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.

Water’s Edge North – Rebuilt.

The Okanagan Valley is renowned for its laid-back lifestyle. With access to a wide variety of activities no matter the time of year, Kelowna is a great city to raise a family. Whether you enjoy water sports in the summer or getting on the slopes in the winter, there’s never a dull moment. If you were like me when I moved here, I didn’t know where in Kelowna to set up. Where was the best place to raise my family? I might be a bit biased, but it’s hard to go wrong no matter where you move as this city is filled with great neighbourhoods. However, there are hidden gems throughout the city. One of which is a community called Water’s Edge North. A small neighbourhood close to Okanagan Lake, Water’s Edge North is a beautiful and scenic location in the Lower Mission area of Kelowna.

Located just steps from the Okanagan Lake, MKS Resources has worked tirelessly to create a unique blend of architecture, and inspiring design with a great location that has fabulous views, serene surroundings, and fantastic amenities. All that hard work has come together to create the Water’s Edge North community. Just a short distance from restaurants, destination resorts such as  Eldorado Hotel & Manteo Resorts. It is also close to water parks, orchards and Mission Creek Greenway. This neighbourhood has everything you could ever want in a community.

Not only is the Water’s Edge a beautiful community with a great location, but it’s also a community that has become stronger in the past year. In July of 2017, there was a massive fire in the neighbourhood that forced 176 homes to evacuate. It was a tragedy that devastated many families, or at least that’s what you would expect. Instead, the community used the fire as a tool to bring them closer together. They rallied together to rebuild their homes and do everything they could to help each other in a difficult time.

Tragedy is something no one ever wants to deal with. However, how one deals with tragedy shows the character of those involved. It can be easy to fall apart when something terrible happens, but when you get back up after a disaster, it shows true strength of character. That’s what the Water’s Edge did after a fire devastated their community, they got up and rebuilt. Now as the community continues to rebuild, the people are stronger than ever. For those reasons alone it is a great community to set up your family. With a strong, inclusive community, and plenty of things to do throughout the year, who wouldn’t want to live in the Water’s Edge? You can live here too. Check out Kelowna Life to learn 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

okanagan kettle valley wilden real estate home buyer home seller rob nelson kelowna life

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 Real Estate Professional: Rob Nelson

Rob Nelson founded Kelowna Life Real Estate Group in 2015 after deciding to move and enter the real estate market in Kelowna. His passion for Kelowna, and the Okanagan lifestyle has been a substantial part of Kelowna Life’s success.

Rob and his team of expert real estate professionals not only specialize in real estate, but truly believe in the City of Kelowna and love promoting the Okanagan.

Life Before Kelowna Life

Prior to founding Kelowna Life in 2015, Rob was an owner operator in the competitive nightclub industry in Alberta for over 20 years.

The decision to change career paths, and move to beautiful Kelowna happened while vacationing with his spouse, Andrea, in the summer prior to founding Kelowna Life. Rob and Andrea instantly fell in love with Kelowna’s gorgeous natural beauty, active lifestyle, and incredible community feel. It was during a dinner that summer on the stunning waterfront boardwalk at the Eldorado Hotel in the Lower Mission that they looked at each other and at the same time said, “we should live here.’

48 hours later, Rob and Andrea had purchased a brand new home in the Upper Mission, were on a flight home to Alberta to put an exit strategy into motion, and began building Kelowna Life.

In Rob’s first full year he finished in the Top 1% of all Century 21 Real Estate Agents in Canada in 2016, and as a group they won a CENTURION® Team Producer award in 2017.

The Okanagan Lifestyle

Rob attributes his success and unique approach to real estate from his previous experience and dedication to promoting the Okanagan.

The climate is incredible with four distinct seasons, and it strikes the perfect balance between a small town feel and big city amenities, including a world class hospital, and an international airport. Because of this, Kelowna and the Okanagan area are rare gems. It’s no longer just a place you go to vacation or retire. We have many young people moving here to raise their families or to succeed professionally.

Rob has a young family, so he knows first hand how great the Okanagan and Kelowna are for raising a family. There are so many outdoor activities to keep them busy and healthy including beaches, skiing, hiking, as well as extracurriculars for the kids, from dance to hockey. It also offers great education, including several college options and the University of British Columbia.

The thriving downtown core offers tons of local restaurants and shops, festivals, a great art district, as well as local wineries throughout the Okanagan Valley.

Economically, there is a growing business sector with a huge entrepreneurial community.

With so many great options, there is always something to do.

It’s clear that Rob and the team at Kelowna Life Real Estate Group truly believe in the City of Kelowna and love promoting the Okanagan. The growing team reflects these values and continues to strive for the best.

Cultivating Expertise in the Real Estate Profession

Rob’s background and personal interest in Kelowna has given him the tools to approach real estate from a customer service and business background as opposed to a more traditional sales relationship with his clients.

He has learned from the positive and negative personal experiences of purchasing and selling properties and businesses. These experiences allowed him to understand the ups and downs of buying and selling, and how to apply these experiences.

His previous industry is highly competitive and has a high failure rate. After a successful 20+ years in the hospitality industry, and work with agents in British Columbia and Alberta, Rob was confident that he could also excel and stand out in the real estate industry by applying the business principles he’d learned and his excellent work ethic.

These experiences, combined with his educational background has resulted in an ambitious work ethic and a team of focused experts who work diligently for their clients and constantly strive to exceed expectations.

Rob successfully understands how hard you have to work to maintain the right to continue to work with your clients and how you have to deliver on what you have promised.

Rob and the rest of the agents at Kelowna Life will continue to grow their incredible team of like-minded, service oriented, business minded individuals to maintain the high level of service their clients have become accustomed to.

They strive to continue to earn the privilege of representing their clients with their real estate needs while earning their referrals which have become the bloodline of their success.

Rob is truly thankful for all of their amazing clients and proud of Kelowna Life’s accomplishments in such a short time.

In the meantime, view Kelowna Life’s incredible property listings and learn more about the communities from Kettle Valley, to Wilden to the Upper Mission.

Feature House Listing in Kettle Valley, Kelowna

kettle valley kelowna property real estate kelowna life

This incredible new house listing at 5338 Upper Mission Drive, Kelowna BC | $879,000 won’t be on the market for long. Take advantage of the the opportunity to live in stunning Kettle Valley in the Upper Mission area in this updated 4 bedroom, 4 bathroom, 2600 square foot home with walkout basement.

The property includes a beautiful high end kitchen, vaulted ceilings, spiral staircase, and separate living area downstairs which could easily be a rental suite property.

This great family home is walking distance to Chute Lake Elementary School. There is endless space in this well maintained 0.99 acre lot for the kids to play, bike, hike or dirt bike all available to you right out your front door. Plus, endless storage opportunities for your toys, boats, or motorhomes.

This must see private oasis will not last long!

If you’re planning to move to Kelowna or the beautiful Okanagan area and looking for reputable real estate professionals, contact Rob Nelson from Kelowna Life today.