October 16, 2017
Active Comox Valley Part 2: Outdoor Clubs
Get moving and make connections
The Comox Valley is loaded with outdoor opportunities. And while some people love the chance to get outside and enjoy the tranquility and beauty of the surroundings on their own, there are just as many of us who like to meet up with others while recharging in the outdoors.
Of course, there are plenty of benefits to being part of a group, not the least of which are safety, the sharing of knowledge and advice, as well as emotional and physical motivation and support.
For those who prefer to get active with a group, this area has several well-established clubs that focus on both fitness and camaraderie. Following, are a few of the recreational groups that make the most of the Valley’s amazing surroundings.
Comox District Mountaineering Club
Any club that’s been around since 1928 has got to be doing something right!
With more than 150 members raging from young adults up to 80-plus years, the Comox District Mountaineering Club leads the way. Offering members organized day hiking and backpacking trips, they also partake in cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and other nonmotorized activities. They try to plan trips suitable for all abilities and tend to mainly stay in the Strathcona Park region, with occasional forays to other local and Island destinations.
Comox Valley Road Runners
As the chief body in the Valley for running and running events, the Comox Valley Road Runners provide a fun, welcoming and safe environment that’s inclusive of runners of all abilities. They organize and offer running events and programs for people of all ages and work to promote the development and growth of running in the Valley by providing leadership, education and social opportunities. An excellent group to hook up with!
Comox Valley Triathlon Club
Providing support and encouragement to new, novice and experienced triathletes, this club’s motto is “Fun with Fitness.” Whether you’re looking to train for and finish your first event or wanting to compete internationally, they can support you along the way. CV Tri offers the chance to meet and train with other triathletes while celebrating your accomplishments in a supportive and social environment. Check them out!
Comox Valley Naturalists Society
Comox Valley Nature has been around since 1966, and their function is to “know nature, and keep it worth knowing.” A little more sedate than the other outdoor groups covered, this society offers weekly walks around the Valley. With about 200 members, the group is active in many environmental activities, as well as being a member of BC Nature.
Educational, informative and nature-friendly outings and events abound. Draw upon the members’ expertise in the local geography and ecology, and find out more about the flora and fauna that also inhabit this wonderful piece of the Island.
When you come the Valley there’s no excuse not to get outside and play!
Find out more about all this region offers, including local real estate, by visiting my webpage at mikefisherhomes.com. You can also contact me or my associate Andrea Davis or call / text me at 250.218.3895.
October 2, 2017
Active Comox Valley Part 1: Outdoor Recreation
A beautiful place to keep fit and stay healthy
Living in the Comox Valley means being able to enjoy the outdoors year-round. Sure, we get the occasional day that feels like a monsoon has hit, but if you’re in the right gear, there’s always something to do or some awesome new place to explore. Between the temperate climate and our beautiful surroundings, it’s easy to get all the physical and mental stimulation you need.
No matter what your age or interests, the area offers a wealth of outdoor recreational options – part of the reason why so many people make the Comox Valley home. Looking for some open-air inspiration? Here are a few possibilities to choose from.
Walking and hiking
Whether you’re looking for a laid-back seaside stroll or a day-long hike up Mount Albert Edwards, you’ll find something that suits. Walking-wise you can enjoy forest and ocean with visits to Seal Bay and Lazo Wildlife Parks. Cumberland Forest offers a nice choice of walking and hiking trails, and the area around Nymph Falls is always popular. For a great collection of Valley parks that describes locations and attractions, have a look at the Comox Valley Regional District’s Parks page.
For those interested in more of a challenge, the trails through Paradise Meadows offer a variety of lengths and difficulty; from three to 20 kilometers distance, they’re worth the drive up the hill. But if you’re planning on heading up between November and March, you may want to pack snowshoes!
