June 15, 2017
The best communities on Vancouver Island: Royston
Royston Wrecks, photo by David Stanley
Courtenay’s southern neighbour has much appeal
Settled in the early 1900s, Royston was the major port for the Comox Valley logging industry. Today, its residents come here to be close to the water, close to town and close to the highway.
What’s not to like about that?
Why Royston is a great place to live
Royston is situated across the harbour from Comox and just southeast of the municipal boundary of Courtenay. So not only does it have the beautiful ocean views and proximity to the ocean within easy access of the Island Highway, it also has the convenience of being just minutes from the center of the Comox Valley’s shopping areas. And the part that people like best about this settlement is that it still has a rural feel, despite its advantageous location. Picturesque and pastoral, you need to take a closer look at properties in this area of the Comox Valley!
Royston properties offer both new and older homes, many of which feature views of the harbour. Lot sizes can range from city sized to small acreages. Royston is part of the regional water system; there is a mix of sewage and septic within the area. For information on properties available within this community, or anywhere else within the Comox Valley, please get in contact with my associate Andrea Davis or me.
Make sure to visit our website mikefisherhomes.com for all the latest listings within the Comox Valley. And feel free to call me directly at 250.218.3895 with your real estate questions.
Don’t forget to download my free homebuyer’s guide to moving to the Comox Valley. Full of information, links to and facts about the Valley’s recreation, communities and more, it’s a great resource for those thinking of relocating to this spectacular region of Vancouver Island. And check out my new guide to selling, while you're at it!
June 2, 2017
How the internet has changed the way we buy & sell homes
Blogs, webpages, online marketing and more
In real estate, as in so many aspects of life, the internet has changed the way we operate.
From simple things like coordinating showings via Facebook to more complex things like creating blogs based on SEO (Search Engine Optimization), I’ve certainly felt the difference that online technology makes.
Here are just some of the ways that technology works for me – and my clients!
Internet marketing and online presence means quick and easy access
Without a doubt, when it comes to real estate and the internet, the best thing for Realtors® and clients is accessibility – the ability to easily get online information on residential and commercial real estate 24 hours a day. I know that with our marketing system, we can respond immediately and directly to each and every prospective homebuyer who may come across one of our listings. Interested parties can find out about available homes immediately and can view property listings anytime, any day from anywhere.
We offer our clients a Personal Home Search service, so buying criteria is noted and suitable property listings go directly to their inbox. For sellers, their listing is sent by email to every qualified prospective buyer within our homebuyer database. Through a combination of mobile listing search and text codes, homebuyers have instant access to important information about your home in the palm of their hands – whether it’s in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland or elsewhere on Vancouver Island!
Blogging, tweeting and linking in helps properties get noticed
Despite what some politicians have done for the image of social media in the past couple years, in my work as a professional Realtor®, I’ve seen only positive things come from blogging, tweeting and other social media platforms.
I never imagined I’d become a blogger, but it’s part of what I do to ensure that my clients get the attention they deserve. Through our Facebook page, website and other social media feeds, client homes are seen by thousands. By employing proven marketing strategies, such as keyword research, and creating strong SEO (Search Engine Optimization) rankings, we’ve garnered a tonne of attention and our clients have felt the benefits.
The fact is, social media is an excellent way to get information out there to a large and diverse audience. Sharing real-estate related material, such as selling tips for clients, information on local selling trends or weekly updates of our Comox Valley open houses, is a quick, efficient and helpful way to make connections. Like me on Facebook and you’ll see what I mean!
A good webpage can sell houses on its own
Well, okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but a website can offer plenty of help for buyers and sellers alike. Take my website for example. There you’ll find numerous services and links, including forms for free home evaluations, access to local, office and featured listings, a school locator link and mortgage calculator and more. No wonder it’s attracting hundreds of new visitors every month!
Internet technology even helps with traditional marketing strategies
Once you list your home with us, your Comox Valley selling agent, your home is added to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. Other agents can immediately access your property information, and your Courtenay, Comox or Cumberland property is included in any printed MLS books.
And we still regularly publish listings in local magazines and Island Best Homes, but these are now easily accessed and disseminated online. We can also use online research to help come up with and coordinate successful direct mail campaigns to potential homebuyers in the Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland areas.
What this means to me and my clients
It used to be that putting a few pictures in the local paper was the best way to bring attention to clients’ homes. Today’s online marketing offers so many more options both for sellers and potential buyers. Information is easily updated, shared and accessed, making the buying and selling process quicker and more streamlined.
Having a strong online marketing program has allowed me to be quickly attain a clear idea of what people are looking for and become even more attentive to my clients’ needs. Creating that well-established online presence is an investment of time and money, but it has proven to give clients even more of an edge when it comes to buying and selling efficiently.
Of course, as a Realtor®, no matter how savvy you are, buying and selling real estate is still about getting your clients what they want and making sure they are happy. If you know the local market and can create relationships built on professionalism and trust, success will be had.
For further info on selling or buying properties in and around the Comox Valley, contact my associate Andrea Davis or me anytime. Visit mikefisherhomes.com today!
