Thursday 19 December 2013

BC Coastal Hidden Gems: Tahsis

"Where is Tahsis? I've heard the name, but really, where is it?!" A common question, most recently asked by a realtor who had stopped by the office.

Tahsis is a community on the west side of Vancouver Island, north of Gold River, in the heart of Nootka Sound. It is well known to fishermen, outdoor enthusiasts and eco-tourists as a place for amazing adventure.

The village is accessible by gravel road from Gold River, as well by boat or float plane. The Village has many services, including shopping, a school, recreation centre, post office and library. It is serviced with high speed internet, making it a perfect starting point for many adventures.

Tahsis is surrounded by diverse marine waters, making it a popular destination for fishermen, boaters, surfers, whale watchers and others.

A small village well worth visiting!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 12 December 2013

BCO on the Wing: It's All About the Angle

Taking photos from a moving airplane, especially a small one, can be quite the challenge. When Ed and Shelley go up to take photos they know to take lots and lots of images. Sometimes lots of them are amazing, and sometimes lots of them are not so suitable.

A small plane means not a lot of space. Taking photos out the window while staying out of the way of the pilot, staying safe and being aware of when the plane is about to move can be tricky.

Propellers and window frames often get in the shot, as do the wing edges.

Light is the other factor that can make a big difference. These two photos are of the same area on the same day, just the angle of the plane in relation to where the sun is in the sky has changed. What a difference!

It's always fun to sit down and go through the photos when they come back to the office, you never know what you are going to see!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 5 December 2013

Winterizing your Remote or Recreational Property

The winter storms are coming, and the snow, and that means it's time to winterize! Just like you should clean your gutters, unhook your hoses and put away the patio furniture at your residence, you should prepare your recreational and remote properties for winter.
Winter Harbour, in winter
Water - if you are not going to be using your property over the winter your water supply should be properly shut down. There is nothing worse than burst pipes in the spring!

General tidy up - make sure all the loose items from summer, such as chairs, tables, planters, tools, etc are put away in a secure place. Winter weather can wreck these items, and winter storms can send them flying.

Lock up - make sure the property is closed up properly. Windows and doors should be latched so wind doesn't blow them open and so that critters can't get in.

snow on the highway
Docks - make sure the surface is "gripped" or cleaned so that if someone needs to use the docks they won't slip on the slick surface from all the winter moisture.

Trees, shrubs, etc - now is a good time to prune any dead branches or long branches that are getting too close to buildings. These can come down during winter storms doing a lot of damage with no one around to clean up. Better to deal with it now.
trees downed on trails over the winter

A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. It's not too late to get it done before the big storms come!

driftwood blown in by a January storm
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 28 November 2013

BC Coastal Hidden Gems: Bute Inlet

Bute Inlet is one of those places that people might know the name of but often can’t place. It is almost a mythical location, renowned for its abundant wildlife, majestic mountains and beautiful waters. The BCO team spends a lot of time in the area both for work and recreation as it is just 20 minutes by boat from Campbell River, and we know the attraction it has for so many people.

Bute is an 80km (50 miles) long inlet on the BC central coast, south of Knight Inlet, ending at Stuart Island in the Discovery Islands in Georgia Strait. The inlet averages about 4km in width with the mountains along its sides rising up to 2743 metres (9000ft) above sea level. It is also one of the deepest fjords in British Columbia with a depth of 660 metres (2165ft).

The peaceful and beautiful surroundings of Bute Inlet are unlike anywhere else on the coast. The region has a large variety of wildlife and the sea life is equally plentiful. Crab and prawns can be gathered right off shore and although there are fin fishing restrictions in the area – very close by one can enjoy world-class salmon fishing. Just north to the head of the inlet are the Homalthco and Southgate rivers, both of which provide world-class fishing for Cutthroat, Rainbow and Dolly Varden trout as well as Steelhead. The inlet is becoming known as a major destination for grizzly bear watching during the salmon spawning season as well.
But Inlet is named for John Stuart, the 3rd Earle of Bute and Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1762 to 1763. Stuart’s grandson, Charles Stuart, was on the ship Discovery with Captain Vancouver, and so was part of the British crew that explored this area.
Through-out its history Bute has attracted explorers and adventurers. At one time it was the site of a proposed trail to the Cariboo Gold fields. Like most of the BC Coast, it is also an area rich in First Nations lore.

Another of coastal BC’s many hidden gems!

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Pass It On!

