Behind The Scenes: Staging A Vintage Cabin...6854 Seaview Road, Sandy Hook

This month, I listed 6854 Seaview Road in Sandy Hook - a charming vintage cabin in the woods with peekaboo views of the ocean. Hopefully, by now you have seen the stunning images and you adore this space as much as I do!

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oday, I’m going to take you behind the scenes with how we staged this gorgeous property. This is a value added service I offer my clients for free. But, the truth is, I absolutely love home staging....

 

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Why Staging?

Staging is a very important part of listing a home as it helps merchandise the property for its potential. With the right finishing touches, you can showcase the stand-out features, and inspire buyers to envision themselves spending time there.

Every time we take a look at a property for staging, it’s all about the end goal. My inspiration for staging has very much been influenced by my husband Ross, who works as a production designer in the film industry. When he reads a new script, he’s always thinking “what’s the end user seeing?” Keeping the end viewer in mind helps him craft vivid worlds, different times and, in some cases, different galaxies but for me its the home buyer being able to see the home in its fullest potential.

This particular cabin is perfect for a first home owner or a family looking for a vacation property to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. So, with that in mind, I envisioned a young, hip professional couple or family with a vintage style, and an appreciation for nostalgic touches.

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How to Furnish When Staging

When you’re staging you don’t always want hop on modern trends if it doesn’t fit with the property. In this case, with it being a very original cabin, I wanted to keep its authenticity and really highlight the vintage feel of it.

I have a whole vault of stuff I pull out. For this project, it was very much vintage, old school props and staging materials that really highlight the rustic cabin. I used old clocks from an English train station, and our vintage 1950s radio, which we brought over from England when we moved here. I even added in my personal collection of hats, which create a slightly “lived in” look.

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I always love to add finishing touches like throws and pillows to create a cozy atmosphere - especially for a cabin! Throughout the space, I added in Pendleton and Hudson’s Bay blankets. I also found some great furnishings from Blue Magnolia in Sechelt and Ikhaya Boutique in Lower Gibsons.

Also, I often borrow items from my own property if they fit the space. In this case, I used our vintage single twin bed in the second bedroom.

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With the wooden tones of the cabin, we wanted to add in some bright accent colours. The rug in the living room is a signature piece and ads in a nice pop of colour and texture to the space. To complement the earthy tones of the interior, I also added in greenery and plants to breathe life into the space and capitalize on a current trend.

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With this property, we also took a look at the front garden. There had been an old shed that was taken down and it was a bit of a barren spot. We added in a fire pit and added in some bright Muskoka chairs to demonstrate the potential of the backyard.

 

Staging With Other Realtors In Mind

Coming from a real estate agent perspective, we get new listings online every day. When we’re looking for a client in specific areas. There could be 20-30 different properties that pop up in MLS and all you get is a little thumbnail image. I’m staging with a hero picture in mind to attract other realtors and make my listing stand out.

I often switch out that hero photo to keep the listing fresh, so it’s best to have a bank of good images that you can swap out so you can keep the listing fresh on MLS.

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So, there you have it. A window into the staging process - and perhaps some design ideas for your own home too! 

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Interested in listing your home? I can help. Contact me for a consultation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Humans Of The Coast | S2 E5 "Learning Kickflips And Life Lessons With Sk8 Skool"

The skate scene on the Sunshine Coast is rolling along nicely, thanks to David “Hally” Hallstead, founder of the SCBC Sk8 Skool Society - a non-profit that aims to teach children and youth skate lessons and life skills.

As a Winnipeg native originally, Hally found a supportive community in the city’s skate scene after he was laughed off his basketball team (poor guy). His vision is to introduce Sunshine Coast kids to the sport, while instilling positive values and discovering a sense of belonging.

“At its core, I’m more interested in people than skating. This is about mentorship and life lessons, and also changing the face of skateboarding because it had a pretty negative stigma for a while,” explains Hally, who is an alternative school educator by day. “It’s in the next Olympics. It’s a real sport. I want people to fund it that way and I want people to respect it that way.”

Hally - also known as “Hallywood” - encourages each Sk8 Skool participant to adopt their own alter ego, giving them a chance to express themselves creatively. He considers himself the “principal” of the school, and facilitates peer mentoring amongst the students by empowering them to teach one another.

He makes a special effort to connect with each and every kid in the program, to let them feel seen and heard: “My opening line is ‘Hey, what’s up. What’s your name? Can I try your board?’”

But, Hally doesn’t take credit for everything - he’s adamant that it’s really a team effort.  Hally has assembled the FRGL (pronounced “fragile”) Skate Team. The team, sponsored by Hally’s side project, FRGL Skates brand, is comprised of more advanced skaters who he mentors to become coaches for the newer skaters. They even signed their first girl recently!

 

The community effort continues as Skate Angels (skate moms), help Hally keep everything running smoothly by assisting with some of the administrative tasks and first aid needs to give him more time with the kids.

“Really at the end of the day I don’t think of Sk8 Skool so much as a class. … It’s a space for kids to [spend time]. We do a life lesson, we do a skate lesson and then we skate. We teach every kid that if you’re better than the kid next to you, then you’re their teacher.”

Sk8 Skool crew has a set of 5 rules they abide by, which I think we can ALL learn from:

  1. Character. Community. Sk8 (In that order)

  2. You HAVE to do what you HAVE to do BEFORE you do what you WANT to do!

  3. Pain can be your friend. (It has a lot to teach you)

  4. You learn more from your MISTAKES than your Victories. (But, always celebrate your victories).

  5. Remember you are FRAGILE, so you must learn BALANCE!

If you master these lessons, then you will be “ABOVE THE BOARD”

Hally says the most common feedback he receives from parents is not that the kids are better skaters, but rather that they’re better people. Recently, a parent gushed that in just two weeks of Sk8 Skool, their kid was more polite and even washed the dishes more regularly.

But, skate skills do improve in leaps and bounds too.

“We have kids come at the beginning of the summer who have never been on a board before, and then we take them to the West Van skate park at the end of the summer and they’re riding on ramps,” he remarks proudly.

Being a non-profit, Sk8 Skool relies on donations, grants and sponsors. I’m proud to be one of his sponsors, among many other amazing community businesses.

The program costs $100 by donation. Families can also choose to provide a donation that covers the program costs for families who may not otherwise be able to afford it.

This year, Sunshine Coast Community Foundation provided funding to the Christian Life Foundation, which has sponsored Sk8 Skool’s community skate party - a showcase of skate culture on the coast, featuring big name skate brands like Vans, Skull Skates and RDS.

Sk8 Skool runs July 11-26 and August 8-23 with an end-of-summer field trip to the West Vancouver Skate Park on August 29.  Weekly classes are run from on Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3:30pm-5:30pm.

Connect with Sk8 Skool on Facebook or visit their registration site to sign your child up.


 

 

Humans Of The Coast | S2 E4 "Buono Osteria Brings Italian Cuisine To The Coast"

Gibsons is abuzz with chatter about the town’s newest restaurant, Buono Osteria . This gorgeous space that overlooks the marina on Marine Drive and is bringing a new brand of authentic, family-style Italian dining to the Sunshine Coast.

Buono Osteria is all about upscale cuisine in a casual atmosphere with a focus on fresh, seasonal and local ingredients. Co-owners Mike Buono and Ryan Kingsberry have meticulously curated a friendly and welcoming dining experience with locals in mind.

Mike, Osteria’s executive chef, is the son of Wally Buono, a first generation immigrant from Italy. You may recognize the Buono name. For many years Wally coached and played for the CFL including the BC Lions. While he’s widely known for his community involvement and dynamic personality, his lesser-known passion for food is ultimately what shaped Mike’s keen interest in pursuing a culinary career.

“Some of my earliest memories as a three- or four-year-old kid are my dad calling me over to taste sauce and saying: ‘Tell me what it needs,’” Mike reminisces. “My love for food was instilled at a young age due to the cultural heritage.”

