June 3, 2022


Are you looking for an expert in getting a house ready and selling a home after a loved one has passed away? I am here to co-ordinate and manage the liquidation of the estate.

This process is time consuming, potentially expensive, and emotionally draining. I am here to help, and I can take a substantial amount of that burden off your plate. How? Working closely with you and your family we create a strategy and execute the plan. Once everyone has gone through the home I will co-ordinate the sale, donating and disposing of household items, get handy people in to do minor repairs, professional clean, market and sell the home. 

If major repairs need to be done, we can discuss the risk/reward of doing those repairs. I work with your lawyer to ensure you are protected every step of the way.

My goal is to ensure you and your family are disposing of the assets of the estate in a transparent environment where questions and concerns can be asked and answered. Communication, honesty, respect, and trust are my promises to you. I will keep you informed the entire time so you may make decisions quickly and confidently. 

My marketing is highly visible and gains a lot of traction on various social media and advertising platforms. I market and advertise appropriately to ensure the maximum exposure for both the sale of household items as well as the property. Every situation is unique.

If you are the executor/administrator of an estate, please reach out and we can discuss your needs. Save time, money and stress with one call.

May 2, 2022

What's Happening to Mortgage Rates?

When COVID hit, the Bank of Canada dropped Prime Rate very quickly and started a fast and furious process of Quantitative Easing. This was to ensure that banks and other financial institutions have access to inexpensive funds to ensure a strong, secure economy. Back in 2008, during the US Sub-Prime and the Global Financial Crisis the Bank of Canada was slow to assist in ensuring financial institutions had access to funds. They kept the Prime Rate the same at first and actually restricted lender access to government backed insurance funds for their mortgage back securities.


It was quickly apparent that the Bank of Canada did not want to make the same mistake again, especially as the federal government was creating programs for home owners to skip mortgage payments, and ensure people had incomes when we were all asked to stay home.


All good things must come to an end, and what is coming to an end is Quantitative Easing. We are now moving into a tightening phase. Rates will increase, less money will be available to guarantee mortgage backed securities and the government will be hesitant to do anything to push the values of housing any hire than it already is. This will undoubtedly have an affect on the market. 


Does that mean the market it going to crash?


The market is not going to crash. The sky is not falling. We are moving back into a balanced market. A market where there is 60-90 days of inventory, versus next to no inventory.  Buyers will be able to get inspections, sellers will be able to find a new home and put subject to sale of their existing home. People will be able to relax a little bit.


Are prices going to drop?

On Vancouver Island, I would suggest not likely.

Vancouver Island is arguably the best place to live in Canada. Even though it has rained for the past six months straight, it is still a very desirable place to live for a lot of people. With limited new construction, prices on the island are going to remain stable. 


What is going to happen to rates?

Desjardin Bank is expecting POSTED rates to increase to 7% by this winter or next spring. Fixed rates offered on mortgages are always discounted by 1%-2% off of posted rates. Prime rate is also expected to go up another 0.50% -1%. So yes, rates are going to go up. 


What does that mean to you?

If you are a Buyer, and need a mortgage, it means that you will qualify for less money. If I was looking to buy in this market I would be joined at the hip with my mortgage broker. I would ensure that my mortgage broker is up to date with my most recent paystub, tax returns and anything else they require. I would ask that they keep my rate hold current and updated. 


If you are a Seller in this market, you should price properly. Not just some random price you think you should get because everyone else is making tons of money. Perception and reality are rarely the same. Overpriced houses don’t sell. Well priced houses sell. Buyers are wise, educated and informed about the market. Price your home based on facts like recent sales data and ensure that your Realtor has a stellar marketing plan. Just throwing a house on the MLS and expecting it to sell on its own is not in your best interest. You best interest is to give the house maximum exposure, putting its best foot forward, at a great price!


April 4, 2022

Where There's a Will

This month I have come across several different scenarios on properties where someone has passed away and I wish to share some of these stories. 

