Listing your home in the Winter

As the show starts to fly and Christmas decorations go up, I always get the question: 

Should I list my home in the winter or wait for the spring?”

Here are reasons why it’s a good idea to consider listing your home in the winter. 

Competition

The active inventory of homes for sale in the Okanagan is historically lower in the winter months.  There is usually a 20% decrease in active listings from November to March. 

Many sellers in the Okagnan choose to wait to put their homes on the market because they believe that their homes will show better in the spring and summer months.  And while that may be true, it’s all relative.  So while other homeowners are waiting, why don’t you a head start?  Listing your home in the winter months will give you the advantage of having fewer homes to compete with than in the spring.  Buyers are still active all year round.  

Serious Buyers

Homebuyers looking to buy a home in the winter months tend to be more serious buyers.  Every month of the year, homebuyers are looking to move.  While making the move in the winter may not be ideal, some buyers need to secure a home whether it be for work or life situations.  There are typically fewer showings on homes for sale in the Okanagan in the winter months, the buyers coming through need (or really want) to buy.  

QVAluxury_WinterStagingTipsLonger closing

Buyers who are buying in the winter months may be wanting to secure a property, they typically want to move when the show has cleared.  

“In my years of experience, homes that sell in the winter months usually have a longer closing and possession date compared to the spring/summer season.”  Says Tracey Vrecko with the Vrecko Real Estate Group

This longer closing date will give sellers more time to plan and arrange their big move.  It’s even more beneficial if that seller is looking to buy a home.  This will give the homeowner more time to find their next property.  

 

If those 3 reasons don’t convince you that it’s a good time to be listing your home in the winter here are a few others: 

  • You don’t have to mow the lawn or trim the trees
  • No need to keep the pool clean (if applicable)
  • Fewer showings
  • With little to choose from, you can usually stay closer to the list price

So if you are thinking of listing in the spring, get ahead of your competition and list your home this winter.  You have a better chance to secure a sale before the rush of new listings hitting the market.  

Call your award-winning team at Vrecko Real Estate for any questions about listing your home in the winter!  

Spring is just around the corner and if you are thinking of selling, this is the time you want to start preparing your home for sale in Kelowna.

This can seem like a daunting task, especially if you lived in your home for quite some time. But it doesn’t need to be! Think of it as pre-packing. So leave yourself enough time so you are not feeling the pressure. Here is a timeline you can follow to pace yourself and ensure it’s all done on time.

2-4 weeks before listing your home

Declutter and Pre-pack

Pick up some boxes from U-haul or Home Depot and get packing. This pre-packing stage will save you time when you are ready to move. This stage of preparing your home for sale will allow you to keep only things you want to bring to your new home.
As you sort through items in your home, sort in piles of what you want to keep, things you would like to sell, and things you want to give to charity.

The items you would like to keep but don’t need for the sale of the home can be boxed up and stored in the garage or storage unit. These items could be:

  • Seasonal clothing
  • Personal items you will not need until you move
  • Small decorative art
  • Memorabilia and personal photos
  • Books
  • Larger equipment you are not using

539 Metcalfe Back Patio EntranceWhile your home might feel a little depersonalized to you, a new buyer needs to see their belongings and their lives in the home.

To lighten up rooms, if there are excess or large furniture pieces, move them into storage if you are keeping them, and if not, sell or pass them on to a local charity. Less is more!

Paint and touch-ups

Touch up all the wear and tear on the home. The easiest way to do this is to paint. Patch up any nicks and dings in the walls and either touch up with the same color or if it hasn’t been painted in quite some time or is a bolder color, take the opportunity to repaint the home in a neutral tone. It’s amazing what a fresh coat of paint will do, so it’s worth the time when preparing your home for sale.

Don’t forget the baseboards! Use a bright white for baseboards and trim. Over the years, the vacuum cleaner does a number on the baseboards and they need to look bright white.

