To say the least, we live in uncertain times. That said, I still have clients who need to sell or buy a home right now. I also have clients ready to buy and sell when the impact of the pandemic and the need for social isolation is over. If you have decided to sell your home either now, or in the future, there are several things that will maximize your home’s appeal to potential buyers and get your house sold COVID pandemic, or not!
1. Paint The Walls in Neutral Tones
A new coat of paint will leave each room looking fresh. and choosing neutral tones appeals to a wide audience, creating a blank slate for potential buyers to picture the space as their new home.
Taking the time to touch up scuff marks on baseboards and door frames will also give your home an extra polish to make it feel more move-in ready.
2. De-Clutter, De-Clutter, De-Clutter.
If a house is overflowing with stuff, not only can it make an entire room look smaller, buyers may worry that there is not enough storage for their own belongings. Start with decluttering countertops, bookshelves and window sills, and then tackle the cupboards, drawers, and closets. No space is off-limits for the eyes of a curious buyer!
Use this rule of thumb: Make sure each storage space is never more than half full, and organize what is left to look uniform and tidy. Decluttering can be tedious, but it offers the added bonus of helping you get organized for packing for your own move.
3. Fix The Small Things
This small detail can make all the difference; do a walk-through of your home and fix any loose handles. Check the drawer-pulls on cabinetry and make sure your closet doors are tracking properly. Secure shelves and check that they’re level. Be sure that there aren’t lightbulbs missing and their switches are all working. Check that the window coverings are all hanging properly.
These are some of the simplest things you can do to ensure a positive impression of your home, and when missed, may make potential buyers consider what else may be broken in your home.
4. Consider Curb Appeal
No matter how inviting the interior of your home is, potential buyers have already formed an impression before walking through the door. Increase your curb appeal by tidying up garden beds and ensuring your lawn is in good shape, add some greenery with inexpensive shrubs and bright, cheery flowers. Fix any cracks in your front steps or walkway. Painting your door a different color and adding a few flower pots to your front porch will also go a long way.
5. Keep Your Home Show Ready
Now that you’ve painted, de-cluttered, cleaned every corner, and made sure everything is in tip-top shape, you never know when a buyer may schedule a last-minute tour. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, keep the bathroom sparkling, ensure the beds are made and keep the floors free of dust bunnies. It may be inconvenient but you never know which viewing will lead to a sale!
Need help? Here are few places I’d like to recommend…
A visit with FV Lifestyle owner Mike Wilson on the state of real estate in the Fraser Valley. What’s happening to house prices and interest rates? What will happen to the economy and our lives? What is the biggest priority when preparing your home for sale?
All of us have experienced some level of loss during this COVID-19 pandemic. It ranges from canceled plans to loss of loved ones, loss of freedom to loss of safety while going about your job.
Large events have been canceled and while some of us are grieving a concert or sporting event we were looking forward to, many Fraser Valley residents have been faced with the decision about what to do about their upcoming weddings. As we head into summer, more and more people are having to make the decision to postpone or seriously alter their plans for how their wedding day will look.
Jenn Bateman, a Fraser Valley wedding officiant, has had a varied response from couples who had planned to get married this spring. “Some have just chosen to reschedule to 2021, some have chosen to forgo a large wedding and just have a small ceremony with under 10 people, and some people are having a simple ceremony this year and then we’re doing their big wedding, that they rescheduled next year, so essentially two ceremonies.”
There really are lots of options, though none of them ideal. Weddings take so much time, energy and money to plan and it can be really disappointing to give up the wedding you’ve always dreamed of. It can also be a beautiful experience.
Jenn says, “I’m a big believer that weddings don’t need to be long and drawn out in order to be special and meaningful. Starting a life together is intimate and special and deserves to feel that way, and sometimes all of the fanfare with big contemporary weddings can take some of that away. For those who choose to go ahead now- This unique circumstance of limiting weddings might be a chance for some couples to enter into that lifetime partnership in a really meaningful way. But it also deserves a celebration, so I’m hoping for a lot of one-year anniversary parties with family and friends so they get that too.”
When it comes to the practical moments of the ceremony, Jenn says she has had to make some changes, such as not touching the rings and bringing along separate pens for signing the paperwork, “I don’t come within six feet of any of the wedding guests and I make sure that the couple has checked with us about health measures beforehand. We definitely want to be able to accommodate people who still want to get married in the most simple way and still make it special for them”
Cody and Analea
One couple, Cody and Analea (Styles) Friesen held their wedding ceremony two weeks early after gathering restrictions were announced in March. They had planned on a very large wedding of 500 people and ended up having eighteen people in attendance, following the restrictions of no gatherings over fifty people that were set at the time. Cody says, “Our concern was more of ‘are we still able to get married’ because we were at the start of the COVID-19 wave, we didn’t have a lot to go off of.”