  1. Passing away with no will. This is the most challenging situation because so many things can happen. These are the two situations I have seen this month alone with no will. Case 1. No one wanted to be the administrator of the will as the entire family lived overseas and had no real connection with the deceased. There was also a mortgage on the property which would had to be paid while going through the probate process. Result: The house fell into major disrepair including squatters and vermin living in the house. Eventually the bank foreclosed on the property. Case 2. A family member was designated an administrator (which took over a year to grant), probate fees, property taxes had to be paid out of pocket. The house sat vacant for over a year waiting for permission to be granted to the Administrator for the estate resulting in wear and tear on the property including critters getting in to the house and it is now less marketable. 

  2. Passing away with a will and then not taking any action.  The deceased passed away in 2008 and no action was taken on the property. Now the remaining person on title wishes to sell the property but the property must go through probate as the seller was not on as a joint tenant. They thought they were joint tenants, and now that so much time has passed, collecting the paperwork has become very challenging. As well, Will and Estate law has changed several times since 2008.

  3. Passing away and willing all the possessions to charity.  This person had no heirs and wished to sell their property and leave everything to charity. The executor still must get the house cleaned out and ready to sell. The charities need to be informed and the house and household goods liquidated. 

  4. Passing away with a will, family moves quickly to ensure that probate is granted. The house is cleaned, painted and new carpet put in. The house sells quickly, for more than asking.  

I have been advised by different lawyers about the length of time for a will to go through the court process and for probate to be granted. I have been advised anywhere between two and eight months if there is a will. My advice is to shop around and find a lawyer who can process the will more quickly, to ensure the house does not sit vacant for long. The longer a property sits vacant, the more challenging it is to get ready to sell. Houses don’t like to be empty.

Wills and estates - Province of British Columbia (gov.bc.ca)

So spend the money and get your will in place. It is what protects your assets and will save your family, friends and neighbours a lot of grief.

March 14, 2022


This month I have personally come across four foreclosure listings. That is a lot in terms of what I have seen in the past. There is definitely more to this story as we come out of COVID financial times and back into the mainstream finance world.

Banks, Mortgage Finance Companies and Credit Unions (lenders) quickly stepped up to help home owners during the uncertain times when COVID caused our society to close down and open up more times that Elizabeth Taylor has been married. Canada’s Banks are Standing by Canadians (cba.ca)

Arrears (3 months or more of missed payments) are still at a record low. Of the 704,488 mortgages in British Columbia, only 852 of those are showing as “in arrears”.  Here are my thoughts on this.
  1. No lender wanted to foreclose during COVID as the optics would have looked terrible. During the Financial Crisis of 2008 I used to be a director at a US Subprime Company that came to Canada. We never wanted to lend money to people who, if we foreclosed, would make us look bad in the eyes of the consumer.
  2. The CERB was a great stop-gap that helped some people who were inevitably going to be foreclosed upon anyway. At some point the lender is going to make their move to ensure they cut their losses.
  3. Each lender would have recorded their mortgage arrears through COVID differently. Once these late payments are moved to the standardized ledger the number of deferrals should be higher than 852 arrears out of 704,488 mortgages.
The Good The market is very strong, so someone who is about to be foreclosed upon has the opportunity to sell their home themselves and have control of the transaction. The lender, lawyer and courts do not have to be involved. If someone is behind on their payments and is intending to sell, a lender will likely hold off if one can prove the house is listed with a Realtor on the MLS.
Also good, is that in British Columbia, the lender is legally obligated to sell the house for the most money they can get in the market.  A lender is unable to just cash out the house for what is owed to them.

The Bad If, for some reason the property moves forward with foreclosure proceedings, the lender will instruct a Realtor to list the property on the MLS.  The Realtor will market and show the property until an offer comes in. Once an offer comes in, they will send that offer to the lenders lawyers who will consult and respond with an acceptance or rejection of an offer. Once the offer is accepted, then a court date is set. Before this court date, other potential buyers are allowed to bid on the property, so although the original bid was accepted, it may not be the final offer. That will be determined by the courts a few weeks to months down the road.