Other things to consider looking at:

Loose door knobs
Burnt-out light bulbs
Weather stripping on doors
Any items that have broken or worn out over the years

1-2 weeks

It’s crunch time! But don’t let that get you nervous, all the really hard work is behind you. Now is the time to focus on being ready for photos. Keep in mind when preparing your home for sale, professional photography will happen about a week to 10 days prior to going live on the MLS.

Get outdoors

It’s time to focus on the outside. Touch up paint, and fix anything that needs tending to. Give some love to the garden beds with a fresh load of mulch or cedar chips. Good curb appeal leaves a good first impression. Do a fresh mow to the lawn just before photos.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

Back inside, pull out the bucket, gloves, and cleaning materials, and get prepared for a deep clean. For photos, ensure all surfaces are clean and dust-free. If you are running out of time, there are great cleaning companies in town that can take this off your hands.

And don’t forget:

Air intake vents
Bathroom fans
Blinds and ledges
Cleaning carpets

It’s a good idea to call a window cleaning company to clean the windows inside and out. Most will do power washing as well to get rid of dust, debris, and cobwebs that accumulate over the winter.

Days before

Ok, you are almost there. You have worked hard preparing your home for sale and it’s about to pay off. Photos are done, the sign is up and you are ready to get your home on the MLS.
You may not recognize your home, but it is now ready for a new homeowner.

Extra tips:

For photos and showings, get rid of any evidence of pets
Avoid any strong smells when you have a showing
Move cars and toys out of the driveway

A few nice touches:

Get some fresh flowers
Use white bedding and towels for a fresh natural look
Find a playlist with soft music

Download our photoshoot prep guide and showing guide for extra tools when preparing your home for sale.

The Vrecko Real Estate Group offers a variety of services to help in preparing your home for sale. Reach out to one of the professional real estate agents to discuss your needs and they will be happy to help you through the process.

Big Change to Strata Rules

Significant changes have been recently made to the strata rules.  The Vrecko Real Estate Group explains what they are and how they will affect you when buying and selling a strata title property.    

On November 21, 2022, Bill 44 was introduced and took immediate effect to change certain key by-laws to all strata properties in the province of BC.  These changes to strata rules affect rental rules, age restrictions, and electronic meetings.  

No Rental Restrictions Allowed

  • There shall be no rental restrictions authorized in any strata corporations in BC.
  • A developer will no longer be forced to issue Rental Disclosure Statements and strata will not need to keep those records.
  • The strata corporation will not be allowed to screen tenants, authorize screening criteria, get the approval of tenants, require the insertion of terms in tenancy agreements, or restrict the rental of a strata lot.

The most significant change to the strata rules here is lifting rental restrictions on those strata buildings that currently do not allow rentals.  

As a buyer of a strata property, you no longer need to limit your search if you plan to use the property as a rental.  This will give the buyer more options in buildings that were restricted before the new change in the strata rule.  

If you are a property owner and considering selling your condo in Kelowna or the area, this change in the strata rule will benefit you if you are currently in a building with restrictions. 

The Upside

This change could provide more rental options for those looking for rental units and attract investors to purchase rental units in buildings they previously could not.  

The Downside

While the change could provide more rental options, some property owners prefer when buildings are mainly owner-occupied.   Furthermore, strata councils now do not have the right to be involved in the screening process which may be risky if a homeowner is not familiar with the process.  

Age restrictions

  • Age restriction bylaws will only be allowed for buildings that are designated for ages 55 and up.
  • The age restriction would not apply to a caregiver who resides in the strata lot, providing care to another person who lives in the strata lot and is dependent on caregivers for disabilities, illness, or frailty.

Before the change to the rule, condos, and townhouses in Kelowna had the right to have age restrictions under 55+.  Aside from the well-known 55+ communities, other common age restrictions were 19+ and 45+.  