From wood fired oven pizzas to homemade pastas to a variety of decadent tasting plates, the menu is jam-packed with familiar favourites from the Old Country. While the essence of Italian cuisine remains, Mike adds a personal touch, inspired by his fine dining experience.

“A lot of the dishes are classic dishes for me and my family - things that we did on a regular basis every Sunday,” says Mike. “The tradition of waking up and making the pizza dough and cooking the sauce and the meatballs - that’s just an inherent part of our culture.”

Highlight include the the L’uovo pizza, featuring a poached egg on top for ooey gooey goodness, as well as the Fungi pizza featuring wild mushrooms and traditional fonduta truffle cheese sauce. Meanwhile, the English Pea Agnolotti pasta offers a delicately layered flavour profile - and a very nostalgic taste of home for me.

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Kids are welcome in the restaurant. Ryan says that’s why they open early - to allow for a quick stop for food (and a glass of wine for the parents) before bedtime.  The kids will especially love the Margarita pizza, which is packed with delicious unprocessed ingredients and most importantly, lots of cheese.

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With such a mouth watering menu (which has gluten free options!), it’s only natural that the drink and craft cocktail menu has been carefully created to complement. In addition to a great selection of BC wines and beers, Buono  Osteria also offers a selection of Amaro based cocktails. This infused herb and botanical-infused liquor- traditionally called a “digestif” - is extremely popular in Europe and makes for a great before or after meal tipple.

The menu is only part of the experience, however. The interior design is stunning. Mike and Ryan worked with my friends at Hanson Land and Sea to build bold wood detailing within the space. In fact, some of the feature pieces are built from a 1,000-year-old log the Hansons salvaged less than 10-kilometres from the restaurant.

The 92-seat restaurant has regular table seating, as well as bar seating near the open plan kitchen, where you’ll have the opportunity to watch food preparation and have a chat with Chef Mike. There is also a gorgeous private room overlooking the marina, which can be rented out for special occasions.  

Considering Ryan and Mike only took possession of the space in February, it’s astounding how much work they’ve done to prepare for their launch this month. That’s because their vision for a restaurant began long before they entered the space. Mike and Ryan - both who have long standing careers in the culinary world - began working in Vancouver kitchens together three years ago and instantly clicked.

It wasn’t long before Mike and his wife decided to move to the Sunshine Coast from their home in Vancouver. Mike’s wife had grown up on The Coast, her family was here, real estate was affordable and they wanted a quieter lifestyle.

“The first time Mike showed me the Sunshine Coast … immediately, I knew that this was home,” says Ryan, an Ontario native.  He made the pilgrimage to The Coast soon after and now has an apartment in Gibsons and also a trailer on property up at Earl’s Cove, which he adores visiting often.

What Mike and Ryan are most proud of is the fact that they have assembled an all-star team and worked closely with local residents to build a space for the community.

“Ultimately, we’ve come up with a product that’s custom made for the people here. We love the fact that we’re in a tourist town. The tourists are great, they bring something really special to us,” says Ryan, Buono Osteria’s hospitality director. “But ultimately we want to be a local’s spot that caters to the locals of the town.”

Ryan offers a key insight for any business starting out here on the Sunshine Coast:  “We recognize that we’re in the relationship business first and the food and drink business second. Our success and what is going to separate us from everybody else is the relationships that we have with our community and with our staff.”

 

Buono Osteria is located at 442 Marine Drive in Gibsons and open Wednesday to Monday from 4pm-11pm. Connect with them on Facebook or visit them online at eatbuono.com.


Contact me

 

 

Humans of the Coast | S2 E3 "101 Brewhouse and Distillery"

Now, there are 101 reasons to explore the Sunshine Coast’s burgeoning culinary scene.


The 101 Brewhouse + Distillery opened its doors in Gibsons in August 2017, staking its claim as one of The Coast’s hottest new establishments.

Joining the ranks of Persephone Brewing and Gibsons Tapworks, who have helped put the Sunshine Coast on the BC Ale Trail map, The 101 differentiates itself from the other breweries by offering a full service menu - for lunch and dinner now - as well as its very own distillery.

The 101’s all star team brings with them a wealth of experience, knowledge and innovation. Restaurateurs Kelly and Chris Greenfield partnered up with renowned local developer David Longman of Longman Developments to launch this project. David has a long list of successful development projects in the region.

Chris and Kelly met in 1999 when Kelly's parents bought the Troller Pub where Chris was working for the previous owner at the time. Chris and Kelly became partners in The Queens Cross with Chris's brother Patrick in 2005 and later, The Wicklow Pub in False Creek. In 2013, Chris and Kelly - along with Kelly's sister, Kim - became partners with their parents and moved the Troller Pub to its current location in Horseshoe Bay. The Troller is a popular spot for commuters and tourists and serves many Sunshine Coast "regulars" on a daily basis.

Having lived for 10 years on The Coast - and commuting to work for most of it - they longed to own and operate a business on our side of the pond. After two years of planning and building with the partnership of David, their dream has come true.

Head chef Christine Deyoung joins The 101 team, coming from her position as regional chef for the Tacofino restaurant group. Christine’s mouth-watering Latin-fusion menu features tacos, Gringas, sandwiches and a variety of delicious starters.

“Everything is new and original and each dish has it’s own flavour profile,” says Chris. You’re not going to taste anything like this anywhere else.”

What brewhouse and distillery would be complete without rock stars at the helm of the alcohol production?

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Brewmaster Matt Smith, recently won first place in the German Wheat Beer Category at the 2017 BC Beer Awards. He cut his teeth at Persephone, and jumped at the chance to take the coveted position at The 101 when it opened. He’s crafted a varied offering of beers to whet any whistle, including the Bob’s Auto Lager (which pays homage to the auto repair shop that existed in the building for many years), Outboard Motor Oatmeal Porter and Tall Faller IPA, among other delights.

The 101 distillery creates gin and vodka, crafted by head distiller, Shawn Milsted. He has a background in the film industry, but always had a passion for distilling. He’s since turned his hobby into a career.

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The house-made spirits power the ever-changing cocktail menu, created by Kelly. Bricker Bite, Lebowski’s Breakfast and Mai T-IPA,  are just a few of the current cocktail menu highlights. They use fresh and seasonal ingredients wherever possible.

“What we learned early in the process is that [the brewing community] is a really collaborative community, and everyone’s really supportive of each other,” says Chris. “The Tapworks guys came to our city council meeting and we didn’t even know them or who they were. So, it was really cool to have that immediate support.”

As The 101 team looks to 2018, they’ll be expanding their events calendar to include more live music and live art nights. They are also open to hosting private functions and will continue to explore and innovate their culinary, cocktail and beer offerings.

 

“We’re just realizing right now that you can’t do anything like this without community support. It’s essential to get involved with the community. To listen to people who are coming in,” says Chris. “Everyone has their own story and their own reasons for being here. But, the main thing is that everyone who lives on The Coast loves being on The Coast. They will support and they want to support.”

 

Learn more about The 101 Brewhouse + Distillery by visiting them online at the101.ca, or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Making It Work On The Coast | S2 E1 "More Than Just Ocean Views"

Location: Sandy Hook

Outdoor:Beaches of Sandy Hook

This summer, Sarah will sit on her new patio with a glass of vino, taking in the stunning views of Porpoise Bay and glacier-capped mountain peaks off in the distance. While she’s owned properties before, this home, perched in Sandy Hook, is the first she’s purchased on her own. As a single mum of two gorgeous daughters, Grace and Ruby, Sarah has made this her permanent view.

Having just taken possession of her new home after Christmas, Sarah hasn’t had a lot of time for it all to sink in just yet. She just knows that purchasing this Sunshine Coast property on her own has left her feeling empowered and accomplished.