And, of course, Strathcona Park’s snow-capped peaks offer advanced hikers/climbers plenty of challenge, as both day and overnight trips are accessible in BC’s oldest provincial park. Plan accordingly because, as with any remote areas, these trails aren’t necessarily regularly maintained and weather conditions can change quickly.
Skiing and other snowy fun
Living near a ski resort will change the way you think about rainy winter days. And Mt. Washington Alpine Resort will keep you busy, no matter the weather or day of the week. In fact, snowshoeing, tubing, snowboarding, downhill and cross-country skiing can keep you busy from Monday to Friday! As Vancouver Island’s largest year-round family resort, there is always something going on and an activity for almost every age.
Golf – like walking but better
I know the phrase, “Ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon,” gets thrown around a lot in BC, but I think it originated here. Seriously, that’s what I think! And the great thing is, there are plenty of golf options to choose from and you don’t have to drive all over the place to get to them.
With courses to meet every skill level, you can find one that suits you. The Comox Valley Guide has a good listing of many local courses, and I can give you some insight into others if you want.
Parks and recreation
Not only is the Valley blessed with so many activities to enjoy, we also have great recreational facilities and programs in Comox, Courtenay and Cumberland. Click on those links to find out about different outdoor offerings. From fishing and tennis to mountain biking and Nordic walking, the local Parks & Rec folks can help you figure out where to begin.
Not sure if you’re ready to venture out on your own? Stay tuned for my next blog that highlights some of the local recreational/activity clubs that make the most of the area’s wonderful surroundings.
Move to the Valley and get your body moving! To find out more about all the Valley has to offer, including local real estate, please contact me or my associate Andrea Davis. Get in touch through my website mikefisherhomes.com or call / text me at 250.218.3895.
September 18, 2017
Update on Element at the Waterfront
Where Things are at with Comox’s Hottest
Waterfront Real Estate Development
Affordable oceanfront!? In Comox!?!
Yup, it’s not just a dream – it’s a reality!
From the moment we started selling these luxury oceanfront suites last year we’ve received plenty of interest. And because it’s been a little while since I’ve talked about Element at the Waterfront in Comox, I thought I’d fill you in on where things are at.
In case you don’t know, Element is a real estate development in beautiful downtown Comox. A real estate project unlike anything the Valley has ever seen, it offers a prime location and sets the standard for quality.
To date, more than half of the 14 suites – all of which feature spectacular mountain, ocean and marina vistas – have been sold. The building permit will be applied for soon and construction should be complete about a year after its commencement.
What makes Element so desirable
People seem to love its stylish, contemporary design, but more than that they love its location. On Beaufort Avenue, just steps from the Comox Marina and floatplane links to Vancouver and Victoria, it’s also 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?
Curious about what’s still available? Interested in checking out floor plans? Get more information on the Element website.
If you’ve always dreamed of making a home on the water, now’s the time. Give me a call at 250-218-3895 and make living in oceanfront luxury your reality!
To find out more about buying and selling in the Comox Valley, please contact me or my associate Andrea Davis and visit our website at mikefisherhomes.com.
September 8, 2017
’Tis the season … the hockey season!
Hitting the ice in the Comox Valley
For many, September means back to school. However, if you’re anything like our family, September actually means back to HOCKEY!!
Sure, summer’s great – especially in the Comox Valley, with plenty of awesome hiking, biking, swimming and golf. After all, it’s important to get in some cross-training during the off-season. But, really, is there anything better than slipping into the old gear and hitting your stride after a few months off? Wheeling into that first turn and hearing the “shoosh” of your blades as they cut a graceful arc into a clean sheet of ice. Feeling that breeze blowing through the jersey, hair flowing back like Guy Lafleur, lyrics of Tom Cochrane’s “Big League” running through your head…. Sorry, starting to get a little emotional there.
Anyways, what I’m saying is that it’s always great day to play hockey. And the Comox Valley is a great place to play – in fact, it was one of the top 10 communities selected for 2017 Kraft Hockeyville. No matter your skill level, or even if you prefer to stay in the stands, the Valley has something for you!
