Good News for First Time Buyers of Kelowna Real Estate

Posted by 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.

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Kelowna Property Assessments 2014

Posted by on January 4, 2014 | No Comments

Happy New Year!chutelake

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!


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Christmas Gift Ideas!

Posted by 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

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
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 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
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.comstone_sisters_kelowna_tour_small_p1360640
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!

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Happy Halloween!

Posted by on October 31, 2013 | No Comments

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Top Design Trends of 2013

Posted by 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.

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Kelowna Pumpkin patch

Posted by on October 7, 2013 | No Comments

This is my favourite time of year (and my son’s) when we get to visit the Kelowna Pumpkin patch at McMillan Farms. They are open from 10am to 6pm until October 31st and if you haven’t been before be sure to stop by this year and take a hayride, go through the corn maze or purchase some beautiful multi-coloured corn and gourds for Thanksgiving decorations.

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Changes to Affordable Housing in Kelowna

Posted by on September 11, 2013 | No Comments

The City of Kelowna has just announced changes to the affordable housing program. The program was started a few years ago when the price of a house in Kelowna was considerably higher than now. There was a need for more affordable housing and the city offered incentives to developers to fill the need.

Now that the average price of a home or condo in Kelowna has come down, the city of Kelowna has decided to do away with the program.

Read here for all the details as reported by this morning:

If you have any questions or want a list of the most affordable homes for sale in Kelowna, just let the Stone Sisters know as we’d love to help!

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Back to School in Kelowna

Posted by on September 3, 2013 | No Comments

Today was the first day back to school for most children in Kelowna. Many parents are emotional on this day as it marks a new stage of growth and development for their children (especially if they are just starting preschool or kindergarten). Some parents feel great joy at returning to the regular routine (I have heard that back to school is the true Mother’s Day).

My children entered grades 4 and 6 today at Casorso Elementary and are thrilled to see their friends again and meet their new teachers. While they will miss the long & lazy summer days, it’s great to be back on track again. 

If you have any questions about schools in Kelowna, or real estate in general, please give us a call at 250.862.7675

–Tamara Stone 

P.S  Don’t forget those school zones!  Noticed the RCMP watching for speeders this morning.

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What is a Fixture vs. Chattel?

Posted by on August 29, 2013 | No Comments

We frequently get asked what stays with a home and what will be taken. The standards can change from province to province and city to city so we thought it would be helpful to explain what usually stays and goes with a home that sells in Kelowna.

A fixture is something that is attached to the house.  And it is the degree with which it is attached that separates it from a fixture or chattel.  A picture hanging on a wall is a fixture.  But a mirror  (or a shelf, or a television mount) that is screwed into the wall is likely considered a chattel.  A fridge (unless it’s a built in fridge) and stove are chattels.

When you are considering buying a home in Kelowna, we suggest you make a list of things you would want to have included in the sale.  It’s common to ask for all window coverings, all appliances (make sure you detail which appliances and even put the brand names on the contract), the hot tub, the built-in vacuum system (and remember to ask for the attachments). 

Many years ago we sold a home in Kelowna and the sellers decided to take everything that wasn’t firmly screwed to the house.  That included the toilet paper holders, the light bulbs, and even some light fixtures! 

We had clients just move here from Ontario.  In that province, it’s common practice to outline what you DON’T want included and otherwise there is an assumption that things attached to the walls (speakers and televisions primarily) will be staying.  That’s not the case in B.C.

To make sure that you are not disappointed with what is taken or left, it’s best to clearly outline what is to be included.  That way there is no disappointment and you can begin to enjoy your new home.

If the Stone Sisters Group can help find you the right property in Kelowna, or if you have a questions about fixtures or chattels, feel free to give us a call or email.

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Kelowna Apple Triathlon

Posted by on August 20, 2013 | No Comments

This past weekend Kelowna was proud to host the 31st annual Pushor Mitchel Apple Triathlon! It was an incredible event with athletes from all over coming to participate .  Kelowna is a very family focused community, and the Apple Triathlon is an excellent example of that. 

Saturday was the KOS youth event with children as young as 8 years old participating and Sunday was the Sprint and Olympic distances.

The best part of the event was seeing such tremendous support from the community.  There were many, many supporters cheering everybody on as they entered the water in Tugboat Bay near the Grand Hotel. After the swim, the bike route took us up Knox Mountain and through Glenmore past the Kelowna Golf and Country Club where again there were lots of people cheering and encouraging the athletes.  Finally the run route went through downtown Kelowna and along Abbott Street then through City Park to the finish line back at Tugboat Beach.

We love living here in Kelowna and participating in great events like this!  It’s another reason to move to the city of Kelowna, and we would love to help find you your perfect home (plus we can show you the best training route if you’re interested!)

Let the Stone Sisters Group know if you have any questions about moving to Kelowna!


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