Electronic meetings

All strata corporations will be allowed to hold yearly and special general meetings by phone or other electronics (no bylaw required)

Issues using voting cards and secret ballots at electronic general meetings will be decided by:

The electronic means must enable the chair of the meeting to identify whether a person attending by electronic means is an eligible voter.

There will be no requirement to issue a voting card to an eligible voter in a yearly or special general meeting by electronic means.

An eligible voter attending a yearly or special general meeting by electronic means will not be required to vote by secret ballot.

Pets

The section about limits to pets is being reworded for clarification.

Additional information

Strata may continue to have bylaws that prevent or diminish short-term rentals such as Airbnb and VRBOs.

Residential Tenancy Branch policy guidelines have been updated to show that strata can grant a notice to terminate a tenancy and apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for conflict settlement in place of the landlord. Visit the BCFSA website here to learn more.

Change in the Real Estate Rules and What It Means to You

“Cooling off Period” for Buyers known as the Home Buyers Rescission Period

Coming off an unprecedented real estate market, a change in the real estate market rules was made by the government of BC to protect homebuyers.  In this article, we provide clarification on how this change will affect you as a consumer.   

Effective January 3, 2023, the Home Buyers Rescission Period (HBRP) allows the buyer of a residential property the opportunity to rescind their offer within 3 days of acceptance of the offer.  This comes with a financial penalty and cannot be waived by the buyer or seller.  

Once the contract of purchase and sale is accepted by both the buyer and seller the rescission period begins the next business day.  This allows the buyer 3 business days to rescind the offer.  If the buyer chooses to rescind their offer during this time, a Notice to Rescind shall be delivered to the seller along with the rescission fee. 

If the offer contains subjects (financing, home inspection, etc.), this runs concurrently with the rescission period. This new change in real estate does not begin after subjects are removed.

Rescission Fee

If a rescission notice is served to the seller, the buyer must pay the seller 0.25% of the purchase price of the property.  

Example: 

Purchase price:  $ 1,100,000.00

Rescission fee:  $ 2,750.00

The Home Buyer Rescission Period applies to the following types of real estate transactions:

  • Single-family detached property
  • Semi-detached house
  • Townhouse or duplex
  • Condo or other multi-unit dwelling
  • Residential strata lot
  • Manufactured home

The team at Vrecko Real Estate Group shares some of their top questions:

FAQ: 

Why make this change in the real estate rule?

This rule was implemented as a result of the unprecedented estate market of 2020 and 2021.  Where home buyers were forced to make a quick decision, sometimes sight unseen with no conditions to protect them.  If a homebuyer wanted to secure a property during this time, in many cases the only option when competing with multiple offers was to make their offers as appealing as possible. Often resulting in unconditional offers, thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) of dollars over the asking price.  This rescission period will now allow buyers to secure a property but have the option to back out within the 3 days if they get “cold feet”.  This comes with a fee, however, will give the buyer peace of mind.  

How does this affect someone Selling?

As a home seller, this change in the real estate rule won’t dramatically affect their ability to sell to a qualified buyer.  After an accepted offer, while waiting for the rescission period to expire, the homeowner is still able to show the property to potential buyers and also consider any backup offers.  The difference will be when an unconditional offer is accepted, the property is not sold until that period expires.  If the rescission is exercised and the Notice of Rescission is delivered, the seller is entitled to 0.25% of the purchase price and is free to move on to the next offer.  

Why now?  Hasn’t the market cooled off already? 

Some argue this change in the real estate rule comes a little too late.  Yes, the real estate market has seen a dramatic decrease in sales over the last 6 months.  In most markets, this decrease has put an end to the frenzy which led to multiple offer situations.  

Regardless, this change in the real estate rule is here to stay and will be there to protect future home buyers.  

 

For more information on the Home Buyer Rescission Period visit the BCFSA website.

 

This is a question that comes up often as homeowner looks to make their next move.  The real estate market in Kelowna changes from year to year.  While it might make sense to sell before you buy a new home in some market conditions, it could be risky in others. 