“I picked the keys up and I just kind of drove up here and I just sat here,” says Sarah. “It was like a real strange moment for me. It was a real turning point to have done that- to have made that decision and go through all of that myself. It was something I needed to do.”

I met Sarah last fall, when she began her quest for a new home The Coast. She and her daughters relocated to the Sunshine Coast from North Vancouver in 2016, but had been renting previously. She says she was originally drawn to The Coast - and its magical shoreline - after a family vacation several years prior.

“I just remember thinking this was one of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen. It changes throughout the day,” she says. “I just remember being in love with [the area] then - and never thinking for one moment I’d be able to look at that every day.”

Access to nature, the quaintness of rural living, and the stark contrast of affordability made the Sunshine Coast a perfect landing spot for her new nest.

Flash forward to 2017 and Sarah found herself purchasing this brilliant property - one of the first ones she visited with me on our real estate tour. She revels in the feeling of spaciousness and openness that ocean views envoke.

“I have this affinity with the sea and that’s one of the reasons I think why I moved up here. I just felt it was pulling me,” explains Sarah, who originally hails from Shoreham-by-Sea in England.

The family of three is content here. Each of the girls now has her own room, and Sandy Hook park is directly across the street from their driveway. Little Ruby just loves spending time there. The playground slide quite possibly has one of the best views around!

Sarah owns her own craft business called Dorothy Ellen Designs. She makes decorations out of burlap and fabric. She’s also launching a second business, a Sunshine Coast-inspired t-shirt design business called Tugboat and Whale.

While new to the Sandy Hook community, Sarah is fast discovering what a connected and engaged community it is. She’s joined the neighbourhood association and will be spending time getting to know her neighbours - who often spend summer nights picnicing on the beach while the kids paddle and play in the ocean.

For now though, seeing the influx of Sunshine Coast tourists over spring break has gently awoken Sarah to her new life - one that is only just a vacation for some:

“It’s spring break. We’re here. People travel up here for a vacation and they come to this kind of property and they rent this property for a week. And we’re here and we get to do this everyday. And we don’t have to be here for a week.”

For those who are thinking about taking this leap, Sarah wholeheartedly encourages it. She emphatically declares that it’s been worth the effort - and it probably will be for you too!

Interested in learning more about making it work on the coast? Get in touch and let’s chat.

Humans Of The Coast | S2 E2 "How Ginger Jars Is Giving Food Waste A Second Life"

“One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” or so the saying goes. For Sunshine Coast business, Ginger Jars, the bruised and only slightly damaged produce thrown out daily by grocery stores is a diamond in the rough - and the basis for their fresh and sustainable business model: fresh homemade soups, served in reusable glass jars.

Those produce shelves at the local grocery store are stacked with perfect fruits and vegetables, glimmering under the shop lights. But, what many people don’t know is that tonnes of produce are thrown out every week because of small blemishes that don’t impact the taste or nutritional value - only the aesthetics.

Husband and wife Tim and Stephanie first came up with the idea of repurposing grocery store food waste to make food, back when they lived in East Vancouver. Tim is a trained chef and, having worked in the industry for 17 years, he’s seen first-hand the amount of food waste coming out of kitchens. He’s also co-owner of Drift Cafe and Bistro, which I wrote about a few weeks ago. Stephanie has a marketing and communications background.

“Basically, Ginger Jars was born because we both have a passion for seeing food not going to waste,” says Stephanie. “It really didn’t come to fruition until we moved [to the Sunshine Coast] - mostly because there’s room to breathe and think and be creative here.”

The pair approached their local IGA in Gibsons and was soon picking up the culled produce on and cooking up recipes.

Now, the “fruits” of their labour are coming to life. Currently, Ginger Jars has three regular recipes based on consistent produce they receive each week: tomato vegan, caramelized onion and potato, and cream of asparagus. They’re always experimenting with seasonal recipes too.

“I always joke that our vegan tomato soup is like the everyman’s soup because you can take it and make it into pasta sauce, you can eat it cold and you can eat it hot,” says Tim, adding that they plan to expand their food offerings in the near future.  
Unsurprisingly, the Sunshine Coast community has been quick to embrace the idea, given the large number of environmentally-minded people who live in the area.

Tim and Stephanie describe Ginger Jars as a “waste management company” and see their business as a contributor to positive social change. They donate 10% of their profits to the local Food Bank and are consulting a newly formed food waste think tank created by Sunshine Coast Regional District. Tim will also be speaking at an agriculture speaker series, hosted by Persephone Brewing.

Tim believes this is the start of a greater momentum:  “Hopefully that means that we can create more problem solving ways to deal with waste on The Coast, but also maybe become a little bit bigger in the sense that we can start helping out government needs as well as local retailers.”

While the couple are new residents of The Coast, they are far from strangers of this area. Tim’s family has had a cabin in Bonniebrook for more than 35 years. When Stephanie had her first-born, she says a “light went off” that convinced them to take the leap and move to the coast.

Now, their family of four spends their days exploring the coastal inlets and islands within a short distance of their home. Here, they can watch eagles soar, marvel at seal pups  and spot starish through the crystal waters in their off-time from the business.

For Stephanie and Tim, the support of the Sunshine Coast community has been amazing for both their businesses and their personal lives.

According to Tim, new business owners should do their research. “Consult the locals. People are pretty open with telling their opinions, which is pretty awesome. But if you don’t consult them, there’s a lot of little things that are kind of unique to the coast that I’ve found you have to be aware of,” he says.

So, two years into their new life on The Coast and they have two children, a five-bedroom home with rental suite, and two new businesses.

Stephanie says, it’s the best decision they’ve made yet: “This will always be our home. It will be the home of Ginger Jars. We’re not going anywhere.”
 

Find Ginger Jars online at gingerjars.ca, like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram @GingerJarsFood.

 

How The BC Government's New Budget Impacts Real Estate On The Sunshine Coast

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This week, the Government of British Columbia announced its 2018 budget, and in conjunction, a 30-point housing strategy to address affordable housing in this province.

So, what does this mean to the Sunshine Coast real estate market? To be truthful, it’s too soon to tell, but we do know many of these changes do not currently impact properties on The Coast.

The major changes centre around three key areas: expanding the foreign buyers’ tax to areas outside of Metro Vancouver, increasing property transfer taxes, and implementing a new speculation tax. In total, this announcement will create $1.3 billion taxes, just from housing.

Foreign Buyers’ Tax Increase and Expansion

Effective Feb. 21,The BC government has increased the foreign buyers’ tax to 20% from 15%. Additionally, they’ve expanded beyond the Metro Vancouver area to the following regions: Central Okanagan, Nanaimo, Greater Victoria, and the Fraser Valley. The Sunshine Coast, Sea to Sky regions and other areas in the province were not included in this foreign buyers tax expansion.

Property Transfer And School Taxes Hike

Also effective this week, property transfer tax increased to five percent from three per cent for properties valued at more than $3 million. Even deals that were in the process of closing as of this implementation date were impacted by the tax hike, provincewide. School taxes on these properties will also increase. Find more info on the  property transfer tax at gov.bc.ca/propertytransfertax.

New Speculation Tax

The BC Government has also implemented a new levy, coined a “speculation tax”, for those who own homes in the province, but don’t pay income taxes here and leave their homes vacant without renting them out. The target areas are Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley, Nanaimo and Greater Victoria, Kelowna and West Kelowna. This is expected to impact about 15,000 residential properties.

In 2018, the tax will be 0.5% of taxable assessed value, and will then increase to 2% thereafter. For a home valued at $2 million, this would equate to an annual tax of $40,000.

There are exemptions for those who use this property as their primary residence or for those properties that are long-term rental units. The verdict is still out on how this might impact Canadians who own vacation property in BC or those who rent out vacation homes.

While there were no clear measures in the budget, the government also indicated they were looking closely at the Agricultural Land reserve (ALR) to close loopholes that would ensure land is being used for farming and not investment or luxury properties.