Minor Hockey in the Comox Valley
The Comox Valley Minor Hockey Association offers a broad range of options for boys and girls starting with “Timbits” initiation programs all the way up to Juvenile. With opportunities to play house or rep, stay in the Valley or travel around the Island and beyond, kids from 5 to 20 will have a blast making friends and learning and loving the game with CVMHA. The association is filled with dedicated parents, coaches and volunteers, who are always eager to share their knowledge and enjoyment of hockey.
Recreational Hockey for Men, Women and Kids
A little rusty on the blades, not sure that your kid is ready for the minor hockey program? Local recreation programs for kids and adults can help you get feeling more comfortable on the ice. As well, the CVRD offers drop-in hockey for adults. And with two full-size arenas at the CVRD’s Sports Centre, there are a number of times for public skates throughout the week, so make sure to check out their skating schedules.
In terms of team play for adults, there are a few different leagues to choose from, including a men’s commercial league and old-timers’ leagues. My wife Teresa plays on the local women’s team, The Breakers, of which I am a proud sponsor. If you’re looking for a team, get in touch with me and I can set you up with names and contact numbers.
Junior Hockey is King in the Comox Valley
The Comox Valley Glacier Kings have been part of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League for 25 years. Playing out of the 1,400-seat Sports Centre, they offer great entertainment from September to March. Catch a game or two and you’ll be hooked! They also occasionally need families with a spare room to help billet players if you’re looking for a chance to be more involved.
Local Hockey Schools
Did you know that your high school student can actually play hockey during school? Offered as a program through School District 71, the Vanier Hockey Academy offers kids a chance to work on their skills and get grad credits. Wish they’d had that when I was a student! Outside of school hours there is also the High Calibre Hockey Academy. And various camps are offered during the summer.
Not as crazy about hockey as some of us? No worries. There are plenty of other local activity options. Make sure to have a look at the recreation section of my free guide to moving to the Comox Valley.
As always, feel free to contact me or my associate Andrea Davis to find out more about the Comox Valley living. And please visit our website mikefisherhomes.com for information on buying and selling real estate in the Comox Valley.
August 31, 2017
6 Tips to help ensure you get what your home’s worth
How to get the most from selling your house
No doubt about it, your home is a huge investment. And when it’s time to sell, you want to make sure that you get the most return on your investment.
Here are my top six picks for ways to ensure you make the most of your home’s worth.
#6 Make a good first impression – inside and out
You can’t judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to buying a home, people often do make judgements based on first impressions. So make that impression a good one! Increase curb appeal by tidying the front yard. Pull out shaggy shrubs and add some new life and colour. Get that grass looking lush and keep it trimmed. Fix up the porch and entry way; I’d even consider new stain or paint.
Inside the home, clean and de-clutter. Look into staging tips or bring someone in. Simple things like removing oversized furniture to make rooms look larger, and cleaning and organizing shelves and closets can make a big difference. You may even want to check out model homes or other open houses to get ideas about how to make your home look fresh, bright and spacious.
#5 Refurbish the basement or unfinished areas
This is an excellent way to add usable square footage, which quickly translates to more value. If you have been putting off plans to finish the drywall here, do it. Lay down some basic flooring and you’re good to go. It’s also a terrific incentive to rid yourself of extra clutter that doesn’t need to be there. If necessary, rent a storage space for a month or two, then you’ll be ahead of the game when it comes time to start packing!
#4 Keep rooms flexible
Sure, you may love your “sewing nook” or “model train station,” but the fact is a room is a room, and potential buyers want to see it as a clean slate. Customization can come at a price if you plan to eventually sell your home, so don’t go crazy. Good flooring, wiring for cable, phone and internet are appropriate, special built shelving and lighting may not see the return on investment. A space that has some specialization but can be easily adapted into a spare bedroom, office or den will be more valuable.