Oh, and make sure to take advantage of my newly created digital downloads. Full of useful information and tips on various aspects of the local realty market, it’s just another way you can use technology to achieve your realty dreams. Click here for my Homebuyers Guide to the Comox Valley and here for the Sellers’ guide.
May 15, 2017
Before you start your summer reno project . . .
Talk to your realty professional!
I get it – the sun is out, temperatures are warming up, the garden’s coming alive and your thoughts turn to making some changes to your home.
But wait! Before you get going the wheels in motion and start buying supplies and speaking with contractors, talk to a Realtor®!
Unfortunately, as an experienced Realtor®, I’ve seen more than one reno that shouldn’t have occurred. To keep that from happening to you, here are some things to think about before strapping on that toolbelt.
Why are you considering a reno?
If that avocado-coloured toilet and tub have been driving you crazy and you plan to be in your home for another five years, then, okay, get working. But if you’re considering knocking out a wall to give the house a more open feel and increase resale value, check with your Realtor® first.
Listing prices come down to numerous factors such as the local neighbourhood, supply and demand, location, comparative market value, and other things your Realtor® can get into. Sure, changing your decking may improve appearances, but it likely won’t influence sales or be worth it in terms of compensation.
Still looking to renovate? Your Realtor® will tell you where to start
I tell my clients to get me in for a free home evaluation. Once I have a good look at your home, get some history and do a comparative market analysis, I can let you know if and where work is required.
If there are any issues such as roof leaks or foundation problems, those should be taken care of. Sure, it’s not as fun and exciting as putting in new countertops, but buyers are looking for homes with no major issues. If things are good on that front then, generally speaking, kitchens and bathrooms are always prime reno targets. Let’s face it, they see a lot of action. Flooring and windows can be big ticket items, so it’s important to get a professional opinion before diving in.
Bottom line – when it comes to renovations talk to a trusted realty professional sooner than later!
For further info on buying, selling or properties in and around the Comox Valley, contact my associate Andrea Davis or me anytime. Visit our website mikefisherhomes.com today!
And if you’re new to the Valley or thinking about moving to the Island, have a look at my free guide to moving to the Comox Valley.
April 26, 2017
The best communities on Vancouver Island: Cumberland
Old and new come together to create something special in the Comox Valley
A true gem of a community, Cumberland’s popularity continues to grow amongst those relocating to Vancouver Island. Where family, fun, history and hipness all come together – maybe this special part of the Comox Valley will be a perfect fit for you and your family.
Located just off the Inland Highway (19) midway up Vancouver Island, the Village of Cumberland offers a small-town feel while being just 10 minutes from Courtenay. Surrounded by forest, hills, lakes and nature, outdoor enthusiasts and families love all it has to offer.
Embracing its coal mining past and creating a new economic future through celebrating the surrounding natural environment, residents have great community pride and spirit. Take it from me, there’s plenty to appreciate about this legendary Village.
Cumberland yesterday and today
Nestled into the hills of the Beaufort Mountains, the area first gained notice after coal was discovered in 1852. By the 1880s, homes and mines had sprung up and the settlement know as Union officially became Cumberland in 1898. The area continued to prosper well into the early twentieth century. Eventual decline in coal stocks in the 1950s led many families to leave the area or turn to forestry for employment. And with changes in land use and forestry in the 1990s, housing and development had hit a standstill.
With the addition of the Comox Valley Airport, like other areas in the region, Cumberland has experienced steady growth over the last twenty years. Recreation is now a big part of it economic plan. You can find out all about the Village’s rich history at the Cumberland Museum and Archives.
Recreation in and around Cumberland
With its prime location, Cumberland offers plenty of options for residents and visitors – fishing, hiking and paddling are all popular options. But without a doubt, it’s the area’s biking trails that really get people’s blood flowing.
The unofficial epicentre of mountain biking on Vancouver Island, there are more than 80 kilometres of legendary single-track trails winding through the local hills. Just minutes from the downtown strip you can find yourself surrounded by roots, stumps, loam and jumps as you pedal through the forests. It truly is spectacular!
Families and kids and the Village
Aside from the recreation, what also appeals to many is the great family vibe within the Village. Take a quick stroll through town and it becomes obvious that family life is a big part of Cumberland. Initially attracted to the area for its affordability, families are now coming for the comfortable, small-town neighbourhood feel. And the town has done much to encourage this. With the Village Park, recreation programs, the Coal Hills BMX tracks, festivals and events, there are lots of things that will keep the little ones busy and happy.
Buying property in Cumberland – big, small, new or new to you
The past decade has seen impressive growth in Cumberland. Once known as the most affordable part of the Valley, that is quickly changing as people have seen what a wonderful place it is to raise a family, recreate or both. In terms of what is available for housing, there is a good range of options. Both new and old houses come onto the market fairly regularly, and lot sizes can vary from city sized off the main street to small acreages on the outskirts of town.
Questions about moving to the Comox Valley?
For more info about Cumberland or any of the other communities that make up the fabulous Comox Valley, please download my free homebuyer’s guide to moving to the Comox Valley. Full of local resources and general information, it will answer many of your questions about relocating to the best part of Vancouver Island.
