6 Tips On Why Sell Your Home in Winter

When we think of selling and buying homes, we often believe that only the warm months of the year are the ideal time to do so.

Our Kelowna Life experts will tell you that any season is the right season to sell your home, you just have to know how to prepare and take advantage of it.

Warmer weather drives more potential buyers and your home might sell faster. It’s also more convenient to move in and out without wearing layers of warm clothes and worrying about shoveling. But Kelowna is one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and even in the colder months real estate remains a hot commodity.

With our real estate experts by your side, we can help you sell your property for top dollar even when it’s gloomy and cold outside.

Here are 6 reasons why you might want to consider selling in the winter and how to prepare for that.

1. More Urgency for Buyers to Find a Home

Buyers in the winter are most likely looking for a home because they have to, so they’re more motivated to buy, rather than shop around. For the seller, this means that there will most likely be fewer showings, but more serious buyers.

For families with young children, usually spring and summer are ideal months to buy a house and move because their kids are out of school. Selling in the winter will attract buyers who are not restricted by the school schedule.

Another interesting fact: most companies relocate their employees during winter, usually at the beginning of the year. The employees and their families are, therefore, more motivated and more serious about finding a new home.

The trick to convince the buyers that your listing is the one, is to make your home feel warm, cozy and welcoming.

Tip: Urgency still means a potential buyer will want to get value for their money. Because you’re selling in the colder season, questions and issues related to heat costs and maintenance might come up.

Prepare your home by getting your heating system, roof, and windows inspected. If necessary, have repairs done, weather-strip your windows or install energy-efficient windows, and insulate your attic.  If your house is energy efficient, this might play to your advantage.

A buyer looking for a home in winter pays more attention to upgrades that don’t require much maintenance in the winter. If you highlight these upgrades, you might even sell above asking price.

Tip: Winter comes with grey skies and gloomy weather. It also affects the first impression of your home. Counteract the season’s dark colours by brightening your home. Paint the walls a lighter colour and check if you need to caulk your windows. Open all curtains and blinds, turn on all lights in the home, and clean all windows and surfaces to make your home sparkle.

Tip: De-clutter and de-personalize, and stage your house with throws, pillows and other neutral seasonal touches. Don’t forget about other senses when creating the right mood. Avoid strong scents, like candles or air fresheners. To add to the welcoming feeling, bake some cookies and put the on a plate for buyers to enjoy. Turn on some soft music in the background; jazz and classical music usually work the best. And don’t forget to turn the heat up.

2. Less Competition on the Market

There is less inventory in the winter, but there are still people looking to buy. Depending on your asking price, neighbourhood and other aspects of your home, you might even receive multiple offers.

For some sellers, it might even benefit to sell when there’s less inventory. The key is to work with an expert realtor who knows the market, understands the advantages and disadvantages of your home, and then lists it based on this information.

3. Less Bidding Wars, More Likely to Get the Asking Price

It’s true that you’re more likely to make more money off your property in the spring and summer months.

But it’s also important to understand that in the spring the competition is more fierce and not all homes sell.

On some occasions a home has to be relisted at a lower asking price than what it’s worth before an offer is made, and then it might be bid up.

An added benefit: because winter is slower, your real estate agent will have more time to negotiate on your part.

Tip: Because in winter you’re less likely to have as many potential buyers as during warmer months, don’t test the market and list a higher price. Play safe and price your listing at market value. This way you won’t have drop below market value if your house doesn’t sell.

4. Less Landscaping, More Focus on Inside

With your property covered in snow, it might be hard or impossible to do any landscaping. This makes it easier to focus on the inside of the house and make it as welcoming as possible.

This, however, doesn’t mean that landscaping should be completely ignored. Curb appeal is crucial even in the winter months and makes a good and lasting first impression.

Tip: Do some basic landscaping and add some cool-weather plants to invite buyers to step inside. If it’s snowing, make sure you clear a path from the side of the road to your front door.

Tip: As you’re de-personalizing your house, make sure to display photos of what the outside looks like in the summer. A garden in full bloom, sun reflecting in the pool, and any other photos that would showcase the full beauty of the home.

5. New Year, New Me

A new year often comes with resolutions and the desire for new beginnings. This includes buyers looking for a new home.

Stage your home to reflect this mindset with seasonal decorations, soft music, and other tips shared in this blog.

6. Internet Never Sleeps

Serious buyers always keep their eyes open for the right property, regardless the season. With technology at our fingertips, buyers can search listings at anytime and in any season.

With colder weather, we tend to spend more time indoors. Whether we’re on the couch or watching our kids hockey practice, our phones and tablets are most likely by our sides.

We also tend to cheer ourselves up by finding stuff online, including homes.

