The residents of Kelowna know wildfires all too well! Particularly, the Central Okanagan has seen devastating wildfires, including the Kelowna Mountain Park Fire in 2003, and the White Rock Lake fire in 2021. Both of these fires displaced tens of thousands of individuals (CBC 2021).
The fires cause poor air quality during the smoky wildfire season. What's wrose, the fires destroy landscapes and homes! In the past twenty years, the Central Okanagan alone had over 30,000 hectares burn (“Wildfire Season Summary - Province of British Columbia'' 2021).
Kelowna is exposed to low air quality on a near-annual basis due to wildfires happening throughout the western part of North America. With this in mind, every step counts as you protect your property against the wildfires!
The most vital area that needs to be protected is around your home! The City of Kelowna advises residents to remove all hazardous vegetation within 10 meters of your home. This includes the collection of dry, dead, and fine materials. For example, you should remove all dry needles and conifer prunings (“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program” 2022).
In 2022, the City of Kelowna started a new initiative called FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program. This FREE program helps the residents of Kelowna to mitigate the threat of wildfires. The city will collect highly flammable materials from your property. The pick=up service will be for dry and/or dead materials from cedar trees, juniper bushes, mugo pines, and conifer shrubs and branches. Please note that leafy tree materials are NOT collected for this initiative.
All other organic materials such as dirt, grasses, rocks, gravel, and flowers must go into your green waste bin. The green bins will still be picked up throughout the entire time of this initiative because these materials are not suitable for the wood chipper.
The City of Kelowna has a schedule posted on their website that outlines the streets and days that the collection services will follow. The following 8 areas will be serviced this year:
Please note: the neighborhoods are chosen due to t higher rate of flammable materials in the landscapes. (“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program” 2022)
CBC. 2021. “A look back at the 2021 BC wildfire season.” CBC. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-wildfires-2021-timeline-1.6197751.
“FireSmart Community Chipping Pilot Program.” 2022. City of Kelowna. https://www.kelowna.ca/city-services/safety-emergency-services/fire-department/firesmart-kelowna/firesmart-community-chipping-pilot-program#msdynttrid=OHOMXv9deHu6YuMMr-v0klmfP6YmFPQUkKgqZdS82lw.
“Wildfire Season Summary - Province of British Columbia.” 2021. Gov.bc.ca. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/safety/wildfire-status/about-bcws/wildfire-history/wildfire-season-summary#stats.
There are a lot of different stressors in the world of real estate right now, particularly for those who are
trying to “get in the game” to buy their first home or investment property. On June 1, the Canadian
government will be adding a little more stress to the lives of those looking to purchase real estate.
**Disclaimer: this is not professional mortgage advice. For particulars of your own financial situation,
you should consult with your mortgage broker.**
Now, onto the good stuff.
The Stress Test was introduced by the Canadian Government in late 2017 as a market control and
mortgage-default prevention measure. Essentially the premise was this, ‘make Buyers qualify at a
higher mortgage interest rate than what they will actually pay so that if/when the interest rates
increase, homeowners won’t suddenly find themselves underwater and defaulting on their mortgage
payments.’ Some logic there, arguably.
Now there are plenty of opinions for and against this move, but that is neither here nor there for today’s
discussion. Today we are talking about what the changes to that stress test are and how they might
The current stress test requires that you qualify for a mortgage at your rate plus 2% or 4.79%, which
ever is higher. As of June 1, 2021, all borrowers will have to qualify at the new stress test levels of either
your rate plus 2% or at 5.25% — whichever is higher.
Clearly, these changes will have a large impact on borrowers and their capacity to enter the market.
According to the Green Mortgage Team, this change to the Stress Test will “decrease borrowing power
by approximately 4% to 4.5%,”1 depending on the purchaser’s specific situation.
You could buy a bucket of ice cream, close all the blinds in your house, put on some Adele and eat your
sorrows away… or you can call your mortgage broker and find out exactly how this will affect you and if
there are any measures that you can take to counteract the increased Stress Test rates.
If you don’t currently have a mortgage broker and are thinking about getting into the market, call me or
your Realtor and we will be able to direct you to some stellar Mortgage Brokers who can help give clarity
to what these new rules mean, specifically, for you!
Written by: Justina LeeStolz, PREC2
Connect. Local. Community.
2 Personal Real Estate Corporation
In a hot real estate market, intuition suggests it would be easy to sell a home. This is true; it can be easy to sell certain properties BUT what about getting top dollar?
Would you think differently if offers on a $700,000 property could vary by more than $100,000? Today, March 15, 2021, this is the real estate market in Central Okanagan.
Sellers can see offers that range from $10,000 under asking price to more than $100,000 over (and more). Often, with the highest offer, condition-free, arriving at the 11th hour. In this type of market, what strategy will get you the most offers in a set period of time?
In a hot market, cutting corners on marketing becomes more costly to your selling price than in a balanced market. What does your agent consider thorough?
For example, in a balanced market, 3D walk-thru (matterport) and professional photos attract buyers and help increase interest in a property. Are these marketing methods important if there are already plenty of interested buyers?
Consider today that many buyers are not able to physically view the property and will write offers based solely on the clarity and quality of the photos, descriptions, statistics, and presentation online.
Other buyers, due to increased numbers of showings and time constraints, will view the property but retain little information because they will be rushed not able to absorb all the features of the property.
A “good” listing can fill in the gaps and will help sellers do better when negotiating starts. What motivates a buyer to pay more? Crystal clear photos of the new fence and landscaping, appliances, updates, and features of the home or grainy, unfocused, and non-existent photos can produce the exact opposite?
On the flip side, savvy buyers are often happy to see a new listing with a single or low-quality photo as the marketing effort. Their curiosity could be rewarded with a diamond in the rough, and with less competition come offer time.
Sellers should consider how much time on the MLS is needed for full exposure. A recent poll of top-producing agents suggested that no less than 72 hours would be a fair amount of time. A listing uploaded on Friday would benefit by screening offers no earlier than Monday. After 13 years in the business, I think Tuesday is a better bet. Why?
You might be hearing agents talk about bully offers. To some, this is when the seller has agreed to postpone looking at offers for a number of days but prior to this date, accepts an offer. Buyers who had been waiting to present their offer can be left out of the process and are often shocked that the seller would jump so soon. These situations can leave buyers and sellers asking a lot of questions.
The term is not correct. It should read, “an offer the seller could not refuse”. These situations are complex and as a seller, it’s important to understand the risks of accepting such an offer. It’s possible that accepting an offer too early could cost thousands of dollars in a lower sale price. Alternatively, it could be that the seller weighed all the facts and chose the offer because it met their needs.
In any situation, CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd. agents are specially trained to help sellers understand the market and guide you through a choice that’s right for you. When buying, our agents have the tools to help you secure your new home, investment property or recreational getaway.
Associate Broker | REALTOR®
Century 21 Assurance Realty Ltd
Agent Development & Recruiting, Commercial
Real Estate Coach (NORE®)