Liz Whittingham

"Performance Not Promises"


I just finished uploading this House for sale, 24980 Dewdney Trunk Road, Maple Ridge, BC

Pride of ownership lives here! This home is finished with class. A very open floor plan & lots of room for a family & in-laws. This basement/split entry home has a 1-2 bedroom mortgage helper! The home has 3 bedrooms up & 1-2 bedrooms down with a total of 4 bathrooms. Both the upstairs main & ensuite bathrooms have been renovated with modern sinks, fixtures & new high end lino. The back sundeck has a professionally installed cover by Sundecks Unlimited. The yard is just over a 1/4 acre (.262 acres) nestled beside trees & a creek which you will never have neighbours on the east side of the property.


What You Should Know BEFORE You Buy

"A home will only sell for what the market can bear. What this means is that no matter how many upgrades were made, or how much money has been invested in the upgrades, a home will only sell for what the majority of homebuyers are willing to pay."

Before deciding that your next home must be a fixer-upper, you should do some homework into what to expect when purchasing these types of homes. Many prospective homebuyers tend to have a romanticized version of the entire process, and are quite shocked when confronted with the hard reality. Fixer Upper homes can often represent a good deal, but there are some points that a homebuyer should be aware of before making that offer.

MYTH #1 . . .

I can make a "killing" in the real estate market by buying a run-down home, for tens of thousands of dollars less than the average home, fixing it up, and then immediately selling it for full price, or more.

FACT #1 . . .

Most homeowners looking to sell their "fixer upper" home understand that they will have to list their home at a price that reflects the cost involved in restoring the home to its original condition. The asking price of a fixer upper is usually calculated so that the savings represented by the lower than average market price is roughly equal to the amount of money that a buyer could expect to spend on necessary renovations. Updating the "look" of a home, or upgrading to higher-end finishes, is not included in these calculations, and you should be careful not to spend so much money on renovations that you are unable to recoup your investment.

MYTH #2 . . .

If I’m buying a fixer-upper home, I don’t need to bother with the added cost and aggravation of a home inspection because I already know what I’m getting.

FACT #2 . . .

A home inspection should always be included in an Offer To Purchase and Sell agreement, and it is arguably even more important to include one when you are looking to buy a fixer upper. Structural defects are normally not visible to the untrained eye, yet will cost much more to repair than the obvious cosmetic fix-ups. Most licensed home inspectors will not only detail the defects that they uncover, but can also give you a good idea of the costs involved in fixing them.

MYTH #3 . . .

It’s better to pay a lot less and buy a "fixer upper" in an undesirable area, than to pay more for a comparable "fixer upper" in a better neighborhood.

FACT #3 . . .

Most of us have heard the quote, "the three most important things to look for when buying a home are: location….location…and location!" While this is obviously meant to be funny, and is a somewhat oversimplified rule of home buying, it does drive home the point of how important it is to consider where you will buy your home. Purchasing a fixer upper in a desirable neighborhood will cost you more initially, but the payoffs -- personal peace-of-mind and higher return on your home investment when you sell -- should not be overlooked.

MYTH #4 . . .

Once I fix this house up, I can turn around and sell it for double the price I paid.

FACT #4 . . .

A home will only sell for what the market can bear. What this means is that no matter how many upgrades were made, or how much money has been invested in the upgrades, a home will only sell for what the majority of homebuyers are willing to pay. Factors to consider when calculating your possible return on investment:

1. Location: What kind of a neighborhood is the home in?

The type of neighborhood will determine which type of buyers you will attract when you decide to sell. For example: An area consisting of mostly “first time buyers” will attract buyers who have a strict and limited budget. They are looking for affordability above all else – including high-end finishes and perfectly landscaped gardens.

2. Neighbors: What are the neighboring homes like?

A beautiful home surrounded by unkempt, run-down homes will sell for much less, than a beautiful home surrounded by well kept, nicely maintained homes.

3. Surroundings: What are the surrounding features?

Buyers are willing to pay more for a home that is in a convenient, yet quiet locale. While you may find it convenient to side onto a school, many potential buyers would eliminate such a location due to the noise level associated with the presence of hundreds of excitable children, and the congestion caused by school buses and parents dropping off and picking up students.

