Thursday 29 December 2022

Looking Forward to 2023

We are always excited about a new year. At the time of writing this newsletter, we are hard at work with our goal setting for 2023. Creating new plans with new ideas as well as refining our existing plans definitely gets us looking forward to the start of the year.

The real estate market in general is uncertain right now. What we know is that for sellers pricing a property correctly is crucial to having success. As a team that has experienced the highs and lows of real estate through the years, we know how to evaluate and market a property to make it attractive to the right buyer as well as help a seller understand what the current economics of the day mean for selling a property at that time.

Inventory for remote and recreational properties remains extremely limited. There are buyers looking for these properties, as evidenced by the fact that when a good one comes on the property it is attracting a lot of attention and in some cases still selling quickly. Pricing is important but in this niche market inventory is what makes the difference. Buyers need properties to look at!

As predictions indicate the interest rates for now will remain higher than last year, we expect the market to continue a little slower and for average prices to come down a bit more. However, people still need to sell properties and buy properties and as people adjust to the new market both buyers and sellers will gain confidence and settle into the reality of the moment.

We look forward to more work trips in the field, as with three agents scheduling these trips out of office is getting easier. Our goal is always to provide excellent service to all our clients, both buyers and sellers.

Finally, we wish you all a stellar 2023, however that might look for you. If buying or selling real estate is part of your plans for the year we are here to talk anytime.

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

Thursday 15 December 2022

6 Quick Touch-up Ideas Before Listing

 If you’re thinking of selling, you’re probably planning to do a few minor improvements to make your property more appealing to buyers. That’s a smart idea. 

The ideas below work as well for a recreational property as they do for residential properties, as giving any living space a more clean, spacious and updated look enhances that first impression. In addition, a good clean-up and clear-out of the property prior to listing is also recommended!

So, what are the best small improvements to make? Here are a few ideas:

·         Cabinet hardware. Upgrading the hardware on kitchen and bathroom cupboard doors and drawers can have a surprising impact on the look of those rooms. The best part is, this improvement is about as DIY-friendly as it gets!

·         Cover plates. If you have older light and electrical switches, replacing the cover plates with something more stylish can make a difference. It’s probably the simplest way to give a room a more modern look.

·         Countertops. Replacing kitchen or bathroom countertops isn’t cheap. However, it’s substantially less expensive than a full-on kitchen or bathroom renovation. And, new countertops make those rooms look refreshed.

·         Kitchen sink and faucet. If your current sink is old and stained, replacing it is a fairly simple improvement that will have a big impact. Also consider updating the faucet to further enhance the look of the space. There are hundreds of styles available.

·         Carpeting. Of all the types of flooring, carpets are the easiest and most affordable to replace. New carpets also create a clean and upgraded look. If you have old carpeting on the main floor or stairs, consider replacing it when selling.

·         Lights and fixtures. If you have old light fixtures in your home, especially in key areas such as the foyer and kitchen, your lighting may be dim. New fixtures will not only make those spaces more modern-looking and appealing, but the lighting will probably also be better too.

A little freshening up of your rooms can make all the difference to a prospective buyer walking into the space for the first time.

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

Thursday 1 December 2022

Wells as Domestic Water Source

Wells bring up the real pioneer vibe for so many people. That's because wells have always been a good, practical way to get fresh water to a home or property. Many recreational developments will put in wells of some sort, often shared between two or more properties. Older properties, especially on the islands or further outside of residential centres, will often have a well as their main water source. (Newer properties are as likely to have rain water collection or spring water collection into a cistern system.) 

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 these types of wells referred to as shallow or deep dug wells, meaning the general 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 keeping good records if your property has a well will definitely be of benefit. If it is a property we are listing we will research any suspected well for location, well id tags, well logs, etc.

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

Thursday 17 November 2022

BCO Coastal Gem: Port Neville

Central to all outdoors activities and wildlife, Port Neville is a picturesque 8-mile long mainland inlet that provides relatively well-protected areas for outdoor activities, including excellent salmon and halibut fishing, crabbing and prawning. Port Neville is situated in Johnstone Strait on a portion of the mainland of British Columbia that extends towards and is the closest geographically to Vancouver Island

Port Neville was once the site of a busy service community and until approx 2010 still had a post office. Like many of the waterways in this region it is also of significance to First Nations. Mariners appreciate the location during stormy weather as it provides a calm spot to hide.