Please get in touch with me or my associate Andrea Davis with any questions about the local area or property listings in the Comox Valley. Visit our website mikefisherhomes.com or call me directly any time at 250.218.3895 with all your real estate queries.
April 18, 2017
Buying in the Comox Valley
A guide to help you find what you want
I may be biased, but it’s always a great time to buy real estate in the Comox Valley.
Between the recreation opportunities, the spectacular location and the local amenities, this area of Vancouver Island has got everything a person could want or need.
If you’re thinking about making the move, or maybe you’re trying to convince friends or family, you need to have a look at my new free buyer’s guide: Everything you Need to Know about Moving to the Comox Valley.
Download my Buyer’s Guide to get the inside scoop on the Comox Valley
Having lived in the Valley for more than 25 years, I’ve got a pretty good idea of all that it has to offer. And with my years of experience as a local realtor, I know what buyers are looking for and wondering about.
I’ve put together a downloadable document that offers information, tips and suggestions for people who may be considering relocating to the beautiful Comox Valley.
This free 10-page guide will help you find out more about our wonderful community. In the guide, you’ll find an overview of the communities of the Comox Valley; information about and links to various recreational opportunities, such as skiing, water sports and year-round golf; as well as community resources, including public health and education links, and much more.
And if the guide doesn’t answer all your questions, get in touch directly through our website at mikefisherhomes.com or by calling 250.218.3895.
Buying, selling or just considering your options, we’d love to help you with your realty decisions. Please feel free to contact me or my associate Andrea Davis any time. For more information on the guide or any aspect of Comox Valley Real Estate, you can contact us through the website, my Facebook page or by phone at 250.218.3895.
Click here to download the buyer’s guide today!
April 3, 2017
Home sellers' checklist
Tips to make sure your transaction goes smoothly
Moving into the Comox Valley or thinking of moving out? Getting a bigger home for your growing family or contemplating downsizing? No matter where you’re going or what your reason for moving, it’s a big decision and a big deal!
So many things to think about and steps along the way – at times it can seem overwhelming. But with the right Realtors® on your side and a little preparation (well, let’s be honest, it’s more than a little), selling your home can be less of a big deal.
Following are some of the major items that should be on any home seller’s checklist.
Before you list
First and foremost, find a Realtor® you trust. If you don’t have someone in mind, talk to friends and neighbours to make sure you get a professional with local experience and the attention to detail that you deserve.
Next, get a home evaluation. Our clients always get a free home evaluation and Comparative Market Analysis when they sign on with us to find out what their home is worth. We’ll also make suggestions of small repairs or home improvements that will help sell the house more quickly.
Clean, de-clutter, de-personalize and clean some more. Try to look through the eyes of a potential buyer. Do they really want to see broken window screens, the downstairs closet full of winter clothes or paint flaking off the bathroom door? You get the picture. Get rid of clutter, take down most of the family photos and de-personalize. Don’t have the time to give a thorough top to bottom clean? Hire some professional cleaners. It will be worth it.
While your home is on the market
Stay vigilant and keep things ship-shape. Offer the kids candy incentives or whatever else it takes. Keep the lawn mowed and bushes trimmed. Have your home ready to be shown at a moment’s notice. And speaking of being shown . . .
Be available and accessible. Homes that get shown, get sold. So, make it easy for your agent to get people through the door. Restrictive timeframes and having to making appointments way in advance are not helpful.
When an offer comes in
Count on your Realtor® to walk you through the offer process. As a licensee, your Realtor® is obligated to present all written offers to you, regardless of whether the asking price is met or not. Your Realtor® will explain the process of receiving and reviewing offers. Once you’ve received an offer you have the option to: accept the offer as it stands, make a counter offer, reject the offer, or ignore the offer.
It is important to take the time to review any offer carefully with your Realtor®. Typically, there are “subject” clauses that require certain conditions to be fulfilled before a sale can proceed. You will be relying on your Realtor® to help you understand and navigate these clauses, so it is vital that you’re working with experienced people you trust.
Completing the sale and getting ready to move
Have a lawyer or notary work on your behalf. Normal practice has the buyer’s legal reps preparing the necessary documents for transferring ownership, but you will also need legal counsel to act solely on your behalf. It’s just another measure that protects your interests. Among other things, they can check the documents prepared by the buyer’s lawyer, ensure your old mortgage has been properly discharged and no further obligations remain, arrange for signing transfer documents and outline where purchase money was disbursed.
Get started right away. From packing up to notifying friends and utility companies, the most important thing is not to leave stuff to the last minute. A little research on the internet about packing and moving tips will get you headed in the right direction.
As you can see there are plenty of things to consider when it’s time to sell your home, so make sure you have the right Realtors® at your side.
Buying or selling in the Comox Valley, on Vancouver Island or beyond? Please feel free to contact my associate Andrea Davis or me for help along the way. Looking for a free home evaluation? Click here.
Visit our website mikefisherhomes.com for further information on buying and selling real estate in the Comox Valley. And don’t forget to check out my free guide to moving to the Comox Valley.
March 15, 2017
After the snow and before the beach
Springtime recreation in the Comox Valley
Feeling a little adrift because you know that the Comox Valley ski season’s almost done, but it’s not quite time to get the tennis racket out? Not to worry – when you live in the Comox Valley there’s no such thing as the “off-season.”