If you have more questions about how the BC budget impacts your property or buying power, get in touch! I’ll be more than happy to connect you with my network of experts who can help. To learn more about the housing announcements listed in the BC Budget visit: bcbudget.ca

 

Humans Of The Coast | S2 E1 "The Drift Cafe & Bistro"

There’s a new dining hot spot in Gibsons and I just can’t get enough of their new menu and fresh approach.

The Drift Cafe & Bistro (formerly The Nova Kitchen) is a tiny locale perched atop a hill on Gibsons Way, with gorgeous views of the stunning Salish Sea. The restaurant is the brainchild of chefs Tim and Ben, who’ve known one another for almost 17 years, since their days of cooking school. Both chefs have had extensive careers in the industry and are new to the Sunshine Coast. Tim moved from East Vancouver just two years ago and Ben just moved from North Vancouver this winter to help re-open the restaurant. The pair partnered with Omar who is based in Vancouver.

“With the Nova Kitchen, we liked a lot of the things they did around keeping things local, so we‘re trying to stay on the track with the way that Chef Paul had gone,” says Tim. “One thing we noticed that was really missing [in Gibsons] is a place that was a combination of value … but also really good food,” he says, adding that he and his wife Stephanie used to leave Gibsons to go out for dinner, in search of either more affordable options or higher-end food.

He explains: “Drift is making that bridge of really good, comforting food, but with a bit more of a fine dining flair to it.”

Drift is the kind of place where you can enjoy a delicious brunch for under $15, or an evening entré for under $25 as you overlook the ocean from their patio. While the prices are reasonable, you’ll find a carefully curated cocktail and wine list; with little twists to common items, like adding housemade pickles to the Caesar, or a grapefruit and saje Mimosa. Sip on Moet & Chandon bubbles or enjoy a casual pint of local craft beer on the patio - anything goes.  

Meanwhile, the menu is simple, but flavourful bistro dining with hints of Italian, French and new American cooking. Currently they’re offering a weekend brunch 9am-2pm and a dinner service Thursday to Monday (with plans to expand their opening times in the near future). One of the signature dining experiences is the three-course meal, which includes a starter, a main and a dessert for just $35. Choose from mouth watering items like the salted ling cod croquette, farro risotto, and a yogurt panna cotta.

Drift is constantly evolving, says Tim. Coffee-lovers will be happy to hear they’ve installed a new high-end Simonelli coffee machine and are partnering with Vancouver-based Moja coffee to source the coffee in efforts to ramp up their early morning offerings. The team is also planning to expand the patio and looking into a beer garden.

If you haven’t already noticed, Tim is a pretty busy fellow. He also co-owns a company called Ginger Jars Food with his wife, (which I’ll be talking about in another blog) and works at a cooking school in Downtown Vancouver.  Given his penchant for entrepreneurship and his recent move to The Coast, I asked him the most important tip for new business owners in the area:

“Consult the locals. People are pretty open with [sharing] their opinions, which is pretty awesome, but if you don’t consult them, there’s a lot of little things that are kind of unique to The Coast that I’ve found you have to be aware of,” he says.

So, there you have it: business advice, plus a great new dining location in the heart of Gibsons to boot.


Find The Drift Cafe & Bistro online at drift-gibsons.ca, on Facebook  or Instagram @DriftGibsons.

 

BC Assessments Going Up? How To Prep Your Home For Selling in 2018

BC Assessment has released its annual property values report and it’s good news for Sunshine Coast residents. On The Coast, single-family detached homes increased by 25%, while condo property values saw an increase ranging from 10% to 25%. Some vacant land lots saw an increase of up to 35%.

According to the Coast Reporter, the total property values on the Sunshine Coast sit somewhere between $10.35 billion and $11.99 billion. BC Assessment indicates that Gibsons has seen the largest average increases in all property classes. Here, residential assessments are up 17.93 % on average. In Sechelt, residential home values increased by 17.44%.

When your property value increases, it’s only natural to start thinking about the potential of selling your home. If you’re thinking about selling in 2018, here are three ways to prepare for  listing your property:

 

1. Start with your goals

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When you first decide to sell your home, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of home improvements and getting the property listed. However, before you dive in, take some time to sit down and write out your goals for the home. Here are some questions I ask my clients when we first meet:

  • What are your reasons for selling?

  • What are your timelines for moving?

  • Is timing or pricing most important?

  • Do you anticipate any challenges with selling your home?

  • What we will do first: list and sell, or buy a new home?

  • If your upgrading to a more expensive home, are you pre-approved for your mortgage for your new purchase?

 

2. Create a home improvement plan

Even simple updates, like a fresh coat of paint and new appliances can make a huge difference in perceived home value. Small improvements like tightening door handles, fixing leaky faucets or replacing blinds, can be cheap and quick. Meanwhile, larger improvements like new kitchen cabinets, interior painting, exterior landscaping or even full on renovations will take more time and budget to accomplish.

Make an inventory of home updates that need to be made and prioritize them in order of what tasks will have the greatest impact on your home value.  Create a budget and work-back schedule to keep yourself focused and on track.


 

3. Bring on the right partners

Start looking at the property as a business venture. Every successful business has the right people at the table, and your home listing is no exception. Finding the right real estate agent is part of the equation, but you may also need to source contractors and home staging experts to help showcase your home in the best possible light.

Review your goals and your home improvement plan and find experts who have an aligned vision and values. It’s so much easier when you are working with a great team.  

 

For more steps on preparing your home, read my previous post, “How To Sell Your Home In 10 Easy Steps”.

 

Interested in selling your home in 2018? Contact me for a consultation!

New guidelines for qualifying for a mortgage - what you need to know...

New guidelines for qualifying for a mortgage came into effect this month. How will this impact your buying power and what does it mean to you?

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What are the changes?

Canada’s banking watchdog, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (OSFI) announced last fall that as of 2018, customers must qualify for a mortgage at the 5-year benchmark or the current rate plus 2% (whichever is greater). Known as the B-20 guidelines, this stress requires that your debt-to-income ratio maintains within a certain threshold.

The stress test will also be required for buyers who have a downpayment higher than 20% (even though it exempts them from requiring mortgage insurance).

For the last number of years, interest rates have remained low. But, they are climbing slowly once again. Essentially OSFI wants to place more rigor around the stress test to ensure Canadians are not living beyond their means and will not suffer if interest rates climb.

The financial industry expects that this will impact the size of mortgages Canadians will qualify for.

Note that these changes impact federally regulated financial institutions only. Lenders, such as provincially regulated credit unions and caisses populaires are not required to follow these guidelines.

What can you do?

If you’re interested in buying a home this year, start talking to a mortgage broker as soon as possible. Current mortgage rates are still relatively low, so it’s best to start the process sooner rather than later. A qualified mortgage specialist can explain the mortgage process and help you understand where you’re at with your current financial situation.

There are many creative and outside-the-box solutions available, but you won’t know until you go. With the help of an expert you’ll be one step closer to your home ownership goals.

 

If you need help navigating the new rules, contact me and I’ll be happy connect you with one of my trusted mortgage experts.

Humans Of The Coast | S1 E7 "THE ART LOFT at this is it"

Not many people can say they’ve made art for the Royal Family. But, Sunshine Coast artist Robert Studer sure can. He’s also made pieces for the Duke and Duchess of York, and a host of other dignitaries.

Robert and his wife, Beth, are both accomplished artists and owners of The Art Loft Airbnb in Roberts Creek on the Sunshine Coast. Under their umbrella company ‘this is it’, Robert and Beth run the Airbnb and their respective artist brands: Beth Hawthorn Design and Robert  Studer Creative.