Thursday 21 November 2013

BCO: Researching Properties

When clients come to the BCO office enquiring about listing a recreational or remote property, the research team (aka Ed and Louise) kicks into gear. Ed has an amazing memory for properties, and can remember details of walking a property even 15 and more years later. His familiarity with our coastal regions gives him an understanding of different properties and some of the issues or challenges they may face (access, topography, etc).

Then the more detailed research kicks in. Identifying properties legally so that they can be located properly on maps is key. Louise often spends hours unearthing details about a property, following government document trails until she is sure everyone is talking about the same property (there aren't a lot of street addresses on recreational properties). Next comes any documents that may pertain to that specific property - easements, covenants, right of ways, assessments, etc.

Each property will have its own history of water (well logs, water licences) and septic (permits, inspections). Knowing which district the property is in and who to contact for those documents is valuable, and Louise has amassed an office database of regions on the coast and the correct parties to talk to about these different issues.

If properties have docks or moorage that becomes another avenue of research and digging out the documents which verify this can be time consuming.

All of the research that goes into recreational properties is also applied to residential properties, making all of our property packages very informative.

"It's the best part of the job - I'm a Real Estate Private Eye!" says Louise.

From first viewing to a property's debut on the BCO website, there is a lot of behind the scenes work that goes on!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 14 November 2013

BCO: Walking the Properties

As mentioned in previous posts, there are certain challenges faced in the BCO office that may not be typical to most realtor offices. One of those challenges is viewing properties.

 For the more residential properties in the BCO portfolio this can mean a long drive or perhaps a ferry ride or boat ride. As properties become more remote the logistics can be trickier and often include a float plane ride. Residential properties still include walking around the home and taking detailed notes, as well as seeing the property - still fairly standard albeit sometimes logistically challenging.

For the more recreational or larger remote properties, viewings get more entertaining. Preparation usually includes good maps, sturdy hiking boots, waterproof or heavy clothing, flagging tape, water and food. In some cases it may require an axe or machete to clear brush from trails. When out on these properties, Ed and Shelley are looking for property markers, trails, distinguishing features, water sources and other details that help make our presentation of the property more complete.

Sometimes Ed and Shelley are accompanied by the property owner, but more often they are out there on their own with a map and perhaps survey notes, using their knowledge of the coastal area to get around. They get to see a lot of beautiful scenery and come back with stories of clambering over trees, wading through creeks and always with lots and lots of photos.

Yet another aspect of life in the BCO office that makes this such an interesting place to work!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 7 November 2013

Water Issues: Wells

Dealing with properties outside of an urban centre brings up many questions. One of the big ones we ask/get asked is where does the water come from? The answer can vary from cistern collection, to a water licence on a local creek, to a well.

Wells generally come in two forms - dug wells and drilled wells. A dug well does not mean necessarily dug by hand, a bucket auger may be used for deeper wells. You will often hear Ed or Shelley reference these types of wells as shallow or deep dug wells, meaning of course the depth of the well. Drilled wells are just as they sound, drilled by a machine to reach water.

The level of the underground water aquifer, the type of ground material, and the cost of the project all help determine what type of well will be installed. In BC a well should be installed by a qualified well pump installer, and there are specific rules that should be followed during installation. These rules are set out in the Ground Water Protection Regulations of BC.

Well documentation is something that is very useful to have when it comes to selling a property - well logs, installation, etc - so keep good records if your property has a well!

Just another part of the BCO office workings.

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 31 October 2013

Hidden Coastal Gems: Okeover Inlet

Desolation Sound and the Discovery Islands have an international reputation as a place of stunning natural beauty. Whether you explore by power boat, sail boat or kayak, this region offers limitless exploration and wonder. Okeover Inlet, on the mainland coast, is just next to the marine park as well as Malaspina Peninsula, and offers tranquil waters and easy access.
There is road access to the area, with a marina, resorts, residential areas and campsites along the inlet. Due to its protected waters, many Desolation Sound boaters stop in Okeover Inlet.
There are some excellent hiking trails in the region, and you are just a short distance away from both Lund and Powell River. This is definitely a coastal gem worth exploring!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 24 October 2013

Boundary Markers on the Water

Looking at the land from the water offers a different perspective. One of the things people who are out sight seeing or fishing for the first time may have questions about are some of the markings you can see on apparently unoccupied land. These can appear to be art work or secret messages, but actually they are for the benefit of everyone.
When fishing in amongst the islands and just off the coast, it is the responsibility of the person fishing to know and follow the regulations set out by the Department of Fisheries. These regulations include closures, places in the water where fishing is not allowed, or is only allowed to certain sectors of the fishing community (commercial, sport, etc). The boundary markers are generally visible from the water, some newer than others, some faded with time (many boundaries have been in place for years). Sometimes good old-fashioned signs work.

