Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Record Inventory Levels - Prices Hold Steady Kelowna, August 8, 2008

Record Inventory Levels – Prices Hold Steady Kelowna, August 8, 2008:

The Central Zone of the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) reported the number of units listed on the Multiple Listing Service® in the Central Zone was up again this month by 43% at 1419 listings this July compared to 995 in July 2007. Total sales dollars of all property types sold on the MLS® in June decreased by 38% compared to July 2007 while the number of Units Sold also decreased by 39% (334 units sold compared to 553 last July).

Brenda Moshansky, OMREB Director and REALTOR® in the Central Zone says: "In this market where the volume of inventory is reaching record levels, it is natural to wonder what is happening to prices. Reviewing the year to date, month over month price trends, the average and median prices continue to increase; however, whereas we were seeing price trends increasing in the 20 -28% range over the last four years, so far this year the increases are in the 10 - 13% range."

"Increases in inventory levels will continue to put downward pressure on prices; however, we do not expect prices to drop off dramatically." continued Moshansky. "When we put the numbers in context, we realize our sales have returned to normal levels. We also are somewhat buffered from trends in other areas as we are a destination point continuing to attract interest." Moshansky summarized "This is a strong and active market where sellers need every bit of knowledge and expertise from their REALTOR® to establish a competitive price. Buyers also need the negotiation skills of a REALTOR® to help them evaluate their decision and get the most bang for their dollar."

The Central Zone of OMREB covers an area from Peachland to Lake Country and east along Hwy 33 to Westbridge (including the Christian Valley).

The Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board (OMREB) is comprised of 1281 Member REALTORS® and 93 real estate offices in the Central Interior of BC. For the most comprehensive source of all real estate listings, home buying and selling information, visit our national websites at: www.mls.ca and www.icx.ca. Our local public website is available at: www.omreb.com. All OMREB listings are published in our MLS® Real Estate Review magazine available at all real estate offices and various locations in the Central Okanagan, North Okanagan, the Shuswap and Revelstoke areas.

For comprehensive Board-wide statistical information please visit www.omreb.com

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yard Waste - Composting

Free Yard Waste Disposal & Fertilizer Program

I Have a compost and to be true I use it more way to keep the yard waste from getting in the garbage then to make compost for the garden. I will more then likely add some to my garden at the end of season (after I Google it to see if that's what you should do...I love Google). I have not done much in the way of aeration as I don't have the standard 'pile' but rather the black plastic box and getting a shovel in it is not easy. I did see a neat tool that is made for the job...looks like a large crochet hook but I hat spending 40 bucks on a stick...I could make one I guess. Anyhow I found out half way through the year that I have way too much yard waste for the one bin. That is one super frustrating thing about this city...not enough green pick-up and recycling comes every other week...there is way more recycling then there is garbage so it ends up piling up like mad.

Want to save your tax dollars and get free lawn and garden fertilizer in exchange for your efforts? Wouldn't you prefer to see your garden grow instead of local landfills?
Composting is a great way to reduce your household waste by 30 to 50%, producing a soil enhancement for your garden and plants.

Composting uses Natures own recycling system. With nothing fancier than fallen leaves, and fruit and vegetable peelings, you can make rich, dark compost.

By composting you can dispose of your lawn and garden waste year-round and save your tax dollars!

1. Getting StartedYou will need a compost bin and compost turner like a shovel, pitchfork or commercially made one. Set your compost in a sunny location if possible and on well-drained soil.

2. MaterialsBegin with a layer of sticks and dry materials at the bottom to help with air circulation. Next, alternate layers of brown and green materials (see list at right).

3. MaintenanceTurn the compost pile a few times a month to add air and mix the brown, carbon-rich materials with the green, nitrogen-rich materials. Keep the composting material wet but not too wet. It should feel like a wrung out sponge.

Compost can be made in three to 12 months depending on the effort and attention you give. Your compost is ready when the material is a dark brown colour and has a fresh, earthy smell.