Note, if a buyer is on the lookout for a home in winter, their eye will most likely be caught on a bright photo of your cozy home.

Tip: If there ever is a perfect time to invest in the services of a real estate photographer, it’s in the winter. A professional photographer will bring out the beauty of your home and increase the chances of your listing catching a buyer’s eye.

Are you looking to buy or sell your home in Kelowna this winter? Our Kelowna Life experts are ready to help you.

You can live here too. Check out Kelowna Life to see how.

Eye on Kettle Valley: Kelowna’s Favourite Neighbourhood

The Village of Kettle Valley is an award-winning community. It features walkable streetscapes, gorgeous parks, extensive nature trails, panoramic Okanagan Valley views, exceptional educational institutes and access to great amenities.

At the heart of Kettle Valley is a strong sense of belonging and community. Since it was founded in 1996, residents have established a welcoming neighbourhood of residents eager to be a part of one of Canada’s best neighbourhoods.

Strong Sense of Community Family Neighbourhood

The people of Kettle Valley truly make it a vibrant and dynamic community. Residents instill a sense of belonging, and community that encourages its residents to enrich their home, enhance their lifestyle, and truly capture what it means to belong to a community.

Kettle Valley residents regularly gather for events hosted in the community including Parks Alive! concerts, soccer games and the annual resident-organized Kettle Valley Garage Sale.

Exceptional Education

Kettle Valley is an ideal place to raise children as it provides a strong sense of support, endless activities for all ages and exceptional education.

Chute Lake Elementary helps serve the growing population of families in Kettle Valley and Kelowna’s Upper Mission from grades K-7. It consistently achieves a high standard of academic success and offers endless courses, clubs, sports and extracurricular activities for students to get involved in.

Okanagan Mission Secondary is an exemplary school for students grade 7 – 12. The school offers a wide array of course options, clubs, sports, and extracurricular activities and has the highest school ranking of all public secondary schools in Kelowna.

Kelowna’s Most Active Community

Kettle Valley offers incredible opportunities to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. There are a multitude of opportunities for all seasons. Hiking, biking, rock climbing and wine tours are popular activities during the warmer months. While snowshoeing and tobogganing are excellent ways to maintain an active lifestyle during the winter season.  

Village Centre Amenities

The Village Centre is located at the heart of Kettle Valley. It embraces the core values of community and traditionalism, and was specifically designed to be a gathering point for friends and family.

The Village Centre also features a number of thriving businesses including a delicious ice cream shop, cafe, pizza parlour, pilates & fitness studios, family-friendly restaurant, preschool, spa, art studio, chiropractic clinic, dental office, playground, grocery mart and more.

In the true spirit of Kettle Valley, hundreds of volunteers and local community members helped build the extraordinary playground located in Quilchena Park, the Kettle Valley Junction. This immaculate play area, has 6 turrets, swing sets, slides, tunnels and bridges for the ultimate playground.

Million Dollar Views

Located at the peak of Kelowna’s Upper Mission, wake up to stunning panoramic views of Okanagan Lake, mountains, vineyards and the city below. Kettle Valley is surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, plantlife and wildlife.

Gillard Forest service road is a popular route for locals and visitors that wish to access the Kettle Valley Railway. The KVR trail system is a gorgeous trail for mountain biking, hiking and enjoying the stunning natural beauty the Okanagan Valley is renowned for. Enjoy some of the most dynamic routes in Canada, along this truly impressive scenic and spectacular trail system.

Kettle Valley Properties & Neighbourhoods

There is truly no place like Kettle Valley. Thoughtful design and architecture is at the heart of Kettle Valley’s planning development. Homes in Kettle Valley are surrounded by a diverse natural hillside landscape with flowing creeks and miles of green space to enjoy a multitude of outdoor activities.

Feature House Listing in Kettle Valley

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Enjoy the incredible community, natural beauty and amenities that Kettle Valley has to offer from this gorgeous custom walkout rancher on 368 Quilchena Drive in Kettle Valley, BC | $1,499,000.

Take advantage of million dollar views of the lake and city! On the main level, this 5 bedroom, 3 bathroom home features a den or office space, master bedroom with a walk in closet, access to the patio, and the beautiful master bath overlooking the lake, a formal dining room, an entertainers dream kitchen attached to the open living room with a beautiful gas fire place.

You will enjoy entertaining your friends and family in the walk out basement which includes a spacious family room, rec room, wet bar, and wine room. Downstairs also features 3 more bedrooms and bathroom, a gym area and lots of storage under the garage which could easily be converted into a theatre room for another 400 square feet.

The professionally landscaped tiered back yard features many private areas to unwind. Take in the amazing views from the covered patio, fire table area, pool, master bedroom patio, and hot tub.