“This is why we moved the date up two weeks – worried that we would go into complete lockdown and [we would be] unable to get married at all,” adds Analea.
The Hardest Part
When asked what the hardest part of changing their wedding day was, Cody responds, “The hardest part was not having all of our guests there to witness and celebrate with us. As well as that everything about our day was different other than the person that we got to marry.“
“Losing the people,” adds Analea, “not even having our full wedding party or best friends or grandparents being able to attend was heartbreaking.”
Cody and Analea had a great plan when it came to sharing their ceremony with their invited guests. On April 4th, which was the date they had planned for their wedding, they uploaded and published the video from their wedding ceremony to YouTube and invited all their guests to join them for their “virtual wedding” They both went live on their Instagram and Facebook (dressed in their wedding suit and dress) to answer questions, explain what had happened, and watch their ceremony with everyone on YouTube.
An Unexpected Tiny Wedding
Even though their wedding wasn’t exactly what they had expected, there are still parts of it that they will look back on with fondness, “The beautiful intimacy of [the] tiny wedding was actually so amazing. There was less pressure and the ability to be so natural and real with one another. The support and love from our community even from a distance was heartwarming and so encouraging. The realization that all that really mattered was marrying this person – not any of the extra pieces – was so special.”
While communicating with your guests and the wedding party is at the top of the advice list, one of the most important things to remember is,
“Breathe,” says Cody, “this is not normal, and that’s okay. Keep the main thing the main thing. You are marrying the love of your life and that is enough”.
It Could Be Sad
Analea also has some advice for once the wedding day has passed and you’ve started your new life together, “realize it’s still going to be hard after the wedding. You’re going to be sad about what you lost and maybe struggle with disappointment, envy, and frustration, but it’s truly worth it. We’ve never regretted it for one second”.
Give and Take
Regardless of a pandemic, weddings are a time of giving and taking. So often brides and grooms think their wedding day will be exactly what they want, only to get to the planning stage and realize that their parents and other people close to them have ideas about what the day should look like too.
The Important Stuff
The wedding planning process is the perfect time to practice compromise, weighing what is really important to you and what you are willing to let go of. It seems like that is what couples are facing now, more than ever. Weighing what is the most important part of your event and making decisions based on what is best for you.
Whether you are facing a wedding that doesn’t look like what you always thought it would be, or you’re grieving the fact that you can’t be there for a wedding of someone close to you, this is a time to celebrate love, to celebrate commitment and care for one another, and to cheer on those people who are probably thinking a lot these days about vowing, “in sickness and in health”.
We are noticing Fraser Valley businesses are getting creative so that they can continue to serve their customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As always, we invite you to continue to shop local!
One Fraser Valley business that caught our eye is the Twilight Drive-In. They are currently open and showing the movie Trolls World Tour and Dolittle. It sounds like a family night at the Drive-In! The only thing we would advise is to stay in your car if you can. See http://twilightdrivein.net/
The Passionate Home
Carrie Thachuk, owner of The Passionate Home in Langley City is responding to her customer’s requests with a “Show Your Love DIY Heart Project Pack.” As you may have seen local residents are displaying hearts in their windows to show support for health care workers and first responders and all those working on the front lines during the pandemic. The packs include a raw wood heart (18″ x 15″), a 4oz. Chalk Paint™ colour of your choice, and a free brush!
Carrie and The Passionate Home are providing safe curbside pick-up for all online orders from 11-3 weekdays and 10-2 on Saturdays. Once you’ve placed your order they will contact you to arrange pick-up.
One of our most engaged with Facebook posts so far this month (April 2020) is about Well Seasoned owner Angie Quaale delivering food to the Langley Hospital. Well Seasoned is open 9 to 5 Monday to Friday and 10-4 Saturday and Sunday. On their website, they say they are “well-stocked and doing deliveries.” They also have ready-made meals for pick-up and delivery. See https://wellseasoned.ca/
Home-based business owners are getting creative, and why not? Many home-based businesses were online before the pandemic and set-up for online ordering and delivery.
Abbotsford resident and Epicure representative Becca Toews held and “Epic Quarantine Cooking Class” where she posted videos and recipes on Facebook and Instagram. She said, “With everything going on in the world I’m feeling extra anxious these days. Trying to take care of myself with good food and self-care. Becca listed products that she was adding to her meals to hopefully boost her immune system and keep her and her husband healthy while spending more time than usual at home. See https://www.facebook.com/groups/162588968180880/
Fun and Games
Local businesses like the Abbotsford’s Boardwalk Cafe and Games have had to quickly reinvent themselves because of the crisis. Normally a popular place to hang out with friends, play games and have some coffee and snacks, Boardwalk Cafe and Games had to close their doors to drop-in customers because of the pandemic. Owners Darin and Gabby Graham immediately started promoting their online store and selling board games with free delivery to Abbotsford residents. See https://squareup.com/store/boardwalk-cafe
Realtors are having to adjust how they are showing homes and doing business along with other business owners. To see how FV Lifestyle owner Mike Wilson is making adjustments to how he is showing homes see Showing a Home During COVID-19
The COVID-19 Pandemic is presenting challenges for almost every industry including the real estate industry. That said, I have had the opportunity to show a few homes for clients during the shutdown. Open Houses are not happening, bur showings can continue.
