Thursday 24 August 2023

Low-Cost Staging Ideas for the Outside of your Home

When it comes to selling your home, preparing the exterior can be just as important as preparing the interior. The outside of your home is the first thing potential buyers see, and it can greatly impact their first impression of your property.

Luckily, there are several low-cost outdoor improvements that will make your home more appealing to buyers.

First, consider adding some potted plants or flowers to your front porch or entryway. This can help add some colour and life to your home's exterior, and create a welcoming atmosphere for potential buyers. Even in winter, small potted evergreens can have an impact.

Next, consider cleaning up your landscaping. This can include trimming overgrown bushes and trees, mowing the lawn, and removing any dead plants or debris. By doing so, you can make your home look well-maintained and attractive to potential buyers.

You may also want to consider adding some outdoor lighting to your property. This can include adding some solar-powered lights along your driveway or walkway, or even adding some outdoor string lights to your patio or deck. Outdoor lighting can create an inviting atmosphere, and make your home look more attractive to potential buyers.

Finally, consider giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. Your front door is a focal point of your home's exterior, and painting it will make a big difference. If you’re changing the colour, be sure to pick one that complements the fa├žade.

These outdoor improvements don’t cost much, but will increase your home's curb appeal, which is proven to help sell your property faster and for a better price.

Need more advice on how to create the “wow” factor in your home when you sell? Call today!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 20 July 2023

BCO Coastal Gems: Owen Bay

 Located within the heart of the Discovery Island group and surrounded by beautiful natural scenery and an abundance of wildlife, this Sonora Island area offers all types of outdoor recreation and sport activities - fishing, boating, diving, and wildlife viewing, while seafood such as crab, prawns, clams and oysters are all available within minutes of this region. 

Approaching Owen Bay from the end of Busby
(Springer Point at the south tip of the development
is in the centre of the photo)

Owen Bay is located on the south side of Sonora Island on Okisolo Channel, just above Hole in the Wall rapids. 

The Discovery Islands are rich in First Nations culture and history.

view out from Busby

Owen Bay was first settled by non-indigenous people approximately 100 years ago, at times it was home to a school, church and general store, however the location did not attract a more permanent settlement in the long run. It has evolved into a quiet, coastal vacation and recreation community with a small complement of full-time residents. The Owen Bay development encompasses both a portion of Sonora Island and Busby Island, which is separated from Sonora by only a small channel.

looking across from Sonora to Busby

There are government dock facilities located in Owen Bay. Owen Bay provides excellent protection for both mooring and anchoring your boat and the roadway leading from the Government Dock throughout the area is more than adequate for vehicles if one chooses.

Owen Bay government dock

Owen Bay Rd

There are a few marine parks to enjoy within close proximity, including the Octopus Island Group Marine Park which is only minutes away. Access to Owen Bay is by boat or float plane only. 

aerial approach to Owen Bay

Campbell River is approximately 45 minutes away by boat and provides an excellent centre for supplies and services. During the summer months there is regularly scheduled water taxi service from Campbell River to Owen Bay and Busby Island. There is also regularly scheduled barge service to Owen Bay to bring propane and fuel as well as any arranged deliveries (groceries, building supplies, etc). Other areas such as Browns Bay on Vancouver Island or Heriot Bay on Quadra Island provide even quicker access through primarily protected waters. 

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 6 July 2023

Fix it? Or leave it “as is”?

When preparing your property for sale, you want to make it as attractive as possible to buyers. After all, the more buyers like what they see, the higher the probability you’ll get good offers. 

That’s why it’s advisable to clean, declutter, decorate, fix, and improve as much as possible. Of course, when we're talking about a remote or recreational property, this can be difficult. 

The question then becomes how far should you go with fixing and improving? For example, should you tear down the old deck and build a new one? Or, should you leave it as is? Should you paint the main floor? Or is it okay to leave the faded finish and few wall dents just as they are? 

Those can be difficult questions to answer because many factors come into play. 

• What is the traditional return on investment for that home improvement? (In other words, how much will you get back when you sell?) 

• To what degree will the fix or improvement help sell your home faster and/or for a higher price? 

• If you don’t make the fix or improvement, will those deficiencies be likely to dissuade buyers who would otherwise be interested in buying your property? 

• What are the current market conditions? Are there other listings in the area competing with yours? 

• How much will the fix or improvement cost? Is it affordable, given the benefits of having a listing that’s more attractive and move-in ready? 

The answers differ depending on where you property is, what else is for sale around it, and what buyers for those types of properties expect. We can help you find answers by looking at the market and the comparable properties.

Once you have answers to those questions, you’ll have a clearer idea of whether to fix it or leave it as is.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 15 June 2023

Marine Parks

The coast of BC has over 40 designated marine parks. These are parks that include both water and land areas but are generally accessible by float plane or boat only (with some exceptions). Many of them allow wilderness camping but only a few offer even basic services (an outhouse, water, cleared campsites). 

Raft Cove Marine Park, northwest Vancouver Island

These marine parks run along the entire coast of BC and among the numerous islands that dot the coast. They are an attraction for boaters, kayakers, hikers and many others. The largest marine park on the coast is the Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, off the NE coast of Vancouver Island, which consists of dozens of small islands and the waters around them. This park is very popular with kayakers and for whale watching.

