Posted by stoneteam on February 19, 2014 | No Comments
The BC Government released Budget 2014/2015 today. The most direct and immediate announcement for REALTORS® is:
Property Transfer Tax
Effective for registrations on and after February 19, 2014 (tomorrow), the Property Transfer Tax exemption threshold under the First Time Home Buyers’ Program is increased to $475,000 from $425,000, with the partial exemption/phase out applying between $475,000 and $500,000.
The government estimates that approximately 1,700 first-time buyers will benefit this year, saving an average of $4,000 at a cost to government estimated at $8 million.
Home Owner Grant
For the 2014 tax year, the Home Owner Grant threshold for phase out will be decreased from $1,295,000 to $1,100,000. For properties valued above the threshold, the grant is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 of assessed value in excess of the threshold. The threshold captures at least 93.8% of homeowners as opposed to 95% previously. The measure is estimated to provide an additional $11 million in revenue.
Posted by stoneteam on January 4, 2014 | No Comments
Happy New Year!
Property assessments were received by many homeowners in Kelowna this week, and people are asking what the value of their home is compared to the tax assessed value.
The B.C. Assessment Authority’s goal is to be within 97% of market value and from the Kelowna property assessments we have seen already, generally speaking, this is a fair assessment of a home’s value.
Different factors will influence the value of a home: if the basement was finished, recent renovations, a swimming pool etc are all improvements that may have been made to a home and the Assessment Authority may not be aware of those changes.
If a home in the neighbourhood sold in the last 12 months for a value much higher, or lower, than your home’s value then that will also affect the assessed value of your home.
People considering selling their home often ask if the tax assessed value of their home is going to have an impact on their sale price. Buyers will look at the assessed value, but because there are so many different factors that affect the value, most buyers do not give much credit to a home’s assessed value. Buyers today are knowledgable about the market and have a good feel for what a home is worth based on others that are listed for sale and have sold recently.
Here are two examples of homes selling for a much different price than their assessed values: We sold a house last year that had an assessed value of $510,000 and the home sold for $870,000. Another that we sold was assessed for $622,000 and sold for $460,000.
If you have any questions about the value of your home compared to the Assessment Authority’s opinion of your home’s value, contact the Stone Sisters and we will be happy to give you a no obligation evaluation of the value of your home.
Happy New Year!
Posted by stoneteam on December 17, 2013 | No Comments
As some of you may be aware, a change has been made to the Strata Property Act in B.C. and it is now required for all strata (townhomes, condos, bare land strata developments (over 4 units) to have a Depreciation Report completed. The exception to this is that strata developments can request a deferral for 18 months.
I was asked this morning by a strata board member what I thought of this new legislation and how it would affect property values.
The concept itself is a good one. Buyers looking to move into a condo, townhome or bare land strata development in Kelowna will now have more information than previously. They will be given details on the anticipated life expectancy of components of the shared property (elevators, roofs, plumbing etc.)
The challenge may be that some buildings will have recommendations made in the Strata Depreciation Report that indicates there are insufficient funds in the contingency reserve to allow for the anticipated upgrades. This will likely mean higher strata fees and possibly a special assessment.
Kelowna has a lot of apartment buildings, and many of those are geared towards the 55+ crowd. Often people on a fixed income wish to keep their strata fees as low as possible (and you can’t blame them for that.) However, it will be not great from a resale point of view to have looming special assessments and higher strata fees.
It is our opinion that strata property owners are wise to get the Depreciation Report completed rather than deferring it for 18 months. Particularily if the building is over 15 years old. That way everyone can be well educated on the probable lifespan of their shared property and they can budget for improvements when they are required.
Let us know if you have any comments or questions about Strata Depreciation Reports, or general questions about the Real Estate Market in Kelowna. The Stone Sisters would love to help!
Posted by stoneteam on December 13, 2013 | No Comments
Alright, we are ready to admit it. Heck, we’re ready to shout it from the rooftops. We love, love, love Christmas! Johnny Mathis singing ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year,’ is our seasonal anthem. So, with the upcoming “holly-day” quickly approaching, we’d like to take the opportunity to discuss what’s really on your mind: presents.
Perhaps you’ve had all your gifts wrapped and ready since September, and simply looking for that last something special for your special someone, or maybe you follow the trend of all in due time. Whatever your shopping style is, we’ve decided to give you a helping hand by assembling a few of the top gifts of 2013 for both men and women.
Gifts for him:
His Technology side: It’s the era of smart-phones and tablets, and while we all love our little hand-held life support systems, the harsh reality is that they truly are not the ideal medium for enjoying movies, television shows, and various YouTube sensations. Enter Google Chromecast, an HDMI streaming media player that connects your television to your devices via Wi-Fi. At only $34, this hot little item is honestly affordable considering its streamlining capabilities.