The inlet and the waters of Johnstone Strait are known for their abundance of wildlife. There is a tremendous variety of mainland wildlife such as deer, cougars and bears including resident Grizzly bears who can be viewed seasonally at the head of the inlet as they feed on returning salmon. Marine wildlife includes sea lions, seals, dolphins and orca whales. 

Access to Vancouver Island is approximately 20 minutes away by boat - 9 miles southeast and across Johnstone Strait to Kelsey Bay, just north of Sayward. The Port Harvey Marine Resort, situated to the north of Port Neville between East and West Cracroft Islands, offers a general store, moorage and a licensed restaurant.

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

Thursday 3 November 2022

The Murkiness of Moorage in BC

 Over the years we have watched the rules around moorage in BC change drastically. From the documents and permissions required to the rules around building a dock, things rarely stay constant.

Moorage in BC is overseen by the Ministry of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Their rules for private moorage for residential use are posted on their website. The gist of the rules as they stand now are that the Ministry allows for General Permission within certain guidelines. If your proposed dock and property fit within those guidelines, then you can follow the rules for General Permission and do not need to make an actual application to the Crown. 

If for any reason the General Permission guidelines do not fit, then you will need to apply to the Crown for what may be either Specific Permission or possibly a lease. Specific Permissions do not have a required renewal date, while leases/licenses of occupation do.

General Permission is only for docks which will be in front of the dock owner's personal property, with no other property in between. In other words, the dock owner must also be the upland owner. We have seen this cause issues in places where the Crown has retained a strip of land in front of properties in remote locations, originally intended to be a common walkway or access when the land was first surveyed but then never developed or used as such.

When it comes to requesting a transfer of an existing license of occupation or Specific Permission for moorage, patience is required. The Ministry can take years to complete this process and there are no guarantees when dealing with a third party. 

We would not be surprised if just as we all became comfortable and familiar with the current moorage rules they change again - seems to be the way. 

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

Thursday 20 October 2022

5 Steps to Prepare Your Recreational Property for the Off-Season

 Fall has begun and with it comes the promise of rain and wind and storms on the west coast. Just like you should clean your gutters, unhook your hoses and put away the patio furniture at your home, you should take some time to prepare your recreational and remote properties for the fall and winter seasons.

1. Water - if you are not going to be using your property over the winter your water supply should be properly shut down. Turn off at the source, drain the hot water tank, and leave both indoor and outdoor taps open. 

2. Exterior 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. If you have to leave canoes/kayaks or boats outside, make sure they are turned upside down so they can’t fill with water and that they are secured to something so they can’t blow about.

3. Interior – Clean out the fridge, and make sure that food stuffs are either well packaged, stored somewhere else or thrown out. Mice love a winter meal! Putting linens, towels, dishcloths, etc somewhere extra dry will help keep mould from growing on damp fabrics. Consider a moisture absorber container (no damp, damp rid, dri-z-air), especially on the coast or near water.

4. 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. As an added security measure, and especially in wooded areas where debris and branches may come down, consider boarding up the windows.

5. Trees, shrubs, etc - now is a good time to prune any dead branches or long/heavy branches that are getting too close to buildings or look like they will block a driveway. These can come down during winter storms and do a lot of damage with no one around to clean up. Better to deal with it now.

Plus a bonus for those properties with docks:

6. 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. This will also deter mould build-up over the winter.

A small amount of time spent shutting down, cleaning up and locking up will save time and possibly money come spring. Time to get it done before the rain and colder weather come!

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

Thursday 6 October 2022

How Remote is Your Remote?

Here in the BCO office we are always cautious when someone tells us they want a remote property. That's because over the years, wehave learned that one person's remote just might be another person's crowded community. 

When you picture a remote property, what do you visualize? What do you really want? Here are some questions that can help start defining what that might look like for you.