Hit the gym
With local rec centers (Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland) and plenty of private options to choose from, it’s always a great time to prepare your body for the upcoming seasons of play – be it baseball, soccer, golf or tennis. Heck, even getting back into the garden means you’ll be using muscles that have taken it easy over the winter.
Hit the trails
There’s nothing better than getting back out on the local Comox Valley trails with your hiking boots or your bike. Yes, they may be mucky, but you haven’t really had a workout if you’re not doing a load of laundry at the end of it, right?
Hit the links
Snowfall may have played havoc with the late winter play, but the local fairways are now primed for players. Beat the rush by getting out now and you’ll be way ahead of your friends come July. Here’s a link to contact info for many of the local courses.
Hit the pool (in your kayak and dive gear!)
Did you know that you can actually take your kayak into the CV Aquatic Centre pool and get back into the saddle? Sure, you can’t go very far, but it’s a great place to work on your rolls, exits and entries without freezing your butt off! Not only that, the Sports Centre pool offers an introduction to scuba diving on Thursday nights. Be sure to confirm dates and times as the schedules do change occasionally.
For more information about some of the other local activity options, have a look at the recreation section of my free guide to moving to the Comox Valley.
As always, feel free to contact my associate Andrea Davis or me to find out more about the Comox Valley area. And make sure to visit our website mikefisherhomes.com for information on buying and selling real estate in the Comox Valley.
February 27, 2017
The best communities on Vancouver Island: Courtenay
Courtenay, the hub of the Comox Valley, has something for everyone
If you’re considering relocating to Vancouver Island, you need to consider the city of Courtenay.
One of Vancouver Island’s most vibrant communities, Courtenay is located midway up the east coast of the Island in the picturesque Comox Valley. In a region known for its beauty, charm and culture, Courtenay truly shines.
What makes Courtenay so special? Read on . . .
Buying property in Courtenay – there’s something for everyone
As a resident of the area for more than 25 years, I know that every community within the Comox Valley has its own appeal. Certainly, the vibrant downtown core is a big part of what makes Courtenay special. And within the city limits, there are plenty of parks, waterways, green space and recreational opportunities. Others love the fact that Courtenay has a small-town feel but plenty of big-city amenities. However, as a Comox Valley Realtor®, I think the thing that makes Courtenay stand out is its diversity.
No matter what you’re looking for in a home and neighbourhood, you’ll be able to find it here. Like a small-scale version of the Valley itself, there are distinct areas that make up the City of Courtenay – each with its own character and features.
Buying a home in Downtown Courtenay
One of the first areas settled in the Comox Valley in the late 1800s, Downtown Courtenay is where the action is. Unique boutiques, pubs, eateries and the Sid Williams Theatre anchor many of the seasonal activities and annual festivals that occur in the area. Recent years have seen a desire from both the public and the local government to have increased development in terms of housing options, but no firm plans or timeline have been established. Currently, the residential areas surrounding the downtown business centre consist mainly of older houses on city lots.
Real estate opportunities in East Courtenay
Bordering the Comox peninsula, this region of Courtenay is conveniently located close to the local Canadian Forces base (19 Wing Comox) and public airport (YQQ). It is also the home of the new hospital, which is set to open in Fall 2017. Within this area are numerous other amenities including the Aquatic Centre, Home Depot, Costco and several schools. Centrally located, the densification here is higher than other parts of the Valley. A large portion of the area’s housing options is in the form of detached homes in a variety of subdivisions, including Crown Isle. East Courtenay is very popular with both families and those nearing retirement.
Properties in North Courtenay
For a rural feel that’s close to town, this is the place to be. Offering homes on a variety of property sizes ranging from regular lots all the way up to farmlands, this area offers plenty of options for homebuyers. And even though this area is known for its great farmland and agricultural bounty, there is still the opportunity to be near the ocean!
West Courtenay realty options
Another area with potential for a country feel, the west side of Courtenay has a good variety of smaller acreages and is within easy access of biking, hiking and other recreational areas. Some locations that are farther afield may not be part of the public water system. Close to the mountain and minutes from town, the West side has plenty of perks!
Why buy in South Courtenay
Together with the neighboring settlement of Royston, this region gives homebuyers a chance to get an ocean vista with the convenience of being near the highway connector and malls. Lots are typically city-sized or slightly larger.
Do you have questions about moving to the Comox Valley?
For more information about Courtenay or any of the other Comox Valley communities, please download my free homebuyer’s guide to moving to the Comox Valley. Full of local information and resources, it will help answer your questions about relocating to this spectacular part of Vancouver Island.
Contact me or my associate Andrea Davis to find out more about the local area and property listings in the Comox Valley. And be sure to visit our website mikefisherhomes.com or call me directly at 250.218.3895 with any real estate questions.
February 6, 2017
What the Comox Valley’s best Realtors® know
Photo credit: David Stanley
And what YOU can know too, when you work with us!
