When it comes to selling your home, curb appeal has a huge impact on the first impression your home gives potential buyers. While boosting your home’s curb appeal during the warmer, summer months is relatively simple, it can be more challenging once the snow flies and the cold weather sets in.
If you’re looking for a few ways to boost your home’s curb appeal in the winter, we’ve compiled a list of a few different things you can do!
Boost Curb Appeal: Let There Be Light
As the days get shorter, you’ll want to ensure that your home is properly illuminated. Not only will this help potential buyers see the home, but it will also help keep sidewalks and front porches lit up, which will help keep people safe. With showings happening in the darker evening hours, keeping your lights on will also make your home feel more welcoming and ‘lived-in’, which will help invite potential buyers in.
Spruce Up Your Front Porch
While there won’t be much yard work to be done in the winter months to help with your home’s curb appeal, one area that you can put some work into is your front porch. Consider painting your front door a bold colour to add some personality to the space, add festive winter-themed pots on the porch, or hang a seasonal wreath on the front door to help boost the curb appeal. Not only will these add to the first impression that your home will make to potential buyers, but it will also allow them to see the potential of what they could do to the space should they decide to put in an offer.
Keep Sidewalks Clear
When inviting potential buyers into your home for showings, the last thing you want is for someone to slip and fall on an icy sidewalk. This is why keeping sidewalks and driveways clear is extremely important when selling during the winter months. Shoveling and de-icing your sidewalks and driveway can also help boost your home’s curb appeal as it makes your property feel lived-in and more welcoming to those who might be considering your home during their home search.
Update House Numbers
If you’re looking for a simple, relatively inexpensive way to boost your home’s curb appeal during the winter months, then you might want to consider updating your house numbers. They are mandatory to have on your home, but depending on when your home was built and when they were last changed, they can sometimes look a bit outdated. Taking the time to update your house numbers is a great way to refresh the exterior of your home while also ensuring that potential buyers will be able to easily find it when they come for their showings.
Whether you’re planning to list your home soon or are thinking you’ll be listing later in the winter, taking these steps now is a great way to ensure that you’re putting your home’s best foot forward when it comes time to put it on the market.
With Halloween just a few weeks away and the crisp fall weather already in the Okanagan, many people are starting to look for activities to help them get into the spooky season mood. Whether you’re looking for a good scare or are looking for something fun to do with the kids, there are dozens of fantastic Halloween activities and events happening throughout the valley.
We’ve highlighted a few spooky Halloween activities happening in the Okanagan over the next few weeks that are definitely worth checking out.
Haunted Farm Adventure
Hosted by Don-O-Ray Farm, the Haunted Farm Adventure will provide fun for all ages! The ghost town of Deadwood has reawakened and the fall activities are in full swing, including a hedge maze that is full of spooky surprises, twists, turns, and dead ends. While you’re enjoying the spooky fun, you can also pick up your pumpkins straight from their pumpkin patch! With dates running throughout the month of October, make sure to drop in and enjoy their Haunted Farm Adventure!
Haunted House at the Museum
If you’re looking to visit a Haunted House this spooky season, then look no further than the Westbank Museum’s 3rd annual Haunted House at the Museum. Entry is by donation and they have several dates between now and Halloween for you to enjoy. Bring your friends and family and make your way through the haunted house – if you dare!
Halloween Movie in the Vineyard
Visit Priest Creek Family Estate Winery this October and enjoy a Halloween Movie Night in the Vineyard! On Friday, October 27th, they will be screening The Haunted Mansion for everyone to enjoy. This is a ticketed event with adult tickets at $15 and kid tickets at $10. Don’t forget to enjoy a wine tasting while you’re there!
Halloweenie at Grizzli Winery
For those who are looking for both kid-friendly and pet-friendly Halloween events around the Okanagan this fall, Grizzli Winery is the place to be. Their 4th annual Halloweenie event is a non-scary, ‘lights on’ indoor event that is perfect for young kids. Kids can join in on fun Halloween-themed activities such as a scavenger hunt, mini-pumpkin decorating station, outdoor s’mores around the fire, and more while parents can enjoy wine from the winery. Admission is $5 and covers a variety of things for both adults and children.