Marine parks often provide a welcome refuge for people traveling along the coast, and are common meet-up spots for boaters.  Desolation Sound Marine Park, along the central mainland coast, is very popular with boaters due to its protected waters, easy access to the Discovery Islands and beautiful beaches.
private properties within Desolation Sound Marine Park

Some of the remote and recreational properties we have listed through the BC Oceanfront office either border or are very near to marine parks. A select few are even lucky enough to be private property within a marine park - very rare.
flying over Surge Narrows Marine Park

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 1 June 2023

No Zoning Doesn't Always Mean No Rules

 Many rural properties in BC are excluded from zoning bylaws by their respective Regional Districts and are simply referred to as No Zoning areas on maps. However, if you read the fine print, most Regional Districts will inform you that there are still requirements. This example is taken from the Mount Waddington Regional District site:

“While there is no Building Bylaw in effect outside of the communities of Coal Harbour, Hyde Creek, Malcolm Island and Woss, that requires a Building Permit or Site Permit to be applied for and issued for new construction, all construction must meet the requirements of the BC Building Code.”

This may seem to be a bit too much structure for someone who just wants to go build a cabin in a remote location, However there are some good reasons to pay attention, and not just because all buildings built in BC are required to meet the BC Building Code.

While we might want, and plan for, our recreational or remote property to stay in the family for generations, sometimes life happens. If you need to sell a property that you have built on within 10 years of the building being completed, you have to have a Home warranty (Homeowner Protection Act governed by BC Housing) in order to be able to sell. This is becoming more of an issue, and there are properties that cannot be sold right away because they don't have a home warranty or Owner Builder Authorization. Rectifying this, when possible, can take time and cause frustration for someone who needs to sell the property.

Insurance premiums are constantly on the rise and getting insurance for a remote property can be a challenge. Building it to code may help your chances of getting insured.

A lot of the basic Building Code is around safety issues. In remote areas where services such as fire departments and emergency support are minimal or non-existent following the code may help keep both the property and the people using it protected and as safe as possible.

Education and information are key, wherever you want to build in BC.

Resources: (A copy of the BC Building Codes is likely in your local library as well, or at your city/village/regional district office)

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 18 May 2023

BCO Coastal Gems: Campbell River

The BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team services a large area of Vancouver Island and the coastal region of BC, and we know that every village, town and city on Vancouver Island offers its own beauty and sense of community.

The BCO office is in Campbell River, which is located almost exactly at the centre of the east coast of Vancouver Island. We all chose to live here, some of us from different communities on Vancouver Island and some from the mainland. Why did we all end up here in Campbell River?

"More access to nature - forest, mountain, lake, river, ocean - than anywhere else on the island." 

We all chose Campbell River because it offered the best of both worlds - the amenities and services of a city with the abundance of natural beauty surrounding it being easily accessible for recreation. Whether we want to fish on the ocean, explore the local forests, ski or hike in the mountains, relax on a beach, or swim at a lake, we can access it all within 30 minutes of Campbell River.

"Campbell River runs entirely along the ocean, yet mountains and Strathcona Park are pretty much in your back yard. There is an abundance of ocean wildlife to view; whales, sealions, birds, dolphins. You can throw a kayak or paddleboard easily into the water or go for a quick dip yourself. There is accessible and incredible hiking, along with some of the most beautiful camping spots. Everything an outdoor enthusiast could hope for."

Campbell River continues to grow as a city, with a new hospital built six years ago and new construction happening regularly. North Island College campus provides post secondary opportunities. While the city has long been and continues to be a central hub for the coastal resource sector it is also diversifying in its economic base.

Along with a diversifying economy comes a diversifying population. Traditionally the population base came mainly from the resource sector and service sector, but in recent years retirees have discovered the beauty of the area and there has also been a growth in the immigrant community. 

The BC Oceanfront slogan is "It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It" and it's no coincidence that we all experience that living in Campbell River. We love to explore and have fun in all the communities on Vancouver Island as well as all the different types of natural surroundings offered, and Campbell River allows us the ease of access to do so.

"You can venture out to the local ocean waters and islands by boat, ride a mountain bike in the Snowden Demonstration Forest, hike the popular Canyon View Trail along the Campbell River, swim at McIvor Lake, or explore miles of beach along Georgia Strait looking at the views across to the mainland."

Perhaps the best example of the access to the outdoors that Campbell River prides itself on is the ability to walk from one end of the city to the other along the oceanfront. With either paved trail or sidewalks running from Tyee Spit to the far end of the Rotary Seawalk, one can walk over 10kms (one way) able to view the water almost the entire way, and most of it provides access to the beachfront itself. There are few communities that provide this type of open access to its shoreline, as many communities have allowed private properties to build up along the shore, blocking access. You don't need a car, or to even leave the city, to experience the natural wonder and beauty that surrounds Campbell River. 

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!

Thursday 4 May 2023

50 Years of ALR

 The Agricultural Land Reserve, or ALR, is a land classification that has been around in BC for decades, as it was created 50 years ago (in 1973). Most people know it has something to do with farmland, but what is the ALR exactly? Can you build in the ALR zone? What does it mean to own land in the ALR?

ALR land Haida Gwaii

According to the BC Government: The Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) is a provincial land zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use. Farming is encouraged and non-agricultural uses are restricted. ALR land makes up 5% of BC's total land-base.

This does not mean you can't simply live on ALR property. There is no requirement to farm, however there are restrictions on what else you can do on the land. Keep in mind that most ALR land is in an agriculture-rich area, so even if you are not farming your land it is probable that properties around you are being used for agricultural purposes.

ALR land Quadra Island

Properties within the ALR should have it noted on their titles, although the Agriculture Land Commission (who oversees the ALR) warns that this is not definitive. Mapping is a help in determining what land is within the ALR as well, and the ALC website hosts a number of mapping applications.

ALR mapping

The Vancouver Island region has ALR land in a number of areas, including in what might be thought of as rural residential areas close to urban centres, so it is good to do your homework when it comes to owning property in this distinct land class. This is something we research on our listings and provide mapping information for if a property does sit within the ALR.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Live It!