If it’s been a while since you last moved, you might be wondering how much you’ll need to spend on your next home. That’s an important question to answer, even if you’re just at the “thinking about it” stage and haven’t decided whether or not you’ll look for a new property.

After all, knowing your budget might influence your decision.

How should you determine your budget?

The first step is to calculate the maximum you can spend. This involves adding the money you’ll get from the sale of your current property after repaying your outstanding mortgage, to any other funds you have available to invest plus the maximum amount of mortgage you qualify to receive.

Of course, just because you may qualify for a large mortgage doesn’t mean you want those bigger payments. So, the second step is to think about your needs. What features are a must in your next home? For example, you might want four bedrooms and anything less would be a deal-breaker.

Make a “must-have list”. That list can by used to find a baseline of properties on the market — and then find their average asking price. This will give you an idea of what it would cost to find a home that meets your must-have list.

The third step is to go beyond needs and consider the features you want. These might not be deal-breakers, but you’d sure love to have them in your next home. They could be a large deck, a location in a desirable neighbourhood, a big country kitchen, etc.

Ask yourself how much you would be willing to pay for those desirable features. $20,000? $50,000?

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you’ll have the information you need to match your needs and wants to what’s available on the market — and you’ll know how much you might expect to pay for your next home.

When you sell, you’ll probably want to get the best possible price for your property. Who wouldn’t? Unfortunately, there are many ways to inadvertently leave money on the table – sometimes thousands of dollars.

How do you avoid that possibility?

  • Prep. Do everything you can to prepare your home so that it looks great to buyers. Clean, declutter, fix, make improvements. Home staging can also help. In fact, effectively staged homes have been shown to sell for up to 5% more than comparable unstaged properties.


  • Price. Set the right asking price. That’s crucial. If it’s too low, you’ll attract only dealhunters — and you might end up getting less than you should . If the asking price is too high, however, you’ll discourage those buyers who might otherwise be interested and willing to make a good offer. Be careful with pricing!


  • Promotion. There may be qualified buyers out there who would be eager to see your property. But, they need to find out about your listing and the great features of your home first! Reaching these buyers requires more than merely profiling the listing on the MLS. Homes that sell for top dollar often have strong marketing — directed to the right buyers.


  • Proposal. Once an offer comes in, there may be an opportunity to negotiate with the buyer to maximize the final price you get. This requires deep knowledge of the local market as well as street-smart negotiation skills. If done effectively, these negotiations can help put more money in your pocket.

There are many good reasons to put your property on the market. Some examples include a relocation, the kids leaving the nest, the need for something bigger or smaller, and the list goes on and on.


However, there are also some less-than-obvious indicators that it may be time to sell:


  1. Your Property is no longer a Good “Fit”


Your home may have been perfect for you when you bought it. But things change. Families grow. Needs evolve. For any number of reasons, your property may no longer be a good fit for you. If that’s the case, it makes sense to at least take a look at what’s available on the market. Who knows? Your next “perfect” home may be for sale right now — within your price range!


  1. The Neighbourhood is Changing


You may have been in love with the neighbourhood when you first moved in. But, over time, the characteristics of any area can change. Those changes don’t necessarily mean the neighbourhood is getting worse. In fact, it may be changing in a positive way; perhaps becoming more urban. But, “more urban” may not be what you want. Take a look at the direction your neighbourhood is heading. Ask yourself, “Do I still want to be living here in two years?”

  1. You’re Ready for Your Dream Home


Remember when you purchased your current property? Did it have every feature you wanted? Was it your dream home? Or, did you have to compromise on a few things, such as the size of the kitchen? If you had to make some tough choices back then, it might be time for you to finally get the home of your dreams.


It’s important to ensure a community has the characteristics you want — before you make an offer on a home you like.

Imagine you were counting on public transit being in easy walking distance, but discovered the nearest stop is four blocks away. It can be discouraging to come across the areas your neighborhood may be lacking after you’ve already purchased a home.

Here are some elements to consider when choosing the perfect community:

  1. Do you have children or are you planning to have children soon?

Research the schools in that area, be sure the building and location inspire confidence when you think of sending your children off for the day. Even if you don’t plan on having children, living in an area with a sought-after school system raises your property value.


  1. What type of home do you want?


Are you interested in a single-family home or a condo? Do some research on the pros and cons of the different types of homes. Historic neighborhoods have tons of character homes, but often require some repair work. Newer developments have more modern features, but are typically farther from the city center.


  1. How far are you willing to commute?


Do you plan to drive, walk or take transit to work? Does the community have a good transit system? How challenging is it to navigate traffic in the mornings? All of these factors should be considered when making the decision to move. A projected 15 minute morning commute can easily be doubled with traffic.


  1. What is your current community lacking?


If you’re currently landlocked, but have always wanted to live on the waterfront, put that at the top of your list. If you’re a coffee junkie, having a café within walking distance may be a dream come true.


  1. Do you want to be able to go places on foot?


Some neighborhoods feature great proximity to restaurants, shopping and recreation. Others are car dependant and require a reliable source of transportation.



  1. Is there nearby parks and recreation?


Most communities within the Vernon area feature ample parks, trails and community centres. Do some research to investigate which may appeal most to you. An avid skier might prefer a neighborhood at the base of the mountain versus a lake front community. Some areas have more playgrounds and family friendly outdoor pools.