What materials can be composted?
Green Materials: Vegetables & fruits, fresh grass clippings, coffee grounds/tea bags, green plant trimmings, weeds that have not gone to seed

Brown Materials: Dry brown leaves & plants, dry brown grass clippings corn stalks, shredded newspapers

What not to put in your compost!: Anything that attracts pests meat, bones, greasy foods and oils, grain products, dog and cat feces, cooked food scraps, grass clippings or weeds treated with pesticides.

You can also visit the Environmental Education Centre of the Central Okanagan (EECO) on Springfield Road for more information and to take a self-guided tour of the Composting Education Garden. For directions or other current programs and displays at the EECO, call (250) 469-6140.

How Pre-screening Prospective Buyers Can Keep You Safe And Save You Unwanted Inconvenience.

Cleaning your home each time someone wants to look at it is a lot of work. Having to leave your home for every showing can be a real nuisance. To save you time and unnecessary traffic through your home, your CENTURY 21 agent can help pre-screen buyers to ensure they really are motivated to buy and are financially prepared to do so. Moreover, for your safety, all showings will be scheduled through your agent’s office. This will protect you from unsolicited calls from flaky people who may just want to see your home but have no real intent to purchase. Having your agent pre-screen potential buyers can also keep unsavory people with criminal intent from casing your home. Realtors develop a personal relationship with their buyers and will ensure that the people going through your home are on the level and prepared to purchase. Pre-screening will save you time, incontinence, and keep you, your family, and your property safe. Contact me anytime if you have any questions regarding real estate.

Buyers Are More Comfortable Contacting Agents Rather Then Dealing With The Seller Directly.

Buyers may be leery of contacting or intruding upon home owners with whom they are unfamiliar. Potential buyers might also be intimidated looking through a home if the owner is present and feel uncomfortable making an offer if they know they’ll be negotiating directly with the owner. They often appreciate the accessibility and objectivity of a respected CENTURY 21 real estate professional. If you are trying to sell your home on your own you may very well have some people through your home who act like they want to buy it. I have often spoken with home sellers who have had people through their home and were confused when they never received an offer from buyers who told them “wow…what a great house”. A lot of buyers are not upfront with the sellers if they have to talk to them directly. They may not want to hurt the sellers feelings or they may not want to get into a situation where the seller tries to “sell” them the home despite the fact it is not what they want. Buyers will often say nice things about the property then leave and the seller never hears from them. Buyers are much more honest and open with Realtors about what they do and do not like about a home. This information can then be passed on to the home owner and changes can be made to the home, the price, the yard or whatever it takes to make the home more appealing. At least the seller will know what the deal is and not be sitting by the phone waiting for the offer that will never come. Contact me anytime if you have any questions regarding real estate.

How a Realtor helps To Negotiate Top Dollar.

Reaching an agreement between seller and buyer and then closing the deal requires complete objectivity and a thorough understanding of deeds, abstracts, offers, contingencies, disclosures, title searches, etc. Working with a skilled negotiator such as your CENTURY 21 sales professional who has your best interests in mind may improve your chances of selling at the price that brings you peace of mind. On the other hand if you are the purchaser your agent can do what is necessary to get you the home you want for the best possible price. Your agent can investigate what other homes in the neighborhood sold for and other pertinent information that could affect the price paid for the home. Once your agent negotiates you the price you want he/she can then make sure all the other terms of the contract are satisfactory and make certain all subjects get taken care of so the deal does not collapse. Using a Realtor to negotiate your deal can also save you money by allowing the negotiations to take place at arms length. If you are the seller the less the buyer knows about your motivation for selling the more money you may get. This is because as soon as the buyer finds out that you are desperate to sell due to divorce, illness, etc. they can use that info against you thinking you will accept a lower price just to get the place sold. The same is true if you are the buyer as well. If the seller thinks you really love the place they may push harder for more money. You may not even realize that you are giving the seller money as you walk around the home with them watching and listening to your reactions. Every time you say “we could put our TV there” or “wow the kids would love this back yard” you may as well hand the seller a thousand dollars because they will use it all against you later. People often act sincere and put on a friendly face but when it comes to negotiating price you may come to realize that they are not be as nice as they seemed. Contact me anytime if you have any questions regarding real estate.