MYTH #5 . . .

I can make a lot more money by turning this single family home into a multi-family dwelling.

FACT #5 . . .

While this statement is for the most part true, it may not be possible. Most towns and cities have strict zoning laws that not only dictate the maximum allowable occupancy within any given area, but also dictate the size and design of a home when building new, or creating additions to an existing structure.

Once you have thoroughly investigated the pro’s and con’s associated with purchasing a fixer upper home, and you have decided that it’s right for you, be sure to "run your numbers".

1. List Price of Fixer Upper
2. Average Recent Sale Prices of Similar "Non Fixer Upper" Area Homes
3. Estimated Cost of Repairs from Reputable Source (e.g. referred Renovation Company)
4. Buffer Amount for "Unexpected" Repair Costs (usually 1/2 of estimated total)
5. Selling Expenses (real estate fees, lawyer fees, closing costs)
6. Amount of Profit You Desire versus Amount of Actual Profit

For example:
1. $200,000.00 = List Price of Fixer Upper
2. $255,000.00 = Average Sales Price
3. $ 25,000.00 = Estimated Repairs
4. $ 12,500.00 = Buffer for Repairs
5. $ 17,000.00 = Selling Expenses
6. $ 20,000.00 = Desired Profit Versus Actual
Profit of $500.00

If your intent was to purchase the house shown in the example above, make the repairs, and immediately list the house for sale, your Actual Profit shown is only $500.00. If, however, your intent was to purchase the same house, but actually live in it for a few years before selling, you would normally expect to turn a much better profit for two reasons:

• First, historically speaking, the real estate market normally goes up over time and your anticipated sale price would be higher - affording you more profit.

• Second, the money that you would have been paying in rent to live elsewhere - with no return - is actively paying down your mortgage and increasing your equity.

As with all investments, though, nothing is guaranteed. So when looking to finance a home, keep in mind that the real estate market has taken some big hits in the past. Never overextend yourself financially.

Please note that the figures in the calculations shown were used for example purposes only. Local housing prices, repair costs, and selling costs will vary greatly from one location to another. It is recommended that all Buyers thoroughly research their local costs and legal restrictions before purchasing.


Golden Ears Park

Maple Ridge, BC

Golden Ears Park in Maple Ridge BC

What an awesome place to have in our back yard. Visit the Golden Ears Park Web site by clicking here. 

As one of the largest parks in the province, Golden Ears Provincial Park is prized for its recreational opportunities. The extensive system of trails within the park provides an excellent opportunity for hiking and horseback riding. Alouette Lake is a popular spot for swimming, windsurfing, water-skiing, canoeing, boating and fishing. The park also has three large campgrounds. Natural Features Vegetation is typical of the coastal western Hemlock forest of BC and the mountainous backcountry is extremely rugged.

Park Size: 62,540 hectares

Special Notes:

  • Park hosts and a security patrol are available during the summer months.
  • Canoes/Kayaks/Pedal boats are available for rent in the park from May through Labour Day

Stay Safe:

  • In the backcountry hiking area of the park, there is a small hut on Panorama Ridge, available for emergency use situations only; no overnight use.

Arts TheatreArts Theatre2

Maple Ridge Arts Centre & Theatre

The Arts Centre & Theatre serves as a gathering place for artists and community, a place where creativity is celebrated and nurtured. This downtown centre unites the many diverse aspects of these communities; providing a home for the rich history of local art, a showcase for first class entertainment, and a superb facility for business development.

The Arts Centre & Theatre facilities are available for rental. Entertainers, artists and performers will be overwhelmed by the impressive variety of professional amenities:

500 seat professional theatre

2300 sq. ft. studio theatre

Art Gallery

Craft Studio

3D pottery/sculpture studio

2D drawing/painting studio

Gallery gift shop

Conference room & catering kitchen


MLS® home sales grow stronger in the third quarter

OTTAWA – October 15th, 2009 – National resale housing activity climbed to the highest level of any third quarter on record.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) home sales via the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) Systems of Canadian real estate boards totalled 135,182 units in the third quarter of 2009, according to statistics released by The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). This is the highest level of activity on record for the period from July to September. The number of transactions was up 18 per cent from the third quarter of last year, representing the biggest year-over-year increase since early 2002.