Some people think that being a Realtor® is all about sticking up a For Sale sign and holding open houses. And sure, open houses, showings and meetings with clients and other agents is a big part of it, but the fact is, being a good Realtor® also comes down to experience and knowledge.
Comox Valley’s best Realtors® know the communities
One of the best things about the Comox Valley is the fact that it is made up of a number of micro-communities. From Royston to Merville and Denman to downtown Courtenay, we have an appreciation of what makes each area unique. Be it having a knowledge of building regulations or by-laws or knowing where French Immersion schools are located, we can help you figure out what area is best suited for your family’s needs.
Maybe you want to be close to the mountain but still close to town, we’ll have suggestions. Looking for small-town feel or a character home neighbourhood? We can find something that works. We’ve helped clients move in and out of every part of the Valley over the years, so please tap into our knowledge to make sure you find your ideal community.
Comox Valley’s best Realtors® know the market
Of course, buying or selling a home is a huge decision and knowing when to do it is always a big concern. Talk with us to get a better understanding of the current and projected market trends.
We pride ourselves on staying on the pulse of the Valley market. We keep current by accessing local and provincial industry stats, and we also draw upon our knowledge of past trends due to our long history of involvement. Get in touch if you have any questions about the market.
Comox Valley’s best Realtors® know how to meet your needs
When it comes to buying and selling we know we can meet your needs, or we know someone who can. Whether you need help finding a mortgage broker, have questions about inspections or insurance or even want the name of a contractor, we can get you the help you need. We have a wealth of contacts in numerous home-related industries, so make sure to ask.
In fact, we can even help with those things that don’t exactly fall under our “realty duties.” From finding a good dog kennel to knowing the best beach to take your grandchildren to, you can rely on us to provide insights. When you’ve worked, played and lived in the Valley for as long as I have, you get to know plenty of people, places and things worth sharing (I might even share my favourite fishing spots . . . might).
February 6, 2017
’Tis the season – Comox Valley military transfers
Photo credit: TSgT Mark Wyatt
We’ll help you find the right home quickly and conveniently
Whether you are new to 19 Wing or getting ready to move on, let Mike Fisher and Associates help take the stress out of your military transfer.
Rely on our personal and business experiences with the process to make sure your needs are met. We will make your situation a priority and give you our undivided attention.
Why use Mike Fisher and Associates for your military transfer to the Comox Valley?
Being both a military kid and ex-military myself, I know all about the ups and downs of making moves for work. And my associate Andrea Davis returned to the Comox Valley a few years ago from Trenton, Ontario, following her husband’s retirement after 25 years in military service. If you’re looking for knowledgeable military transfer Realtors®, our experience can’t be beat.
Other reasons to let us help with your move to 19 Wing
Aside from our first-hand understanding of the process, we will make your move a priority. We know that having to buy a house in five days can be, shall we say, a challenge – that’s why we will give you our full attention.
And if you’re selling, not only will we take care of things on this side, we have contacts across the country to help out on the other end.
And, of course, we’re registered with Brookfield Global Relocation Services
As professional relocation experts you know you’re in good hands. And as top realtors in the Comox Valley, we understand the local markets better than anyone. Take advantage of our information and the opinions of two experienced Realtors® today!
Making a military move? Let’s do this – together!
January 11, 2017
Three reasons to be excited about moving to the Comox Valley
At least, these are my top three – there’s plenty more!
If you’re lucky enough to call the Comox Valley home, you know there are ample reasons to love living here.
But for those who are considering relocating to this little piece of paradise, here are my top three reasons to be excited about making the move to Vancouver Island’s favourite valley.
Awesome food and drink scene
We all love to eat, drink and be merry, and living in the Valley makes it so darn easy (maybe too easy? Naaah…). With more than 80 eateries in the region, there are plenty of gastronomic options. From the exotic to local or pub fare to the perfect breakfast spot, you will always find something to fit the bill. Some of my favourite restaurants around the Valley include Comox’s Martine’s Bistro, Courtenay’s Union Street Grill and, for great burgers and a range of live entertainment, The Waverley in Cumberland.
In terms of liquid refreshments, the options are also numerous. Various craft breweries, vineyards and even a couple of distilleries ensure there are libations for every taste. Most of the vineyards, as well as the Shelter Point Distillery (makers of whisky, vodka and liqueurs) and the Wayward Distillation House (purveyors of gin and vodka) offer tours of their establishments, so be sure to check them out.
Conveniences of a big centre without its drawbacks
One of the great things about living in the Comox Valley is that you get to enjoy the best features of bigger cities without the annoyances. We have major retailers – WalMart, Costco, Best Buy and Home Depot (without the crazy rush hours and congestion), and a plethora of boutique and ma and pa shops found throughout the downtown areas of Comox, Cumberland, & Courtenay that provide shopping opportunities for virtually any taste. Crime is low and community spirit is high.
Mild climate means year-round recreation (and there’s a lot of it!)
Land, sea and alpine, there is always something to do anytime of the year.
Like to play near the beach? Kite-boarding, stand-up paddleboarding, windsurfing, sailing and kayaking are all options. Prefer terra firma? Walking trails, golf courses, tennis courts and numerous road- and mountain-biking opportunities abound. Or maybe you just want to head into the hills for summer hiking or winter play. Nothing better than enjoying some après-ski, après-toboggan or après-snowshoe up at Mount Washington!