Looking for a home in Kettle Valley? Contact our hard-working and highly qualified real estate professionals at Kelowna Life today.

Feature Kelowna Real Estate Professional: Kelsey Surowiec

On behalf of Kelowna Life Real Estate, we’d like to welcome Kelsey Surowiec to the team. Kelsey is an excellent addition to Kelowna Life. She is passionate about sharing the incredible community we have in Kelowna with homebuyers.

Kelowna Upbringing

Kelsey was born and raised in Kelowna and is currently in the process of obtaining her real estate license. Kelsey chose to pursue a career in real estate in her hometown of Kelowna because she is passionate about promoting Kelowna and the Okanagan to homebuyers.  

As a Kelowna local, she can authentically declare that Kelowna offers everything that a big city does, but with a lot more warmth – figuratively and literally.

Kelowna offers stunning views, world-class vineyards, endless opportunities for adventure and rewarding career opportunities. One of the most rewarding things about Kelowna is strong community leaders who ensure that citizens and visitors have access to a variety of activities. It is also a community that values health and wellness.

There is a high level of pride in being a destination that is fun and memorable, promotes an active lifestyle and has the potential for everyone to build a fulfilling life.

Cultivating Expertise in the Okanagan Valley

After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Kelsey quickly earned industry experience and respect through roles in marketing, advertising, community development and franchise growth.

Kelsey had an integral role in growing Oranj Fitness, a locally founded business, from three to seven franchise locations in Western Canada. This was an incredible experience because she had the ability to support people as they achieved their dreams and transitioned from being business people to community leaders and influencers. She is excited to evolve these skills from helping people achieve their business goals, to facilitate goals of home and investment property.

Kelsey is a highly motivated and positive person. She possesses the ability to create a relaxing and inviting environment, while still navigating difficult situations. She’s confident these skills will ensure that the process of buying and selling a property will be a professional and enjoyable experience.

A New Chapter with Kelowna Life

Kelsey is wildly excited to have the opportunity to connect people with great properties in the Okanagan Valley and Kelowna area.

Her background and connection with Kelowna give her the tools and unique perspective that make her an incredible asset to the Kelowna Life team. Each team member brings a unique approach to business with shared values and goals.

Kelsey values dynamic human connections and believes each interaction you share is completely unique and is a beneficial learning experience. As a soon-to-be real estate professional, it is important to value and honour uniqueness in client relationships in order to connect them with their ideal real estate property and community.

She is highly motivated, energetic, has an acute eye for details and is determined to find accurate and important information efficiently. These are excellent qualities that Kelsey will bring to her future real estate career because clients can trust that she will have their best interests in mind.

The opportunities are endless in Kelowna. Ask Kelsey, and she’ll give you the inside scoop from where to find the most delicious americano to the best red wines and eats, the best playgrounds for the whole family and the finest romantic oasis. Kelsey looks forward to completing her licensing and is excited to hit the ground running.

Feature House Listing in Kelowna

okanagan kettle valley wilden property real estate professional Kelsey Surowiec kelowna life

View the Kelowna Life team’s feature listing at 13 875 Stockley Street | $599,900. Take in the amazing views of the mountains, lake, and golf course with this new home built in 2017. This beautiful 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom home featuring a bright functional kitchen with quartz counter tops, stainless steel appliances, corner pantry, and large island is situated in a quiet, safe cul de sac neighbourhood.

The main floor includes a master bedroom with large ensuite and walk in closet as well as main floor laundry, flex room/den, and large family/living room with gas fireplace. Upstairs offers 2 more bedrooms with great views, a functional loft area, and full bathroom. The home includes lots of storage area in the crawl space and double garage. It is close to hiking, golfing, the airport, shopping, schools, and big white. GST has been paid and fast completion is possible.

This gem of a home won’t stay on the housing market for long.

Contact Kelsey Surowiec for a resourceful, detail-oriented and energetic soon-to-be licensed real estate professional in Kelowna.

New Mortgage Rules in 2018

The Canadian government wants to provide new homeowners the ability to withstand rising interest rates. In 2017, the Canadian Government implemented changes for new applicants of high-ratio mortgages. The change was based on having applicants qualify at a higher interest rate, while still offering lower interest rates. By doing this, it ensured that if rates go up, these homeowners would still be able to afford the debt.

New Mortgage Rules in Canada

As of January 2018, additional mortgage changes have been implemented. The new 2018 mortgage changes simply take that philosophy and apply it to conventional mortgages. All Canadian buyers are required to pass a Mortgage Stress Test, which is essentially a worst case scenario. Homeowners must also qualify for the Bank Of Canada 5 year benchmark rate, currently set at 4.99%.