Seasonally adjusted national MLS® home sales numbered 127,941 units in the third quarter, up 12 per cent from the previous quarter. Building on two previous quarterly increases, seasonally adjusted MLS® home sales activity now stands 48 per cent above the low reached in the fourth quarter last year.

“Momentum for sales activity remained strong throughout the third quarter,” said CREA President Dale Ripplinger. “Low interest rates, rebounding consumer confidence and an improving overall sense of economic security continue to draw homebuyers to the housing market.”

Seasonally adjusted sales activity in the third quarter was up from the previous quarter in over 80 per cent of local markets. Quarterly activity increases in Vancouver (34 per cent), Toronto (11 per cent), and Calgary (19 per cent) contributed most to the national increase in activity.

Some 42,958 homes traded hands via the MLS® Systems of real estate boards in Canada in September 2009 on a seasonally adjusted basis. This represents an increase of 1.5 per cent from August, and lifts seasonally adjusted activity 63 per cent above the low in January.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) MLS® home sales activity remained strong throughout the quarter. Resale activity in September 2009 posted the fourth consecutive increase from year-ago levels, all of which exceeded 15 per cent. Sales numbered 42,497 in September, up 17 per cent year-over-year and a new record for the month.

Year-over-year activity increases in Toronto (28 per cent) and Vancouver (124 per cent) were the driving force behind the increase in actual (not seasonally adjusted) national sales activity in September.

Climbing to $327,736, the national MLS® residential average price rose 11 per cent from the same quarter last year. The national average price continues to be skewed upward by a sustained increase in sales activity, including a sharp rebound in activity at the higher end of the price spectrum, in some of Canada’s priciest markets.
The national MLS® residential average price surpassed all previous monthly levels in September 2009, rising 13.6 per cent year-over-year to $331,602. July and August also posted new average price records for their respective months. A number of provinces set new average price records for the month of September, and Ontario posted the highest average price on record.

The price trend is similar but less dramatic for the weighted national MLS® average price, which compensates for changes in provincial sales activity by taking into account provincial proportions of privately owned housing stock. The weighted national MLS® average sale price was up 9.3 per cent year-over-year in September 2009.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the supply of homes coming onto the MLS® market edged up in the third quarter after four consecutive quarterly declines. Seasonally adjusted MLS® residential new listings were up one per cent from the previous quarter to 199,824 units. The increase reflects a quarterly rise in the number of new listings in British Columbia and Ontario, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador. New listings remained stable or continued to retreat in other provinces.

While the small rise in seasonally adjusted new listings suggests that the number of homes coming onto the market may soon begin to edge higher, the number of new listings remains well down from year-ago levels. Barring a sudden unforeseen spike in levels, new listings are likely to remain down from year-ago levels for some time.

Actual (not seasonally adjusted) new listings were down 12.5 per cent compared to the third quarter of 2008 after posting year-over-year decreases in each of the previous quarters. Newfoundland & Labrador is the only province in which new listings were up from year-ago levels.

An increase in sales activity and fewer new listings are drawing down inventories compared to year-ago levels. There were 208,215 homes listed for sale on the MLS® Systems of real estate boards in Canada at the end of September 2009, down 16 per cent from a year earlier. This is the fifth consecutive year-over-year decline in active listings, and the largest decline in more than six years.

Nationally, the number of months of inventory was 4.9 months in September 2009. This is down slightly compared to August, and remains well down from the recessionary peak of 12.8 months in January 2009. The number of months of inventory is the number of months it would take to sell current inventories at the current rate of sales activity.

The seasonally adjusted residential dollar volume for MLS® home sales increased 20 per cent on a quarter-overquarter basis to $42.1 billion in the third quarter of 2009, the highest level on record. New provincial records were also set in British Columbia and Ontario, which propelled the national figure to a new high.