The Ugly Firstly, someone is losing their home. Secondly, the property is being sold “as-is, where-is” and the day you get the keys is really the day you know what you are buying. For example, you may have seen the property with a fridge, stove, washer, and dryer, however, when you get to the house, that is all gone. These items were expected but in a foreclosure situation there is nothing you can do about it. You also waive any legal recourse for environmental issues you may discover later such as a leaking underground oil tank. The heat pump, hot water tank and toilets could all be missing and legally there is nothing you can do.

Many people get excited about the thought of getting a “deal” while purchasing a foreclosure. If you are holding out for a “deal” you are often better off to find that diamond in the rough before it gets into the lender’s hands. Foreclosed homes can be deserted for years, sometimes they have fallen into extreme disrepair, but most of the time a foreclosure is due to several unforeseen circumstances (death, divorce, job loss) that have caused trauma on a member of our community. Be cautious, be educated and be aware.
Feb. 4, 2022

Waiting Versus Buying High

I know it is hard to purchase a home in a Seller’s market and that you don’t want to overpay. Let’s look at the true cost of waiting.


Here are some outlooks on price increases for property values in 2022. The Canadian Real Estate Association predicts a 7.6% increase in house prices over the year. Re/Max predicts a 9.5% increase, Royal Lepage a 10.5% increase, Royal Bank of Canada a 3.3% increase and TD Bank a 7% increase.  Economists forecast rising home sales, prices in 2022 - Western Investor


You want to buy a home but think that the price is going to go down, or that the house is already priced too high, or that the market is going to correct.


Let’s look at the straight math on this.

What are you currently paying for rent? Let’s say it is  $2000/month.  


Do you have any savings? A potential tax refund? An RRSP possibly that you can use for a down payment. If not, start by saving money in an RRSP, keep it in the RRSP for at least 90 days, withdraw the money for your down payment.  Call me about how this works! 


Once you have the down payment saved, here is the math to purchase an example home:


Price of house: $750,000


Property tax on house: Approx. $4500/year – $570 Home Owner Grant = $3930


Down payment: $50,000 (5% on 1st 500K, 10% on remainder) minimum


Mortgage: $700,000 + High Ratio Insurance Premium of $28,000 = $728,000


Mortgage interest rate: 3% = $3445.23/month


Annual interest (first year): $21,434.15


Annual principal: $19,908.61


Closing Costs: $15,500.00


So let’s look at monthly net cost:


Mortgage $3445.23


Property Taxes  $327.50


Increase in Insurance $125.00


Total = $3897.73 – current rent $2000.00 = $1897.73 more per month cost to you. Can you afford this?


Annual increase in cost of owning over renting is $22,772.76


Of note: $19,908.61 of the mortgage payment went to principal so the “loss” is $2864.15

With a conservative property value increase of 5% the value of the property will increase by $37,500

Add this property value increase of $37500, to the $50,000 down payment and the $19,908.61 you paid off the mortgage and you have $107,408.61 in equity in one year.


Let’s now assume you think property values are going to drop in 4 years. So your $750,000 property goes up in value of 5% per year for the next 3 years and then there is a massive 10% correction. What does that look like?


Year 1 $750,000 + 5% = $787,500.00

Year 2 $787,500.00 + 5% = $826,875.00

Year 3 $826,875.00 + 5% = $868,218.75

Year 4 $868,218.75 - 10% Correction = $781,396.88


During those 4 years you have paid off $83,320.70 in principle. With a Correction you have an outstanding balance on your mortgage of $644,679.30 and the value of your home has dropped to $781,396.75. So you have made $136,717.45 with a 10% market correction.


There is no better investment.


I can run these numbers for you based on any price point. If you cannot afford a $750,000 home, the best way to get there is to purchase a less expensive, smaller property and let the property increase in value just like the above scenario.

Feb. 4, 2022

2022 Real Estate Strategies

Are you looking to purchase a home? Here are some top strategies for purchasing a home in 2022.