1. Do you want/need road access?
For some people remote means no one can drive to the property (generally getting there by boat instead, although some may even be hike in) while for other people having road access may be important, even if it's hours away from civilization and a dirt or gravel road.

2. Do you want/need any services?
Does your version of remote mean absolutely no services and either creating off-grid systems or just doing rain water collection, fire and an outhouse? Or do you still want access to power or cell service or telephone/internet service?

3. How close do you want other people?
Remote for you might mean no one within sight or sound of your property or even within a day's walk. For someone else it might mean being part of a small community of properties.

4. How close do you want to be to a service centre or amenities?
While someone may want to live off-grid, they may not want to be more than a couple hours from a service centre or at least access to basic amenities such as food shopping or fuel. Someone else may not care about access to amenities, being willing to travel over a distance to get to any sort of services.

Whatever your remote may be, the BC Oceanfront Real Estate Team can likely find the right property for you!

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

Thursday 15 September 2022

BCO Property Visits

 The end of summer has seen the team very busy out of the office, visiting a number of remote properties. Unlike going to a residential property that can be driven to, visiting these types of properties involves a great deal of planning and a very long day of travel (sometimes even two days).

Early morning boat trip out of Zeballos to Centre Island 
meant an overnight in Zeballos for Greg.

One of the first considerations is what is the best way to get there? Many times that is by boat, either by water taxi or with one of the team boats. The decision to take a team boat includes where the launch will be from and whether it makes sense to trailer a boat to that location or is it more expedient to arrange for a water taxi pickup? When boat is not practical or going to be very time-consuming, then we might look at a float plane. This can sometimes be an economical option and definitely can save on travel time.

Float plane drop off at Hot Springs Oceanside.

Recently Shelley and Greg visited our new listing at Hot Springs Oceanside to get photos and put a sign up. This was done with the services of a float plane company out of Tofino (Atleo Air). Even if a property is undeveloped it can still be quite a visit, as we try to get lots of good photos, to ascertain the lay of the land, follow any trails, etc and also find the right spot to get a sign or two up (depends on the size and dimensions of the property).

Walking the property at Hot Springs Oceanside.

Before heading to the property a lot of work needs to be done. While we can pinpoint a property on a map, being able to identify it either from the air or water is another matter! So lots of satellite images and google map closeups of the shoreline, etc are prepared to assist with finding the property. If it has improvements on it, or a dock, that makes it easier. Making sure there are signs, nails/screws and tools for putting up a sign, paperwork and data sheets so all the needed information is collected and the general gear required for a remote outing is all done the day before.

Satellite cadastre map for Hot Springs Oceanside listing.

These are full day excursions, starting with a drive to the launch point (or float plane dock). Then the ride to the property. Once on the property, there is a lot of work to be done. And while doing it, don't forget to be taking lots of photos! The team feels a lot of pressure on these trips to get as much done as possible, as a return trip isn't something that can be done quickly or off the cuff.

Nootka Sound fieldtrip.

We call these types of property visits BCO field trips, and while they are a lot of work they are also a major highlight of the work we do. Every trip is an adventure!

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

Thursday 1 September 2022

Coastal Marine Parks of BC

 The coastline of BC has over 40 designated marine parks (ocean parks that is, there are many more lake and river marine parks in addition to this). 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 18 August 2022

Real Estate and Service Providers

Working in residential real estate you get to know the local building inspectors, city hall staff, mortgage brokers and insurance brokers through helping your clients with purchasing and selling properties. These are the service provides and relationships most experienced agents will nurture over the years, and BC Oceanfront is no exception.

Working in niche real estate such as remote, recreational and resort property sales however, there are other service providers that we also get to know.

1. Water taxis. When trailering a boat just doesn't fit in the schedule, or there are other properties to be viewed on the way, or the boat is on the other side of the island, sometimes taking a water taxi is a better way to get to a property. And certainly for other agents and for prospective buyers, water taxis are sometimes the best option. 