Here are the steps I am taking to ensure buyers and sellers remain safe during home showings.
Expanded services for both real estate buyers and sellers…
I will be present for all showings (seller leaves)
Protective gloves for buyers while viewing your property
Limiting buyer’s to 2 people maximum while viewing your property (plus buyer’s realtor)
Minimum 24 hours notice before a showing
Buyers and buyer’s agent must complete a health form questionnaire prior to viewing your property (provided by me)
I will dispose of all protective gloves at the end of the showing
Messaging sellers when the showing is complete
Offer “Skype Style” showing upon request
Offer an online paperless option for contract
As I said above, I will not be offering Open House as a marketing tool as recommended by FVREB and CREA
Arrange showings where sellers are not present on the property (Social distancing)
Provide protective gloves and sanitizer for buyers/clients
Ari is a onemanband // foodenthusiast // poet // artist // creator // As a way of saying “thank you” and supporting Ari please buy his music! Most of Ari’s concerts have been canceled and we want to support him during this time of social distancing. See https://arineufeld.bandcamp.com
Surrey Food Bank
We want to encourage you to donate to the Surrey Food Bank who is in desperate need of support right now. Donations over $20 will get a tax receipt. They are getting lots of calls from people who have lost their jobs and business owners whose businesses have dried up. Special link for this event tba.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, we are all learning what it means to practice social or physical distancing. At the same time, are you noticing that more and more people are gathering online to connect with friends and family? We sure are.
WAYS OF CONNECTING
People are reaching out to their family’s on programs like FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts and more. There were even churches located in the Fraser Valley that met online this past week as they have been forced to close their doors for the time being. We’ve also seen coaches, counselors, and people from all walks of life and professions offering to meet with people online instead of in person.
If you have a Gmail address you have access to Google Hangouts and you can meet with a group of people using this free program. CLICK HERE for Google Hangouts instructions.
Zoom is another option to connect socially and they have a free option too. The free Zoom program allows you to meet with up to 20 people for 40 minutes for free, but everyone needs the software which can sometimes be a challenge. CLICK HERE to read more about Zoom
Although it can get a little overwhelming for some of us with all of the posts on social media it can be a place to connect and have conversations with friends and loved ones about the virus and find out how they are coping. Facebook provides the option of Facebook Live. Video hosts can comment as people post in the comments section.
Another Facebook option is to have a group messaging conversation. Our family has a group conversation going specifically based on the virus and I know other families do too. With family members living all over the world, this has been a good way for us to carry on a conversation and stay connected.
Although less interactive, another option to connect with friends and family is to do an Instagram Live post and then respond to people as they text their comments. This is obviously a little less personable and interactive, but you can get a little bit of a live chat going.
IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
We have also seen fun things going on in neighbourhoods where people open their doors and play music on their front steps, create welcoming chalk drawings and post fun and encouraging posters in their windows and their exterior walls. In one townhouse complex in Ladner*, we read about a show of kindness and compassion by neighbours as they wrote birthday messages that said “Happy Birthday” to a four-year-old from their decks.*
And finally, there has been a very heartwarming and compassionate show of support to our very deserving healthcare workers as Vancouver apartment dwellers go out on their balconies at 7 PM each night and applaud and cheer for health care workers battling the COVID 19 pandemic**
There’s no escaping news about COVID-19 is there? People have very legitimate concerns as the virus spreads around the world.As a Realtor people are even asking me how I think the virus will affect Fraser Valley Real Estate and the consensus among my colleagues and other experts is for the time being COVID-19 shouldn’t have too dramatic of an impact on the local Real Estate market unless there is a real downturn in the economy.
Coinciding with the spread of the virus is the news that interest rates have dropped and this is usually helpful to the Real Estate market because it makes it easier for people to get home loans.
Also, as I mentioned in my Real Estate update last month, earlier in the year we were undergoing the impact of the stress test that was introduced in 2018 and I believe the impact of that is lessening helping sales to return to above-average levels in our region over the last couple of months.
Real Estate is one of those sectors that can sometimes get a pass when other sectors take a hit because housing is an essential need and it’s more of a singular activity. As we see concerts and public events being canceled, that doesn’t necessarily impact an activity like buying or selling your home.