  1. Sounds:


Bird and nature sounds are generally pleasant, but highway noise, airport traffic, hospital sirens and trains passing may be too disruptive for everyday life.


Once you’ve done the background research, it’s important to visit neighborhoods that made the preliminary grade in person. If you would like a tour of a potential neighborhood and more in-depth insights into a potential neighborhood, I have plenty of knowledge of Vernon and surrounding communities. Give me a call today.


Ideally you should have a week or two available before you list your property in order to stage your home and make it look its best for buyers. But, what if you listed quickly and within hours of the For Sale sign going up a buyer wants to view your property? In that scenario, you need to do some quick “staging” to get your home ready. Let’s assume your property is already clean and tidy. Here are some other things you can do:

· Open the curtains, even at night. This will make each room seem brighter, more appealing and more spacious.
· Pull out some boxes or storage bins. Put away personal knick-knacks (like that bowling trophy) and other personal items to reduce clutter on shelves and countertops.
· Clear countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms. Put the old toaster oven out-of-sight.
· Make sure lighting throughout the house is bright and comfortable. In darker areas, plug in a lamp.
· Clear away as much as you can in the foyer. Make that space look open, uncluttered and welcoming.
· Move cars out of the driveway. Give the buyer a convenient place to park!
· Make the beds. Fluff pillows on sofas.
· Clear away as many items as possible from the closet floors (such as shoes.)
· Open a window and air out the kitchen, especially if you just finished cooking.
· Make sure your pet is in a crate or, if possible, out for a walk. Not everyone loves pets.

These staging tips take only a few minutes each, but can make a big difference in the impression your home makes on a buyer. Want more home selling advice? Call today.

Investing a small amount of time and money can make a huge impact in creating a lasting impression on family, friends, neighbors and most importantly, potential home buyers.

1. Paint the front door. For a can of paint and days work you can easily add a memorable, modern touch to your home. Home buyers may view as many as 6 homes per day and they can all blend together. By adding a pop of color, you will distinguish your home from the rest.

2. Create an instant garden. Maintaining flower beds can be time consuming, by adding a few container gardens to your front entrance you can create a welcoming colourful space with minimal effort.

3. Hide those eyesores. Electrical boxes, air conditioning units, pipes and wires are all necessary components of any house, but don’t let them take away from the beauty of your home. Paint them a neutral colour, surround them with flowers and shrubbery or add a lattice screen to keep them hidden.

Wellness Fair at Greater Vernon Recreation Centre – March 2nd & 3rd  

This free event is a great opportunity to explore a wide variety of wellness products and services all in one convenient location. Exhibitors from the health and wellness industry will be showcasing natural and organic products. Nutritionists, counselors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists will be on site. This event is a great way to gain inspiration on ways to become healthier.


Luke McMaster with Guest: Andrew Allen at Creekside Theatre – March 3rd at 7:30pm
Lake Country

Two celebrated Canadian songwriters will be performing at the Creekside Theatre this month. Andrew Allen has scored five Top 10 hits in Canada. Luke McMaster has an impressive performance history including sharing the stage with some of the biggest acts of the day such as Randy Bachman, Justin Timberlake, Christina Aguilera and more.


SEISMIC Mountain Festival at Silver Star Mountain Resort – March 22nd to 31st

Silver Star will be hosting it’s first annual 10-day spring mountain festival. The SEISMIC Mountain Festival will include a ton of events including 7 signature sporting events, live music acts, beverage gardens & village DJ’s, wine & spirit festival & dinners, art exhibitions, vendors & live showcases. There will be games, prizes, fireworks and so much more. Be sure to show your support at the first annual event of it’s kind at Silver Star.


  1. Focus on eliminating interest
    It’s very difficult to save when you’re in debt. Hard earned cash is going towards hefty interest rates and it can put a serious strain on your efforts to save. Focus on paying those credit cards off first and foremost.
  2. Set a budget
    The only way to create a budget is to assess your current spending. Determining where your money is going identifies which areas you need to streamline. Make it your mission to cut the amount spent in these areas by half.
  3. Set up automatic transfers
    Set your online banking up to automatically transfer a designated amount of money to a savings account every payday. By using a hands-off approach, you won’t even notice the difference.
  4. Move to more modest living quarters
    Think moving from a two bedroom to a one bedroom. Or if you are really serious, find a roommate or even move home temporarily. Rent is a huge expense that could add up to a substantial savings in no time.
  5. Sell or downsize your car
    This isn’t practical in more rural locations, but take advantage of public transit, carpooling and biking when possible. This saves fuel, maintenance and wear and tear. Alternatively, you could sell your car and downsize to a smaller vehicle that’s more fuel efficient and lower in insurance.
  6. Put away every unexpected money you receive
    Think a bonus at work, tax return or rebate. Don’t look at this money as a reason to spend. This is an added bonus that you aren’t relying on to pay the bills. Tempting as it may be to treat yourself, sock it away and keep that goal of home ownership in mind.
  7. Save your money in a TFSA or your RSP
    A TFSA is a tax-free savings account and just like the name suggests, you can earn interest on your savings without having to pay any income taxes on it. With a Retirement Savings Plan (RSP) the amount you contribute to it each year is deductible from your taxes. This helps you save money by reducing your taxable income for that year, which allows you to pay less tax now. And RSPs aren’t just for retirement – the Canadian government allows you to withdraw up to $25,000 per year from your RSP to put towards your first home!