Things to consider before deciding to sell before you buy: 

What type of market is it?

Seller’s market: 

When the market is considered a Sellers’ market the risk is lower if you decide to sell before you buy.   A Seller’s market is when the active inventory of listings is lower than the demand of homebuyers.  This market condition often generates multiple offer situations, giving the seller an advantage to choose prices, terms, and dates that work for you.  However, one thing to note is if you are buying and selling in the same market, you will be faced with the same challenges as a buyer when buying a new property.  

Balanced Market: 

A balanced market is when the number of homes for sale in Kelowna meets the demand of buyers looking to purchase a home in Kelowna.  Typically average day on the market is 90 days to sell, which would give you time to find a property to buy.  These market conditions will lower your risk if you decide to sell before you buy.  And you would have more options

  • Placing an offer on a property with the subject of selling your home
  • When securing an offer, ask for longer possession dates to allow time to find a new home

Buyer’s Market: 

While this market condition is great for buying a home, selling a home can become more difficult.  A buyer’s market is when the inventory of homes for sale is far higher than buyer demand.  Days in our market are well over average and sometimes force sellers to reduce the listing price to sell. This would be very risky to sell before you buy a new home as you risk not only owning multiple properties, you risk buying high and selling low.  Your agent should always recommend selling before you buy or at minimum having a condition to selling your home.  

Are you in a position to carry two properties?

Something to consider when trying to decide to sell before you buy is your ability (and comfort level) to own two properties.  

There is always a risk when you decide to sell before you buy a new home.  And, your decision would be based on weighing out the risk and reward.  Perhaps you secure the home or property that you’ve been dreaming of, and holding two properties is worth that risk.

 

Charlene Volk from the Vrecko Real Estate group reviews the following questions when a client is considering taking the risk of buying before selling.  It’s important to know what you are getting into.

  • As it may take some time to sell your home are you willing to wait?  
  • Does the risk outweigh the reward?  
  • Have you considered the cost of holding two properties?

With all things considered, you should talk to a professional real estate agent before you decide to sell before you buy a new home.  They can review what is the best choice for you and your situation. 

 

Every professional real estate agent at Vrecko Real Estate Group has extensive experience in buying and selling real estate.  Based on your specific situation, they can direct you and give you advice to make the best decision for you and your needs.

So you’ve chosen to sell your home. Whether you have a plan for your next move or not, this is a big decision that brings up many questions.  Choosing a Realtor to help you is your first step. 

Need more room?  Too much room and need to downsize?  Whatever the reason, this is a big decision that requires a great deal of support.

When you are looking to sell your home, one of the first things to consider is choosing a Realtor who can get the job done.  And make the process as smooth as possible of course.  Because let’s face it, this is a big decision and it’s hard work!

Getting your home ready for sale can be overwhelming.  The pre-packaging, decluttering, depersonalizing, and finding a spot to tuck away your things when you get notice of a showing.  All while trying to live your day-to-day lives!   

On top of this, you want to make sure your home is priced to sell while not leaving money on the table.  And in a reasonable amount of time with terms and conditions that work for you.  Wow…where do you begin?

You begin with choosing a Realtor who will help you step by step.  Someone who will manage expectations and make this experience positive, productive, and with the least amount of stress on you and your day-to-day life.   

This is why, the tips from the pros came up with the most important things to consider when choosing a Realtor to sell your home in Kelowna.  

  1. Experience and Expertise

When choosing a Realtor you will want to find an agent that has experience in the market in which you are selling.  Marketing a waterfront home is very different from a condo in downtown Kelowna.  While a single agent can do both, you want to ensure the experience is there.  Look at the Realtor’s portfolio of sold listings and ask them about how they plan to market your home to stand out from your competition.  An experienced Realtor will be able to pinpoint a target market based on the features of your property. 