“Monthly sales activity remained on a strong upward trajectory throughout the third quarter in British Columbia, while showing signs that it may be topping out in other provinces,” said CREA Chief Economist Gregory Klump. “On balance, this suggests that national sales activity may be starting to plateau after having climbed rapidly earlier this year.”

“Headline average price increases over the rest of the year are expected to prompt sellers to return to the market after having retreated to the sidelines late last year and earlier this year,” he added. “An increase in new listings will help keep a lid on price increases. Price increases over the rest of 2009 and early next year are likely to reflect declining average prices late last year and earlier this year.”

PLEASE NOTE: The information contained in this news release combines both major market and national MLS® sales information from the previous month. The Canadian Real Estate Association has previously released these separately.

CREA cautions that average price information can be useful in establishing trends over time, but does not indicate actual prices in centres comprised of widely divergent neighborhoods or account for price differential between geographic areas. Statistical information contained in this report includes all
housing types.

MLS® is a co-operative marketing system used only by Canada’s real estate Boards to ensure maximum exposure of properties listed for sale.

The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 96,000 REALTORS® working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations. Further information can be found at

Click here for the complete release.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Alyson Fair, Publicist
The Canadian Real Estate Association
P: 613-237-7111 or 613-884-1460


Calgary’s Most Expensive Home Sold and Listed by RE/MAX Agents


August 27, 2009

Kelowna, BC (August 27, 2009) – The most expensive home sold in Calgary was listed and sold by
two Calgary RE/MAX agents. Donna Rooney, RE/MAX Real Estate Central, Calgary, AB listed the home
for $10.5 million in May 2009 and it recently sold to clients of Gordon W. Ross, RE/MAX Real Estate
Central, Calgary, AB for $10.3 million.

The home was on the market for just over two months and drew 12 qualified prospective buyers
resulting in two offers before selling for 98% of the asking price. Built in 2007, the house is located in
desirable Elbow Park on a large, private riverfront lot. The property boasts 12,700 square feet of
living space, six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a wine room, children’s lounge and hockey rink.

“A luxury sale of this magnitude is exciting for the city of Calgary, proving that people are optimistic
about investing here”, commented the listing agent, Donna Rooney, who represented the seller Mike
Vernon, former Calgary Flames Stanley Cup goaltender. “This is a one‐of‐a‐kind masterpiece that was
well priced and therefore commanded a lot of interest and ultimately, a quick sale. There has been
renewed confidence in the market in all price ranges. This is demonstrated in the increased sales
volumes we’ve seen since April of this year, the highest in the last two years.”

Buyer’s agent, Gordon W. Ross noted that, “the upper end of the market is showing a comeback,
mirroring that of overall real estate market conditions in Calgary.” Ross is also credited with
representing the buyer and seller in a transaction which resulted in the most expensive home sold in
Calgary in 2008 as well. The property was a $7.5 million dollar 10,000 square foot home in Crescent

Elton Ash, Regional Executive Vice President, RE/MAX of Western Canada adds, “This sale reflects the
professionalism of all RE/MAX associates, as each and every associate strives to provide exceptional
service to their clients”.

Ross and Rooney are both associates from RE/MAX Real Estate Central, the number one office
Worldwide in transactions (Metro Market) and sales volume in 2008, as recognized by RE/MAX
International Inc.

RE/MAX is Canada’s leading real estate organization with over 17,500 Sales Associates in 680
independently‐owned offices. The RE/MAX franchise network is a global real estate system
operating in over 68 countries. More than 6,500 independently‐owned offices engage over
95,000 member Sales Associates who lead the industry in professional designations, experience
and production while providing real estate services in residential, commercial, referral, and asset


The official launch of The Allan Knight Club will be on November 3rd at The Executive Hotel in Burnaby. We would love to have you there and feel free to invite anyone you know who is interested in professional and personal growth as well as opportunities to meet a wide range of people....

 If you plan on attending the event we request you register free on our website and we really look forward to seeing you there...



10 Things You Need to Know Before You Hire an Agent

"It's critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what is probably the single largest financial investment you will ever make."

