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!