Beth is a graphic designer and mixed media artist. Robert creates custom works and art exhibits for homes, corporate spaces and other high-end clientele. His signature pieces feature glass, metal and natural objects. In addition to the commissioned work he completed for the Government of Canada, his work can also be found in buildings created by renowned architects and interior designers.

Here on the Sunshine Coast, you’ll find creativity and culture around every corner. There must be something in that salty sea breeze that attracts artists, performers and makers to our beautiful coastline. The secluded hamlet of Roberts Creek is an epicentre for the flourishing art community.

Robert and Beth first moved onto their five-acre property 11 years ago. At the time, the only structures on the property were a few outhouses and a bare bones, multi-level horse barn, built by a “bachelor cowboy” who lived a very simple life.

The irony is that they weren’t too impressed with the space when they first reviewed the listing. But a viewing changed all that.

The pair had “lofty” ideas for this property. “One of the reasons we moved to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver was to put our business and our home on the same property,” says Beth. “That was the whole point of it.”

Once completing their home renovations, they set to work on building the studio. At least 50% of the design is crafted from upcycled or recycled wood, metal and glass salvaged from architect friends, old saw mills and various other businesses.

The Art Loft has a West Coast- inspired exterior, but the interior has an ultra-modern, clean design aesthetic. The space is more than just a place for visitors to hang their hats - it’s a window into the flourishing art scene on The Coast - and some might say a catalyst too.

“This space can transform into several different configurations,” says Robert, explaining that the walls were purposefully painted white for exhibiting art, and they have wheels so they can be shifted around. “It provides an opportunity for us to have really unique, creative events take place: performances, gatherings, large installations. Whatever we want to do.”

One of their signature events is their annual Sunshine Coast Art Crawl exhibition, held at the studio. Each year, they carefully curate their art exhibit, and craft a buzzing atmosphere fueled by inspiration, creativity and creative play.

Robert still remembers one epic event they hosted at The Art Loft for the Roberts Creek Arts Festival, which included circus acts, stilt walkers, live food and art demonstrations, and an incredible turn-out.

Now, with the Airbnb having just launched, Robert and Beth are excited to welcome new visitors to The Coast; encouraging them to explore the culture of our community - as well as the natural beauty. After all, nature is the best muse of all; with her hidden grottos and secret waterfalls - both of which are within walking distance of the B&B.

As the Sunshine Coast enters its new renaissance, Robert and Beth are pleased to be part of it - and to help shape the evolution.

“Come here with your dream and work towards fulfilling it,” says Robert. “[The Sunshine Coast] is a remote area that will evolve a certain kind of culture and I want to contribute to that change in a quality, meaningful and creative way.”

 

Experience THE ART LOFT for yourself!  Enter my Coastal Life Contest for a chance to win a 2 night stay, a $50 gift certificate to Kube Studios, plus a growler and $25 gift certificate to Highway 101 Distillery and Brewery.

Find this is it online at thisisit.ca, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

 

 

New TV Show Looking For Stories About Moving To The Coast

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Calling all dreamers and doers!

My friends at film and television production house, Entertainment One , are on the hunt for folks to feature in their brand new TV show, which will document stories about people making the move away from urban centres into rural communities.

As we all know, the housing boom in major city centres across Canada is changing the way we are thinking about housing. Many people are shifting their house searches out of cities and into rural areas like the Sunshine Coast, where they can get more property for their money and live more comfortably.

eOne will follow several Canadians with an entrepreneurial spirit who are building prosperous futures through creative housing solutions and innovative ways of earning an income.

Who we’re looking for:
The production team is looking for prospects in Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa who are doing it, thinking about it or have made the move already.

Do you fit any of the following requirements?

  • You’ve been thinking seriously about moving to the Sunshine Coast, but not yet committed.

  • You’re planning on moving to the Sunshine Coast in 2018 and wheels are in motion.

  • You’ve already moved to The Coast in the last 12 months and still in the process of setting up your life here.

If any of these apply, you could be featured on the new show! Join eOne on this great adventure as they journey to a new life and inspire other Canadians to of the same. Get in touch with me before Dec 9th and I'll be sure to connect you with the right people to learn more about this opportunity.

Humans of the Coast | S1 E7 "Kube Studios - An Artist Incubator"

From floor to ceiling and wall to wall, every nook and cranny in The Kube Studios is filled with bright and eclectic artisan pieces. One part art gallery, one part artist incubator, and one part retail store, Kube is a bright, vibrant space filled to the brim with inspiration.

Located in Gibsons, the 2,600 square foot space started with humble beginnings as a three-person venture in the home of Christa Joe, a 20-year resident of the Sunshine Coast.

Christa soon unearthed the budding opportunity to provide a larger studio space and support network for local artists. Soon after she began to evolve her business model, she met Jill Pilon, who had recently relocated from East Vancouver. Jill had brought with her fresh ideas and a vision for how to nurture the artist community on the Sunshine Coast.

“We really needed to ramp up our studio space and make it more of an art incubator,” Christa says. “When [Jill] came on board, we decided to do the expansion and now we can accommodate 11 artists as opposed to 5. We have a classroom space and everything. I think we do finally consider ourselves an art incubator on The Coast.”

The Kube has 10 artists in residence, who have studio space, gain access to inspiring workshops and are supported by co-op marketing efforts through the business.

Kube’s art gallery and retail space features art and hand-crafted artisan pieces from the Sunshine Coast, as well as creative works from as far away as New York. They’ve attracted quite a following and host an art opening and wine night on the first Friday of the month featuring a different artist each time.

Christa has also forged strong partnerships with several women’s empowerment organizations, and sells gorgeous textiles, bags and other items that help support women in nations, such as Ghana, Rwanda and Turkey.

Jill has helped create a burgeoning workshop program for The Kube Studios - with offerings for both adults and children of all skill levels. There are a variety of sessions each year, covering creative skills like painting, textiles, weaving, wool dying, photography, skin care, wreath making, macrame and more. They even do private women’s wine and paint nights for special occasions.

“Primarily, the reason why I really wanted to ramp up the workshops is because when I left East Van, I kind of left my artist community there,” she explains. “So, [I wanted] to continually be inspired and not have to take a ferry. …. I wanted to bring a little bit of the artist community over here so it keeps things fresh and new and interesting. When you’re constantly inspired it just keeps you going.”

While art is a huge part of Christa and Jill’s lives - and many who frequent Kube Studios for inspiration, support and community - there is no greater joy or inspiration than spending time by the ocean. The ladies both reminisce about bonfires by the beach and summer night swims, as well as heavenly hikes in the backcountry.

I asked the ladies if they had any advice for folks looking to start up a business on The Coast. Here’s what Christa said:

“Do it. The coast is growing. There’s just an influx of new people. We’re hungry for change and I think that if people are looking to open up a business now is the time. If you don’t jump at the opportunity to do it, someone else is going to.”

Fill up on Kube Studios artisan goodies this winter by entering my Coastal Living Contest. I’m giving away two, 2-night stays here on the Sunshine Coast. Each package includes a $50 gift certificate from Kube Studios. Enter now!

 

Find Kube Studios on Facebook and Instagram and visit them online at thekubestudios.com.



 

 

Humans Of The Coast | S1 E6 "Sleep Out Bed + Breakfast"

What happens when you move from the bustling streets of Toronto to the sun-soaked shores of the Sunshine Coast? Just ask Rebecca and Gord, who moved to The Coast 13 years ago and never looked back.

While the pair opened up their Roberts Creek Airbnb, The Sleep Out Bed and Breakfast, in July 2016, the dream of having a B&B came long before. The seed was planted when they first bought the property 10 years ago. But, great ideas take time to percolate - especially when you’re living the coastal life!

Before The Sleep Out transformed into the rustic-chic haven it is now, the space served as an indoor skate ramp for Rebecca and Gord. Their kids even used it sometimes too.

After saving and planning for years, they began renovations and proudly opened the doors to their Airbnb just over a year ago.