2. Direct Connection with team support

Some great Realtors are backed by a top real estate team.  Working with a Realtor on a team gives you the advantage of the experience and expertise of not just one professional real estate agent, but the whole team. But, when choosing a realtor from a team, ensure you have direct connection and communication with that one agent and are not redirected to an agent on duty.  This direct connection will allow for better communication and feedback.  Not only with you but with potential buyers.   That agent should know your home inside and out so when a prospective buyer calls, that agent can answer all of their questions. 

3. Testimonials and References

The best way to find out if you are on the right track to choosing the right realtor is to find out the experiences of their past clients.  Look at their website and read the testimonials of past clients.  Or you could ask for references.  Find out if the needs of past clients were met and the experience they had with that agent.  

 “One of the best references I ever had was from a Buyer who was represented by another agent.  They bought one of my listings where I represented the Seller.   They said I was so tenacious when it came to negotiating for my seller, that they would only use me to sell their next home. And they did!”    -Quincy Vrecko Quincy Luxury Agent

Selling a home is not just a transaction, it’s a partnership between Seller and Realtor.  While considering all these tips when choosing a Realtor, is important to pick someone you feel comfortable with.  Browse through the bios and testimonials of this top real estate team.  Our diverse team caters to different areas of expertise and a wide range of skills to help your sale a smooth one.  

Real Estate Tips from the Pros

The real estate market in Kelowna has seen a shift like never before.  So whether the market is up or down, there are some fundamentals to real estate that never change.  The team at Vrecko Real Estate Group has seen it all and shares with you professional tips to help navigate any market.  

In this series, the professional real estate agents with Vrecko Real Estate Group cover topics related to buying and selling real estate.  They answer questions and give real estate tips on how to make your next real estate transaction a smooth one.  

Part one of the series covers topics related to buying a home.  Whether you are a first-time home buyer or you are a seasoned home buyer and have bought and sold many homes, these tips will help you with your next purchase.  

Part two dives into selling a home.  There are so many important things to consider when selling a home in Kelowna.  The goal when selling a home is to sell for top dollar in a reasonable amount of time and make the process as streamlined as possible.  And these real estate tips for selling will help you meet those goals.  

Part One – Selling a Home

  • Choosing a Realtor 
  • Do you sell before you buy
  • Preparing your home for sale
  • Disclosures, warranties, and representation
  • Showing your home
  • The offer, counteroffer, and acceptance
  • Preparing for the move

Part Two – Buying a Home

  • Choosing the right real estate agent
  • Steps to starting your search
  • Mortgage Broker vs Bank
  • The offer process from beginning to end
  • Preparing for your new home
  • Moving day
  • Building a home

Each series will have real estate tips and advice from members of the Vrecko Real Estate Group.  This team of Kelowna Realtors has an average of 20 years of experience and are experts in sales, communication, and negotiating.  Tracey Real Estate Agent

“We hope you find this information helpful.  Our team is here to help and guide you through every step of the way.  Our phone is always on!”

Tracey Vrecko, Kelowna Luxury Realtor with 17 years in the industry. 

Stay tuned for the first installment- Buying a home: Choosing the right real estate agent.  

MEDIA RELEASE 

Vrecko Real Estate Group Announces a Brand Refresh

Quincy Vrecko & Associates, a luxury real estate company based in Kelowna announced today that it has completed a brand refresh and will be called as the Vrecko Real Estate Group with effect from today.

With more than two decades of experience in the luxury industry, Quincy Vrecko, the founder of the company is the lead luxury estate agent of the firm. “This is a major milestone for our team” stated Quincy. Being the pioneer of exclusive luxury real estate in Kelowna, I believe that moving forward Vrecko Real Estate Group will be synonymous with “redefining real estate”, he further added.