His Hobby side: Let’s throw vanity aside and simply admit it, your family is super cute and you need the proper ability to capture the best moments of 2014. Gift that husband/boyfriend/father of yours a digital SLR camera, such as The Canon Rebel T3 and that patient and loving man will turn into the official family photographer. London Drugs here in town has really knowledgeable staff and some good prices.
His Fashionable side: Along with presents under the tree and Santa Claus coming down the chimney, a large part of the magic of Christmas is a snow-filled morning. However, this majestically-white weather phenomenon comes accompanied by chilly temperatures, so your man is going to need something to keep him warm. A cashmere sweater is not only the classic Christmas gift, it is essentially timeless and will make him look utterly handsome. Dale and his team at Landmark Clothiers has some incredible selection right now http://landmarkclothiers.com
Gifts for her:
Her Reader side: The smell of a brand new book is never something that can be replaced and she will love disappearing into a favorite novel. Grab a cup of coffee and head downtown to Bernard Avenue to browse Mosaic Bookstore for a million ideas http://mosaicbooks.ca
Her Pampered side: If you truly want her bragging to friends and coworkers about you, present the lady in your life with a gift that can help her reach that place of Zen. A gift certificate to a day spa (we love Spa Pure here in Kelowna http://spapure.ca/Default.aspx?goto=Location&Local=KelownaBCCA) a massage, facial, or another treatment of her choice is the gift that keeps on giving. Add on a fancy meal or hotel stay, and those friends will be seeing green.
Her Pretty Things side: Right alongside the theory of relativity and the law of gravity, the connection between women and jewels is a force of nature. This year, the hottest trends in jewelry gifting doesn’t have to break the bank. Collections such as Alex and Ani bangles or Pandora charms will not only adorn that special lady’s arm to the nines, but provide you with a future gift idea for numerous anniversaries, birthdays, and holidays to come. Check out Posh downtown on Ellis for some bling for your girl www.poshjewelry.ca
Gifts for Both:
A new home in Kelowna! We had to put that in of course because what a gift that would be! And the Stone Sisters Group is the partner you need to find the ideal home here in our beautiful Okanagan Valley. www.stoneteam.com
We hope to have given you a few ideas for that special he or she on your list, and that the rest of your December is filled with Christmas cheer! Merry Christmas everyone!
Posted by stoneteam on November 28, 2013 | No Comments
Many eager home owners are warned that the holiday season is the wrong time to list their home for sale. This is a common misconception that we see among home owners, and we wanted to provide you the top 10 reasons why listing during December is a smart move. If you are committed to selling your home, it can be an excellent time. Most buyers that will be looking at your property during the holidays are often pre-approved by their lender, and tend to be more serious buyers that we see other times. The reason behind this comes down to motivation. Buyers during December often have a different motivation such as using vacation time to search for property. They’re doing that because they have to buy, rather than want to buy. Time is of the essence to these types of buyers, rather than someone who is thinking about buying but may not have a definite time frame for their purchase.
One of the most important things for a seller is to ensure that their Realtor is still working and available to deal with offers that are written during the holiday season. We enjoy time with our families during this time, but always make sure that we are able to properly represent the needs of our clients – even on Christmas Day!
10 reasons why you should consider listing your home with the Stone Sisters Group during the holidays:
1. Most December and early January buyers are particularly serious and very likely facing some sort of deadline.
2. January is the biggest transfer month of the year and job transferee’s use the holidays to house hunt.
3. Many people want to buy before the end of the year for financial and tax reasons. Investors usually want to close by year-end for tax purposes.
4. Most sellers wait until spring or summer to list their home. This means that during the winter months your property will have far less competition versus any other time of the year.
5. Homes show well when decorated for the holidays creating a sense of family and people are much more emotionally drawn to the house, emotion sells. Of course, We do not recommend that large holiday inflatables are placed in the front yard!
6. Many people take vacation around the holidays, which allows them more time to look for a home.
7. Remodeling, decorating, appliance installation and other services are more available and at less of a premium. Large box stores will often run specials during December as it is not a busy time for people interested in home renovations.
8. There are usually no significant changes to mortgage rates or lending requirements near the end of the year. Banks and government officials tend to make lending change announcements in the New Year, rather than in December.
9. Lenders aren’t as busy as other months of the year, and can process mortgage loans faster. This is due to the fact that most home owners do not renew their mortgages during the holidays. Refinancing seems to be something that most of us think about AFTER Christmas!
10. Showings will be fewer and less intrusive, but more likely to be fruitful with motivated, qualified buyers.
It does not appear that interest rates will be rising anytime in the near future, so a buyer can certainly take advantage of the competitive rates that are advertised – whether it be for a variable rate or a rate that is locked in for say, five years. As mentioned above, mortgage lenders are often able to deal with a mortgage request faster during the holidays as there are not as many transactions.