Not all real estate agents are the same. If you decide to seek the help of an agent when selling or buying your home, you need some good information before you make any moves.

An agent can cost or save you thousands of dollars

Picking an agent is one of those critical issues that can cost or save you thousands of dollars. There are very specific questions you should be asking to ensure that you get the best representation for your needs. Some agents may prefer that you don't ask these questions, since the knowledge you'll gain from their honest answers will give you a very good idea about what outcome you can expect from using them as an agent. And let's face it - in real estate, as in life - not all things are created equal.

Hiring a real estate agent is just like any hiring process - with you on the boss's side of the desk. It's critical that you make the right decision about who will handle what since this is probably the single largest financial investment you will ever make.

1.What makes you different? Why should I list my home with you?

It's a much tougher real estate market than it was a decade ago. What unique marketing plans and programs does this agent have in place to make sure that your home stands out favorably versus other competing homes? What things does this agent offer you that others don't to help you sell your home in the least amount of time with the least amount of hassle and for the most amount of money?

2. What is your company's track record and reputation in the market place?

It may seem like everywhere you look, real estate agents are boasting about being #1 for this or that, or quoting you the number of homes they've sold. If you're like many homeowners, you've probably become immune to much of this information. After all, you ask, "Why should I care about how many homes one agent sold over another. The only thing I care about is whether they can sell my home quickly for the most amount of money."

 Well, because you want your home sold fast and for top dollar, you should be asking the agents you interview how many homes they have sold. I'm sure you will agree that success in real estate is selling homes. If one agent is selling a lot of homes where another is selling only a handful, ask yourself why this might be? What things are these two agents doing differently?

You may be surprised to know that many agents sell fewer than 10 homes a year. This volume makes it difficult for them to do full impact marketing on your home, because they can't raise the money it takes to afford the advertising and special programs to give your home a high profile. Also, at this low level, they probably can't afford to hire an assistant, which means that they're running around trying to do all the components of the job themselves. Bottom line, their service to you may suffer.

3. What are your marketing plans for my home?

How much money does this agent spend in advertising the homes s/he lists versus the other agents you are interviewing? In what media (newspaper, magazine, TV etc.) does this agent advertise? What does s/he know about the effectiveness of one medium over the other?

4. What has your company sold in my area?

Agents should bring you a complete listing of both their own, and other comparable sales in your area.

5. Does your Broker control your advertising or do you?

If your agent is not in control of their own advertising, then your home will be competing for advertising space not only with this agent's other listings, but also with the listings of every other agent in the brokerage.

6. On average, when your listings sell, how close is the selling price to the asking price?

This information is available from the Real Estate Board. Is this agent's performance higher or lower than the board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how high a price you will get for the sale of your home.

7. On average, how long does it take for your listings to sell?

This information is also available from the Real Estate Board. Does this agent tend to sell faster or slower than the board average? Their performance on this measurement will help you predict how long your home will be on the market before it sells.

8. How many Buyers are you currently working with?

Obviously, the more buyers your agent is working with, the better your chances are of selling your home quickly. It will also impact price because an agent with many buyers can set up an auction-like atmosphere where many buyers bid on your home at the same time. Ask them to describe the system they have for attracting buyers.

9. Do you have a reference list of clients I could contact?

Ask to see this list, and then proceed to spot check some of the names.

10. What happens if I'm not happy with the job you are doing to get my home sold?

Can I cancel my listing contract? Be wary of agents that lock you into a lengthy listing contract where they can get out of (by ceasing to effectively market your home) but you can't. There are usually penalties and broker protection periods which safeguard the agent's interests, but not yours. How confident is your agent in the service s/he will provide you? Will s/he allow you to cancel your contract without penalty if you're not satisfied with the service provided?

Evaluate each agent's responses to these 10 questions carefully and objectively. Who will do the best job for you? These questions will help you decide.


6 Things You Must Know Before You Buy

"Subtle changes in the way you approach mortgage shopping, and even small differences in the way you structure your mortgage, can literally cost or save you thousands of dollars and years of expense."