The Sleep Out, which is a stone’s throw from Roberts Creek, sleeps four and has a bright and rustic feel. Careful attention to detail is paid in every nook and cranny of the space, from the rustic kitchen island, hand-crafted from reclaimed wood by Gord, to the eclectic finishings curated by Rebecca from garage sales and thrift shops.

One of the most gorgeous features of the space - formerly a woodworking shop - is the french doors separating the bedroom from living room. The window hanging above the doors is actually Rebecca and Gord’s first vintage purchase from their time in Toronto. They transported it all the way to BC and kept it for a rainy day.

One of the most unique aspects of the Sleep Out is the lovely welcome baskets, which Rebecca customizes for each guest. The vintage gift box includes yummy bubbly, eggs from chickens who live on the property, as well as organic chocolates and other delicious local treats.

“I think it’s more of a traditional bed and breakfast, which is what I’m going for,” Rebecca says. “I’m trying to give a more authentic experience.”

When the two are not running their Airbnb, Gord is a broker for vinyl pressing, has a record label and is an account manager for an employee assistance program. Rebecca manages the home, which includes three children (15, 10 and 2), a french mastiff, a cat, a flock of chickens and a garden full of vegetables & fruits. And, with her keen eye for home design, I wouldn’t be surprised if a new side hustle is on her horizon too.

I asked Rebecca what advice she had when it comes to starting a venture here in our community.

“Just be authentic and don’t take yourself too seriously. Especially coming from the city. This is your chance to be the real you,” she says.

And for this lovely family in Roberts Creek, ‘being the real you’ means living a life that allows for  morning swims at low tide, a constant reminder that you made the right decision all those years ago.

Do you want to experience the Sleep Out for yourself? Enter my Coastal Life Contest for a chance to win a 2 night stay, a $50 gift certificate to Kube Studios, plus a growler and $25 gift certificate to Highway 101 Distillery and Brewery

Making It Work On The Coast | S1 E8 "How Gary and Jen Left the 9-5 Behind"

Location: Tuwanek

Outdoor: Porpoise Bay

Social Recco:  The Lighthouse Pub

What happens when you leave the rat race and head for the coast? With a little creativity and some hustle, the options are endless.

Having your property featured on the likes of Buzzfeed and CBC is something many of us can only dream of. But, that’s just what happened for Gary and Jen, owners of Alfie the A Frame, on the Sunshine Coast. This cute little cabin, tucked away in Tuwanek, is one of Airbnb’s most wishlisted in Canada!

The pair, originally from Vancouver, have owned property on the Sunshine Coast for 10 years - and have lived here for four. Even back in 2007, the costs of housing in Metro Vancouver prohibited them from home ownership right away, so they decided to partner with a friend to purchase their first home in Tuwanek (which is located near Porpoise Bay).

After some time, they grew tired of the day-to-day grind of their corporate jobs and  stressful city lives, in search of more balance and flexibility. And with that, they decided to design the life they wanted.

Jen, a human resources professional, and Gary, a computer programmer in the gaming industry were not only looking for a change of pace but a complete lifestyle transformation too.

When they first moved to the Sunshine Coast, both of them continued to work in Vancouver part-time. However, as their full transition to coastal living progressed, the couple decided to rethink how they made money all together.

What if they could leverage the popular tourism industry on the Sunshine Coast to run an Airbnb? One property turned into three, and they now run two additional properties besides Alfie: The LIly Pad and Original Sixty Seven.

While Airbnb helps pay the bills, Gary and Jen also have an insatiable appetite for travel. To help fund their adventures, Jen has a side hustle making artisan roasted nuts. Watch for West Coast Nuts at Farmer’s Markets and Persephone Brewing, with tasty offerings, such as maple bacon almonds and orange ginger pecans. She also works in the tasting room at Persephone. Meanwhile, Gary takes up occasional freelance programming gigs, and is renovating an investment property too.

Career Advice For Living On The Coast

One of the biggest questions people have when deciding whether or not to move to the Sunshine Coast is around jobs and earning an income. Gary has some great advice for people who are curious about the job market:

“Try to be entrepreneurial and don’t feel you need to do your same job over here. It’s OK to do an array of jobs. The guy who rents cars also has a you brew wine shop. You have to explore opportunities to make money work.”

Jen adds that there are plenty of jobs on the Sunshine Coast, but much of the opportunities come through word of mouth and relationships versus the traditional job postings one might see in an urban setting. She advises getting to know people and chatting about your skills and passions.

“Once you make the move over here and you start meeting people, people will give you opportunities. If you seem capable and enthusiastic, they will basically hand them to you on a platter,” she explains.

 

What to Expect When You Move

Beach bonfires, solo nature hikes without the crowds and adventures galore are just some of the benefits of living on the Sunshine Coast. But the one thing Jen wasn’t expecting was her appreciation for peace and quiet and the satisfaction of truly appreciating your home.

“I  was never a homebody, so not being home much didn’t really bother me. It wasn’t until moving here [that I realized] I actually like being at home, and I love having people over, and I love cooking again!” she says. “So in the end, what I turns out I wanted was to have [a quieter life] without really knowing it at the time.”

It’s not all chilling out though. There is quite a hopping events and activities scene on the Sunshine Coast - if you know where to look.  While on the surface it doesn’t seem like there’s much going on because there isn’t one central resource, the community is overflowing with cultural events, activities and more.

Gary and Jen left their 9-5 lives behind four years ago. And, in that short time, they’ve managed to create the flexible, fulfilling, adventure-filled life they were craving. So, what are you waiting for?

 

Want to learn more about living on The Coast? Get in touch for a consultation!

 

 

The Backcountry Hut Company: Your New “Surf Shack” Or A Full-Time Home?

With today’s competitive housing market, many people are beginning to look outside the box  - or rather, inside the box - for solutions to a sustainable living situation. All you need is a piece of land and a build-it-yourself hut to create the ultimate West Coast lifestyle.

The Backcountry Hut Company, based in Vancouver, is quickly gaining global attention for their beautifully designed flat pack homes. The solution was inspired by IKEA’s approach to creating DIY assembled designer furniture for the masses.

Recently coined a “surf shack” in numerous media reports, these homes have huge potential for so much more. While the concept does lend itself well to backcountry huts for private groups, outdoor organizations or tour operators, the “frontcountry” designs make these homes a viable option for a full-time home too. This modular home design - which received a 2016 Canadian Architecture 2016 Award of Excellence - can be used for a private backcountry hideaway, a gorgeous and stylish laneway home, or even a single family dwelling on a beautiful acreage. What’s more, the pre-fab kit is so mobile that it can be flown in via helicopter to some of the most remote places British Columbia has to offer.

“This was a passion project that Michael [Leckie] and I developed based on a love of the outdoors, architecture and a number of objectives that we wanted to accomplish,” says co-founder Wilson Edgar. The pair founded the company with Cyrill Werlen, manufacturing partner.

The timing couldn’t be better for the BHC team. It’s the perfect storm of a housing crunch, an exploding backcountry industry, and the overall return to minimalist living. Currently BHC is working with clients across Canada and the United States.

The home kits start at around $55,000 CAD. Their most popular model at the moment is the 3 Module hut, a 748 square-foot space that could house a family of four in the frontcountry or 24 in the backcountry.

“Why our product is seeing so much interest is the Architect Award Winning Design with a kit of parts of the best quality building materials and products,” says Wilson.”Not many homes are designed on a Glulam Timberframe system incorporating designer windows and full glazing wall option that is 25-feet tall.”

 

So, have these homes made their way to the Sunshine Coast, where zoning often allows for a second dwelling on the property? According to Wilson, there has been some interest from The Coast and he has a number of clients currently in search of land on which to build their BHC home.

