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The best way to improve the sales appeal of your house or condo is also the fastest, easiest and most affordable way. Simply apply a fresh coat of paint. It doesn’t cost a lot to paint a room, yet the effect can be dramatic. And, you can probably do the job yourself in just a few hours. 

 
But be careful with your color choices. Just because you like Olive Green in the downstairs bathroom doesn’t mean everyone will share your taste.Your goal is to make the room appealing to as many people as possible—not just you.  Choosing off-white colors is the safest bet. And, as an additional benefit, these light colors make rooms seem brighter and more spacious.
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It seems that only a few people "in the know" have heard about this project!  I must admit that I'm baffled that it is complete and ready for occupancy but has remained largely under the radar.
 
I'm talking about The Redstone at 440 Parry in the heart of James Bay
 
 
The Redstone is a beautiful old brick building that was once a stable.  Cielo Properties, known for quality work in our city, has recently completed the conversion to nine incredible suites.   I guess the best way to describe it would be a great mix of heritage quality and modern features. 
 
There are only three suites left! 
 
Come on down to the open house this Saturday and Sunday from 1 - 3pm and see for yourself why this is such an amazing small development.
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What do you notice when you visit a model home in a new development? Often, you’ll find wonderfully furnished and decorated rooms that anyone could live in. 
 
The operative word here is “anyone”. 
 
Sure, there might be a computer screen on a desk in the den, or a child’s Raggedy Ann doll sitting in a corner, but for the most part, all the rooms are anonymous. There is a sense of family, but no specific family… the feeling of personality, but no specific person.
 
The professionalswho set up amodel homemake it anonymous for a reason.They want buyers to view it as their potential home, not someone else’s. And these professionals know — based on decades of experience — that this strategy helps sell houses faster and for a better price.
 

Why not use this same strategy when showing your house

or condo?
 
It’s easy. Just put away that soccer trophy, take down the wedding photo, and box those souvenirs from the family vacation at Disneyland.No, you don’t have to completely empty your closets and drawers. Just pack those personal items that can be seen when a potential buyer views a room. Put away toothbrushes, collectibles, even unopened mail. Don’t forget the fridge door, which is often a mosaic of personal items in most family homes.
 
If you have lots of personal items, consider renting a storage unit for the few weeks that your house or condo will be on the market. It’s worth the investment.
 
You wouldn’t think of buying a birthday cake with a stranger’s name on it. The same holds true when you show your house or condo.Make it anonymous!
 

Need more ideas for selling your house or condo faster and for the best price possible? Call today.

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As expected, the Victoria market has continued to soften last month.
 
Sales volume is down by about 27% over last year.  The interesting thing is that the median home price is still up over last year.  However, that key figure is also slipping and I wouldn't be surprised to see prices fall below last year levels within the next few months.  The general feel is that price drops are likely in our area, but are also likely to be small due to demand to live here.
 
The good news for both buyers and sellers is that both parties seem to be getting back in sync.  What I mean is that buyers are making realistic offers and sellers are realizing that they have to set an aggressive price to sell in this very competitive market.  Looking closely at sales we see that well priced homes are still selling very quickly.  Last week one of my clients found that two of three of the new listings he wanted to see were sold before he could view them!  On the other hand, property that isn't sharply priced may not even get any showings!
 
If you are considering upsizing there is some potential good news.  If we experience across the board price decreases then it follows that the price drops on the more expensive homes are larger.  So, in a dropping market you can save money by upsizing. 
 
Each quarter I publish a much more indepth analysis.  If you are interested in receiving your own personal copy just let me know.
 
 
 
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On July 9th the Canadian government issued new rules for government insured mortgages.  There has been some confusion on what this means so I thought a little clarification would help.
 
The new rules are only for government insured mortgages and come into place as of October 15, 2008.  However, we expect that funders will follow suit and change their individual rules as well.   Overall, these changes are designed help to reduce mortgage defaults and so reduce the cost of mortgage insurance.  That's the plan at least!
 
35 Year Maximum Amortization - The 40 year mortgage is on it's way out.  The new maximum amortization term will be 35 years.  This doesn't make much of a difference to the monthly payment, but save buyers a lot of money in interest over the life of the mortgage.
 
5% Minimum Down Payment - This is where most of the confusion is centered.  Now, the maximum size of your mortgage is 95% of the purchase price of the home, plus closing costs.  Technically, you'll need to come up with at least 5% cash for the down payment.  But, like everything, there are several ways to tackle this challenge.  Some funders are planning non-mortgage loans for the 5% down.  For younger buyers a "gift" from the parents is sometimes an option.
 
More Documentation - Greater emphasis will be put on verifying income and ensuring that the borrower can afford the mortgage.  
 
Increased Credit Score Threshold- The new minimum "beacon" score will be 620 for most borrowers.  This is a higher qualification threshold than is currently in place.  It is going to be a little harder to get a mortgage.  If you have recently purchased a home you already ran into this!  Of course, there will be exceptions to every rule.  Borrowers with an insufficient credit score but with a good explanation why will be able to apply for an exception.
 
The trend for the short term future will be to increase the qualification requirements to get a mortgage.  Over the last several years there are many examples of mortgages being given too freely - hence the subprime crisis.  We're now moving in the opposite direction to create greater stability.
 
 
 
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