Mortgage Regulations Have Changed . . . 

Mortgage regulations have changed significantly over the last few years making your options wider than ever. Subtle changes in the way you approach mortgage shopping and even the small differences in the way you structure your mortgage can literally cost or save you thousands of dollars and years of expense. 

Get the Right Information 

Whether you are about to buy your first home, or are planning to make a move to your next home, it is critical that you inform yourself about the factors involved. 

Industry research has revealed 6 common mistakes that most homebuyers make when mortgage shopping and they can have a significant impact on the outcome of this critical negotiation. If handled correctly, these issues could result in a mortgage that will cost you less over a shorter period of time.

6 Things You Must Know Before Obtaining a Mortgage 

Before you commit your hard earned dollars to monthly mortgage payments, consider these 6 issues. Effective consideration of these important areas can make your payments work much harder for you.

1. You can, and should, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you go looking for a home 

Pre-approval is easy, and can give you complete peace-of-mind when shopping for your home. Your local lending institution can provide you with written pre-approval for you at no cost and no obligation, and be done quite easily over-the-phone. More than just a verbal approval from your lending institution, a written pre-approval is as good as money in the bank. It entails a completed credit application and a certificate, which guarantees you a mortgage to the specified level when you find the home you’re looking for.

2. Know what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to

When you discuss mortgage pre-approval with your lending institution, find out what level you qualify for and also pre-assess for yourself what monthly dollar amount you feel comfortable committing to. Your situation may give you a pre-approval amount that is higher (or lower) than the amount of money you would want to pay out each month. By working back and forth with your lending institution to determine what this monthly amount is, and what value of home this translates into at today’s rates, you won’t waste time looking at homes that are not in your price range.

3. You should be thinking about your long term goals and expected situation, to determine the type of mortgage that will best suit your needs 

There are a number of questions you should be asking yourself before you commit to a certain type of mortgage; How long do you think you will own this home? What direction are interest rates going in and how quickly? Is your income expected to change (up or down) in the near term, impacting how much money you can afford to pay to your mortgage? The answers to these and other questions will help you determine the most appropriate mortgage you should be seeking.

4. Make sure you understand what prepayment privileges and payment frequency options are available to you 

More frequent payments (for example weekly or biweekly) can literally shave years off your mortgage. By simply structuring your payments so that they come out more frequently, it will significantly lessen the amount of interest that you will be charged over the term. 

For the same reason, authorized pre-payment of a certain percentage of your mortgage, or an increase in the amount you pay monthly, will have a major impact on the number of years you will have to pay and could shorten your payment term considerably. 

These two payment options can cut years off your mortgage, and save you thousands of dollars in interest. However, not every mortgage has these pre-payment privileges built in, so make sure you ask the proper questions. 

5. Ask if your mortgage is both portable and/or assumable

A portable mortgage, where available, is one that you can carry with you when you buy your next home and avoid paying any discharge penalties. This means that you will not have to go through the entire mortgage process again unless you are making a move up to a much more expensive home. 

An assumable mortgage is one that the buyer for your home can take over when you move to your next home. This can be a very powerful tool at the negotiating table, making it much easier and more desirable for a buyer to buy your home, and again saves you any discharge penalties.

6.You should seriously consider dealing with a Mortgage Expert

Consider dealing only with a professional who specializes in mortgages. Enlisting their services can make a significant difference in the cost and effectiveness of the mortgage you obtain. For example they can make the process faster thereby avoiding costly delays. Typically there is no cost or obligation to inquire.


Parents: 10 Tips to Prepare Young Children for a Move

10 Tips to Prepare Young Children for a Move

"Allowing your child to decide what to do with his/her worn toys provides them a feeling of control in a situation that is largely, out of their control."

Over the years, many studies have been conducted to define and rank which typical life experiences cause the greatest amount of stress for the average adult. For anyone who has had to make a move, it probably comes as no surprise that moving ranks within the top 10 of the most stressful events… and once you add children to the equation, the stress level only increases.

We have compiled the following tips to help parents prepare their young children for a move, and to also help them adjust to their new home and community once the move has taken place.

