single_Family_Home/74.html 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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Jul
06
  Email: [email protected]                                                             INTEGRITY...Stand up for what you believe in                                               The Vancouver riots after the Stanley Cup finals made so many of us ashamed that a few immature and criminally-minded people would willingly destroy property, businesses, vehicles - tarnishing our National pride.  It is sickening to hear those who have been "outed" on Facebook and other social medias now say that they simply "get caught up in the moment".  Really...I cannot recall the last time that I brought a gas can, rags and lighter to a sporting event, can you?  What went so terribly wrong?   Integrity has always meant to me that you do what you say you’re going to do.  As I grew up life was not easy, but the one thing that stuck with me was how much everyone admired my parents. My mom, who died after 27 operations at age at 33, was never one to complain or bad mouth others. My Dad, who was the example of “work yourself to death” passed away at 42 with no material wealth but did leave a reputation of being someone you could trust, someone who had integrity, someone who worked hard and never asked for a free pass and he was someone who stood up for what he believed in regardless of if it went with the flow or not.  These are valuable lessons that I have tried to share with my son, Myles, as he grew up.   Many wonder why those thousands of spectators did not try to prevent a handful of rioters from burning cars, smashing windows and looting from businesses.  It just seemed as though everything got out of hand so quickly, that it caught many people by surprise and all they could do was film the crimes on their cell phones to assist with prosecutions later on.  The true heroes were those people who had the courage to stand up and try and stop the rioters, and were kicked, punched and even stabbed in return.  These people made me so proud to be a Canadian, and represent true integrity.   As the debris and broken glass were removed throughout the night, as dawn broke, another symbol that our society had not simply turned "all bad" was seen.  Hundreds of post-it notes covered a police car thanking the officers who showed restraint and dignity.  On the side of a business that had been boarded up since all the windows had been smashed, Vancouverites took a moment to write notes acknowledging the price businesses and the community paid at the hand of a few "bad apples".  The ironic twist to the Vancouver riots was how it was reported by one of the American stations who proclaimed Canadians to still be the most polite country in the world since we had written notes of apology and publicly expressed embarrassment for the riot.  The reporter said he would not think that he would ever see this happen if a riot was to take place in the US, and I think he is correct. The point is, that if we respect others - if we do onto others as we would like them to do to us, everything could be so much better for us all. Next time you feel that something isn’t right…stand up for what you believe, don’t waiver or succumb to the crowd and you will be able to wake up in the morning and be able to look at yourself in the mirror. 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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Jun
03
  Email: [email protected]                           Interesting Facts About McMansions in the US & Their Sad Tale                                                         John Stilgoe, professor of the history of landscaper at Harvard University states "in terms of housing, they - especially the women- don't want to have smaller closets, or fewer clothes to put in them".  He admits that he would never live in a McMansion - also referred to as a Garage Mahal, Starter Castle or Hummer House, but concedes the practical side of owning a larger home.  A bigger space allows you privacy from family, a place to entertain and storage of toys - such as a boat, RV, etc. The shift to greener living has also changed how people view their homes.  It is interesting to note that even a "green built" McMansion often still have a larger carbon footprint than that of a standard Nanaimo "box style" home from the 1980's.  As well, the cost to heat and cool these large homes has led become a factor in making this American dream less realistic for the average buyer.  According to the Wall Street Journal, a 5000 sq ft McMansion in Connecticut could cost about $5000 a year to heat/cool!Location has been another factor that has affected the sale of the McMansions.  A lot of cities where these homes were built have suffered some of the worst real estate downturns seen since the Great Depression.  Places like Phoenix and Las Vegas have experienced declines of as much as 40% in only a few short years, making it extremely difficult to sell a home that the average buyer cannot afford.  There are subdivisions in Las Vegas that are absolutely breath-taking with rows of large new homes all sitting for sale...and vacant.Robert Frank, professor of Economics at Cornell University views McMansions through a slightly different lens.  "The modern family in the middle faces the choice between saving enough for retirement and sending their kids to unsafe schools with low test scores or taking all their money out of savings and scraping together a down payment on a house in a better school district.  They have chosen option two," he says. Perhaps it isn't just "keeping up with the Jones", but rather a motivation for families to have the chance at living in a safer area, with larger space to accommodate elderly parents that are faced with living in a nursing home, and instead of going on vacation, using that money to entertain and have recreation in your own home. Certainly, we can use terms like McMansion to describe these types of homes, but I think that when it comes down to it, we all have our own, individual reasons for entering into homeownership.  No two buyers are alike, and yet the dream of owning a home such as shown on the "Real Housewives of (O.C., Beverly Hills, New York, Miami)" remains. I know one fact to be true.  Nanaimo truly is the most wonderful place to call home.  If you are considering selling your home, or purchasing another property, please get the experience and expertise you need to guide you through the steps of real estate.  Call me today for a FREE home evaluation at [email protected]  If you would like to receive listings daily that match your home buying criteria emailed at no cost or obligation, please email or call me at 250-758-7653. 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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May
20
  Email: [email protected]           Canucks' "Green Men", Bare Breasts & the HST on New Housing in BC                          Who would have thought that the infamous "green men" who have made international headlines for their activity at Vancouver Canucks games this year, would be so easily forgotten?  Well, as many of you saw (live or on YouTube), a woman dared to bare her steel-enhanced pierced breasts to the San Jose player who was sitting in the penalty box at the game on Wednesday.  Who could have ever conceived that a half-naked woman would make 2 grown men in spandex doing headstands seem almost "cultured" if you will!  I look forward to much more excitement around the penalty box during these upcoming playoffs as our demand for excitement, and new experiences seem to be insatiable these days.Nanaimo real estate was once the "green men in spandex" in the sense that our housing prices continued to climb in 2006 and 2007 while many pessimists declared that the housing bubble would soon burst due to over-inflated housing prices and low interest loans. Much adieu was made about our real estate prices, which have really not risen or dropped dramatically since late 2008.   Like Gary Bettman's disdain for the Canucks' "Green Men", the negative stories about real estate seem to garner the most attention.  Like the suits worn by the "Green Men", that the announcement of the HST (to many it seemed as scary as the piercings adorned by the woman at the Canuck game) last July actually had a far more shocking affect on the new housing sales than the actual asking prices of the homes at that time.  Many BC residents were caught-off guard (like the CBC cameraman on Wed night) by the Liberal government's new tax that affected almost every household expense seemingly overnight.  A lot of home buyers and investors opted against purchasing a newly constructed property since it carried the "HST payable" stigma.  Much like breasts, it would seem that "when you have seen one, you have seen them all", and like all taxes, it does not appear that the HST will be repealed anytime soon.  We have seen an increase in new home, townhome and condo sales these past few months and buyers are taking the time to obtain professional advice when it comes to the HST and applicable rebates.  Did you know?  The difference in the HST and GST on a new home that is priced at $345,000 is only 2%!  However, a lot of buyers are not aware that they do not need to pay a full 12% on a new home - particularly when there are rebates for both owner-occupied properties and those that are purchased as an investment/ rental property.  The only time in a real estate purchase that you would be responsible for the full 12% on a new home would be if the property is a vacation/ resort property.  If you have any questions about how the HST affects a new home sale, please feel free to contact McCullough Marketing anytime at 250-758-7653 or email us at [email protected]  We have taken several courses and training seminars on HST to better equip our clients with the knowledge they need to not only get the property they want, but understand all of the costs involved.In closing, to ensure that you are kept "abreast" (ha ha ha...) of our local real estate market and the upcoming trends that I see happening, feel free to give us a call.  Home ownership is one of the largest investments you will every make, and you need a professional looking after you. 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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