And don’t forget the rivers and lakes. Oh, did I mention the fishing? Geez, it’s a wonder anyone gets any work done in this town!
Come see for yourself why the Comox Valley is so great!
January 4, 2017
Your New Year’s resolution: sell your house!
A few first steps to making your home sale a reality
Is 2017 the year you finally decide to sell your home? Let us help you, and we’ll make sure this is one resolution that won’t get broken!
We know that the thought of making a move can be a bit overwhelming. But the fact is, with the right Realtor®, selling your home is an exciting opportunity. Why not get the process started?
Not sure where to begin? Here are some first steps that will get you pointed in the right direction.
Start by getting a home evaluation
When you’re thinking about selling, a good valuation of your home’s worth is your best, first step. A home evaluation not only lets you know what you should be asking, it lets you know what you can afford. Even if you’ve had an evaluation done previously, the way the market changes from year to year (sometimes even season to season!) means you should ensure your appraisal is still accurate.
A typical evaluation takes about an hour. Once a time is set, it’s just a matter of showing your house and answering some questions about your home’s history, your likes and dislikes, etc.
Interviewing a Realtor®
Speaking of Realtors®, make sure you have one!
Nobody knows the market better than a professional Realtor®. We have access to information that you don’t, from sale pricing and expiry pricing to how many times a home has been listed at a certain price. We know what it takes to do a proper analysis and we’ll suggest a price that will get the right results.
Whether asking for referrals from friends or doing some online research, you need to find an agent who has proven experience with the local market, who will listen to your needs and wants and with whom you can clearly communicate.
Preparing your home for photos and showings
Once you’ve made the decision to list, it’s an appropriate time to take a good look at what you are selling.
Whoa . . . where did all that clutter come from?! You may love your knickknacks and family photo wall, but will a perspective buyer? You’re going to be moving anyways, so it’s a good time to minimize, simplify and start putting stuff away.
Whatever you do, don’t start any renos! Always speak with your agent before making any home improvements. A little paint is okay, but any bigger projects may not see the desired return or make a difference to the selling price.
December 6, 2016
The state of the Vancouver Island and Comox Valley real estate markets
Low Island inventory and leveling off of Vancouver prices mark the end of an energetic 2016
There’s no doubt about it – 2016 was a robust year for real estate throughout the province, particularly on the Island and in the Lower Mainland. Here in the Comox Valley, happy buyers and sellers were keeping local Realtors® hopping!
And now, as the year draws to a close, a couple of trends have come to the forefront: low inventory and a levelling off of housing prices in Vancouver.
Record lows of inventory
According to the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board (VIREB), who started tracking inventory in 1999, inventory has never been lower. And a low inventory means a seller’s market. Jason Finlayson, 2016 VIREB Past President, encourages potential sellers to make the most of these market conditions.
“Sellers are in the driver’s seat right now, but consumers need to realize that sellers’ markets don’t last forever,” says Finlayson. “If you’re thinking of putting your home on the market, now is the time.”
So Lower Mainland prices have stabilized, but what about the Island?
August, September and October marked three straight months of flat sales in Vancouver. Housing prices remain high but there seems to have been a cooling in sales. It remains to be seen whether this is due to the introduction of the Foreign Buyer Tax and the Government of Canada’s changes to mortgage rules (mostly implemented in October).
Farther away from the Lower Mainland, sales have remained consistently positive. People are still looking to settle outside of the big city. Stats from VIREB show that in the Comox Valley, the benchmark price was $398,500, which is up 17 per cent from 2015!
The fact that the VIREB Buyer Profile for 2015 shows that only 2 per cent of buyers on the Island were international and more than 75 per cent of buyers were from the Island or other parts of BC seems to indicate that low inventory is the biggest challenge rather than new taxes and mortgage legislation.
So what does this mean for the Comox Valley market into next year?
Consumer confidence is high and the province’s employment growth and financial state is stable – these are good things! Growth is expected to remain steady. Municipal improvements and development in all our Valley communities will continue.
As noted, a lack of inventory is making it tough for interested buyers. So if you’ve been considering entering the market, the time is now!
In a competitive housing market, finding the right realtor is crucial. We can use our knowledge of the local market and sales tools to ensure you succeed.
Contact me or my associate Andrea Davis to find out more about the Comox Valley market and listings. You can also get in touch with us through my website mikefisherhomes.com or call me directly at 250.218.3895.
December 6, 2016
Christmas in the Comox Valley
A little something for everyone
“So much to do, so little time . . . ”
That saying pretty well sums up the Christmas season in the Comox Valley. Be it enjoying craft markets, holiday entertainment or seasonal recreation activities, jingle-bell time is a swell time when you’ve made the Valley home.
Whether you’re looking to keep the kids busy during Christmas break or entertaining folks from out of town, you’ll find there’s plenty to see and do. Here are just some of the options available for festive fun throughout the local communities!
Christmas means crafts markets – especially in the Comox Valley!