  1. If you need financing, set up an appointment with a mortgage broker and discuss your options. Do a full financial analysis with your mortgage professional that includes a credit check, income, and down payment verification. This ensures you are in the strongest position possible when you find the perfect home. Doing the financing portion after you find a home is too late in this market.
  2. Have realistic expectations. The key is to get into the market. Waiting for a “deal” is not going to happen. Everyone else is also waiting for a “deal” which means that a property with a price to good to be true is going to get bid up.
  3. As a first-time home buyer it is important to get into the market. This doesn’t have to be, and likely won’t be, your forever home. Home ownership is the gateway to financial freedom. As my friend and trusted industry professional Dustan Woodhouse, says. BRRR – Buy, renovate, rent, repeat.
  4. Stay positive and don’t get discouraged. Some people are on their 11th or 12th offer. Regroup, keep going, be strategic in what you can offer and figure out how to make your offers as strong and enticing as possible.
  5. The list price is a starting price, it is not the selling price. If you find your dream house, or your forever home, you will be paying a premium in this market. Discover and discuss your comfort level on paying over the list price for getting into a home.
  6. Create the best buyers package for the seller that you can. This is where I can help. My job is to help get your offer accepted by presenting the strongest, most viable, least risky package to the seller.


Are you planning on selling your home in 2022? Here are some top strategies for selling your home in the Comox Valley in 2022.


  1. Walk through your home as if you are a buyer and fix all the small items that could distract a buyer from seeing the bones of your home.
  2. Be realistic on your price. Even in a seller’s market there is only so much someone will pay for a property. List the house at the minimum you would accept and be happy. If it gets bid up, great. If it doesn’t get bid up and sells at the asking price, you will still be satisfied.
  3. Make the decision as easy as possible for the buyer. Bring in professional cleaners, remove or pack everything in the home except the basics. Clean out cupboards, closets, shelves. Remove excess furniture, tools and ensure your home is staged for selling (which is very different than staged for living).
  4. Have a very flexible schedule for the first few weeks after listing the property. People are actively looking for homes so once your house hits the market people will want to see it. Be prepared.
  5. Ensure appliances are working, hot water tank is not expired and anything that requires servicing is done and up to date. Keep receipts to show what has been done on the home over the past few years. If you can do a pre-home inspection to see what the red flags are and fix those in advance it will show buyers that you care and have pride of ownership. Buyers like buying houses from sellers who care because it is less risky to the buyer.
Dec. 7, 2021

When It Rains

I have heard politicians and people of authority express what a 200 year floodplain means and it drives me crazy when they explain it incorrectly. A 200 year floodplain does not mean the occurrence will only occur every 200 years. A 200 year flood plain is a way of describing the probability of a flood event. For clarity, it should more likely be named a “200 year probability of return period of a flood”.

Return period is calculated as 1 divided by the annual exceedance probability (AEP). For example, for a 100-year return period storm event, there is a 1/100=0.01=1% probability in any given year that the event or a larger event will occur. Return period is not the strict frequency of an event, i.e., if a 100-year return period event occurs this year, there is still a 1% probability that it will occur next year as well. For a 200-year return period there is a ½% chance every year that flooding will happen at that elevation.

In the Comox Valley there have been several floodplain reports. The Oyster River study in 1984, Putledge, Tsolum and Courtenay River study in 1991 and as recent as 2021 Final report on Coastal Flooding in the Comox Valley Click to View Report.

It is important to remember where we live. Much of Vancouver Island and West Coast of British Columbia is a mountain range with several rivers running down mountain sides to the ocean. Events such as intense rainstorms, rapid snow melts, large windstorms and extraordinarily high tides can cause flooding in many places. 

It is important to understand your insurance policy, understand where your home is in regard to a return cycle/floodplain and how you can best mitigate any risk. This could be by landscaping to include water absorption, flood gates and water catchment areas. Ensuring the ground above you can absorb water and the ground below you can move water away from you. This spring when you are gardening, consider extraordinary water events and what you can do to protect your home.