Showing your home during the holiday season should be a pleasant experience, but do decorate modestly! Ensure that your decorations do not overpower the rooms. For sellers, it is important that your decorations do not hide or detract from selling features in your home. If you have a floor-to-ceiling river rock fireplace, We would encourage you not to place the Christmas tree in front of the fireplace. Keep it simple. Decorate your tree, but if you find that the tree actually makes your home look smaller, maybe select a smaller tree this season to free up the space. Placing a small amount of decorations such as candles or centerpiece inside, or a simple wreath or swag on your front door will welcome potential buyers and create a positive first impression.Holiday decorating can really add a feeling of warmth to a home if done correctly!
If you are serious about selling your home, and want a FREE comprehensive market evaluation of your property, contact us today at 250-862-7675 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Posted by stoneteam on November 20, 2013 | No Comments
A number of the people we have helped lately have been Baby Boomers who are assisting their parents with selling the family home. It can be a difficult transition for seniors to move from a single family house into an assisted living complex. There’s the issue of finding a comfortable home for Mum and Dad with amenities and activities that will interest them – while allowing them to maintain their independence and dignity. Another issue is how to “downsize” the seniors personal belongings.
The Stone Sisters are here to help! We are familiar with the different housing options available and can help match seniors with the best next home. We have assembled a team of specialists who can help with packing & moving and then preparing the home for sale. With our extensive marketing program we will be able to sell the property quickly and for top dollar. This gives great peace of mind – especially to the children who live out of town and cannot be here in Kelowna to help with the process as much as they may like.
We have a list of satisfied clients (both the parents and their children) and we would happily give you their contact information.
If you, or someone you know, is faced with this situation – please contact the Stone Sisters and allow us to help.
Tamara & Shannon Stone
Posted by stoneteam on November 8, 2013 | No Comments
Kelowna had a light dusting snow this week – which is really early for flurries in the Okanagan.
We are also experiencing a flurry in Kelowna real estate sales right now. In the last 7 days there have been 56 properties sell in the Central Okanagan (Peachland to Oyama). It’s great to see that there is good activity this late in the year.
2013 has been a strong year for housing in Kelowna and we anticipate seeing a good number of sales in the remaining weeks of the year.
There are some incredible buys out there; lakeshore properties for almost half of their original asking price, nice condos for under $100,000, and investment properties that will cash flow.
If you would like details on any properties for sale in Kelowna, just let the Stone Sisters know.
Posted by stoneteam on October 15, 2013 | No Comments
The year 2013 is in its homestretch, and thoughts of a brand new year and new trends in home design are beginning to fill the thoughts of homeowners and interior designers everywhere. However, this 13th year of the millennial is not ready to be forgotten. With countless new found and re-found trends in home style, it has certainly been an interesting year for the field. So which designs have you brought into your own Kelowna or Okanagan property? Take a look at our list of just a few of the top trends for home design and see which ones you’ve embraced and which you may have saved for 2014.
Stripes, stripes, stripes! This design aspect, often associated with vintage finds or nautical themes, has found new life this year. We are often seeing this simple trend for carpets, wallpapers, or upholstery used in combination with simplistic furnishings and décor, so as to not compete with its surroundings, instead to complement them. In this way, the bold choice transforms from busy and distracting towards elegant and interesting, all the while infusing a room with energy and vibrancy.
Turning design into a sensory exploration. By default, we typically make our design choices based upon how something looks. However, one of the trends in 2013 for home design is introducing our other senses into the equation, primarily touch. Our home should be a place of warmth and comfort, where we go to melt away the daily stresses of the outside world. Incorporating “touchable” fabrics and decor into your design is one way to do so. Think natural fibers and materials, such as wood, suede, jute, and of course leather.
Parisian Influence. It all started with retailers like Restoration Hardware and World Market, the Louis XIV style is quite frankly “all the rage” among professional designers and homeowners everywhere. The grey and lighter-wood tones, in collaboration with precise straight lines and natural upholstery creates a timeless classic style with the capability of conveying a chic elegance in any room.
See and DIY. The trend that gained momentum in 2012 with the cultural explosion of the Pinterest and Houzz applications, has only further taken off in 2013. The ability to personalize and save lots of cash that Doing it Yourself offers is truly crucial to many home owner’s decorating ventures. Whether it is re-finishing a vintage or antique piece of furniture in a brighter color, or creating a new design use for an old or discarded object, many creative minds are having a great time with this new trend. You don’t have to be a Mr. Fix-it or Martha Stewart to tap into this style either, the internet is filled with simple step-by-step instructions for numerous projects.