Family Monster Bash
Join the City of Kelowna for their Family Monster Bash at the Kelowna Capital News Centre on Sunday, October 29th! This is a free event perfect for the whole family and will include an obstacle course, bouncy house, Halloween games, face painting, and more. The concession will be open for purchasing food and drinks, and the ice rink will be open for free skating.
There is never a shortage of great events happening throughout the Okanagan, and the Halloween season is no exception! These events are sure to get you into the spooky spirit, just in time for Halloween!
While having a large home with lots of room for kids and pets to run around can be great, there will likely come a time once the kids have moved out and you find yourself with more square footage than you know what to do with. In this scenario, many homeowners find themselves looking to downsize their home and find something a bit more manageable for their current lifestyle. But downsizing can be a daunting and sometimes emotional task that can be overwhelming if you don’t take steps to help streamline the process.
If you’re thinking about downsizing your home, we’ve put together a few tips to help make the downsizing process as stress-free as possible.
Declutter Before You Move
One of the best ways to make downsizing a breeze is to declutter your home before you move. Not only will this help eliminate items you don’t have space for in your new home, but it will also save time so you can avoid packing items that actually don’t need to make the move. Compare your current home with the home you’re moving into and take inventory of items that aren’t necessary.
The idea of having to downsize and declutter an entire house can feel incredibly overwhelming, so it’s important that you remember to start small. Rather than looking at your home as a whole, start with just one room, such as a bedroom, and go from there. Making a list can also be helpful – jot down any items or pieces of furniture that you know you no longer need, and deal with them when you come to that room rather than trying to tackle everything at once.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask For Help
Asking for help can be hard to do, but when it comes to downsizing and moving, it can be a game-changer! If you have friends and family who are willing to help with the downsizing process, take them up on it! Sometimes just having an outside opinion and an extra pair of hands can make the entire process go much faster and make it less stressful.
Utilize Space-Saving Options
When thinking about what furniture to take to your new place, it is a good idea to look at pieces that might serve more than one purpose or offer hidden storage. It’s also important to ensure that the furniture you currently have will fit in your new space, especially if you’re moving from a house to a smaller townhouse or condo. With so many great space-saving options available, you’ll be able to find something that will fit your needs while maximizing your space with additional storage or seating.
Whether you’re downsizing because you no longer need the space that you currently have or are just looking to simplify your life, these tips will help keep the downsizing and moving process simple and stress-free so you can spend less time worrying and more time enjoying your new space!
Now that the sunshine and hot weather are here, many people will set off on their summer vacations. Whether you’re planning to stick close to home this summer or are planning a larger getaway, it’s important to make sure you have everything in order before setting off, including making sure your home is safe and secure. The last thing you want on vacation is to receive a call that something has gone wrong, so we have highlighted some steps you can take to help ensure that your home and belongings will be safe until you return.
Whether you’re leaving town for an extended period of time or are just leaving for a day or two, following these steps before you leave will help keep your home safe while you’re on vacation.
Get a House Sitter
One of the easiest ways to ensure that your home will be safe and secure while you’re on vacation is to hire a house sitter to keep an eye on the place. Some house sitters will actually stay in your home, which will help make it look lived-in. Alternatively, some house sitters will stop by your home once a day or once every few days to make sure that everything is in order. Not only is this a great way to ensure that your home is being looked after, but it also means you can have someone stopping by to water flowers and other plants that might suffer in the hot Okanagan sun.
Lock All Windows & Doors
Before leaving on vacation, make sure to walk around your home and check that every window and door is closed and locked. This will help improve your home’s security and will help give you peace of mind that everything is locked up and secure. You might think that simply closing your windows is enough, but ensuring that they are locked as well will help keep every possible entrance to your home safe and secure.
Install Smart Locks & Security Cameras
Investing in a security system or smart locks is a great idea if you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, but it is also an investment that will benefit you and your home year-round. There are many great, easily accessible options available, such as the Ring Video Doorbells or the Google Nest security cameras, many of which are easy to install and connect to an app on your phone so you can keep track of what’s happening from wherever you are. Smart locks are also a great way to ensure your home’s security, as many of them give you the ability to lock and unlock your doors from anywhere.