I recently asked Wilson what makes the BHC huts special:

“We have designed our product to offer a durable structure that is very sustainable.  We looked at the tinyhome movement, we are not that,” he explains. “We are providing the market a liveable space for 1 person or 4 to live in a well designed space front country and up to 24 in the backcountry. The structure is designed to have a very long lifespan well surpassing average home construction in Canada and the US.”

If their recent success is any indication of what’s to come, you may just be seeing BHC huts popping up on The Coast in the very near future.

Learn more about The Backcountry Hut Company by visiting them on at thebackcountryhutcompany.com. Also, find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Looking for a property for your modular home? Get in touch and let’s chat!

 

 

 

 

How To Sell Your Home In 10 Easy Steps

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Fall is the perfect time to list your home And with BC’s competitive housing market, it’s important to take the necessary steps to set you up for home-selling success. Here are my tried, tested and true steps to making a successful home listing:

1. Disconnect emotionally

It’s only natural that our relationship with our homes is an emotional one. We spend the majority of our time in them, we create memories, and we raise our children and pets in them. So, when it comes to selling, it’s perfectly normal to feel all the feels.

However, removing the emotional connection is key during the selling process. Once you decide to list your home, make an effort to start the process of emotional detachment. This will help you look at the home with a more neutral lens to see it through a buyer’s eyes.

Removing emotional attachment also helps you decide upon what updates need to be made to make the property more appealing to investors.  Also, when the time comes to negotiate, your emotional connection won’t cloud the process.

Remember, at the end of the day this is a business transaction and you need ensure you’re getting the most value from the deal.

2. Depersonalize

While the family photos, prized art collections and personal memorabilia mean a lot to you, they may put off prospective buyers. Home buyers want to see the property as a blank canvas on which they can paint their own future. Seeing remnants from your life - and your personal tastes - can distract buyers. If they have a completely different design style or an opposing lifestyle to your own, they won’t be able to see past it and interest will wane.

When you list your home, pack up all of the personal items and store them for safekeeping. Don’t worry, you can pull them out when you personalize your new space. But, for the time being, depersonalize and keep your listed home neutral in order appeal to as many buyers as possible.

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3. Declutter

While you may not be a candidate for an episode of Hoarders, you likely have overlooked clutter in your own home. Those covert junk piles, under-the-bed storage, and overflowing closets may be harmless, but they can turn off prospective buyers in an instant.

Decluttering your home gives a sense of space, highlights the full potential of the property and gives the buyer freedom to envision their own stuff in there instead.

Use the opportunity of selling your home to declutter. Purge what you no longer need, donate to charity or give items away to friends and family who may use them more. And, if you really must keep the items, store them until you move.  

4. Make a list of home updates that will increase value

When it comes to selling your home, it’s important to sweat the small stuff (and the big stuff too). With our busy  lives we can let minor repairs slide - stuff like wobbly cabinet handles, mis-aligned hinges and out-of-place floorboards.  An experienced buyer will be going through the home with a fine toothed comb, pointing out the flaws and deducting that from their offer. Having all of the small home improvements in order prior to listing is important.

While small-ticket items like basic repairs and a solid interior paint job make a home appear more polished and well-finished, it’s the big-ticket items that add more value.

There’s a saying in the real estate business: “you’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen”.

Investing in updates to your kitchen as a first priority will increase the listing value of your home almost instantly - and chances are you’ll make at least 85% of the renovation costs back.

As a starting point, look at the cabinets and countertops to see what needs to be reimagined to make your kitchen shine. Something as simple as new cabinet handles and a paint job may be all you need to turn the kitchen into a truly special space.

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5. Purchase new appliances

Replacing old appliances can drive the perception of value and quality in your home. Start with the kitchen and assess the age, durability and track record of the appliances. If they are more than 10 years old and heading towards their twilight years, consider replacement. If your washer and dryer are not dependable, they may also need to be replaced.

These small value-added purchases can go a long way for home-buyers - many of whom welcome the ease of purchasing a home that is 100% move-in ready.

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6. Change lighting to showcase rooms to their fullest extent

Lighting design is surprisingly important when it comes to highlighting a room to its fullest potential. Does your current lighting scheme really accent the features in each room or does it cast shadows or leave certain rooms feeling dark and uninviting?

Do an audit and try to look at each room through a newcomer’s eyes. While fancy and expensive lighting fixtures are the stuff that Pinterest is made of, a lighting refresh doesn’t have to break the bank. Prioritize functionality first, ensuring that the most important rooms in the house, such as bedrooms, living room and kitchen, are well light.  Then, if there’s budget left over look at a few signature pieces that will really make the room pop.

7. Create curb appeal

In this industry, first impressions are everything. Curb appeal is ultimately how attractive a property is from the outside - the “curb,” if you will. While your home may be newly renovated and modern inside, it doesn’t mean a thing if the exterior of the home is run down. The buyer will have already made their first impression before setting foot in the place.

Starting off with the easy-to-fix items is great start. This could include washing the outside of the home, cleaning windows and screens, removing clutter from the yard, and installing some exterior lights. Basic landscaping and the addition of flower pots can give a warm and welcoming appearance.

However, larger improvements, like painting the exterior, fixing decks or stairs, may be required to make the property pass the first-look test.

8. Invest in staging

Once all of the heavy lifting of home improvements and decluttering has taken place, it’s time to stage the home. This is one of my favourite steps in the process as it allows me to use my interior design skills to help my clients merchandize their home. The trick is to keep the home interior design neutral, but modern and stylish in order to appeal to as many buyers as possible.

If you’re up on home interior trends and have a solid selection of neutral, but contemporary furniture items, you may be able to stage the home with your own items. Less is more, and sellers often find they need to remove excess furniture. If your decor style is a little bit more niche, it’s best to go with a staging company that can provide the aesthetic we need to appeal to buyers. There are staging specialists who rent out furniture, help with interior design, then remove the furniture when the property has been sold. They’re the unsung heros of the home selling process.

9. Emphasize unique selling features

Have a think about the unique features of your home and what might capture the attention of a buyer. These could be parts of the home that you take for granted in everyday life; but to someone with fresh eyes, might seem enticing. Perhaps it’s that little window nook in the bedroom that offers up incredible views. Or, maybe it’s the big bay windows in the kitchen that allow sunlight to stream in as you have your morning coffee. Or maybe it’s the cozy fireplace you curl up beside to read.

Whatever the feature is, pay careful attention to how you accent it in the home improvement and staging process. Maybe you place a feature chair by the fireplace or place a bright floral arangement on the kitchen counter to draw the eye there. Using design tricks like this makes the home feature stand out in the mind’s eye of the buyer. Just think about it, a buyer might have seen 10 homes in a short period of time. What will make yours stand out?

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10. Professional cleaning and removal of problem scents

It goes without saying, but putting the finishing touches on your home before hosting viewings is crucial. Have the place professionally deep cleaned from top to bottom. It might cost a little bit of money, but it will save you time and the headache - trust me on this!

Be sure to consider odors and address problem scents right off the bat. Because we live in our homes, we can get used to certain scents, whether it be pets, smoking, or cooking. Humans have a strong sense of smell - especially when they are somewhere they’ve never been. The last thing you want is for a potential buyer to be put off by a smell in your home!

So, there you have it. With a little bit of planning and some start-up capital, you can drive higher value and faster turn-around of your home sale.

 

 

Are you looking to list your home? Contact me and let’s chat!

 

My Contest Winners "Test Drive the Sunshine Coast"

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I’ve always been passionate about sharing how amazing the amazing Sunshine Coast community with others. That’s why I ran the Test Drive The Sunshine Coast contest earlier this summer. One lucky winner took home the incredible prize: a one-night stay at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge, a 3 course dinner at Inlets Restaurant, a jet ski tour and transport from Sechelt via Sunshine Coast Air.

 

Diana Azevedo from Hope, BC was the lucky winner. She brought her 20-month-old son, Koa, and her friend Chantal Martin.