“Years of success were built on one another, our team became bigger, and our business grew,” said Tracey Vrecko, the female force behind the top real estate team at Vrecko Real Estate Group. “This is a new chapter to continue our journey with a fresh look that reflects the company we’ve grown to be” she further added. Together with her husband Quincy they have created the Vrecko brand and have built a team of top real estate professionals specializing in family homes and luxury estates in the Okanagan region.

The team at Vrecko Real Estate Group specializes in Luxury Real Estate, Waterfront properties, family homes, townhouses, and condominiums along with commercial property and residential development. 

30th March 2022, KELOWNA, BC

 

The current real estate prices in Kelowna are soaring to record highs. With low inventory and high demand bidding wars and above-list-sale prices is a common norm. QVA is here to help you navigate this hot seller’s market to get your home’s worth. Here’s how:

Exposure

When the listing hits the market, typically a seller will want to pick a date to review any offers.  With so many buyers from out of our market area, you want to give enough time from when the property is listed to when you are looking at potential offers.

Presentation

When presenting a home for sale in today’s market, marketing is essential to attract buyers and highlight features that show value.  Our team offers several ideas to prepare the home for sale and offers full marketing packages that include:

  • Clear photos of each room and outdoor area
  • Floor plans with room measurements
  • VR tours with hotspots detailing features
  • Digital feature sheet

Documentation

Understanding the logistics of a deal can help ease any stress that comes with the process. Real estate transactions are very stressful and it’s important to allow ample time for the documentation to take place smoothly. QVA is one of the best in Kelowna in providing you with a stress-free documentation and transaction process.

There are other smart strategies concerning deposit and price that can help you choose the winning bid from a pool of multiple offers.  Each scenario is different, therefore, having a professional realtor with experience in working with multiple offers representing you is paramount to get your home’s worth. 

Multiple offers can be overwhelming for both buyers and sellers and there can only be one winning bid.  The team at Vrecko Real Estate Group has helped sellers navigate through this very active market.  Using a professional realtor is more important than ever to advise on your largest and most important investment. 

Staging A Home In Winter

Although the winter months are a not-so-popular time to sell a home, many benefits will be favorable towards selling one during this season. A huge plus is reduced competition. At a time when demand is high for homes in Kelowna, you are more likely to sell yours within a short period. Here are a few tips for you to stage your home during the winter season and make your property a show-stopping spectacle for potential buyers.

Keep your abode cozy

During a showing, it’s always important to keep the house warm for potential buyers. Raising the temperature to 70 degrees will maintain a comfortable climate inside your home. This can help potential buyers to focus on the property’s features more comfortably. 

The curb appeal still matters

Winter months are hard to rely on flowering plants to have that perfect curb appeal. One option is to have cold-weather plants. You can jazz up your front door by giving it a fresh coat of paint and have some outdoor furniture that looks cozy and inviting on the front porch as the eyes of anyone visiting your home will naturally focus on what’s at your entrance.

Clear walkways and driveways

As a seller, it’s important to keep the walkways and driveways clear especially if it has snowed during the winter. It’s important to put down salt if there is excessive ice on the ground. Ensuring the safety of potential buyers during a viewing is very important when selling your home.

Lots of lighting

The first impression of a home at all times is a home with natural light in abundance. This can be a challenge during a gloomy winter day. It’s essential to have the spaces well-lit where natural light is difficult to reach. 

Get Organised

Winter can be tough on your floors. No one wants to see muddy footprints during a viewing. Have lots of floor mats to wipe the mud off the shoes or choose to provide disposable shoe covers for viewers. It is also essential to store your winter gear in an organized manner. Having your coats hung and shoes laid on racks will go a long way. Through occasional sweeping, vacuuming, and a mop between viewings, you can make your home look the best for every prospective buyer.

 

Winter months are a perfect time to sell your home as real estate agents are less busy and could give you additional attention and help market your property at a time when competition is less. If you are thinking of selling your home Quincy and Vrecko Associates are happy to provide you with an evaluation at no cost! To learn more about the benefits of listing with us, click here.