Make It Look Like Someone’s Home
If you have a trusted friend or neighbour looking after your home while you’re away, there are a few things you can ask them to do to make it look like your home is being lived in, even if you’re away. If there are cars left in your driveway, arrange to move them every so often to make it look like you’ve been out and about. Having someone collect your mail is also a great way to keep it from piling up so it’s not so obvious that no one is home. If your blinds or drapes are normally open, keep them this way so that it looks like nothing is out of the ordinary. You can also leave a light or two on to make it seem like someone is home.
While it might be tempting to rush out and make the most of your summer vacation, taking the time to properly secure your home will help give you peace of mind that it’s being looked after and will allow you to enjoy your holidays without worrying about your home or your belongings.
There is no question that Kelowna and the rest of the Okanagan Valley is a true four-season playground, with endless activities and amenities to enjoy year-round. These features factor into Kelowna’s liveability factors, which is a huge attraction for people looking to buy in the city. If you’re considering making the move to Kelowna, take a look at Kelowna’s liveability factors to determine if it’s the right community for you.
We’ve highlighted some of Kelowna’s top liveability factors to help you get a feel for the Okanagan Valley and everything it has to offer!
Kelowna Liveability: Get Outdoors
Tourism is very popular in the Okanagan Valley. This means that Kelowna and the surrounding area offer a diverse range of outdoor activities for locals and visitors alike. While the hot summer months are popular with people looking to spend time at the beach, go boating, or golfing at one of the many popular golf courses, the winter months also provide endless outdoor entertainment. Big White Ski Resort and Silver Star Mountain Resort are both short drives away from Kelowna and are fantastic locations for ski and snowboard enthusiasts. Snowshoeing is also a popular winter activity and a great way to enjoy the great outdoors and explore everything Kelowna has to offer.
Eat and Drink
If the Okanagan Valley is known for one thing in particular, it’s wine. Kelowna is considered the birthplace of winemaking in British Columbia, which makes it a popular spot for people looking to experience some of the many incredible wineries that call the Okanagan home. Kelowna boasts five unique wine trails, with over 40 wineries to visit in just a 20-minute drive. Many wineries have restaurants attached, making them a great place to spend an evening sampling fantastic food and drinks with friends or family, whether you’re a local resident or are just visiting.
Explore The Beaches
The gorgeous Okanagan Lake is the heart of the Okanagan Valley and spans a whopping 135 kilometers from Vernon in the north to Penticton in the south. Regardless of where you’re at in the valley, you’re bound to find a beach to enjoy the refreshing water during the hot summer months. Many beaches are equipped with bathrooms, playgrounds, and other amenities such as various sports courts and concessions, making them a great place to spend the whole day with friends and family. Whether you’re looking to get out on the boat, explore the shoreline in a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, or simply lounge and soak in the sun, you won’t regret checking out one of over 30 beaches in the region. If you look hard enough, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive Ogopogo!
If you’re considering moving to Kelowna but aren’t quite sure which neighbourhoods to search in, here are a few that boast great liveability features that might be worth checking out. The Capri Landmark area is great if you’re looking to be close to work, as it is one of Kelowna’s major employment hubs and there are plenty of great apartments in the area. Lower Mission is a popular neighbourhood for those looking for easy access to trendy shops, restaurants, and the lake. There are lots of new apartments and townhomes being built in the area, making it popular with current home buyers. Finally, the heartbeat of Kelowna lies in the Downtown core, where you will find shopping, transit, and more!
Whether you’re already familiar with Kelowna or are new to the area and are looking to put down roots, these liveability factors will help you determine the best place to start looking for your perfect home in the Okanagan Valley!
Do great photos make a difference in real estate sales? Many argue that photos make or break the listing and sales process. And, while it’s true that poor real estate photography can turn off buyers from viewing the subject property, it’s important to note that good photography doesn’t sell real estate. Agents and sellers do that part.
Real Estate Photography: A Buyer’s Perspective
Buyers are looking for the best house at the lowest price. They search for desirable areas, size, number of bedrooms and sometimes features like garages and pools. In a quest for the best at the lowest price, amazing photos won’t help an overpriced house. However, detailed photos, exposed properly can feature the unique and important aspects of a home and property quickly and more effectively than written words.