May 8, 2021

The Stress Test is being "TWEAKED" by the Feds



Frustration and disappointment are often words that come to me when I hear the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) making recommendations to the Federal Government about tightening the Canadian lending guidelines. The recommendation will be presented on May 24, 2021, to be put in place effective June 1, 2021. 


The new proposal for the qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages is the higher of the mortgage contract rate plus 2% or 5.25% as a minimum floor. Insured mortgages are already at a higher qualifying rate. What does this mean to you? If you have more than 20% down, your purchasing power is going to drop – likely between 30K and 60K. In addition, high ratio mortgages, which already have a qualifying rate buffer, may be affected because banks and finance companies will have a hard time programming their systems to differentiate between a high ratio mortgage and a conventional mortgage, at least for the first few months. 


If you have been preapproved, reach out to your bank or mortgage broker to find out what you will qualify for after the June 1st qualification changes. If you are currently in the middle of negotiations, get everything wrapped up before the end of May.


More information OSFI proposes new minimum qualifying rate for uninsured mortgages (osfi-bsif.gc.ca)

Posted in Market Updates
May 8, 2021

Waiting for the CRASH?



"Ten years ago, The Economist magazine concluded Canadian real estate was grossly overvalued. Nine years ago, Merrill Lynch declared Canadian housing was afflicted by “overvaluation, speculation and oversupply.”


Seven years ago, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Monetary Fund began sounding sirens about the dysfunctional state of Canadian housing. And a year ago, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. warned home prices could fall 18 per cent as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.


What did this multi-year outburst of public shaming accomplish? Absolutely nothing. Canadian home prices marched relentlessly higher." Excerpt from "The trouble with ‘bubble’: Why Canada’s red-hot housing market is defying the burst" published in The Globe and Mail April 30, 2021 Click to see Full Article


The market is absolutely crazy right now, and I hear so many people talking about the coming crash. Are you waiting until after the crash to purchase a home? Let's consider the crash from a few different angles.


What economic driver would make a housing crash happen? A pandemic possibly? Nope – just went through that. A Tsunami – that didn’t work either. A Global Financial Crisis – temporarily slowed the market. Some people feel that prices "have to" drop. What would cause this is to happen? Loss of employment by millions of people – that didn’t do it. Government initiatives for affordable housing? Not that either. The one thing that could make housing prices fall would be a huge drop in construction costs and building fees by local governments. I don't see construction costs falling anytime soon, in fact, they are skyrocketing. 


There is a saying about when the best time to buy is, “Five years ago and if not five years ago, then today.” The fact is that even if prices fall, it will be temporary. In the long run you will be ahead if you buy, even in a crazy market like this one.


Let’s suppose for example that a house sold at $400,000 last December and is now worth $468,400 as prices have risen 17.1% in the first four months of 2021 (May 2021 Economic Housing Forecast BCREA Click to read the Full Report). There is an expected increase of another 5.4% for the remainder of the year which would put the house at $490,000 after just one year. If there were a 10% "crash" in housing prices over the next year the house would be worth $421,560. You are still ahead. 


Think interest rates are going to go up? In my opinion, it is unlikely that a rise in interest rates will have much of an effect on slowing the market, the cost to the consumer just isn't high enough. For every 1% increase in interest rates, your monthly mortgage payment will go up by about $50 per $100,000. So on a $500,000 mortgage, your payment will increase by $250 per month. The federal government has developed measures to protect Canadians from rising interest rates. When qualifying for a mortgage, you actually have to qualify at an inflated rate, generally 2.5% higher than the actual interest rate you will be paying. Mortgage finance regulations have built-in this buffer so that if interest rates increase you should still be able to afford the payments on your home.


Some people believe that once everyone who deferred their mortgage has to start paying again, there will be a lot of foreclosures and forced sales which will cause the market to drop. With the top ten banks reporting their mortgage arrears to the Canadian Bankers Association, in BC at the end of February 2021 only 0.16% were over 90 days late in their payment (Canadian Bankers Association Arrears Statistics Click to See the Stats). With an active seller's market, if someone is getting into hot water with their lender, they are going to sell their home before the bank forecloses. 