How a Realtor Helps Guard Against Misrepresentation And Claims.

In today’s litigious society it becomes imperative that all matters relating to the sale of the property, i.e. physical conditions, history, zoning, etc., be accurately and comprehensively disclosed. Overlooking even one form or required disclosure may lead to an expensive claim. The knowledge and experience of a CENTURY 21 real estate professional can often help provide assistance with these issues and protect you from liability. Also imagine you go to all the trouble of getting a deal together and you think your home is sold and you are getting a great price then the buyers find another home they like more. Well if you have not properly prepared the contract the buyers can easily get out of the deal leaving you high and dry…all that work for nothing. A Realtor has the experience necessary to draft up a contract that will not be so easily voided. This is also important if you’re the buyer. Imagine you find the perfect home then someone comes and offers the sellers more money or better terms. You could find yourself back looking for another home if the contract was not prepared by an agent with the skill to draft a solid and binding document. Contact me anytime if you have any questions regarding real estate.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Study finds wind turbines can kill bats without touching them

Canadian researchers have found wind turbines can kill bats without them actually flying into the blades.

Scientists at the University of Calgary have discovered that bats can die from a lowering in the air pressure close to the blades of the turbines which causes fatal damage to the bats' lungs. A similar condition is called the bends in humans and can occur during ascents and descents by divers and airline passengers.

"As a turbine blade goes around, it creates lift—like an airplane's wings—and there is a small zone of [dropping] pressure, maybe a meter or so in diameter, on the tips of the blades," explained Erin Baerwald, a doctoral candidate at the University of Calgary, in Alberta, who led the research.

"Bats fly through this area, and their lungs expand, and the fine capillaries around the edges of the lungs burst," Baerwald said to the National Geographic.

The team found that as bats use echolocation (radar) when they fly, they rarely fly into structures as big as wind turbines, however their study of bats found in Alberta, Canada found no contact with the blades, they report in Current Biology journal.

"An atmospheric drop in pressure at wind-turbine blades is an undetectable - and potentially unforeseeable - hazard for bats, thus partially explaining the large number of bat fatalities at these specific structures," said Baerwald.

"Given that bats are more susceptible to barotraumas than birds and that bat fatalities at wind turbines far outnumber bird fatalities at most sites, wildlife fatalities at wind turbines are now a bat issue, not a bird issue."

The researchers found that, as the bats fed on insects which do damage to crops, their deaths could have a negative impact on surrounding agriculture.

Wind industry officials have said they will do all they can to reduce the deaths of the bats but concede the task is difficult as little is known of the habits of the nocturnal creatures.

"It's a huge challenge," says Jason Edworthy, director of stakeholder relations for TransAlta Wind said to Canwest News Service. The company operates Summerview Wind Farm where close to 700 bats die each year.
by Rich Bowden - Aug 25 2008, 21:28
Image: Wind Turbine. Credit: vaxomatic/flickr.

My Garden 2008 - Trials and tribulations

Well I tried my first full garden in my new home. It was a lot of work getting this all set up. I had to rip up the turf and sift off the soil. Dig up the underground sprinklers and re-arrange them for proper irrigation. I them had to wheelbarrow 127 loads of soil from the front to the back. Then make the hills and put the landscaping ties around the garden to keep the raised bed in place. Whew...then plant.

Garden Till, Hilled, and Filled.

When I planted I learned a big lesson...wait till May! I planted a bit early because I am impatient. Big Mistake. I was lying in bed and heard the sprinklers come on and thought aaaahhhh summer. When I opened my eyes after they turned off I looked out the window and it looked pretty bright....and white? Glasses on and yes...it was snow. Long and short half the garden died. If the sprinklers had not come on I think a lot more would have lived but the water made ice and you know what that means to plants...death. HAHAHA...well live and learn.