1. Tell your children about the upcoming move as soon as possible.

Waiting until the For Sale sign appears on your lawn, or having your kids find out about the move from neighbors, will only leave them feeling left out and most likely, angry.

2. Discuss with your children, in an age-appropriate manner, some of the pros and cons of moving.

Most children get great comfort from simply being heard, and by being assured that their parents are committed to helping them adjust to a new environment.

3. Encourage your children to help you investigate your new community.

Most cities or towns have their own website, which they use to advertise and promote life in their community. In addition to finding information on the area lifestyle, you should also find a list of the local amenities, such as schools, places of worship, recreation centres, community sports associations, and parks. Most community sites will also include locations of the nearest shopping malls, movie theatres, and special attractions such as water parks, horse stables, and public beaches.

4. When packing, resist the urge to throw out all of your children’s old, unused toys.

Instead, ask your children to help you prepare for packing by separating their toys into three piles. Pile 1 comes with them to the new house. Pile 2 is for donating to a local shelter or community centre, and pile 3 is only for those toys that they understand are beyond repair, and for safety sake, should be thrown away. Allowing your child to decide what to do with his/her worn toys provides them a feeling of control in a situation that is largely, out of their control.

5. Pack any young children’s belongings last; allowing them prolonged access to their familiar possessions reduces their anxiety.

Ask your children to help you pack some of their belongings into boxes; and be sure to explain that the boxes, and every item that goes into the box, is going to be unpacked at the new house. Assemble some fun packing materials; a variety of brightly coloured (washable) markers for writing their name on each of their own boxes, bubble wrap for swaddling their dolls and soft toys, and a selection of stickers to decorate, and easily identify what is in each of their boxes.

6. Take your children to visit the new home at least once prior moving day, and be sure to keep the visit short, and upbeat.

7. Ask your child if he/she would like to have a moving party.

Invite his/her friends over to enjoy a night of pizza and movies. Take pictures of each guest posing with your child using an instant or digital camera. Keep one copy for your child, and give one copy to each guest to take with them.

8. Most kids make new friends at school fairly easily, but if your moving date is scheduled after the end of the school year, your child could be facing a long, lonely summer break.

To keep your child from feeling isolated you will have to take steps to help him/her meet some new friends. Soon after moving into your new home, ask your neighbors if there are children of the same age close by. Ask those neighbors who have young children if they are interested in allowing your children to play together at the local park during supervised play dates.


9. Once the move has taken place, organize a "family exploring day".

Let your children help you plan an afternoon walk, or scenic drive through a specific part of your new town. By doing this, you will not only be helping your children to familiarize themselves with their new community, but your family will also be creating fun, new memories associated with your new home.

10. Involve your children in deciding how to decorate their new bedrooms.

Even the youngest child should have some of their ideas incorporated into the new design. Whether it’s a big decision (choosing the wall color), or a small decision (selecting just the right spot for his/her toy box), giving your child “a say” helps them to embrace their new space.

Above all, keep the communication lines open - before, during, and after the move. Depending on the child, it can take anywhere from a few days to many months to adjust to their new surroundings.


11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection

"According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection when your home is for sale. Here are 11 you should know about if you’re planning to put your home up for sale."

Homebuyers Want to Know Your Home Inside and Out

While homebuyers are as individual as the homes they plan on purchasing, one thing they share is a desire to ensure that the home they will call their own is as good beneath the surface as it appears to be. Will the roof end up leaking? Is the wiring safe? What about the plumbing?  These, and others, are the questions that the buyers looking at your home will seek professional help to answer.

According to industry experts, there are at least 33 physical problems that will come under scrutiny during a home inspection. We’ve identified the 11 most common of these and, if not identified and dealt with, any of these 11 items could cost you dearly in terms of repair.

In most cases, you can make a reasonable pre-inspection yourself if you know what you’re looking for. Knowing what you’re looking for can help you prevent little problems from growing into costly and unmanageable ones.

