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Friday, March 30, 2012
CANADIAN HOUSE & HOME FEATURE
CANADIAN HOUSE & HOME-SPECIAL ISSUE
"BEST DECORATING-YOUR STYLE GUIDE"
photo courtesy of Janis Nicolay
i was aked last year if I would have my allow my home to be photographed for Canadian House & Home. Well known Vancouver photographer Janis Nicolay would be the photographer & the person to whom I owe so much credit, Interior Designer Nancy Riesco would do the styling. My home look's pretty much like this-just not so tidy & I don't usually have large branches in my vases!
The idea was to show homeowners that when the kids are getting older and your household needs change, there can be more than 1 option. For us, it means staying in our home in Point Grey as it's a 75 year old home that isn't huge, but large enough to host those family get togethers and small enough to use & enjoy it every day.
We decided a couple of years ago to really make it look the way we wanted rather than thinking it had to be more traditional in style for "resale"-the danger of being a realtor!
We used creamy white walls to showcase the things we have acquired in our travels and the art we have acquired both here and abroad. We've used lots of colour as well & it makes me feel much happier during our rainy Vancouver weather.!
Nancy Riesco was instrumental in helping us edit and display what we already owned and also add what we needed to make it all work.
I highly recommend Nancy whether you are doing a large or small scale interior project; her years of experience combined with her great sense of style will give you a home that looks like you.
For more photos & more about Janis Nicolay's blog Pinecone Camp click HERE
For more more information about Nancy Riesco click HERE
Thursday, March 29, 2012
18 KARAT-GRAND OPENING & RELAUNCH
18 KARAT-GRAND OPENING & LAUNCH OF ONE-APRIL 12, 6-8PM
3039 Granville St. Live Music, Wine, & Food
I've been a big fan of 18 KARAT for many years for their great design at affordable prices & was disappointed when the company folded last year. It's back with a new owner offering the same great design at their South Granville store and to retailers around the world.
The store has done a soft opening for a few months and they were at the Toronto ID show in early February to announce their return to the design world.
For more about 18 KARAT go to www.eighteenkarat.com
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Condo Smarts-Depreciation Reports
The Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C. will provide you with information and answers to your questions about condo ownership and Strata Corporations. CHOA is a non profit organization offering a wide range of services to Strata owners and members of the Strata industry.
If you are a condo owner or planning on becoming one, you will want to know more about Depreciaton Reports and how they affect you as an Owner, Seller or Buyer.
The Depreciation Report is a long term planning vehicle for the common property and assets of the Strata Corporation. It looks at current condition, replacement costs, and how it will be paid. This information will be a great tool in helping Buyers make an informed decision on a condo purchase.
Home inspectors do check many of these items such as roof condition, age and life left in boiler systems, etc but it also important to know replacment costs and how the Strata plans on paying for them.
Many strata owners are nervous about these upcoming reports as it forces them to face the facts and the music-how to pay. Some stratas have not done a good job in planning for these costs but many have been doing something similar all along.
It is mandatory for stratas of more than 5 units whose strata corporations that have not exempted themselves with an annual 3/4 vote.
As of March 1, 2012 a new Form B is now used and if a Depreciation Report is complete, must be included with other mandatory documents.
Press HERE for more information about Depreciation Reports and the most recent changes. You can also explore the rest of their website and the wide range of services that they offer. The Executive Director is Tony Gioventu who also writes a weekly column in the Vancouver Province on Sundays answering reader questions on Strata ownership.
Monday, March 26, 2012
The Most Expensive Home in Vancouver-Update
THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOME IN VANCOUVER-II
Another walk with the dog and I have an update-the landscaping is going in and looks like it's been there for 10 years. Every plant is mature in size with lots of evergreen types for privacy. I also heard that one of the tradespeople said the home has 11 bedrooms and 22 bathrooms !
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Smart Renos-Working With What You Have
SMART RENOS-WORKING WITHIN THE SPACE
I enjoyed the article in Saturday's Globe and Mail about a reno of an Edwardian era heritage home near Fraser & Kingsway featuring local architect Michel Laflamme. It's a wonderful example of how an existing space can be reworked and updated maximizing the use of space with builtins & adding light with new finishes like back painted glass & glass doors. Click HERE for full article & more photos.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Condos-Making them Seem Bigger
CONDOS-MAKING SMALLER SEEM BIGGER
Not sure why I've been thinking about condos so much but maybe because I've been working with Buyers who are downsizing into condos or townhomes. I saw a condo this week & I know someone with the identical unit in the same building; I couldn't believe how different they looked and how 1 seemed so much bigger. It used the rules that we know hold true but seeing it is believing it! It's especially important when it comes time to sell-Buyers always want as much space as they can afford.