If you are waiting for the crash you could be waiting a long time. What if you bought into the market today and then waited? I can assure you that you will be ahead ten years from now and thanking me for giving you a kick in the ass.

Posted in Market Updates
March 9, 2021

For Sale By Owner

Last week a neighbour asked me how much I thought her house was worth. I did a comparative market analysis and said I would list it at $550,000. Her jaw dropped as she had been offered $475,000 by an acquaintance. They settled on a price in the middle, but she does know that she left money on the table.

There are two main reasons that people try to sell property on their own.

1. To save the Real Estate commission fees and

2. Because there is something wrong with the house and they don’t want to disclose it. In a private sale, the owner does not have to say what is wrong with the property. On the other hand, by law, realtors must ask and must disclose defects. The Real Estate Board of British Columbia ensures that realtors have a high standard of disclosure. 

Recently I looked at five sales of "For Sale By Owner" (FSBO) properties. 

House 1 Starting price of $979,000 and 502 days on the market, eventually selling for $875,000. A real estate agent represented the buyer, therefore the owners paid a standard commission of 3.5% on the 1st 100K, and 1.5% on the remainder.  They saved $15,125. in real estate commissions. Or did they? What if the house had been originally listed at $899,000 and sold in 60 days? Less hassle than showing a house for 1.5 years. The listing agent also would have paid for the photos, floor plan and marketing.

House 2 A homeowner listed their house For Sale By Owner with a starting price $769,900. The house sold for $749,888 in 6 days. A real estate agent was representing the buyer, so the standard commission was paid to the buyer's agent.   I would have likely listed this house a bit higher and the sellers would have netted more money.

House 3 Starting price $949,000. Sold for $920,000 in 20 days. Buyers used a real estate agent, so commission was paid out to the real estate agent on the buyer's side. 

House 4 Starting price $449,000. Sold for $455,000 in 11 days.  This house could have easily been listed for $499,000 in my opinion. No one represented the buyer, so the seller did get to keep all the profits. House was from the ’50s so possible asbestos, perimeter drain issues, oil tank. As I am not privy to the details of the purchase it is unknown what due diligence was done by the buyer to find any defects before the purchase was done.

Condominium 5 Starting price $225,000. Sold in 1 day for $226,000 with the buyers using a real estate agent. Someone had a great buyer’s agent who was right on the ball and got that deal done.  Could the property have sold for more? Quite likely. 

As a buyer, your Realtor can work with FSBO properties. As you can see from above, most sellers pay the agent's commission. If the seller is not willing to pay a buyer's agent commission, you may pay a fee. The fee is worth it as you have a professional writing the contract of purchase and sale, ensuring due diligence is done and that you are purchasing an appropriate property. Personally, I love working with buyers purchasing a FSBO house as I get to bypass they gatekeeper (the seller's agent) and go directly to the source of the sale. 

As a seller, why would you sell a house on your own? You are likely going to have to pay the buyer’s Realtor a commission, you are paying for the marketing and if there is a non-disclosed material latent defect, you could be held liable into perpetuity. If you are selling a home in BC the website for the Real Estate Council of British Columbia is a good place to start to understand your legal obligations as a seller. 

Real estate agents know the local market. They know what is selling today, what type of marketing works, and what marketing doesn’t work. I understand that it appears shocking when you see that you are paying out between 4% – 5% in commission for the sale of your house, but that money gets split between the buying agent and the selling agent. As you see from above, 80% of the time there is going to be a buyers agent you will need to pay regardless. That 2 – 2.5% the Selling agent is paid goes to so much more than a post on the MLS.

As a selling agent, in a recent marketing campaign, I had over 30,000 people view my advertising of a house with over 2500 clicks to receive further information.  More eyes on a property are equal to more competition. You may have the best house in the world but if only your neighbours know you are selling it there is no way you will get top dollar. Bottom line: Unless you are an online marketing professional, if you sell your own home you are leaving money on the table.