All that said, we’ll see what happens regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the real estate in the Fraser Valley. This is quite an unusual circumstance as the virus moves to a worldwide pandemic level. One thing we can say about the Real Estate market is that it is often impacted by bad economic news, and as the media hype machine continues at a full-throttle pace creating fear and distress we’ll just have to see what happens.
Wishing YOU all the best!
If you want to know more, I’m here to answer your real estate questions and help you with your real estate buying and selling needs. Please feel free to contact me.
Here are seven+ things you might consider doing while in historic Fort Langley…
Fort Langley has become a popular place to go and have a meal because of fabulous restaurants like Beatnix Bistro, The Little Donkey, Trading Post Brewery and Eatery and the Rail and River River Bistro just to name several of our favorites. As far as reviews and ratings go, according to Trip Advisor Beatnix Bistro is ranked no. 1 with Wendell’s at no. 2 (see “Drink coffee” below), and The Little Donkey at no.3.
Fort Langley has been a coffee shop destination for many years because of the famous Wendell’s Coffee Shop and Bakery. Wendell’s continues to be popular and some new fantastic cafes have arrived on the scene in recent years such as the Blacksmith Bakery (good food), The Lelam Arts and Cultural Café (nice location) and the Saba Café and Bistro (good food and coffee) just to name a few. Forget rankings for this category. We’ve had coffee and food at all of these cafes and they are all wonderful.
You have so many choices for excellent walks in and around Fort Langley. The Fort to Fort Trail, Derby Reach Park, Houston Trail Head, and Brae Island Regional Park all have to be some of the nicest places to walk or ride in the Fraser Valley. Houston Trail Head has a few challenging hills, but other than that all of these trails are quite easy to walk.
Fort Langley has become a favorite place for people to ride their bikes. With plenty of relatively quiet country roads, beautiful views and plenty of coffee shops and restaurants to greet you when your ride is over, it’s easy to see why Fort Langley has become such a popular cycling destination.
Fort Langley has plenty of interesting shops to choose from including Fort Langley Village Antiques Mall. Located in the heart of Fort Langley, Village Antiques Mall is a 10,000 square foot mall with 60 independent dealers.
If you want to expose your family to BC’s history, Fort Langley is certainly the place to go. Here are several venues you may want to check out…
The Fort Langley National Historic Site – Yes there is a fort in Fort Langley and it is the place where BC was proclaimed a British colony in 1858. At the Fort you can:
Explore the fort that was built by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1827
Watch blacksmithing, barrel-making or historic weapons demonstrations
Pan for gold and laugh along with an interpretive program.
Parking is free and the Fort is within walking distance to Fort Langley village.
The Langley Centennial Museum – The Langley Centennial Museum has a collection of over 8000 archival photographs, 9000 objects and 500 works of art. This collection spans hundreds of years and is a window on the past and present life of Langley and surrounding areas. 1
BC Farm Museum – If you don’t live on a farm or in a farming community, it’s easy to lose touch with our agricultural history. “The BC Farm Museum has the province’s largest collection of pioneer and agricultural artifacts.” 2 If you want your family to get back in touch with that history, the BC Farm Museum is an excellent place to do that.
CN Station – “The CN Station is one of the few remaining stations like it in western Canada, and the only surviving station from this era in the Langley region.” 3 Watch this interesting video from one of the children of the last station keepers. CN Station Interview
There is an abundance of fun and enjoyable activities in Fort Langley. Fort Langley has a wonderful village feel along with an interesting and rich history. There is an elementary school along with a full-service grocery store. Also, we forgot to mention above that there are plenty of good golf courses in the area. If you enjoy walking and riding your bike, Fort Langley is one of the premier places to live in the Fraser Valley.
For more information contact real estate specialist Mike Wilson.
Friday Night Music Series with Ryan McAllister | Feb. 28
On Friday, February, 28th from 6 – 9 pm, enjoy your evening with Backyard Vineyards listening to live music by Ryan McAllister while sipping on Backyard wine.
The Friday Music Series at Backyard Vineyards takes place in their tasting room so seating is limited. They encourage you to grab your tickets in advance. Tickets are $19.95 which includes a tasting flight of their social wines plus music of course!
Wine and beer are available for purchase along with their menu of cheese platters to pair alongside.
If you have any questions, give them a call at (604) 539-9463.
“Ryan McAllister is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Over the last fifteen years, he has played thousands of concerts on five continents with artists ranging from Sam Roberts and Noah Gundersen to Willie Nelson and Carly Rae Jepsen. He’s headed up the bands Dakona and North Country Gentlemen and his music have appeared on Billboard, MTV, Much Music, Top 40 radio, film and TV and has been nominated for Covenant and Dove awards.”
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*This event is only for those aged 19+
** Ryan’s website – https://www.ryanmcallister.com/ryanmcallister
*** Photos – https://www.backyardvineyards.ca