While Diana and Chantal had been to the Sunshine Coast before for their annual Easter vacation, they had always wanted to go back. When I notified Diana she had won, she jumped at the chance and brought her BFF and son along too.

Needless to say, the experience blew their minds!

“The most memorable moment for me was flying in the float plane with Sunshine Coast Air. It felt like I was being whisked away to a hidden gem in the middle of the forest,” said Chantal. “All I could see was trees, water, and mountains, only to pull up to a wilderness resort where I ate the most delicious food; including a vegan kale caesar salad. And the jet skis - that was a surreal experience!”

The ladies just loved the relaxed vibes, friendly people and proximity to nature. And little Koa had a good time too.

 

See some of their trip highlights in the photo galleries.

 

Once again, I want to thank my amazing contest partners, West Coast Wilderness Lodge and Sunshine Coast Air. Stay tuned for the next contest!

 

Making It Work On The Coast | S1 E7 "Peaceful Village Living With Lou"

Location: Roberts Creek

Outdoor: Henderson Beach

Social Recco:  Mike’s Ice Cream

Potlucks, bonfires, beach strolls, and hikes followed by yummy ice cream. All this and more are what make life on the Sunshine Coast so unique.

It’s just this kind of quiet village living that drew Lou Lynn to the Sunshine Coast’s quaint Roberts Creek community. She wanted to say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of East Vancouver, and find somewhere she could build her tribe while finding solace in nature.

Roberts Creek is a tiny village tucked between Gibsons and Sechelt. With several delicious restaurants, a General Store, and plenty of art studios and galleries, the community is seen as somewhat of a cultural hub for the Sunshine Coast. It’s only fitting that Lou was drawn to Roberts Creek, which is similar to the small village her parents live in.

A self-professed mompreneur, originally hailing from England, Lou has always been resourceful. With two young children (Evie, 9, and Ezra, 12), she has always had multiple side hustles on the go. Teaching yoga, selling essential oils and aromatherapy, and doing freelance graphic design are just a few of her businesses.

While Lou had her eye on rural living for some time, it was her friends moving here that tipped the scales and inspired her to move her young family over a few years earlier than expected.

“I wanted to be somewhere where I could hear nothing: no Skytrain whizzing past my window,” she says. “I [wanted to be somewhere] I could go out and have a campfire and look up and see stars. I don’t even feel like I always need to go camping because I can sit and watch the stars here in my garden and then go and have a nice comfy night’s sleep.”

The family home is a spacious 3,500 square feet, including 1 bedroom basement suite which her parents live in. The main living area of the home has 4 bedrooms 3 bathrooms, 2 living rooms, a kitchen, and a crawlspace in the basement that they’re turning into an art space. Full of character, this multi-level home has plenty of with nooks and crannies to discover as well as a large backyard and firepit.

“I really love being close to nature. I love the quiet. I can go out and see my friends and then I come back and this feels like a sanctuary. If I want to just spend my entire day gardening and not leaving my property I don’t have to.”

One thing Lou has been most excited about is how excellent the Roberts Creek elementary school is. Her young children have been able to build community at this small school and gain access to rich life experiences they would have never had at the opportunity to access in Metro Vancouver. The children go swimming and golfing. They do beach clean-ups, learn about ecology, build homes in the forest, and learn about First Nations culture and history.

Being a small business owner has helped Lou fulfill her dream of finding a forever home, sustaining her family and building a community support network like no other.

“Once people start to get to know you, trust you and know who you are, then they will go to the ends of the earth for you.”

 

Are you interested in learning more about making the move to the Sunshine Coast? Contact me a for a consultation.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

Each year, the Sunshine Coast welcomes new year-round residents who have unearthed the secret of “going coastal”. In this Making It Work On The Coast blog series, we’ll get to know our new neighbours, who are fast becoming part of the fabric of our community. I’ll discover their inspirations for moving to the Sunshine Coast, and the homes, lifestyles, and careers they’ve built in our amazing neck of the woods.

 

 

 

 

 

Making It Work On The Coast | S1 E6 "Michel and Mary, 150ft From the Sea"

Location: Bonniebrook Beach

Outdoor: Cliff Gilker Park

Social Recco:  Smoke On the Water

Living 150 feet from the ocean is #lifegoals. Vancouverites-turned-coasters Michel and Mary have managed to forge a new path that finds them doing just that (at least part time) on the Sunshine Coast.

The pair have owned their 650-square-foot cottage - nicknamed The Beach Cottage - for just over a year. Mary, a cello instructor at Vancouver Academy of Music; and Michel, owner and operator of his own architect firm Michel Laflamme Architect, split their time between their Kitsilano condo and their seaside paradise tucked away in Bonniebrook Beach. For those who aren’t familiar, Bonniebrook is between Roberts Creek and Gibsons.

Last year, Michel and Mary decided to start planning for their retirement by purchasing the cottage. Its prime location and need for only small aesthetic updates made the cottage the perfect second home. Now, this cozy cottage is an ideal oceanfront getaway.

This gorgeous coastal home brings to life the design sensibilities from both Michel and Mary, with careful attention paid to every nook and cranny of the cottage. The interior has a modern rustic feel. The all-white wooden interior is bright and airy, allowing for statement furniture and signature accent pieces, including an innovative firewood storage solution. Aside from beautiful contemporary furniture and accessories, the cottage boasts signature art pieces designed by friends of Michel and Mary. The space is finished off with a few sentimental family heirlooms like Michel’s dad’s old tool trunk and Mary’s grandfather’s birdwatching binoculars. Coupled with a 200-square-foot deck for lazy summer days and evenings entertaining, this is an absolute gem.

While Michel and Mary try to spend as much time as possible at their second home, they get help with their mortgage by renting it out via Airbnb. The cottage is so popular that they need to book the space for their own personal use well in advance!

And who wouldn’t want this life? Ocean swims, toes in the sand and beach bonfires (outside of fire ban season, of course). Homemade crabcakes made from fresh-caught fish from a neighbour. Delicious patio meals comprised of curated artisan foods from the Gibsons Public Market.  Dining out experiences like Smoke On the Water, Nova Kitchen and Smitty’s Oyster House.  Eagles soaring overhead and the subtle sound of trees rustling in the breeze. All this and more make up the unique sights and sounds of the Sunshine Coast that we all hold dear.

“I change when I come here. I really do,” says Mary, speaking of that welcome shift we all enjoy, our shoulders dropping with every minute that passes on the ferry. The transition from urban rush to easy going coastal living is a sweet reprieve from fast paced city life.

Michel - a Vancouver resident for 35 years - has been coming to the Sunshine Coast for almost as long. His 3 reasons for moving to the Sunshine coast are simple: the physical and mental distance from the city that the short ferry ride brings, the swimming, and the people.

He recalls the days when the majority of ferry passengers to The Coast were loggers and fishermen. In his opinion, while the demographic makeup of the Sunshine Coast has changed, the thing that has maintained is the warmth, friendliness and down to earth nature of the people in this community.  

Michel is so taken by The Coast, that for the first time in his firm’s history he’s paying to advertise on the Sunshine Coast so he can gain more clientele and work closer to the cottage.

So what has blown them away the most since they’ve been spending more time on the Sunshine Coast? Well, it’s really as simple as those lazy summer nights on their large patio deck watching the world go by. But, a close second, says Michel, is sharing all this with friends and family.

 

And that, my friends, is #lifegoals at its finest.

 

 

Are you interested in learning more about making the move to the Sunshine Coast? Contact me a for a consultation.

 

 

____________________________________________________________________

 

Each year, the Sunshine Coast welcomes new year-round residents who have unearthed the secret of “going coastal”. In this Making It Work On The Coast blog series, we’ll get to know our new neighbours, who are fast becoming part of the fabric of our community. I’ll discover their inspirations for moving to the Sunshine Coast, and the homes, lifestyles, and careers they’ve built in our amazing neck of the woods.