A good example of how using light colours & clean lines can expand a space-this one is from the Lonny magazine website where you can source creative decorating ideas for all parts of your home.
Imagine how much smaller this would look done up in wood cabinets with dark stools. Lucite or plexiglass furniture is a great way not to take up visual space in small areas-check out CB2-now conveniently located in Downtown Vancouver on Robson St.
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Real Estate Commissions-"Getting the Most Bang for Your Bungalow"
WHAT'S THE REAL COST OF SELLING?
I've always been surprised at how homeowners choose their real estate agent as for almost everyone, our homes are usually our single largest financial asset. This decision should be made just like any other major decision that affects our long term financial position but often isn't.
Fabrice Taylor who frequently writes about investments in Report on Business recently made a couple of recommendations in her article in the Globe & Mail:
- "Make your agent earn your business whether you know him or not" This related to the hiring of an agent just because the person is your friend but it's true regardless of whether you know the realtor or not. Interview realtors and find out just how much they understand the market in your area. I see a lot of realtors from outside the West Side listing homes or representing Buyers attracted by the lure of the values on the West Side. It's important that your realtor know the area and recent sales & listings & how they compare to your home.
- "A quick sale benefits the agent" It's true that some realtors who carry a lot of listings just want to move them rather than holding out for the very best price, which may take a little longer. Their business model is based on turns. Again, in interviewing realtors, you will get a feeling for who is prepared to provide you with not only their time but also a professional marketing program that will attract the most potential Buyers to your home.
- "You Get What You Pay For" She used this term as it applies to increases in values in homes but it's also used to compare the low commission agencies to the full service ones. Vancouver realtors actually charge the lowest commissions in the country but there are still companies who will do it for less. Again, find out what you receive for your money and if they have sold similar properties of similar value. Discount brokers often fall under "a quick sale benefits the agent' statement as their business model is based on volume in order to be successful. Conversely there are agents who also charge way above the average commission to support extensive marketing & promotion programs.
- "How the Realty Industry Operates" She suggests that realtors who work for big name firms have to charge a lot to support the large fees charged by the brokerage. The truth is that a successful agent actually makes more money at a company like RE/MAX because most of the fees are fixed so the more business is done, the more goes to the bottom line. In many other companies there is a % split which isn't paid unless a sale is made but then it is a much larger %. More accurately she suggests that when an agent charges too little, are they giving you the time that you need from them. Her tip-"Price is important but there are other factors involved."
If after doing your due diligence you find more than 1 realtor right for the job, it's becomes more a question of fit. This is a very personal intense relationship so who makes you feel most comfortable?
Click HERE for the full Globe and Mail article.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Space Saving Design-Why Didn't I Think of This?
The Bike Shelf by Knife & Saw-Winner Dwell Modern World Awards 2011
It's a shelf, it's a place to park your bike. With space at a premium in condos especially, this is the perfect piece of furniture that is both functional & beautiful.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
The Most Expensive Home in Vancouver
THE MOST EXPENSIVE HOME IN VANCOUVER
No, it's not on Point Grey Road or in Shaughnessy but sitting at the corner of Blanca & Belmont in Point Grey. Of course this information is totally informal as I managed to question one the contractors while heading down to the beach with my dog.
According to him the house is 44,000 sq ft and has been built at a total cost of approximately $130million when all is done. Money often doesn't buy taste, but in this case, it has. The home consists of a contemporary design with an exterior finish of limestone, landscaping suits the surroundings featuring large boulders & native vegetation, and we know the views are stellar!
He told me that the home is designed so that the staff can move through the house without being seen by the owners, sort of like a 21st century Downton Abbey!
Friday, March 2, 2012
February Sales Results
Listings eased off in February as so many Sellers rushed to get their homes listed before the Chinese New Year rush. Compared to Feb/2011 Listings of West Side houses were actually -11% while both condos and mutifamily were up slightly from a year ago. Sales on the other hand were down across the board at -27% for houses, -20% for condos, -39% for multifamily.
There is no sense of urgency on the part of Buyers with so many listings to choose from and no pressure from lenders as mortgage rates remain low.