11 Things You Need to Know to Pass Your Home Inspection

1. Defective Plumbing

Defective plumbing can manifest itself in two different ways: leaking, and clogging. A visual inspection can detect leaking, and an inspector will gauge water pressure by turning on all faucets in the highest bathroom and then flushing the toilet. If you hear the sound of running water, it indicates that the pipes are undersized. If the water appears dirty when first turned on at the faucet, this is a good indication that the pipes are rusting, which can result in severe water quality problems.

2. Damp or Wet Basement

An inspector will check your walls for a powdery white mineral deposit a few inches off the floor, and will look to see if you feel secure enough to store things right on your basement floor. A mildew odor is almost impossible to eliminate, and an inspector will certainly be conscious of it.

It could cost you $200-$1,000 to seal a crack in or around your basement foundation depending on severity and location. Adding a sump pump and pit could run you around $750 - $1,000, and complete waterproofing (of an average 3 bedroom home) could amount to $5,000-$15,000. You will have to weigh these figures into the calculation of what price you want to net on your home.

3. Inadequate Wiring & Electrical

Your home should have a minimum of 100 amps service, and this should be clearly marked. Wire should be copper or aluminum. Home inspectors will look at octopus plugs as indicative of inadequate circuits and a potential fire hazard.

4. Poor Heating & Cooling Systems

Insufficient insulation, and an inadequate or a poorly functioning heating system, are the most common causes of poor heating. While an adequately clean furnace, without rust on the heat exchanger, usually has life left in it, an inspector will be asking and checking to see if your furnace is over its typical life span of 15-25 yrs. For a forced air gas system, a heat exchanger will come under particular scrutiny since one that is cracked can emit deadly carbon monoxide into the home. These heat exchangers must be replaced if damaged - they cannot be repaired.

5. Roofing Problems

Water leakage through the roof can occur for a variety of reasons such as physical deterioration of the asphalt shingles (e.g. curling or splitting), or mechanical damage from a wind storm. When gutters leak and downspouts allow water to run down and through the exterior walls, this external problem becomes a major internal one.

6. Damp Attic Spaces

Aside from basement dampness, problems with ventilation, insulation and vapor barriers can cause water, moisture, mold and mildew to form in the attic. This can lead to premature wear of the roof, structure and building materials. The cost to fix this damage could easily run over $2,500.

7. Rotting Wood

This can occur in many places (door or window frames, trim, siding, decks and fences). The building inspector will sometimes probe the wood to see if this is present - especially when wood has been freshly painted.

8. Masonry Work

Re-bricking can be costly, but, left unattended, these repairs can cause problems with water and moisture penetration into the home which in turn could lead to a chimney being clogged by fallen bricks or even a chimney which falls onto the roof. It can be costly to rebuild a chimney or to have it repainted.

9. Unsafe or Over-fused Electrical Circuit

A fire hazard is created when more amperage is drawn on the circuit than was intended. 15 amp circuits are the most common in a typical home, with larger service for large appliances such as stoves and dryers. It can cost several hundred dollars to replace your fuse panel with a circuit panel.

10. Adequate Security Features

More than a purchased security system, an inspector will look for the basic safety features that will protect your home such as proper locks on windows and patio doors, dead bolts on the doors, smoke and even carbon monoxide detectors in every bedroom and on every level. Even though pricing will vary, these components will add to your costs. Before purchasing or installing, you should check with your local experts.

11. Structural/Foundation Problems

An inspector will certainly investigate the underlying footing and foundation of your home as structural integrity is fundamental to your home.

When you put your home on the market, you don’t want any unpleasant surprises that could cost you the sale of your home. By having an understanding of these 11 problem areas as you walk through your home, you’ll be arming yourself against future disappointment.


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We are proud to announce that this Sunday, October 11, 2009, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM we will be hosting an Open House at Dewdney Trunk Road in West Central, Maple Ridge. This is an opportunity to visit this excellent House for sale in beautiful West Central.

Please come with any questions you may have. In the meantime you can take a virtual tour of this West Central House for sale.

As always please do not hesitate to give me a call at 604 467-0811 if I can answer any questions before the open house, or if you would like to book a private showing.

Bruce & Liz Whittingham
RE/MAX Results Realty

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