2. Float planes. When boating somewhere will take too long, or the property is simply more easily accessed from the air, chartering a flight with a float plane is the way to go. At one point Ed did own a float plane, but in recent years BCO has worked with local charter companies for flights when needed.

3. Well Diggers. Can a well be dug or drilled? Has one been dug or drilled that information is needed for? Well diggers are the people you need to talk to.

4. Waste Water Practitioners. Septic systems and grey water systems are a big deal on properties outside of service areas, and knowing who the experts are helps.

5. Surveyors. Sometimes property boundaries haven't been checked in over 50 years, or sometimes there are questions about easements or shared areas. If this is important to a buyer, then a surveyor is needed. 

There are more service providers we use on occasion, but these are some of the most important. Because we work in this type of real estate regularly, we know who to call and what information to ask for, allowing us to be of assistance to our clients and to market our listings fully.

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

Thursday 4 August 2022

Who Is Buying Remote Property?

When people ask about the types of real estate we sell, one of the things that fascinates a lot of them is the remote property sector. While people may daydream about getting away from it all, very few actually pursue owning a remote piece of property; one that has no road access, no visible neighbours and no services.

So who are the prospective buyers looking at this type of property? Surprisingly, there is no specific buyer profile. While they do all share a desire for remote land, their reasons for it and their demographics are as different as can be.

Off-grid living has become a popular topic on social media and there are a handful of reality shows that address it as well. This attracts a variety of people, whether they be young people feeling that they want to start their lives being self-sufficient and independent, or older people who have experienced a life change and feel the need to disconnect from society in some ways. Families, couples and single people all express interest in this desire to live off-grid.

For other prospective buyers it is about having a place to connect with nature completely. They may not want to live full-time on the property, but instead are looking to have a private place where they can go and camp for several weeks at a time and disconnect.

Some prospective buyers want a piece of remote land as security. These are people who are concerned about climate issues, or political issues, or societal issues, and feel it would be of benefit to have a piece of land somewhere remote ‘just in case’.

Finally, there are those looking to establish a family legacy. Whether they plan to develop the property or not, they like the idea of a remote piece of the west coast being in their family for generations to come.

Whatever their reasons, we are happy to work with all prospective buyers as one of the few real estate teams to market and source remote properties along the BC coast.

It’s a Coastal Lifestyle … Live It!

Thursday 21 July 2022

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 7 July 2022

Inlets of the BC South Central Coast

The South Central Coast of BC is accessible only by boat or float plane as it is surrounded by the high peaks of the Coast Mountain Range on the mainland and the straits that run between the mainland and Vancouver Island. This wilderness region is well known for amazing natural beauty, wildlife viewing and fishing and it is popular with boaters and outdoor enthusiasts.

Boating in Bute Inlet

Bute Inlet, considered one of the grandest fjords in the world, is surrounded by the rugged coastal mountains of the British Columbia mainland coast, capped by the Homathko Icefield and numerous other glaciers. It runs 80km long and averages 4km in width, and is one of the deepest fjords in this region at 660m. It is located approximately 30 miles north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island. 

Bute Inlet

Loughborough Inlet is approximately 22 miles deep, running from the mouth of the Stafford River to Cordero Channel across from West Thurlow Island at the northern end of the Discovery Islands. It is just south of Johnstone Strait. Its average width is 2.5km and the inlet is halfway between the entrances to Knight Inlet and Bute Inlet.

Loughborough Inlet

Toba Inlet is known for its amazing waterfalls and emerald waters. As one of the shorter inlets in this stretch of coast at only 35km in length, it is popular with kayakers and boaters as a great place to explore and offers all of the amazing wildlife viewing that the entire region is known for.

Toba Inlet 

Knight Inlet is the largest in this section of coastal fjords, stretching about 125km and averaging 2.5km in width. The opening of the inlet is just north of Johnstone Strait in Queen Charlotte Strait, along the southern edge of the Great Bear Rain Forest. Knight Inlet is well known for bear watching during the salmon runs of the late summer/early fall especially.  

Knight Inlet 

These inlets and all the other waterways that make up this region provide a diverse, fascinating wilderness experience to boaters and adventurers.

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