The markers are generally a triangle and a square, although there is no clear definition on the DFO website as to which is used when and generally the regulations will simply say "between the boundary markers at ..." Whenever you see one of these markers, search the shore opposite (often in a bay) for its mate. Line the two markers up, and the "invisible line" between the two markers is your boundary. You don't want to get caught on the wrong side of the line, as there can be hefty fines!

It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 17 October 2013

BCO Lifestyle: Private Islands

"You guys sell islands? Like, real islands?"

 Schloss Island

You can hear the slight awe, and longing, and envy, in the voices when people say this to us. It's true; BC Oceanfront sells private islands - whole, entire islands that are privately owned in a price range to suite many budgets.

Leech Island

Owning an island in reality of course requires a lot of thought and planning. How will you get there? (Generally boat, sometimes float plane.) Do you want protected or open water? How far do you want to be from civilization?

Harlock Island 

For some people the owning of the island is enough, and it will never be developed. It will remain a natural escape from the world, perhaps for camping on or just day trips. Or just for someone in a land-locked big city to know, they own an island in the Pacific Ocean.

 Round Island

Other people want to live on the island, at least some of the time if not full-time (and some definitely want to live there full time). That then becomes a more involved exercise. Where does the power come from? How will water be obtained? How will the building materials get there? Some people circumvent all these complicated issued by buying an island already developed, and so only requiring upkeep. But others want to create their own personal retreat and place. For them, the work and the creation of building is part of the desire.

Shewell Island
Within the BCO office there is a wealth of knowledge about the realities of coastal properties, including private islands. Ed has spent years working in the remote areas of the coast, making relationships, gathering information and seeing over time what works and what doesn’t. The BCO office team specializes in gathering information about remote areas.

Sturt Island
Islands are a dream for so many, and here at BCO, we really can help make that dream come true.
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!

Thursday 10 October 2013

BCO on the Job: Hanging Signs

When recreational, remote and waterfront properties are your speciality, there are certain logistics that come into play. One that many people don't think of, but is a crucial part of the job, is getting signs up.

Shelley putting up a sign.

Ed putting up a sign.

Signs are awkward to carry and transport, and the ones we put up on properties have to be big enough to be visible from a distance. The minimum size is a 4 foot by 4 foot, and usually they are larger than that. Getting them into the boat or truck is one thing, getting them to where they are going to go on the property is another thing altogether!

This was a long hill with that sign in hand.
Shelley cliff climbing.

Signs need to go up at all times of the year, and they need to be sturdy enough and mounted well enough to withstand all types of weather, especially some of the wilder winter weather the BC coast can receive. This adds to the challenge of prepping the sign.
Keeping the sign standing.
Ed getting a sign ready.

Ed and Shelley are usually the ones to put up the signs, although both of them have recruited others to help on occasion. As Shelley says about these outings, "Sometimes it seems to be a comedy of errors - you never have the right supplies no matter what you bring and something always creates a challenge."
Ed and Shelley had to make this ladder from scrap lumber at the site.
Logistics on this massive sign were tricky.

Waterfront properties are usually done using Ed's boat. This means that Shelley is often the one sent to place the sign while Ed steadies the boat (and laughs at Shelley).

Was this before or after you dropped the hammer, Shelley?

Sometimes, like this summer, Ed will put friends and family to work putting signs up. In this case he recruited some family friends to get the signs out one day!

Two sets of hands definitely makes it easier.

"Getting the sign on the right property can be difficult," says Shelley. "There aren't any street numbers on these properties, so good mapping and charts are crucial." You don't want to go back and take it down until it is sold!

Picking up the sign hangers.

Some properties require travelling to by vehicle and some good trekking to find the right location to place the sign. Up on trees, in clearings and in other places of high visibility are what is needed. Sometimes on the beach is where it has to go.

A tall lone tree is perfect.

That driftwood root isn't going anywhere.

The reward in getting these signs out comes when we receive a call in the office from someone who is in a boat or on a remote road looking at the sign and calling to inquire about the property, or they've written the number down and called us when they are back in cell range. (Of course that can also pose challenges for us in the office, as we have a lot of signs out there and telling us it was seen from the water doesn't really narrow it down!)

Whatever it takes to get the sign in place.

Sign hanging is just another unique aspect of the BCO office. "It's always interesting, but in the end we get the job done while having fun and being outdoors. Just another thing that I love about the work I do!"

Smile Shelley!
It's a Coastal Lifestyle ... Pass It On!