A Seller’s Perspective
Photos attract buyers to view a property. From there, the property must stand on its own merits. If the property looks the same as the photos buyers often do not remark. If the photos are significantly better than the real-life experience at the home, buyers become untrusting.
Detailed photography can also help sellers and agents negotiate better. The average home viewing by buyers is estimated at 15 minutes and sometimes less. Buyers cannot remember what house had the green carpet let alone the high-quality appliances. Photos serve as a reminder to the buyers of what they are paying for. This is why “great” real estate photography will show sidewalks, foyers, landings, and laundry rooms. These photos can sometimes seem odd to sellers and look lousy. Yet, photos of features serve an important purpose in helping the sellers get more money, clarify value, bolster talking points, and manage buyer expectations.
The goal of a good real estate shoot is to “capture” the essence of the home and property, snap a few money shots, shoot the flow of the house and property and get the best fill shots. 3D walk-thru video can accomplish a lot of this. Yet, static photos allow the agent and photographer to stage the angle and exposure to capture perspective. The end goal is to show nicely enough to entice the buyer to book a showing.
What Makes A Good Photo?
A good photo is properly exposed, in focus, representative of the lighting sees through windows to the outside, has understandable angles and perspectives, and reflects the features of the home fairly. If a room is dark it means the photo should probably show this. However, with today’s technology, nearly any space can be brightened. It might be a nice shot, but that doesn’t make it good photography. Photos of hallways, sidewalks, gas meters, and air conditioner units also make good photos in real estate. Photos showing the underside of gutters (soffits) can highlight expense trim and build considerations. The odd detail shot of hinges and faucets can also work well to show the home’s attention to detail and craftsmanship. Good real estate photos should show the good and not-so-great aspects of the home.
Good money shots are important and viewers will give creative license to make these photos look grander than perhaps they are, within the law. Yes, there are laws and rules that must be followed. We can make your grass look greener and photoshop the trash bin but your purple front door must stay.
What Makes A Bad Photo?
Bad photos can look nice. Identifying bad ones is not always easy but here are some red flags. Frosty windows are the first clue. Out of focus and poor angles are another. Random angles and perspectives can also be an indication. Viewers will “feel” these items as much as point them out.
Bad real estate photos can also be excellent photos that simply hide items out of frame. Like the photo of the backyard showing lush green grass that is taken at such an angle to hide the house next door with three bedroom windows looking down onto the pool area. Or, the photo of the driveway zoomed in to hide the 50-foot drop from the garage to the road.
The seller may not like a photo that shows what the home accurately looks like; light, dark, cluttered – it doesn’t mean it’s a bad photo. Photos can help to manage buyer expectations. Sometimes a home is dark. Over-exposing and saturating light in areas that don’t normally have light can create mistrust among buyers. Accept that sometimes photos and the property, are what they are.
Shooting Day Prep
Interior: Turn on all lights, open curtains, clear counters, move furniture to open up spaces, toilet seats down, fold hanging towels, clean, polish, organization, and cleanliness.
Exterior: Time of year is important. Schedule your shoot to address where the sun will be located. Clear the driveway, hide everything possible, mow the lawn and declutter as much as possible.
Our Top Tips for Stellar Real Estate Pics:
- Declutter rooms and make beds
- Turn ON all lights and lamps in the home
- Turn OFF ceiling fans and TVs
- Clear all personal items from counters, dressers, shelves
- Remove magnets and photos from the fridge
- Move all vehicles and boats/ RVs off of the driveway and away from the house
- Remove pet items and garbage /recycling bins from the view
- Hang fresh towels on towel racks
- Ensure you are NOT in the house during the Matterport scans
- Takedown photos and personal items that you don’t want in the VR tour
Photos are important. Yet, stellar photos will not compensate for an overpriced home, an agent that communicates poorly, or a rapid change in the market. Photos are just one of the many tools agents use to help sellers get offers.
Pretty photos of real estate may look like art but agents and photographers must balance the scientific considerations to leverage the photography to impact a sale. It’s more than just pretty pictures.