Let it be what it is

Letting a property be the property it is can be a challenging proposition in today’s world. Shouldn’t my home present just as they do on the TV shows? Immaculately staged, shiny & new? Well what we see in homes day-to-day is far different than whats on the television. Often times, people feel discouraged by the disparity from reality TV and REAL life and try to wow with one major room renovation in the home. I think better advice, at least far more realistic advice, is to make sure that what currently exists functions well & shows the best that it can.
Basic maintenance can go a long way to making a property saleable. So often we find homeowners have band-aided over glaring issues, only to spend (waste) time on new interior styles & colours. Why bother repairing the roof and furnace, lets just paint the room, put up some new lighting and call it a day!
Now many of us know what it’s like to get behind the 8 ball, and yes, sometimes home repairs (which turn into deferred maintenance) do run away and mount a massive challenge. But, just as you would save for a college fund for your kids, saving for the health of your home is equally important! It’s usually the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime, so best keep it up for the long run! You don’t buy a car and then never again change the oil.
Diligently setting aside money on a monthly basis can help ease the burden when maintenance items come along. I would suggest $200 a month for an average 2,000 sq.ft. home. This should keep you up to speed throughout the year & any larger items (dependant on timing) should be covered off by the remaining funds.
I would much rather walk into a 1975 bi-level home and see that the roof is less than 10 years old & well maintained, the furnace is recently serviced and functioning well, the hot water tank is recently replaced, carpets cleaned, windows updated & fireplace functioning; to name a few items. Over walking into a home where the windows need replacement, furnace is on it’s last leg, siding is weathered, hot water tank is nearly leaking, but “we’ve renovated the kitchen and bathroom isn’t it beautiful!” We’ll no, not really. Those rooms may now look like the homes on TV but the rest of your home is in for some serious repairs!
So much about about the real estate game comes down to simple priorities and if you can’t cover the basics, don’t stretch for the frills. If you don’t know the basics, find out what they are and make sure you’re buying a home that fits your budget.
To know where you stand, having a realtor; better yet a home inspector, come and view your home and provide you with a rough idea of what will need to be dealt with next is a great place to start. Realtors will often visit you for free (in hopes of your future business… pretty fair?) and home inspectors will usually charge about $450 but will be able to provide you with a comprehensive list of items in need of attention. This is the best way to go. A realtor can give you generalities but the home inspector is much more to the point.
This being said, I am finding new buyers are much better informed as to the cost of home ownership, the internet has been a boon for those entering the real estate market with reams of personal stories and advice on one of world’s most rewarding purchases.
Although the cold weather is already upon us, here are some tips on winter home maintenance: For about $80-$100 a technician can inspect your furnace or heat pump to make sure it’s in good repair and can achieve it’s efficiency rating. Any ceiling fans in your home can be switched to run in a clockwise direction and push down into the room any heated air trapped near the ceiling. Take a look at your roof shingles and if there are any loose or damaged ones, use some roofing cement to re-adhere them to the surface. If there are cracks showing around windows and doors, simply reapplying silicone caulking can save you a bundle in heat loss throughout the winter months. have your gutters cleaned now to prepare for the spring time thaw. Inspect downspouts and make sure that water runs at least 3-4 feet away from foundations. Drain exterior faucet pipes and turn the shut off valve in your home to make sure they won’t freeze, burst and cause flooding.
Be sure to start stocking your cold-weather essentials like salt or ice-melt and when it comes to home improvements, remember to cover the basics first! You can find an excellent maintenance list from CMHC here in my blog https://joepeters.ca/blog/

Recreational Property

That cabin on the lake you’ve always wanted? Buy it!  

Well let’s face it, we’ve all dreamt of having a cabin or condo where the family can gather and unwind from our busy over-stimulated lives, and now for the first time in a long time you may just have a prudent excuse to make it happen! 
Reports are coming out across Canada that recreational property sales are set for a period of sustained growth as Canada pulls its way towards a stable economy. What’s causing this trend? Many Canadians are sitting on healthy equity gains from Canada’s run in property prices, and the stock market’s frothy trajectory over the past few years. In addition to this, the baby boomer generation is looking to buy a secondary, less maintenance heavy property that will allow them to transition to their retirement travel plans. Many will split time between multiple destinations and a condo in the Okanagan is a great way to achieve that! nudge nudge… 
Other factors driving this trend are that many areas in BC in the recreational property category have sold off since the peak in 2008. They are now as close to bargains as they will get during this cycle. Along with this motivation, is the overall pent-up demand from years of buyers sitting on their hands.
Pitfalls to watch for with recreational properties are: How is that septic system functioning? and that well the owner says is artisan and provides  60gpm… yes, it may have 25 years ago when it was first drilled but time = change. Have these things thoroughly tested! Sources of water throughout BC have been known to fluctuate in volume and quality and it’s good to know the true history of a property’s source. Are you going to be in trouble next time those drought conditions return? Take this process on slowly and speak to experts, yes you will pay more at the beginning for proper reports (sometimes a few thousand) but in the long run, there’s no joy owning property with no water! 
When buying a condo unit the important details to consider are: how is the contingency reserve fund? Have they been paying into it adequately to compensate for future expenditures? What does the maintenance picture look like; is there a pile of deferred maintenance items just waiting to explode on the strata or has it been properly managed over the years. Simply reading two years worth of minutes can give immense insight into the quality of management within a strata. If you see them constantly deferring items as they arise, it may be a sign of a dangerous long term trend. 
If the intention is to enjoy the property part time, being part of a rental pool, such as the Summerland Lakefront Resort is a great way to go; carefree and low maintenance. 
However, if the family requires more space such as a cabin, there are property management companies offering service for those circumstances too. 
Getting to and from the area has become even easier as Westjet now has direct flights from Edmonton and Calgary with Air Canada offering direct flights from Vancouver. 
This has allowed the Penticton area to become a great launching pad for all of your vacation fun! Head to the wine trails and enjoy some of the most spectacular wineries in the world. Spend a day boating on the lake, or playing at one of the many beaches. 
After 5 years of declining real estate activity we are seeing a significant balancing occurring in the marketplace. The South Okanagan offers up tons of opportunity for those willing to explore.