Okay, so while Christmas craft fairs aren’t exactly unique to the Valley, our energetic artsy community ensures they’re a step above in terms of quality and quantity. Beginning in early November you can expect to find plenty of options every weekend.
This year the Elevate Winter Bazaar is being held at the Native Sons Hall on December 3rd. December 3rd and 4th sees markets at Black Creek and Denman Island community halls; December 10 and 11th the Touch of Class market takes place in Comox at the Little Red Church. And, as always, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market runs Saturday mornings right up to Christmas at the Native Sons Hall. For more info on these craft markets, follow this link to the What’s On Digest listings.
Live entertainment and other merrymaking
Had your fill of craft markets? Well then sit back and enjoy some entertainment. The Sid Williams Theatre always has plenty of seasonal offerings. This year British comedians James and Jamesy will be performing O Christmas Tea. Like Monty Python? These guys will be right up your alley. Of course, for more traditional tastes The Nutcracker will be performed later in the month, as well as other musical performers and variety shows.
Family fun and playing around
Not to suggest that younger members of your family need to get active and blow off some steam, but I’ve heard that other people’s kids can get a little wired around the holidays. Outdoor options and recreational opportunities can be just what Santa ordered to keep everyone happy and, well, sane.
One of our favourite outings is the Crown Isle Gingerbread Village, which runs from the end of November until December 17th. And this year they also have the Resort Walk in the evening on weekends and during Christmas break where you can enjoy thousands of lights and holiday scenes with a donation to the food bank or other worthwhile charities.
Courtenay Rec will be holding their annual Children’s Christmas Party on Dec 3rd at the Lewis Centre, featuring the irreverently silly Captain Thunderpants. And the ever-popular Cumberland Truck Parade is on December 5th. Join Santa at 5 pm at Village Square for cookies and hot chocolate and check out the display.
New winter break skating and swimming schedules begin December 21. For the brave, this year celebrates the 40th Annual Boxing Day Polar Bear Swim at Goose Point. And don’t forget about the free family swim and skate at the CVRD Sports Centre on New Year’s Eve! Check out more details at www.comoxvalleyrd.ca.
Here’s to a happy month of December for you and yours!
As always, feel free to contact me or my associate Andrea Davis to find out about listings throughout the Comox Valley. Get in touch through my website mikefisherhomes.com or call me directly at 250.218.3895.
November 18, 2016
How the new mortgage rules affect you
What you need to know about the changes
Okay, there are new mortgage rules, but what does that mean to you?
As noted in my previous blog, the federal government recently made some changes to mortgage rules in an effort to cool Canada’s overheating housing market, particularly those of Vancouver and Toronto. So does that mean that the rest of us will also be affected? Well, kind-of . . .
Looking for more specifics? I thought so. Following are the main mortgage rule changes and how they may affect you and the Comox Valley housing market.
Expanding mortgage rate stress tests to all insured mortgages
A stress test assures lenders that a home buyer could afford their mortgage if rates go up. Based on the average posted rates – not a negotiated rate – of Canada’s six big banks, it affects those who have at least 20 per cent for a down payment but are seeking a mortgage that may stretch them too thin if interest rates were to rise.
It was essentially put in place to respond to concerns that sharp rises in house prices in cities like Toronto and Vancouver could increase the risk of defaults should mortgage rates rise in the future. Chances are you won’t feel the effects of this rule, but it may result in some people not being able to buy in Vancouver and looking elsewhere . . . such as the beautiful Comox Valley.
New restrictions on providing insurance for low-ratio mortgages
Low-ratio mortgage (down payment that is more than 20% of purchase price) insurance will now be based on new criteria, including insurance amortization periods that must be 25 years or less, purchase price of less than $1 million, a credit score of 600 and that property is owner-occupied.
The government has likely introduced this to lower their exposure to residential mortgages for properties worth $1 million or more. Again, this is aimed more at the Vancouver and Toronto market and foreign and investment buyers.
New reporting rules for primary residence capital gains exemption
Everyone who sells their primary residence will now have an obligation to report the sale to the CRA. Financial gains on principal dwelling home sales are still tax-free, but now Ottawa wants to know about them. Essentially, they want to prevent foreign buyers and sellers from claiming a primary residence tax exemption for which they’re not entitled.
Consultations on lender risk sharing is being launched
The federal government is looking into sharing lending risk with banks and other lenders rather than being 100 per cent on the hook for defaulted loans. This could result in a change in the structure of Canada’s housing finance system and would encourage more prudent lending, which may eventually lead to higher mortgage rates for home buyers.
Big picture, it will slow things down in the larger markets, particularly due to foreign investment, but not here significantly. Depending on what happens with the lend-sharing consultations, mortgage rates may increase slightly as the mortgage marketplace may become less competitive. Unfortunately, there is no timeline for this. Whether you agree or not when the government says it is protecting taxpayers and the economy by “addressing factors that could lead to excess risk,” these changes are now in place, so get comfortable with them.
For further information on this or any aspect of the local real estate market, please feel free to contact me or my associate Andrea Davis through my website http://mfisherrealty.com or call me directly at 250.218.3895.
November 15, 2016
New Canadian mortgage rules for 2016
They just kicked into effect, so what the heck are they?