#3 Make necessary repairs
If there are structural issues, leaks or other things that you’ve been putting off tending to, do it now. After all, doesn’t it sound more appealing to buy a home with a new roof and water tank than invest in a “handyman’s special”?
#2 Focus on the kitchen and bath
If you have no major issues to deal with and think you want to put some money into your home to update or beautify, focus on the kitchen and bathroom. That’s where you’ll see the best return on investment. But talk to your realtor first to see if it will be worth it. Maybe a new coat of paint is a better idea than a new backsplash. And on that note . . .
#1 Listen to your Realtor
I’ll say it again. LISTEN to your Realtor! Real estate agents are professionals, know the market and know homes.
It’s especially important to trust your Realtor about pricing. Overpricing a home or accepting an offer from an unqualified buyer may cause your house to become stigmatized. Buyers become wary of homes that have been on the market too long or get put back on the market after a short period of time. So, to sum up, listen to your Realtor.
When you are ready to sell, we can help you get what you want and deserve. Put our experience and knowledge to work for you.
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!
For more helpful tips on various aspects of buying and selling your home, click here for my Homebuyers Guide to the Comox Valley and here for the Sellers’ guide.
August 22, 2017
The best communities on Vancouver Island: Merville, Miracle Beach & more
Find out about the north end of the Comox Valley
From pastoral properties to homes with a view, the north end of the Valley has plenty to offer.
As you travel north from Courtenay along the Old Island Highway (19A), keep your eyes open and you may just find that dream property you’ve always been looking for.
Located about 13 kilometres north of Courtenay, Merville is a lovely rural community that boasts fertile fields, lush forests and sandy beaches. This area is home to many of the Comox Valley’s food producers, dairy farmers and, wait for it, wineries. The beautiful Kitty Coleman Provincial Park, featured above, is a favourite of fishers and campers alike with its convenient boat launch and appealing oceanfront camping sites.
Black Creek, Saratoga and Miracle Beach
Farther up the highway, you’ll find the settlements of Black Creek, Saratoga and Miracle Beach. Black Creek farms provide wonderful produce, meat, dairy and more for residents of the Valley and beyond. Campers at Miracle Beach Provincial Park and local residents venture through old-growth forests on their way to the beach. Known for its soft sand and tidal pools, Saratoga Beach and its surrounding community offer hours of beachcombing fun throughout the year.
No matter what kind of property you’re looking for, there’ll be something to fit the bill in the north Comox Valley. With a mix of wells and water systems, and a variety of property sizes, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
For more information on these unique communities, or anywhere else in the Comox Valley, feel free to get in touch with me or my associate Andrea Davis. Please visit our website at mikefisherhomes.com or call me directly at 250.218.3895 with questions. My free homebuyer’s guide to moving to the Comox Valley is a handy reference for anyone considering moving to this awesome part of Vancouver Island.
July 19, 2017
When was the last time you had your home evaluated?
Get a free home evaluation by us – your Comox Valley real estate professionals!
Do you know what your home is worth?
Sure, you may have a general idea, but when was the last time you had your home evaluated by professionals?
If you’re thinking about making a change or considering getting into the market, you really need to know where you stand – a home evaluation will do that. And when you have a free home evaluation done through Mike Fisher & Associates, you get the added bonus of receiving two professional opinions – not just one!
Already had one? Get another!
If you’ve had an evaluation done previously consider how long it has been. The way the market changes from one year to the next means your previous appraisal may no longer be accurate. And if you’re planning on buying, an up-to-date valuation of your home’s worth is the only way you’ll know what you can and can’t consider.
How does a home evaluation work?
Essentially you just need to get in touch to set up a time for a quick viewing and to answer some questions. Typically, it takes about an hour of your time. Then my associate Andrea and I do our own separate Comparative Market Analysis on your home, come together to crunch some numbers and give you the information. The nice thing about working with us is that you get the benefit of two opinions with one evaluation.
So, what are you waiting for? Let us evaluate your home today!