Borrowing Capacity on Buying a Home in Kelowna

New homeowners should expect their borrowing capacity to decrease based on the mortgage stress test. “The larger the gap between your pre-approved interest rate and the stressed rate will further impact/reduce your borrowing capacity.” However, new homeowners will not to be out of pocket any more on their monthly mortgage costs. For examples of the approximate reduced borrowing power under new stress test regulations, view the examples and payment calculator from Rampone Marsh.

Borrowing capacity is geared towards your GDS (gross debt service) and TDS (total debt service). An increase in these ratios, decreases your borrowing capacity. Placing a higher down-payment on your home, an increase in household income, or reduced debt will increase your borrowing power.

Kelowna Life’s Advice For Homebuyers

It’s important to have a good team surrounding you when it comes to your home purchase. Buying a home and signing a mortgage is a major milestone and a decision that requires qualified and trustworthy professionals.

It goes beyond just the real estate agent. A good mortgage broker can present different options and opportunities to make something work for your specific situation. We highly recommend doing some research on mortgage brokers in Kelowna or the Okanagan, or suggest using a mortgage broker recommended by Kelowna Life real estate professionals. We are happy to recommend trusted and knowledgeable mortgage brokers to our clients.

We have a great team at Kelowna Life Real Estate Group. It is imperative that you choose your representative carefully when making such an important decision. The help of our experienced team with extensive knowledge of Kelowna and surrounding area will ensure you make an informed decision. We listen to your needs, develop a custom tailored plan, and ensure every detail is taken care of so you can find the right home for you and your family.

Contact our hard-working and highly qualified real estate professionals at Kelowna Life today.  

Feature Kelowna Life Real Estate Professional: Jason Abougoush

Kelowna Life has developed lasting relationships within Kelowna’s community, and there are a few Real Estate Agents that we feel stand out due to their exceptional client service. In honour of the hard work and commitment that our Real Estate Agents demonstrate, we’re featuring Jason Abougoush to get into the holiday spirit!

Jason Abougoush is a Real Estate Professional with a background in business, and he is about to celebrate a successful first year at Kelowna Life Real Estate Group! We are honoured to have him on our team.

Jason is a Real Estate Professional, who not only sells real estate but also invests in revenue properties as well as development opportunities. Jason views real estate trading from a business mindset rather than a sales mindset. He says his experience in watching his family business grow taught him how to do business the right way, and that giving back to the community will always be reciprocated through business.

Jason also attributes some of his unique characteristics to his educational experience, where he studied finance for four years before obtaining his masters degree from the university of Calgary specializing in real estate development. He feels that this, combined with his experience in development, gives him unique insights that can provide clients a more clear understanding on what the construction or renovation process is like.

It’s clear that Jason stands out and excels as a real estate professional due to his unique experiences, his strong knowledge base, and ability to view real estate from a business mindset opposed to the typical sales mindset.

Jason has been living and doing business in the Okanagan his whole life, and his family has been living here and doing business for over 50 years! He believes Kelowna is an incredible place to live and do business; it’s a place that everyone works their whole lives to get to, and he’s honoured to have had the opportunity to have grown up here.

With Christmas right around the corner, the thing Jason is looking most forward to is catching up with and visiting his family. Jason has 10 Aunts and Uncles on the Abougoush side of his family alone, and Christmas dinner is usually at least 50 people. He says given that most of his relatives are also entrepreneurs, Christmas is one of the only times that he is able to catch up and enjoy time with those closest to him.

Christmas is a great reminder that there really is no better place to call home than Kelowna! Kelowna is an incredible place to live because of both the entrepreneurial opportunities and the natural beauty. Jason believes it’s the perfect demographic because it offers most of everything you get in a city with small town companionship and history. Kelowna truly is a thriving community with endless opportunities and options to get involved with sports, activities, and the community.

kelowna life wilden

Many people are aware that Kelowna is a cornerstone of entrepreneurial opportunity, but Kelowna is beginning to tip towards a strong, sustainable business economy. He believes in Kelowna and is confident that the economics of the city are starting to develop, partially due to thriving: tech, health, and educational sectors. The increase in sectors make Kelowna more than just a vacation hotspot.

If you’re looking for an honest, professional and caring real estate professional in Kelowna, contact Jason Abougoush from Kelowna Life today or take a look at some of the property listings on Kelowna Life.

lots-for-sale-southeast-kelowna

2269 Bridgeview is one of Kelowna Life’s many outstanding homes to choose from. This fabulous home has been completely renovated top to bottom. It features 5 bedrooms, 5 bathrooms, a main floor master with a beautiful ensuite featuring corner tub and 2 person shower, a theatre room, enormous recreation/family room with wet bar, a huge loft area with balcony, high end appliances, complete with incredible lake and city views from this amazing 6000+ square foot family home, and it’s only 5 minutes to downtown Kelowna!

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