Did you know that new Canadian mortgage rules just came into effect in the middle of October? Yes, it’s true!
But with recent news cycles being dominated by Trump’s presidency bid, fall storm warnings, the Blue Jays, a new hockey season and scary clowns maybe it slipped below your radar. (Wow, that’s a weird sentence I never imagined I’d have to write . . . )
So, just in case you missed it, here is a brief run-down of what the main changes are and why they were implemented.
Why the changes to mortgage rules?
According to Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, these changes are being made to help middle-class families seeing prices "climbing often out of their reach.” The government also says it’s responding to apprehension that significant increases in housing prices in major cities, namely Toronto and Vancouver, could increase the number of mortgage defaults in the future, should our historically low interest rates finally start to increase. Whether these changes will help allay these concerns remains to be seen, but nonetheless, most of these changes came into effect on October 17, so we should all be aware of them.
The main mortgage regulation changes
- All insured mortgages will have to undergo a stress test to determine whether a borrower could still make mortgage payments if faced with higher interest rates or less income. Previously, these tests were not necessary for fixed-rate mortgages longer than five years.
- As of November 30, the government will impose new restrictions on when it will provide insurance for low-ratio mortgages. The rules are based on new criteria, including loans on owner-occupied dwellings with amortization periods less than or equal to 25 years, purchase prices of less than $1 million, and for borrowers who meet a minimum credit score standard of 600.
- The government is launching consultations on lender-risk sharing. As it stands, the federal government currently covers the cost of 100 per cent of an insured mortgage if it defaults. A situation that is “unique” internationally, the government is looking at having lenders take on some of that risk.
- New reporting rules for the primary residence capital gains exemption. Currently, financial gains from selling a primary residence are tax-free and don’t have to be reported as income. As of right now, capital gains tax is still waived but the sale must be reported at tax time to the Canada Revenue Agency.
Take some time to digest that and then stay tuned for my next blog – I’ll look at how these changes might affect you and the Comox Valley market.
In the meantime, if you have any questions about listings in the Comox Valley, contact me or my associate Andrea Davis through the website http://mfisherrealty.com or call me directly at 250.218.3895.
October 20, 2016
Open Houses Saturday October 22nd
Mike Fisher and Associates offer open houses every weekend. Mike is often reffered to as the "Open House Guy" for open houses in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland - just check back here every week! NOTE: If you would like a private tour of any of the following listings before or after it is shown Call mike today! 250-218-3895
- Click here For more of Mike Fisher and Associates Comox Valley listings
Sat October 22nd 12.30pm - 2pm
2275 Comox Ave Comox - $342,500.00
View more details here http://www.openhousesvi.com/open-house-in-comox/74661
October 14, 2016
FAQs about Element at the Waterfront
What you need to know about the Comox Valley’s hottest real estate development
Since we started selling these luxury oceanfront suites in July we’ve been getting plenty of interest. And no wonder – it’s a real estate project unlike anything the Comox Valley has ever seen! So here are some of the basics that people want to know about Element at the Waterfront in Comox.
How many suites and how big?
There are 14 luxury oceanfront suites within the development, all of which feature spectacular mountain, ocean and marina vistas. Ranging from 1,215 to 2,057 square feet, these modern suites with stylish, contemporary design set a new standard for quality and comfort on the Island. Visit the Element website for renderings and floor plans.
Where is the development located?
Element at the Waterfront is located on Beaufort Avenue, Comox, within the spectacular Comox Valley. Just steps from the marina and floatplane links to Vancouver and Victoria, it’s conveniently within the heart of downtown Comox by the Sea. What other developments can boast of being within walking distance of shopping and dining amenities, golf courses and private boat moorage?
What is the cost and can I still reserve a suite?
With prices starting at just $390,000, there has been a lot of action. As of today, some suites are still available, but they won’t last for long!
How can I find out more about it?
The easiest way to get more information is to check out the Element website.
Who do I speak to about purchasing a suite?
Can you see yourself enjoying life from your home in Element at the Waterfront? Please contact me through this link or call 250-218-3895. Let’s make living in oceanfront luxury a reality!
October 13, 2016
Open house October 16th
Mike Fisher and Associates offer open houses every weekend. Mike is often reffered to as the "Open House Guy" for open houses in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland - just check back here every week! NOTE: If you would like a private tour of any of the following listings before or after it is shown Call mike today! 250-218-3895
- Click here For more of Mike Fisher and Associates Comox Valley listings
Sunday October 16th 12.30pm - 2pm
2275 Comox Ave Comox - $342,500.00
View more details here http://www.openhousesvi.com/open-house-in-comox/74568
October 6, 2016
OPEN HOUSES OCTOBER 8-9th
Mike Fisher and Associates offer open houses every weekend. Mike is often reffered to as the "Open House Guy" for open houses in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland - just check back here every week! NOTE: If you would like a private tour of any of the following listings before or after it is shown Call mike today! 250-218-3895 - Click here For more of Mike Fisher and Associates Comox Valley listings
Saturday October 8th 12pm - 1pm
2275 Comox Ave Comox - $349,000.00
View more details here http://www.openhousesvi.com/open-house-in-comox/74513