And if you are considering putting your home on the market, download my new seller’s guide to get tips on making the most of your move and making it manageable.
Buying, selling or just considering testing the market? Contact my associate Andrea Davis or me anytime. And make sure to check out our informative website mikefisherhomes.com.
June 29, 2017
The best communities on Vancouver Island: Comox
Comox by the Sea is the place to be!
A seaside community known for its boutiques, bistros and beaches, Comox by the Sea has so much to offer its residents. Be it artistic and cultural events, enjoying fine dining and exceptional views, or just getting outside to play, there is something for everyone.
If you’re thinking about relocating to Vancouver Island, you must consider this area of the Comox Valley. And then be prepared to be wowed!
Full disclosure, I must confess that having lived in Comox for 20 years, I may have a biased opinion regarding this particular part of the Valley. But it also means I know what I’m talking about! After reading this, you just may want to make Comox your hometown, too.
Why buy in Comox? Location, location, location!
Simply put, the Comox Peninsula is a prime spot, but don’t take my word for it – ask the Canadian Forces! They established the Comox Peninsula’s strategic importance back in 1942 when 19 Wing Comox was built.
Residents will tell you that one of the best things about Comox is that because it’s located on a peninsula it doesn’t get a lot of through traffic. But aside from its geography (both strategical and practical) most people just like it for the views, the ocean, the sunshine, the small-town feel, the proximity to recreation and shopping, the marina, the sunsets . . .
Recreation abounds on the Comox Peninsula
No matter what your recreational interests, the Town of Comox has got you and your family covered. Peaceful walks, bird watching and photography are all enjoyed at numerous parks and beaches around town. Summertime brings out the best of the community recreation as breezy days will result in sailboats and kite boarders taking to the water to enjoy Goose Spit and surrounding areas. When the weather is warm and wind is calm, SUP boarders, kayakers, joggers, and families hit the shores and waves to make the most of the beaches. That being said, the area’s climate allows for outdoor options the whole year-round, and residents make sure to take advantage!
Farther inland from the shoreline, golf, cycling, tennis and disc golf are all popular pursuits. And Comox Recreation offers a wide range of programs for all ages. For those who are lucky enough to be over 55 years of age, even more options for fun exist through Comox’s D’Esterre Senior Centre Association!
Festivals, family fun and so much more
As with other parts of the Comox Valley, Comox has a vibrant artistic community. After all, how can one’s creativity not be stimulated by the region’s beautiful natural surroundings? And Comox offers plenty of opportunities to celebrate and showcase the area’s culture. From larger festivals, such as the internationally recognized Filberg Festival, to smaller local markets and galleries, participants and spectators can get their artistic appetites filled.
Families always enjoy visiting the Comox Marina and park where the catch of the day is readily available. That’s also where the Nautical Days Festival is held on the August long weekend. A wicked-fun, free family festival, kids can enter a Bullhead Derby and would-be mariners can try their hand at seafaring in the “Build, Bail & Sail” challenge!
Real estate options in the Town of Comox
Because of its friendly and relaxed feel, beautiful views and ease of getting around, housing in Comox is typically priced a little bit higher than the rest of the Valley. And its proximity to the Air Force base and the Comox Valley Airport (YQQ), make it a popular destination with families and retirees. There is a nice mix of older and newer homes available and lot sizes are pretty standard city sized. For people looking for retirement options, there are patio homes, townhouse and apartment condominium options, many of which are located within walking distance of downtown Comox.
Questions about buying and selling in the Comox Valley?
For further information about the Town of Comox or other communities in the Comox Valley, please download my free homebuyer’s guide to moving to the Comox Valley. Sellers, make sure to download a copy of my new seller’s guide to get info about listing, showing and moving your home.
As always, feel free to contact me or my associate Andrea Davis with any questions about the local area or property listings in the Comox Valley. Call me directly at 250.218.3895 or check out our website mikefisherhomes.com.
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.