As for seeds...which was the way I started things...I found most things aren't worth doing seeds. Seeds work will with: peas, beans, carrots, dill, and radishes. Potatoes and onions are ok too but they are more like bulbs then seeds. Cucumbers and zucchinis may be ok too but definitely do not waste your time with growing tomatoes from seeds.

Garden in Bloom

I tried a bit of everything in the garden to see what works well and what to plant next year. In my garden you will find:

1. 4 kinds of tomatoes (plumb, cherry, lemon boy, and beefsteak)
2. Zucchini
3. Squash (butternut & acorn)
4. Cucumber (lemon, long English, Japanese)
5. Beans (yellow & Green bush beans)
6. Broccoli
7. Brussels sprouts
8. Celery
9. Radishes
10. Mellon (can't remember what kind...ha-ha)
11. Onions (red, white, & Green)
12. Cauliflower
13. Egg Plant
14. Red Potatoes
15. Carrots (purple & orange)
16. Snap peas
17. lettuce (romaine & Butter)

I also grew a whole whack of herbs:

1. Basil (sweet, purple, & Thai)
2. Mint (spearmint & chocolate)
3. Chives (garlic)
4. Cilantro
5. Parsley
6. Dill
7. Oregano
8. Rosemary
9. Bay

Wall-O-Herbs (a bit later after some were harvested)

All in all it was a pretty good season so far. I have more tomatoes and zucchinis then I can handle. Potatoes, carrots, broccoli, were a great success.

Veggies Ready to Eat

The Brussels sprouts were FULL of aphids and had to be tossed...what a waste. The lettuce was destroyed by the birds...wont be doing them next year.

Central Okanagan Monthly Real Estate Statistics - June to January 2008

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for June 2008:

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for May 2008:

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for April 2008:

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for March 2008:

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for Feb. 2008:

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for Jan. 2008:

Central Okanagan Monthly Real Estate Statistics - July 2008

Here is a link to the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Bord monthly stats for July 2008:


As you can see things are very interesting at the moment. We are entering a buyer's market. To break down the stat comparison from 2007 to July 2008 in a nutshell the stats read as follows:

Total sales: -38.71% (down from last year)
Average days on market: 74
Listing volume: 84.44% (more homes listed this in 2008 then 2007)
Average house price 2008: $512,811.56
Residential price increase: 6.90% (higher prices then last year)

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Bit About Me

I was born in Burnaby & grew up in the Lower Mainland (aka Vancouver), as did my family for generations. In a typical West Coast fashion, I met my wife at Starbucks where I was a barista. We have been together now for more than ten years. In 2004 we moved to London, Ontario so my wife could pursue a law degree at Western. It was at this time that I decided that real estate would be an ideal career for me.

I love my own home & interior design is one of my abiding interests. When I was a child I loved the excitement of moving to a new house. I vividly remember dreaming of owning my first home. I hope to make the home buying experience fun for others and I try hard to achieve this goal.

After our 2 years in London, Ontario, my wife & I chose Kelowna without hesitation. Life is good here and opportunities for adventure abound.

Cool...My First Blog

Well here I am new to the world of blogging and wondering who wants to know what I am thinking and doing day to day. I am a bit of a jack of all trades. I love to do a lot of different things and hope you find some of the things I have to say interesting.

What did I do today?....hmmmm....Well I have been waiting for 3 offers to come across my desk on 2 of my listings. That is always exciting. Oh ya I also realised that the Brussels sprouts in my garden were full of aphids...gross. So I pulled them all up. all told probably wasted 200 sprouts! Well I don't think I will plant them next year. They take up too much room in the garden anyhow.

Well I hope everyone is enjoying the Olympics...nice to see Canada on the podium.